Girls First

Girls First Banner

Girls First will be GGC’s new program. It will be launched and accessible to the entire field for the 2018/2019 Guiding year. To ensure it is the best it can be we are taking this upcoming year to visit with Girls, Guiders and other adult volunteers from each council area to hear firsthand feedback and insights. We will also implement a plan to support Girls and Guiders making the transition to the new program during the 2018/19 Guiding year.

Girls First Program Update - September 2017

This page is where we’ll update you on how the new program is taking shape. Each month you can expect to find information related to: program model, content, Guider education, program delivery, technology, evaluation and more. We will send a reminder in Guidepost each month, but feel free to visit anytime!

You’ll also find out more about the various consultations taking place across the country on this page. We’ll profile some of the comments, questions and aspirations that we’re hearing from Girls, Guiders and parents from coast to coast to coast on various aspects of the new program.

We know there is a lot going on with the development of Girls First and we want all GGC members to have access to the latest information anytime they are curious. We also want to hear from you. Please reach out to us at with any comments or questions, submit your favourite activity or apply to become a test unit to help shape the program.

The countdown is on! Now, please allow us to present our fearless leaders: (Chair and CEO)

Pamela(Chair) and Jill(CEO)

Pamela Rice

Welcome to our new Girls First page where you can be a part of this exciting new initiative that puts Girls First. These updates are informed by the continuous consultations, focus groups and demographic research being undertaken across the country with councils, Guiders, Girls and senior volunteers. Girls First will allow GGC to meet Girls where they are at today, and to remain agile so that we can continue to grow in the years and decades to come. Check back often and be part of the conversation!

Jill Zelmanovits

I am thrilled that Girls First is truly being driven by the Girl. We’ve heard that Girls want to have a flexible program that allows them to discover who they are in a safe, girl-only space; because Girls know best what’s right for their own journey. They told us they want to track goals and badges, and that they want to shape their Guiding experience to become more confident and independent. By making Girls First accessible online, we ensure that it stays fresh, relevant and that it can respond to what Girls and Guiders need. Come with us on this exciting journey!

This month’s updates:

Girls First is on track to launch, September 2018. There will be a full transition year with equivalencies clearly outlined for any ongoing badge work and awards. This plan will be communicated by the end of the 2017/18 Guiding year.

The program will be outcomes-based and will leverage materials that exist across the country as well as new materials based on Girls’ feedback.

The program will be scaffolded in a BIG way from Sparks through Rangers ensuring Girls can follow similar themes in age appropriate ways with no risk of getting bored.

The program materials will be available online, allowing both Girls and Guiders the ability to browse, search and explore all the program has to offer.

Girls First team working on the design of the on-line platform

Unit meetings will still happen just like they do today! Though the materials are available online, units will run with the help and passion of women volunteers who empower Girls to be everything they want to be.

There will be badges! Stay tuned to learn more about the program requirements in October’s update.

Accessibility considerations: We’re reviewing how to ensure online accessibility isn’t a barrier for those whose communities have internet challenges and will continue to consult with many stakeholders on accessibility options as needed.

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We’re recruiting test units!
The selected units will be reflective of our GGC membership in terms of province, number of branches, urban and rural distribution, etc. Please visit the FAQ page for more info!

NEXT UP: The Girls First Team is heading to Alberta’s Grassroots conference. Check back in a couple of weeks to read about what Alberta’s Guiders, Youth Forum and Senior Volunteers had to share.

Here’s what’s coming season by season:
  Fall 2017
  • Visits to every region to consult with Girls, Guiders and senior volunteers
  • Recruiting test units as well as Girls First Champions to help support Guider education and delivery
  • Refining our program requirements and building content with the help of units across the country
  Winter 2018
  • Deep into technology development to build a web platform that works for all
  • Hundreds of test units pressure testing content, program model and other items
  • Preparing Guider education support materials
  Spring 2018
  • Executing on Guider education and delivery both in person and online
  • Technology testing in the field with a large variety of users
  • Finalizing and delivering transition plan for Guiders on items such as equivalencies
  Summer 2018
  • Finalizing technology and testing
  • Preparing and launching necessary Guider education resources (in-person and online)
  • Launching technology, training and program content to Guiders and Girls for September 2018!
FAQ - Testing Units

What does being a testing unit involve?

How will this affect my Guiding year? What is a day in the life of testing unit?

The majority of your Guiding year is still left up to you and your unit. You can keep working on your regular program and badges. About one meeting per month will be needed to test out Girls First. This requires flexibility with your program planning. First, you will receive a request to participate; if you agree, you will receive the materials and the deadlines, as well as follow-up reminders to complete the testing. If you cannot complete the testing, you can simply let us know. We will contact your unit throughout the year for various testing opportunities, unless you let us know otherwise.

Can I know the testing opportunities ahead of time so I can plan my year?

Unfortunately, because the program is being developed at a rapid pace with many moving parts, we cannot give you a more concrete schedule ahead of time. We understand that this makes it difficult for planning purposes, and we appreciate your willingness to be flexible. We will communicate any information with you with as much advance notice as possible.

Is there a crest for participating?

Yes, of course!

Your unit will receive Girls First crests at the end of the Guiding year to thank you.

Are there core program connections (i.e., will the new activities count toward core program badges)?

We will make our best effort to create core program connections where we can as we construct the program, so that the Girls’ time can still count toward program work.

Should my co-Guiders sign up as well?

We definitely want to hear from you and your co-Guiders, however please have only one Guider per unit sign up to be the primary contact. If you want your co-Guider to complete the feedback, you can pass it on to them for completion to share in the process. Make sure they also include the unit ID, so we can keep track. If you want your co-Guider to take over the feedback, please contact the Girls First team to update the contact information for your unit.

I’m a Girl/parent/Lone/Trex/Extra-Ops/Link unit/Trefoil. Can I sign up?

Unfortunately, in order to keep the amount of feedback manageable and to be able to control for certain variables, for now the testing is only open to Sparks through Rangers and Multibranch units. If you are a Girl member or parent of a Girl in one of these units, please encourage your Guider to sign up the whole unit! We will keep you posted on the Girls First page if we decide to open it up to individual members and other types of units.

Will we be able to connect with other testing units?

You can connect with other testing units if you like, but we are not facilitating an official network group.

Time Commitment

How long am I signing up for? Can I quit if I can no longer do it?

You and your unit are signing up for the duration of the 2017 – 2018 Guiding year. If you would like to leave during the term, you may do so at any time. We do ask that you thoughtfully consider whether you are able to make the time commitment for the year as you may be taking the place of another unit that may have more time to commit to testing.

There will also be additional opportunities for Guiders during the summer. We will contact you at the end of the Guiding year to see if you are interested in participating.

How flexible is the time commitment?

We are asking for a maximum of 4 hours per month, but we understand that every unit has unique needs and circumstances. Depending on the month and the type of activities you choose to participate in, it may be less. We would ask that you only commit to what you think you can reasonably handle, and let us know as soon as possible when you are unable to complete a task on schedule. We are grateful for your time, and we ask that you communicate with us about your availability and workload.

What if we have camp/fieldtrip/etc. planned during a feedback opportunity, can we skip it?

You will have two weeks for each feedback cycle during which to complete the testing. If, however, you find that you really can’t fit it into your schedule, you may skip that feedback opportunity. Just let us know at the time when we send you the request, so that we don’t keep reminding you to complete it.

Technology and Accessibility

What kind of access to technology is required?

If you select the technology testing option, you will need access to a computer and/or mobile device with internet access. It is preferable that you have access in your unit meeting space so you can use the materials in action and the Girls can interact with the new tech, too!

We don’t have access to Wi-Fi/computers/cell phones in our meeting space. Can we still sign up?

Yes, absolutely! If you do not have access in your unit meeting, you can still participate in some of the tech testing activities at home. If you have no access to technology or internet, your unit can still participate in other testing activities.

Where can I get a paper copy of the application?

Please email us at or call us at (416)487-5281 x 444 to request a paper copy.

I have accessibility concerns. Can I still sign up?

Yes, please let us know how we can accommodate your accessibility needs by contacting us at or (416)487-5281 x 444.

Privacy Issues and Concerns

What do I do if Girls or their parents/guardians have concerns or don’t want the unit to participate?

At the beginning of the year we will provide you with a letter of information to send out to the parents/guardians of the Girls in your unit. If they have any questions please direct them to contact us via email or by telephone. Being inclusive and considerate of the privacy of the Girls is our top concern. Therefore, if Girls or their parents/guardians express to you that they are uncomfortable with participating, consider how you can handle the situation in the most ethical and inclusive way possible. For example, if a Girl has concerns, would she be willing to participate in activities without providing feedback? If you can reasonably accommodate her wishes, that’s great, but if she refuses to participate, then you should let the Girls First team know that you are unable to participate as a testing unit.

What do I do if my co-Guiders don’t want to participate?

You should discuss this opportunity with your co-Guiders before signing up and ideally provide feedback as a team. Depending on how you divide the responsibilities, you may be able to work out a solution where you participate in the testing only when you run the unit meetings. Please let the Girls First team know if you will have such limited availability. If you can’t come up with a workable solution, you should not sign up your unit.

What about our privacy and personal information? Who will our information be shared with?

Your information will be kept confidential. Only the Girls First team will have access to your contact information, and this information will be used strictly for the purpose of keeping in contact with you regarding testing Girls First. This information will be kept in a secure folder that only authorized personnel can access.

Your contact information will be kept separate from your feedback. We will ask for the unit ID on all feedback forms, which will be used to keep track of responses. However, once the responses are received, they will be made anonymous and aggregated with responses from other units.

If you have any other questions, please email us at