Local Girl Guides members are very excited about their new change.
Back in November, the organization announced that they would explore renaming their Brownies program in an attempt to make racialized girls feel more welcome. The program encompasses the Girl Guides branch of girls between the ages of seven and eight.
The decision came down between the names Comets or Embers, and girl guides spent the last few months organizing so that they could vote on what the new name would be. On Wednesday (Jan. 11) it was announced that Embers was the winner.
The change has come with some backlash, but according to a Fort Saskatchewan Girl Guides leader, the girls have loved being a part of the change.
"Everyone is super positive about it," said Kristin Greenwood, who leads a local Embers unit and whose daughter is a part of the group. "When we posted that the name had been announced through our own social media channels, everyone was super excited."
"If it helps make someone else feel included in [Girl Guides] then we're all for it."
Brownies wasn't the original name for this branch of the program. When it was initially founded back in 1914, they were called 'Rosebuds' for their first year before changing to Brownies.
While the original meaning of 'Brownies' was meant to reference a fairy-like creature from UK folklore, the word has undergone a semantic change over time where it could now be taken as a racial slur.
Greenwood says her daughter and the other girls have loved being a part of history.
"Honestly, the girls were excited to be a part of something bigger than just their unit," said Greenwood. "We have 14 girls in our group and they actually did their own little mini-vote within the unit," said Greenwood.
"There were eight that voted for Comets and six that voted for Embers but all of them said both names were good choices."
Julia, Greenwood's Daughter, gave an inside look at what name she voted for.
"I voted for Embers," said Julia. "I like the name, I didn't really like the name Comets because it sounds like a comic book."
The girls actually got to work on their first Embers project on Thursday (Jan. 12) night. They made hat crafts of a mini firepit that mirrors the program's new logo as well as an edible fireplace made out of marshmallows, pretzels, and various other snacks.
Greenwood hopes people who are hung up on the change can start to shift their focus toward what the girl guides actually do.
"It's about the experience, it's not about what it's called," said Greenwood. "The girls that I got in my Embers unit, they started during COVID so this year has been a lot of new experiences and new things like sleepovers, camps, activities, and field trips which they've never been able to do before."
Julia summed it up best when she described her favourite thing about being in the Embers.
"[My favourite part of the Embers] is meeting new friends."