"Guiding is a game – a game to be played mainly in the out of doors, with young and old sisters playing together", wrote Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Girl Guide and Boy Scout Movements, shortly before his death in 1941.
The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) clearly had these words in mind when they organized the Centenary Friendship Circle recently. Held from 22nd to 27th April 2010 at the Family Planning Association of
Sri Lanka's (FPASL) "Chinthana" Training Centre in Nainamadama, the Centenary Friendship Circle was organized by the SLGGA to celebrate 100 years of Girl Guiding.
An international event with a difference, the Centenary Friendship Circle brought together 100 Guides and Guide Leaders from Malaysia, UK and Sri Lanka to formulate ideas for
camping in the future.
The official opening
ceremony of the Centenary Friendship Circle was held on the 23rd of April. The Chief Guest at the opening
Mrs. Leisha De Silva Chandrasena, Chairperson,
Sri Lanka Telecom and a
former Girl Guide.
The Guests of Honour were
Mrs. Swarnika Pitigala, Assistant Director of Education, Ministry of Education and Mrs. Padma Kumaratunga, President, FPASL.
There were several
activities which added colour to the event whilst providing a challenge to the delegates, chief amongst which was the memorable and exciting
adventure trek which took place at Wilpotha on the 24th of April.
Guides and Guide Leaders alike shouldered their
backpacks and took to the road, eager and enthusiastic to demonstrate their team spirit. The teams, nicknamed "Challengers", "Dynamics", "Brave Lions", "Chabarans", "Kambaras", and "Sooriyo", worked together to reach the final
destination in time for lunch.
Joyce, a Guide Leader from Malaysia, was full of enthusiasm for the planning that had gone into the trek. "The scenery of the lake was very beautiful. I couldn't take my eyes off it. The trek was full of fun, excitement and many variations of adventure." Mish, a Guide Leader from UK, added that, "Even though it was tiring, it was very pleasing to be a part of this trek." The adventure ended at a kohomba tree which had to be climbed in order to get a final message.
This was followed by a hike at the Wilpotha ‘Kantha Ithurum Parishramaya’ where delegates were exposed to different
handicraft workshops which
kindled their creativity and gave them great pleasure and joy. The performance given by the children of Wilpotha Gama, at the end of the day, touched each and every heart present, making it a truly memorable outing for the
The various sessions and discussions
conducted at the Centenary Friendship Circle brought about
numerous ideas which will serve to improve the quality of Guiding and camping, a key aspect of the former, going forwards to 2020.
More importantly, the Centenary Friendship Circle helped strengthen the ties of friendship between the delegates and their respective member countries. As Priyanthi, a Guide Leader from Sri Lanka
commented, "It was an event of sharing
The band of Senior Guides who were
present at the event to lend a helping hand summed up the event in the following words. "The Centenary Friendship Circle was an event that brought many hearts together from diverse
communities to build a bridge of friendship through Guiding whose foundation was laid 100 years ago."