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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 17, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 11
Girl Guides of Canada cancels trips to USA

Fears members could be turned away at the border
Section One
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Girl Guides of Canada cancels trips to USA

Fears members could be turned away at the border

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Girl Guides of Canada - their version of Girl Scouts - announced March 13 that they will no longer take trips to the United States.

The organization said it was worried about Donald Trump's travel ban and the safety of some of its members.

'While the United States is a frequent destination for guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain,' the Girl Guides said a statement.

'It also has to do with safety,' Sarah Kiriliuk, the organization's national manager of marketing and communication, explained. 'We want to make sure that if our girls are traveling that they are not going to be in a risky or unsafe situation...We can't leave a girl behind...

'We realize we had to stand by our organizational commitment of inclusivity and diversity,' she added. 'We talk the talk; we try and walk the walk. We're an inclusive and a diverse organization, and this is just an extension of that.'

The organization's new travel policy covers day trips, longer outings, and any travel that includes a connecting flight through a US airport. The Guides are currently looking for an alternative destination to a summer camp in California.

'Not being able to cross a border, can you imagine what would happen?' Kiriliuk asked. 'A group shows up at the border and one girl can't go across - that puts everybody in a very difficult situation. So, we want to make sure the girls are safe and that we are extending that inclusivity and diversity to all of our trips.'

Most of the Girl Guides' trips to the US are planned at the regional and local offices, Kiriliuk told the Toronto Star. When a trip is planned, she explained, the organization does a 'risk assessment.'

'We are not breaching anyone's confidentiality,' she said. 'The risk assessment will be done within a small circle to assess whether we think whether that trip can safely go ahead or not.'

Traveling teaches independence, she said, especially for young girls with their peers and away from parents.

'There's a really big learning curve for girls in that sense as well - going across the ocean, far away from home,' Kiriliuk said.

The Girl Guides have some 70,000 members, plus 20,000 adult women who volunteer for the organization.

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