Twenty years of Blossoms
The month of January is an exciting time for everyone as it signals the beginning of a new year filled with opportunity and great possibilities.
It is also very special for the Blossom Section of the Girl Guides Association of Barbados because it is their anniversary month, and January 2013 marks 20 years of Blossom guiding in Barbados.
The Blossom Section is the youngest arm of the Girl Guides Association of Barbados catering to girls ages four to seven years old. The Blossom programme was founded and developed by Anne Straker, former District Commissioner, Blossom Trainer, and Blossom Advisor until her retirement in 2003.
In 1992, after much research and a visit to Girl Guides Headquarters in England, Starker submitted and presented her proposal for the section to the Executive Committee of the Barbados Association. After some deliberation and debate approval was granted and the new section joined the already established sections of Girl Guides, Ranger and Brownie Guides respectively.
She worked on developing a suitable age-appropriate programme for the girls. To keep the meetings interesting, varied, balanced and participator. All Blossom programme activities are interwoven around the eight-points of the guiding programme.
The eight-points character traits are based on the colours of the rainbow and white. In Blossoms it is called the garland and is used as the Blossom promise pin. The theme for Blossoms is based on the hibiscus flower which is symbolically represented by the red tabard worn by the girls.
The name Blossom is unique to Barbados, but equivalent to that of Rainbows in England and Sparks in Canada. Idaelia Maynard, Guider and Former Commissioner for Parades, is credited for the local name of the section — Blossoms. The Guider is called Petal, and her Assistants Bud. The girls work in small groups called Clusters.
In January 1993, the late Dame Nita Barrow, former Guide and then Governor General hosted the official launching of the Blossoms Guide programme in a beautiful and very touching ceremony at Government House. Blossom units can be found in most primary schools across the island, with weekly meetings being held after school.
In 2003, Blossom Advisor Anne Straker retired and a young dynamic Blossom Guider Jennifer King was selected to the acting position of Blossom Advisor. Ms. King was later appointed in 2005. Under the stewardship of King the Blossom section has grown and has seen many developmental changes, to the benefit of the girls. King demitted office in December 2010. In 2012, Lilian Moseley-Lubin took up the mantle as Blossom Advisor, becoming the third guide leader to take on the dynamic role.
Blossom Leaders are volunteers, and must attend and complete two specific courses in order to work with this young section — specialised Blossom Training and the Basic Guiding Course Training. Training is offered annually at the Girl Guides Headquarters, Pax Hill, Belmont Road on Thursdays in Terms 1 and 2.
Interested persons 18 years and over who enjoy working with children in the 4-7 age group are invited to call Girl Guides headquarters at 426-2202 or write to email@example.com for more information about the Blossom Guide programme. Blossoms units are based at several primary schools across Barbados and a few nursery schools.