A lifetime of giving

By Sean Delaney

Once in a while, you run into someone that is very,very special. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Rose Marie Saniga in advance of the 50th anniversary of our own Emery Village local Girl Guides, Brownies and Path Finder’s troop (Community 17). Just think, this local troop has been gathering together, sometimes weekly, monthly and in between at Gracedale Public school gym for the past 50 years. And if that is not enough to boggle your historical senses, Rose Marie is a troop leader-quinquagenarian! Yes, 50 years..actually 52 but what’s a few years between friends?

All the girls affectionately call Rose Marie “Frosty.’ I had to ask why the interesting nickname as it certainly wasn’t her lack of warmth or engaging demeanor. She explained that way back at the beginning of this journey, the troop all went away on a weekend overnight camping trip in February. It was cold to the bone. While sitting around a campfire trying to warm up, the girls thought it would be a great idea to give all the leaders nicknames. Well, you will get the gist of the theme. Born was Snowball, Rudolf, Snowflake and of course our very own “Frosty”. 50 years later, summer or winter, Frosty is always there to lend her excellent leadership.

You may ask what has Rose Marie been up to for 52 years with these young ladies? Simply assisting in the development of some very important life skills for girls and all the while having plenty of fun while doing it. Character building is number one. First Aid, CPR and of course tweaking those highly tuned sales skills - oh those wonderful cookies.

I asked Rose Marie what she was most proud of over the years, and she simply said: “It’s all about the kids and what they have been able to accomplish.” Every evening that they meet is filled with challenges and opportunities. The girls are constantly being tested on newly learned skills and earn badges for accomplishments. There is also a strong family element to the girls development, and that may involve camping with Mom, doing crafts, cooking and yes also cleaning. Every special occasion is very special for the troop. Family Skating events, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Mothers Day all revolve around a celebration and making respective gifts and crafts for loved ones.

Rose Marie told me that she recently lost her Husband. She mentioned that she is very thankful to have the Girl Guide community to help keep her busy and it’s full speed ahead. How long she will continue to lead is anybody’s guess. If I were a betting man, I’d say go long on that one.

If you are interested in finding out about Girl Guides, please feel free to visit their website at www.girlguides.ca or call at 416-920-6666 or email info@guidesontario.org.

Rose Marie, take a bow. You are one class act and one that will unlikely to be duplicated in the years ahead.

P.S. I know what the Girls are making for their Fathers for Father’s Day. No way I’m spilling.