Girl Guides discover navy trades

LS Corey Aube from HMCS Halifax talks about some of her firefighting gear with the visiting Girl Guides group. Photos by Ryan Melanson, Trident Staff

LS Corey Aube from HMCS Halifax talks about some of her firefighting gear with the visiting Girl Guides group. Photos by Ryan Melanson, Trident Staff

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

“We are Guides, all Guides
And in unexpected places
You’ll meet our friendly faces
And a ready hand beside…”

Those were the words ringing out through HMC Dockyard in Halifax Oct.10 as a group of young guests marched and sang their way to HMCS Halifax for a visit.

The group of 10- to 12-year-old girls were representatives of the 2nd Shoreview Guide Unit of Girl Guides of Canada. They came to the base, along with three leaders, to get an introduction to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and jobs available to young women who decide to pursue a naval career in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Kara Doucet, a student at Dalhousie University and a long-time Girl Guide turned volunteer with the organization, said her unit is trying to introduce the Guides to a range of traditionally male-dominated jobs and activities, and push the notion that girls can grow up to excel in any area with hard work and dedication.

The idea to incorporate a navy visit came when a few girls asked their leaders if women were allowed to serve in the Canadian military.

“I found it shocking that some of the girls didn’t know,” said Doucet, who grew up in a military family and has memories of visiting RCN ships as a child.

“I always found it to be an exciting experience, so we decided to take them on a navy ship and show them that women can be successful members of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

The young visitors were excited to enter a military base and see the inside of a warship for the first time, and with the navy celebrating the International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, Halifax was thrilled to welcome the group at such an appropriate time.

The RCN has recently set a goal to increase the representation of women in service across all trades and ranks, and the wider CAF goal is to increase the number of female personnel by one percent annually, so that within 10 years, one in four members will be female.

Female sailors from the ship led the way as the Girl Guides toured the inside of the ship, participated in a sunset ceremony, took in a demonstration of firefighting equipment, and asked lots of questions of the sailors.

With a varied group of tour guides that included SLt Marisa Warner, a Naval Warfare Officer, LS Corey Aube, a Boatswain, and LS April White, a Steward, the girls heard about the multitude of jobs and roles that exist in a Halifax-class Frigate.

Francine Leach, another volunteer leader and mom to two young girl Guides, said the opportunity was a unique one for the girls and something they all enjoyed, even if it involved going a little outside of comfort zones to get inside the ship.

“Some girls were very scared to climb down the ladder, but were so proud of themselves once they did it. It was a great experience for the girls to meet women who are in these careers.”

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