Girl Guides of Canada recently changed their program name for ages 7-8 from Brownies to Embers. 

They changed it since the name Brownies has caused members harm as racialized (Black, Indigenous and POC) girls and women. 

Andrea Rempel is a leader for the first Mitchell Girl Guide Troop. She has two daughters in Girl Guides, one of which is in Embers. 

Rempel says the point of Girl Guides is to help girls become confident, courageous, and resourceful leaders, so it’s good they changed the name to make every girl feel safe and respected. 

She is positive the Mitchell Girl Guides won’t have any issues with the name change.  

“We'll be addressing the name change, but I'm sure that they (the girls) will embrace it.” 

She says the name was changed once before due to complaints from the girls in the program, so why not change it again? 

“In 1914 when we started, the Embers were actually called Rosebuds for a year. And then the girls were like ‘I don't like that,’ so that's when they changed the name to Brownies.”  

Rempel says the new name matches very well with the name for ages 5-6, the Sparks. 

“It signifies that there's potential waiting to be ignited and to help lead the way with their light. So the Embers are kind of the hot coals on the bottom, and they're just waiting for that ignition to go into flame.” 

All of the families and the leaders in the Girl Guides community were able to vote on the new name between Embers and Comets. 

When Rempel brought up the vote with her daughters, they didn’t mind the name changing from Brownies. 

"They're like, ‘oh okay.’ As long as they still get to participate and still get to be part of this organization, then they're like ‘eh, whatever.’" 

She says Embers had a large majority of the votes, including her vote. 

“You have the Sparks which are kindling for the fire, and the Embers are the bottom of the fire, and then you have the Guides which are using that fire to lead the way.”  

She encourages those who are contemplating putting their child in Girl Guides to do so.

"Mitchell is very inclusive, we embrace everybody, we call everybody a friend. Bring them in, there's always room in our little community.” 

She says the Girl Guides do a lot of fun activities. 

“This week we're going to be learning how to build a fire and work through that badge, cause we all get badges when we finish that lesson.” 

The program also helps girls build confidence. 

"We've seen a lot of girls blossom with the cookie selling, even shy girls. When there are adults and a purpose involved, they go door-to-door and they have that confidence to sell these cookies.” 

She has fond memories of her time as a kid in Girl Guides. 

“I still remember all the fun things that I got to do. I still have my sash with all my badges,” she says. “It's just something that will allow girls to look back and say, ‘huh, that's why we did that.’” 


With files from Carly Koop