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Guide leader given prestigious award

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For more than 100 years, Girl Guides of Canada has been preparing young women to meet challenges head-on by teaching them resourcefulness and leadership skills.

Since first joining as a Brownie years ago, Fort Frances resident Marnie Cumming has watched the organization evolve to fit the needs of girls from generation to generation.

Thousands of volunteer hours and years of governance later, Cumming has been bestowed with the program’s highest award in recognition of her service on a national level.

“The board was absolutely pleased to award Marnie with the Gold Maple Leaf,” said GGC Commissioner Sharron Callahan.

“The award is granted to individuals who have given outstanding, exceptional service with the Girl Guides of Canada,” she noted.

“It was presented to Marnie because she possesses certain qualities of leadership.”

Cumming was presented with the rare award earlier this month at the national annual general meeting in Vancouver.

“It was a wonderful surprise and acknowledgement of a lifetime of involvement in the organization,” Cumming remarked.

“I certainly never would have envisioned it when I began as a Brownie,” she noted. “But there were wonderful opportunities as a girl to try new things and be personally challenged.

“When I first came to Fort Frances as a teacher, I heard there was a need for Guide leaders,” Cumming recalled.

“I wanted to get involved in the community and I really haven’t looked back since.”

Although Cumming said the Guides program always has enabled girls to be confident, courageous, and difference-makers in their communities, she has been working to “ensure the program is relevant and engaging for girls today and tomorrow.”

Having spent five years as the provincial commissioner for Ontario before moving into her role on the national board of directors, Callahan said Cumming’s efforts have impacted many.

“Marnie was instrumental in leading a major organizational change within Ontario and the motivation behind bringing that change about,” she noted.

Callahan added Cumming also has been involved in reinforcing change nationally since joining the board in 2011.

“Since she became a member, she has led the program stewardship committee,” Callahan explained.

“As a result of that, we have just embarked on a major revision and revitalization of our whole girls’ programming across the country.

“She brought that initiative forward, and we look forward to seeing the work that she is going to do for us on this undertaking,” Callahan added.

Callahan described Cumming as “a true Guiding person.”

“She believes in organizational efficiency and she believes in making it easier for girls across the country to have equitable opportunities,” lauded Callahan.

“She has been involved with Guiding for a long time and I know there is another role for Marnie in the future.”

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