A local girl has been chosen by the Girl Guides of Canada to represent them on the world stage. Michelle Norlock is a 14-year-old Pathfinder from Eastons Corners who has been part of the Merrickville Guiding group for over ten years. This September, she will be one of 20 other Canadian Girl Guides going to a two-week worldwide guiding event in Sydney, Australia.
To be considered for the trip, Michelle had to complete a lengthy application and get two references, one from within her guiding group, and another from someone in the community. Michelle worked hard on her application, which was submitted late last year. It was just a few days before Christmas that Michelle’s mother, Peggy Norlock, got the email saying she had been one of the lucky applicants chosen to go on the trip. “I almost hit the floor,” she said.
Michelle was extremely excited when she heard the news, as Australia has always been somewhere she wanted to visit. She has never been on an aeroplane, and is looking forward to the experience and to travelling with other girls her age from all over Canada. There are three other girls from Ontario who have been chosen to go, and she hopes to get to know them a little before they all make the long trek to Sydney.
The 15-day trip, called the “Sydney Jamboree”, will be jam packed with Girl Guide activities, including camping in the Sydney Olympic Park. Michelle says she is looking forward to the camping the most, as it is something that she has fallen in love with throughout her long career with the Guides. “I’ve camped all over the place,” she says.
Half the cost of the trip is covered by the Girl Guides of Canada, the Girl Guides of Ontario pay a portion, some is paid for by Michelle’s family, and what is left will be raised through fundraising. The Municipality of Merrickville-Wolford has committed to giving Michelle $200 towards the trip, as well as Merrickville-Wolford pins to give out and trade with other girls. Michelle says she also has Ontario and Canadian pins to give out, supplied by MPP Steve Clark and MP Gord Brown.
To show their support, some of Michelle’s past Guide leaders are organizing a spaghetti dinner to help her raise money for the trip. The dinner will be held this Saturday, May 12, from 5pm-7pm at the Burritts Rapids Community Centre. The meal includes spaghetti, with meat or vegetarian sauce, garlic bread, caesar salad, homemade desserts, coffee and tea. There will also be a silent auction to supplement the funds raised by the dinner itself. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children, and kids five and under eat for free.
Michelle is very thankful for everything that being part of the Girl Guides has given her over the years. When she goes on the trip in September, she will be 15 and a Ranger, the oldest group in Guides. Michelle says that she is definitely planning on becoming a leader when she is old enough. “They’ve done so much for me,” she says, “It will be my way of giving back.”