New programmes to ready Girl Guides, Brownies for new era

President Halimah Yacob adding a finishing touch to a painting done by Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School student Tammy Lim (right). The painting was one of 12 artworks for sale at yesterday's GGS Gala Dinner.
President Halimah Yacob adding a finishing touch to a painting done by Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School student Tammy Lim (right). The painting was one of 12 artworks for sale at yesterday's GGS Gala Dinner.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Brownies and Girl Guides are getting a chance at early exposure to engineering and computing.

At the Girl Guides Singapore (GGS) Gala Dinner held yesterday at The Clifford Pier in Fullerton Bay Hotel, council president Chang Hwee Nee announced the new programmes GGS has embarked on.

The first includes a new engineering badge, She Solves, launched just last week.

Across various workshops, the girls are introduced to the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as basic computer programming and coding.

"Through such exposure and hands-on learning, we hope more girls will aspire towards future careers in these up-and-coming fields, which today tend to see fewer females," said Ms Chang.

Another programme rolled out this year, which is built on the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts leadership model, encourages the girls to be more critical thinkers and adaptable leaders.

Ms Kim Lay Eng, chief commissioner of GGS, said: "A lot of times, there is no one form of leadership. It depends on who you are and what is the situation and, therefore, you need to be able to react to it."

The programmes will reach out to about 10,000 Brownies and Girl Guides across Singapore.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling, a former Girl Guide in the 1980s to 1990s, commended the programmes for their currency while still sticking true to their roots of shaping the girls to become "resilient, resourceful and responsible".

"It creates opportunities for the girls to (learn by) trial and error in a very safe environment... and (the engineering badge) opens up a lot of pathways, particularly in today's digital era," she said.

The gala dinner is part of a fund-raising effort by GGS held once every three years. President Halimah Yacob was present at yesterday's event, which raised close to $500,000.

It also featured 12 artworks for sale, painted by the Girl Guides and GGS volunteers.

One of the artworks, done by Tammy Lim from Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School, received a finishing touch by President Halimah at the dinner.

Titled Daydream On The Way Home, the painting depicts Tammy and her pet cat walking along the road, under a sky filled with marine animals.

"I feel very honoured, and quite surprised, that I was the one chosen, (because) I wouldn't say that I'm very confident in my skills," she said.

Speaking about the new leadership programme, the 15-year-old said she hopes it will allow the Girl Guides to contribute more to society.

"More people will be able to learn about (leadership) skills and take these skills with them to make the world a better place, or at least Singapore," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'New programmes to ready Girl Guides, Brownies for new era'. Print Edition | Subscribe