There are now dozens of people in the territory who have received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and only one among them represents Girl Guides of Canada.
On Feb. 21, more than 85 people, many involved in guiding, watched as Erin Griffiths of Hay River received her meda. She was nominated for her hard work and lifetime of dedication to GGC, and was credited for being part of the organizations’ backbone in Hay River.
Griffiths became involved in brownies at the age of six and continued right through to guides, pathfinders and rangers right up until the age of 18.
As an adult, Griffiths became a leader. Along with serving a district commissioner for Hay River Girl Guides, she is also a guide leader, an avid community volunteer, business owner, wife and mother and works full time at the Hay River health authority.
Involved with guiding in Hay River since 1994, Griffiths has worn a variety of hats and at one time was leader of each guiding level simultaneously.
“Even though she is busy, she comes out with that leadership and energy. She takes on that role and gives it her all,” said former district commissioner and guide leader Evellyn Coleman. “She supports the leaders and always wants to make it fun for the girls. She’s an ambassador for guiding in Hay River and the whole North.”
Girl Guides of Canada was given the opportunity to nominate 30 members for diamond jubilee medals, and Griffiths is the only one from the NWT to receive the honour. Griffiths insisted the ceremony be held on Thinking Day, the annual day of commemoration for GGC and Boy Scouts of Canada. The day pays tribute to the birth date of movement founders Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, a day recognized around the world.
But Griffiths was reluctant to take much recognition.
“It’s a great organization that supports and encourages girls to be their own persons,” she said, “and anyone can join and the program can accept and adapt to any kind of interests, whether its sports or arts or camping. It’s very accessible and it’s open to anyone, and there’s so much opportunity to learn, develop friendships and travel.”
She credits the movement with empowering young girls and women. During the Thinking Day celebration, she also recognized the woman who she said is responsible for her own involvement, and whom she lost seven years ago – her mother, Joyce Riach. Riach was also a guiding leader and avid volunteer for the organization, consulting Griffiths after she moved to Hay River.
“After my mom became a leader, she was my inspiration ever since,” sad Griffiths. “She was my go-to resource when I had questions. She was the reason I stayed in it. Guiding is very strong in my family.”
– Angele Cano