Friday, April 5, 2024

Breaking Barriers, Building Leaders: SLGGA’s ‘Ceylona 2024’ prepares to empower young women

The camp logo symbolizes the SGD goals for Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout movement’s worldwide impact, fostering cross-cultural exchange and leadership development among young women

In a society where females are looked under-worthy, the Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association (SLGGA) empowers young women through educational and leadership programmes. TheInternational Camps stand as a testament to this legacy; serving as a vibrant platform for cultural exchange, skill-building, and the nurturing of international friendships among Girl Guides from diverse backgrounds. “For 107 years, International Camps have been a cherished tradition within our guiding community, offering children enriching experiences and unforgettable memories. With the introduction of our new camp logo, we eagerly anticipate embarking on a fresh chapter in our illustrious history, poised to enhance the camping experience even further,” said the International Commissioner and Camp Commandant Nadeeka Gunasekara. 

The SLGGA announced that an international camp will be held at Ibbagamuwa Central College, Kurunagala. The goal of the camp is to foster global unity and empower young girls and women with invaluable skills and experiences. SLGGA announced that the International Camp to be held is titled ‘Ceylona 2024’. The main highlight of the event to be launched is the unveiling of the camp’s logo. Crafted to mirror the varied backgrounds and dreams of the Girl Guides taking part, the logo stands as a symbol of motivation for everyone engaged in the endeavour. According to Gunasekara the camp is scheduled to take place from August 18 to 23

Moreover, a description of the logo, according to Gunasekara, signifies many aspects. She explained that the branches carried by the elephant have 17 leaves which symbolizes the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the SLGGA and the country’s unique identity and commitment to global cooperation. The globe symbolises the Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout movement’s worldwide impact, fostering cross-cultural exchange and leadership development among young women. In essence, the logo embodies diversity, empowerment, and collective action, serving as a powerful reminder of our shared responsibility to work towards a brighter, more sustainable future. SDGs are a set of universal goals that meet the urgent

environmental, political, and economic challenges facing our world. “Activities related to life on land and life on water are done in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) at the campsite. Activities at the campsite, which will be conducted in collaboration with the UN, emphasise environmental stewardship and sustainable development,” said Gunasekara.    

The scheduled International Camp is poised to offer a plethora of enriching activities and experiences. From outdoor adventures to leadership workshops, the camp aims to provide a holistic learning environment where participants can develop essential life skills while forging lifelong friendships.

The SLGGA has water and adventure activities which give courage to the Girl Guides to make decisions wisely and strategies to manage their timing. It was explained that the guides are given 20 minutes for a specific task and they have to somehow finish these activities within the provided time slot; which helps develop time management skills.

“The YUNGA Challenge Badges aim to raise awareness and motivate individuals to become proactive agents of change within their local communities. Another challenge is the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge aims at putting youth at the center of its talking plastic pollution, whilst encouraging them to believe that they can make a difference in the world,” were two challenges explained by Gunasekara. Moreover, she explained that the challenge will develop leadership skills and enable young people to make an impact on issues that matter, and also help in cutting back on the use of single-use plastic (use of plastic only once) to recycling more effectively and finding sustainable alternatives to plastics and plastic pollution. The challenges are organised into three levels; Entry Level, Leader Level and Champion Level. They are certified by the World Association curriculum.

“The registration fee for butterflies (Grade 5-7 years) and little friends (Grade 7-12) is Rs.1500 and for Girl Guides the fee is Rs.3000 (The registration fee will include the Camp patch, Activity patches, ID card, certificate, a water bottle as a souvenir, Activity book and Camp book). The registration fee for the Camp Service Team is Rs.3000 (Registration fee will include the camp patch, ID card, certificate, and a water bottle as a Souvenir). Gunasekara proposed a solution for sponsors to decrease the fee. Sri Lankan girl guiding is based on the Sri Lankan Education Ministry, whereas this is operated at school levels. There is an activity called networking. It’s a process where the guides collaborate with the International guides and share their cultural differences. She pointed out that Sri Lankan Girl guides will be treated differently therefore they will get adapted to the new surroundings.       

“Moreover, when Girl Guides are given riddles during hikes. The main objective of sending guides is to explore the surroundings. The new camp patch will be given only after the necessary steps are completed” explained Gunasekara. Answering a question on the lack of communication fluency in Sri Lankan girl guides, Gunasekara said that there are always low fluency guides among the fluent guides during the International camp tours. Therefore, they can improve their fluency when communicating.

“The camp will also host distinguished guests, including the Chairperson of the Asia Pacific Regional Committee, and a representative from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Board, Ms. Chempaka Emalin Pahamin. Their presence underscores the international significance of the event and the commitment to empowering young women worldwide,” said Gunasekara.

Gunesekara explained that the camp aims to Provide opportunities for the Girl Guides to gain experience while participating in different types of activities that fulfill the educational objectives and to be able to develop follow-up initiatives or projects that empower participants to apply the knowledge and skills gained during the camp to their communities, contributing to positive change on a local and global scale. She added that, as anticipation mounts for this landmark event, the SLGGA reaffirms its commitment to empowering young women and fostering the development of future leaders. During the International Camp, participants will not only forge cherished memories, but also embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

by Pinidi Attanayaka

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