February 3, 2017
When I was 11 or 12 years old, my family moved for a brief time, in the middle of the school year, from Poorman’s Indian Reserve (as if was called then)in Saskatchewan ,where my mother had been teaching, to Minnedosa, Manitoba.ca
In my classroom, some of the girls wore there Brownie uniforms to school on one afternoon a week because they went directly to a Brownie meeting at the end of the school day.
I so much wanted to be a Brownie because I longed to wear that uniform.
Decades later I realize that being a newcomer with no friends and feeling very shy as well as awkward among my classmates, I wanted to wear that Brownies uniform so I would fit it. I have heard that people who join the armed forces sometimes do that for the same reason. The uniform makes them feel that they are part of something and makes them feel they belong.
I just realized all this today when I glanced at the following article I wrote in my 20s when I worked as a reporter in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan:
March 16, 1983
“Thinking of other people”– Lafleche Brownies
by Tanya Lester
“To learn to share, get along with other peole and to know more about God and the world,” are some of the reasons why Susan Leclaire, the Brownie leader in Lafleche, thinks this international organization is important for girls between the ages of five and nine.
It is also a group in which its members learn to “think of other people rather than themselves.”
And the Brownies learn to do a number of other crafts and activities as well. This year the eight members in Mrs. Leclaire’s group have cooked stew for her husband; toured the bakery, RCMP office (where they were temporarily locked in the jail cell), the picture frame shop, the Cathedral in Gravelbourg; and participated in folk song sing-a-longs accompanied by Mrs. Leclaire on the guitar. With the Beavers, the Brownies have sung for the senior citizens in the past.
Mrs. Leclaire has showed her Brownies how to grow plants from seeds which they kept in their basements until they have sprouted. She has helped them learn needlework including how to make a pin cushion that looks like a hat.
They have macramed, knitted, gone on nature walks, and gone on camping trips with the Brownies from Coronach, Woodrow, and Mossbank.
On Thinking Day, the Lafleche Brownies as well as the Girl Guides and various Scout levels celebrate the birthdays of Lord and Lady Powell. The British lord started the Scouts for boys and later, his wife, Lady Powell began the girls’ wing which include the Brownies and Girl Guides.
As both Lord and Lady Powell had their birthdays on the same day, both are honoured on Thinking Day. Mrs. Leclaire said the Brownies receive the badges, for which they have worked, on that day.
Badges in a host of categories can be awarded. For example, there is a baker’s badge for which the Brownies would have had to bake or cook something and have cleaned up the dishes afterwards in order to earn it.
Although the Brownie meetings are usually held once a week from 3:30 to 5:30 pm at the United Church basement, Mrs. Leclaire said she has the Brownies at her house when they are doing baking or cooking.
There is also an explorer’s badge. To earn this one, Mrs. Leclaire will take the Brownies on walks and ask them to remember such details as which houses and stop signs they have passed along the way.
In addition, the Brownies have to complete different sections of a book in order to advance from one level to the next. The levels are the golden bar, golden ladder, and golden hand.
A Brownie has to do certain tasks outlined in the book in order to receive a bar for her uniform. For example, to earn the golden bar, a Brownie can do such activities as collect three different leaves or make a picture from natural materials or play a nature game with a small group.
Mrs. Leclaire said each Brownie usually stays in the group for three years before advancing to the Girl Guides. She has now been Brownie leader for two years in Lafleche and previously led a Brownie group in Foam Lake for two years. Mrs. Leclaire used to be a Girl Guide herself.
Her Brownie members included Suzanne Leclaire, Allison Thompson, Caroline Graves, Lisa Kirkpatrick, Shanna Bourrasa, Tracy Daniels, Karen Sewell, Chantal Clermont and Carry Harding.
Tanya works as a psychic, specializing in tea leaf reading and tarot, as well as being a reiki master and housesitting fulltime. To find out of her work, go to her website at teareading.wordpress.com or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Goggle. You can also contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her cell at 250-538-0086