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Thursday, 12 March 2009
Page: 2605

Mr SIMPKINS (12:50 PM) —In 1915 the Girl Guide movement commenced in Western Australia. In 2009 there are around 2,600 guides across the state. In Cowan we have a number of Girl Guide groups and I take this opportunity to speak about the great work being undertaken by their volunteer leaders. Girl Guides allow opportunities for girls from five years to 18-plus to receive an all-round education that helps build resilience and responsible attitudes. Girl Guide groups meet weekly as community based units and the girls enjoy the fun, friendship and adventure of guiding.

Naturally, the objectives of the Girl Guide movement and the enjoyable and positive activities for the girls could not be achieved without the support and mentoring from Girl Guide leaders and unit helpers. The practical lessons are designed to help the girls better understand the world around them by exploring the environment, making useful items, carrying out science investigations and performing in drama and entertainment activities. Other parts of the activities include learning about traditions and cultures from other countries as well as the well-known special activities such as canoeing, camping and outdoor cooking. Each time the girls attend their weekly night or afternoon session, a typical gathering will see the girls undertake fun activities such as games, crafts and learning survival skills.

In 2010 it is the Centenary of the Girl Guides in Australia and I congratulate the guides at all levels for the great work they do. I appreciate what they do because the Girl Guides know how important it is to raise children with flexible skills, confidence and a good attitude. As parents of daughters, we know that we want them to be positive contributors to our community, and the guides are a great organisation working towards that objective.

To that end I know that the Girl Guides have specifically designed programs for girls to help them learn new skills and grow in a noncompetitive, accepting environment. An element of their work that I particularly like is self-esteem building activities that allow the girls to achieve across a variety of activities, and this is done in the company of their friends with common interests.

In Cowan we are fortunate enough to have five Girl Guide groups within the electorate. I would like to make mention of these five groups and their leaders, who are outstanding and committed volunteers. Firstly I would mention the Marangaroo Butterfly Scouts. That group is well led by Mandie Cuevas and her 15-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, who is a junior leader and guide herself.

In Alexander Heights there is the Alexander Heights Adventure Guides under the leadership of Margaret Harvey. In Ballajura there are two guide groups known as the Ballajura Wildlife Guides under Kristy Kerr, and the Ballajura Willy Wagtail Guides under leaders Leanne Woods, Katherine Jenkins and Rachel Hills. In nearby Landsdale the Butterfly Guides are led by Dianne Hodgson, Elizabeth Woodhouse and Helen Cocks. I have recently visited most of the groups so I know how these leaders, these volunteers, are highly regarded by the girls and the parents. They do a great job and are a highly positive influence on the lives of girls and young women in our local community.

I will also make mention of others that work hard for the benefit of the Girl Guides in the Cowan electorate. Annette Smith is the Kingsway District fundraising coordinator. Jackie Wann is another leader. Robyn O’Sullivan is a permanent parent helper. Robert Harvey also helps as a parent, particularly at camps and on other outdoor activities.

Although this is the first time that the Girl Guides in Cowan have been mentioned in the federal parliament, I welcome the opportunity to correct that shortcoming. I acknowledge the great work done by the leaders, the helpers and everyone else in Cowan, who combine to provide the young girls and young women of Cowan with the opportunity to be Girl Guides. As their federal member of parliament they have my thanks for the work they do and I wish them all the best for the future and their centenary year in 2010. And finally in closing I say to Quail, Joey, Koala, Numbat and all the volunteers: keep up the good work!