Red Deer 6th Pathfinders visited England, France, Switzerland and Italy where they visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa during their 15-day European trip in July. (Contributed)

Red Deer Pathfinders explore Europe

Expanding the horizons of youth

After selling about 15,000 boxes of Girl Guide Cookies, holding numerous bottle drives and other fundraising activities, eight Red Deer Pathfinders finally travelled to Europe this summer.

Barb Yost, leader with the Red Deer 6th Pathfinders, said the girls, age 12 to 14, along with two leaders, visited Switzerland, Italy, France and England during their 15-day trip in July.

“They definitely earned their trip. Most of them had never left Canada before,” Yost said about their international adventure that ended July 19.

She also wanted to thank many businesses who helped the girls out with their bottle drives, cookie sales, and a hot dog sale and car wash. Not to mention the public who purchased the cookies, Tupperware, and steeped tea Pathfinders were selling to help pay for the trip.

The trip cost $60,000 and it took a year and a half for the Pathfinder troop to raise the necessary 75 per cent. The girls’ families also had to contribute towards the cost.

Yost said with the sluggish economy, grants and donations were unavailable.

Pathfinders visited Girl Guide World Centres in London and Switzerland where they met other members and took part in activities.

She said in Switzerland were like characters in Heidi playing on the grassy hillsides and mountains. In Italy they climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa where they watched the sunset.

“The experience they got was once in a life time.”

She said Girl Guides gives girls opportunities to shine and international travel opens their eyes to the world around them.

“As a leader I have the pleasure to watch girls grow into self-aware, community-minded, strong, independent young women,” Yost said.

“Girls Guides is more than meetings, crafts, singing, adventures in camps, and exciting sleepovers, but about being part of a community. We love to volunteer whether it is at the food bank and doing park clean ups, we make it fun and purposeful.”

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