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Businesses urged to share a biscuit in support of Kiwi girls

24-Oct-2016 | Contributed by: Guest Author

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Businesses nationwide are being asked to enjoy a Guide biscuit with their cuppa and help empower Kiwi girls.

This week sees the start of a new fundraising drive by GirlGuiding New Zealand (NZ), New Zealand’s largest girl-only organisation. In an effort to increase sales of their iconic biscuits and reduce the fundraising burden on girls, parents and volunteers, it is asking businesses to purchase special Morning Tea Packs which include nearly 50 packs of biscuits.

Several businesses including ASB, Bunnings and Harcourts have already pledged their support.

With new research showing that 22 percent of girls surveyed aged seven to 13 say they are concerned about bullying, GirlGuiding NZ CEO Susan Coleman says helping young women navigate their way through life is more important than ever before.

“At GirlGuiding everything we do is about empowering girls and young women and nurturing those most important life skills - confidence, self-esteem, leadership and resilience. Of course nothing comes for free, which is why sales of our Guide Biscuits are so invaluable. By signing up for a Morning Tea Pack, businesses will be doing their bit to support girls of today who may be our leaders of tomorrow.”

Profits from the $250 packs - which include 49 packs of original, Guide choc and mini chocolate biscuits and a limited edition supporters jar - will help GirlGuiding NZ implement a range of programmes, one of these being Free Being Me, an innovative international campaign to equip girls aged seven to 14 years with the tools to effectively manage factors affecting body confidence and self-esteem. 

As part of a partnership between the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and Dove, more than 1,500 Brownies and Guides have so far taken part in Free Being Me in New Zealand. GirlGuiding NZ now plans to continue the roll out of this programme to its girl members and to young people in the wider community in order to help raise awareness and build body confidence. 

Volunteer Co-Lead for Free Being Me in New Zealand, Hayley Wards, says her own experience doing the programme has proved invaluable.  “Young people with high body confidence are more likely to also have high self- esteem and the confidence to reach their full potential in life. Our vision for the future is that all girls and young women in every community in New Zealand are inspired and empowered to turn their dreams into reality.” 

Extensive research by GirlGuiding NZ is also currently underway to identify what matters most to girls around the country, with wide ranging questions relating to self esteem and other topical issues.  The research is being driven through schools and covers girls aged seven to 17.

With just over 4,000 girls having taken the survey so far, preliminary findings show that 29 percent of girls surveyed aged seven to 17 say they worry about how they look.  Some of their other personal worries and concerns include feeling sad/depressed, people judging me wrongly, and working out who I am. 

Three of the things identified by girls as being most important were being accepting of everyone, standing up for what you believe in and to be happy.
As part of the research programme, GirlGuiding NZ is also building a panel of girls, the majority of whom are non-members, to tell the organisation what matters to them on an ongoing basis. Around 3,500 girls are signed up so far.

“We want to be the voice of all young women in New Zealand, not just our members, and to advocate on issues that matter to them and campaign for any changes they want to bring about,” says Coleman. 

Coleman says the past 18 months have seen the organisation adopt a girl-led, rather than a girl-focused approach.

“As our girls' needs change, we must grow and change with them. We have listened to what our girls want and that is to be involved in key decision making and to have their voices and opinions heard and respected.”

More focus has also been devoted to programmes, activities and advocacy and on maximising the experience for members, with a simplified structure and less fundraising and administration by those involved.

“We recognize that biscuit selling can be somewhat of a burden and have questioned whether or not it should continue. The answer has been a definite yes. They are a gift passed on from our women of 60 years ago, generate a substantial portion of our income, provide great visibility and teach our girls financial and social skills. Plus people really love them.”

“So the real question for us has been how do we keep all of that and reduce the load on members. We hope businesses will get on board with our Morning Tea Packs and in doing so make a contribution that will support our girls and young women, the potential leaders of tomorrow.”

To purchase a GirlGuiding Morning Tea Pack or for more information, visit Includes free delivery.

GirlGuiding NZ is part of the World Association of GirlGuiding and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Founded in 1908, there are around 8,000 girl members in New Zealand. These include Pippins (ages 5-6), Brownies (7-9 ½), Guides (9 – 12 ½), Rangers (12 ½ - 17) and Leaders (18+). Globally there are approximately 10 million Girl Guides in 146 countries around the world.

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