It's that time of year where little girls come knocking on your door to sell you Girl Guide Cookies. My own daughters have been doing this for 8 years and I have walked many kilometres in that time, helping them do their fair share of the fundraising. Usually, my girls are treated with kindness - either people buy the cookies, or politely decline. On the very rare occasion, they are treated rudely - which makes my blood boil, but that's a topic for another day. And once in awhile, the person who answers the door says something along the lines of "there's still such a thing as Girl Guides? That seems really old-fashioned."
In my humble opinion, there has never been a better time in history for an organization like Girl Guides. Every single day our girls are bombarded with messages and images that tell them that their worth is measured in their appearance - and more specifically, in their weight. It doesn't matter how smart you are, how kind you are or how hard-working you are ... if you fail at beauty, you fail.
And they are far too young to understand how wrong this message is. Heck, lots of adult women don't understand how wrong this message is. I've seen it in my own daughters - watching them judge their value in our world based on a narrow, superficial set of standards that are almost impossible for anyone to meet. And all you have to do is read the comments on Youtube to see that the level of cruelty that can be exhibited by people hiding behind their anonymity is astounding.
Girl Guides acts almost like an inoculation against the world's craziness ... allowing our girls to develop their character and resiliency to a point where the judgment and meanness of others has far less impact on how they see themselves.
First, Guides builds self-esteem. Not in the hairy-fairy sense of just telling girls that they are great and hoping they believe it. Self-esteem doesn't just fall out of the sky and hit them on the head. Guides gives girls real skills. The girls learn how to set goals. They learn something new, they master it and then they believe just a little bit more in themselves. Have you ever seen a girl build a fire all by herself? It makes her feel pretty powerful. And the confidence in a girl who just nailed a bull's eye with a bow and arrow - well, it's unmistakable.
Second, Guides helps show girls how to treat other girls. In fact, Guides teaches girls how to treat other people in general - whether those people are the other girls in her unit, the kids at her school, or girls from the other side of the world. Character education is built into just about everything that goes on at a Girl Guide meeting. It also teaches the skills they need to be leaders in their communities - and more female leadership in the world can only help girls in the future.
So, if you get a chance to buy a box of Girl Guide cookies, I really think you should. If you don't want to eat them, give them to a friend or donate them to the food bank. Or try something new with them! Because Girl Guides is an organization worth supporting.
Chocolate Mocha Mint Coffee Cake
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cups milk
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Girl Guides Chocolatey Mint Cookies, chopped
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and milk and blend. In a separate bowl, combine espresso powder, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well. Add chopped Chocolatey Mint cookies and combine. Turn into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes and then turn onto a rack to cool completely.