It’s not just Yellowknife: Inuvik’s girl guides are struggling, too
Three Inuvik Girl Guides units have closed and two more are at risk of shutting down due to a lack of volunteers for the program.
The problem mirrors a concern expressed by the Yellowknife Girl Guides last month. The Yellowknife program has since said a recent report about its volunteer shortage led to a surge of support.
Amanda Chaulk, a volunteer with the Inuvik Guides, says the situation is no different in the Mackenzie Delta.
Inuvik’s Pathfinder and Ranger units, which involve children in grades 10 to 12 and seven to nine respectively, went on hiatus in 2019, followed by the unit for students in grades four to six, which was suspended last year.
Currently, only the Ember and Spark units are running and the Inuvik group has just two full-time volunteers. Many of the usual activities, such as sleepovers and campouts, have been put on hold.
“It’s just myself and one other person,” Chaulk told Cabin Radio, describing a juggling act to carry out tasks like planning, logistics, paperwork, finances and coordinating.
“The only reason that it’s running in Inuvik is because we have about five parent volunteers that come to meetings,” she said.
Guides Canada requires that meetings have in attendance at least one adult who is certified in First Aid and a program called Safe Guide, issued by the organization. Certain activities must have a safe adult-to-child ratio as well, explained Chaulk.
“One of us always has to be at the meetings, that means, and we’ve run into some hurdles with that,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s emergencies with childcare, work, travel, those kinds of things popping up, so we have to cancel meetings and activities and it’s a real bummer.”
Similar to the Yellowknife Guides, the Inuvik Guides have a waiting list of youth wanting to join the program. Chaulk says more parents want to sign their kids up every year.
“We want to keep it going, because there is a lot of demand,” she said.
“But with just two of us, there’s a lot of burnout happening. We’ve lost some of our volunteers that moved out of town, pursued other opportunities, that kind of thing, and now we just want to keep guiding going in Inuvik.”
Without more volunteers, the remaining Ember and Spark units will have to close, said Chaulk.
“We really need more volunteers to keep this going. It’s a great opportunity for youth and it can be for the volunteers as well,” she said.
“It’s something fun and amazing and healthy, and it would be great to see it continue on in the Inuvik community.”
Those interested in volunteering with the Inuvik Guides are asked to reach out via the group’s Facebook page.