The Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade is celebrating its 70th anniversary, and a host of celebratory activities are planned both for the end of this year and throughout next year.
The Girls’ Brigade is an international, interdenominational, Christian youth organization for girls of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, offering a varied program of fun activities designed to educate, challenge and inspire young girls in a safe environment of Christian teaching.
“Girls’ Brigade provides opportunities for girls to express themselves, make lifelong friendships, learn valuable life skills and to become productive ladies within their homes, communities and the wider world,” said Debra McLaughlin, chairwoman of the Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade National Council. “We provide a safe and nurturing environment and strive to look out and support our Girls’ Brigade family and the community as a whole. Girls are taught to love God, to care for their fellow man and to be honest, true and steadfast.”
The Girls’ Brigade in the Cayman Islands was started in November 1946 by Olive Wright (now Olive Miller) and was then known as the Girls’ Guildry, becoming the Girls’ Brigade in 1965. Since then, with dedication and determination, the Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade has positively impacted hundreds of women and girls.
Cayman has six Girls’ Brigade companies and around 200 girls in membership, led by a team of approximately 35 leaders.
A Thanksgiving Service was held on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Elmslie Memorial Church, to give thanks for the Girls’ Brigade’s 70 years and for its founder, Mrs. Miller. Attendees included Minister for Community Affairs, Sports and Youth Osbourne Bodden; the Regional Deputy General Secretary for the Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rev Dr. Yvette Noble Bloomfield; founder and president of the Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade National Council, Olive Miller; and past international president of Girls’ Brigade, Iva Good.
On Saturday, Grand Old House will be the venue for a formal dinner beginning at 6 p.m. The dinner will reflect on past experiences of Girls’ Brigade officers and showcase how the Girls’ Brigade remains relevant for girls in the program today. Premier Alden McLaughlin and Minister Bodden will be in attendance and tickets have already been sold to the public.
Looking ahead to 2017
Next year, celebrations will continue with a tea party on Feb. 25 at the home of Audrey and Handel Whittaker in Frank Sound. Tickets cost $10 and there will be entertainment, cakes and sandwiches. The event is open to the public.
Girls’ Brigade Week, beginning March 12, continues the festivities with a church service, and a Fun Day planned for Saturday, March 18, at Prospect Youth Centre, which offers fellowship, camp crafts, spiritual insights and a beach bonfire.
A display evening on May 27 will showcase work produced by the Brigade’s girls during the year, and awards will be given for their accomplishments, as well as to their leaders. This event is open to the public.
A picnic scheduled for June 24 will allow fellowship and wholesome activities throughout the day.
Rounding out the celebrations will be a finale in late October, involving a bonfire and the release of lanterns or balloons.
More information on the Girls’ Brigade events, once details are finalized, can be gained from Girls’ Brigade officers at any of the companies, with contact details found on their website, www.girlsbrigadecayman.com.