To the Editor,
As leaders of the Minden Sparks, Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders unit, we were shocked and dismayed to find out last week, through an article in the newspaper, that our current meeting space has been newly leased. As a result of contract negotiations between the township and a new hockey team, we are being evicted from our meeting space and losing our needed storage. We now have until the end of May to remove our things from our space.
Since this hall was built with fundraising efforts from Rotary, including help from the Scouts and Guides, the space has been well used by the groups. During our guiding year, traditionally September to June and up until the pandemic began, we have used our space regularly, often many times per week.
This space has been used for campouts, sleepovers and area dinners for Community 30 Guiders from our area in Ontario. We have used the building for first-aid training and leader programming, which is essential for the safety and empowerment of our girls.
Throughout all this, we have accommodated the use of our space when it was needed for disaster relief during the floods, renovation planning and overflow for office space for Minden Hills recreation staff, when they took over our previous storage space. As a non-profit organization for girls and women, our guides have been an essential part of the community. We filled sandbags, participated in parades, cleaned up the community for Earth Day and continued to learn how to become strong members of society at our meetings.
We have been extremely fortunate to have this space and we have appreciated it. So do the families of the 26 girls we had registered in our unit at the time that COVID-19 began. We do support the hockey team and are excited to have them in our community. However, we do not feel that this should have come at the expense of existing opportunities for our local children.
We are looking forward to meeting in person again once the restrictions are lifted in order to help our girls become the empowered young women that we know they can become. Registration is open now for next season.