Salutes and left-handed handshakes for Pirie's new Girl Guides

The Pelicans, Gumnuts, Kangaroos and Galahs came out to play.

It was a special celebration - a dozen Girl Guides were making their Promises to enter the realm.

After a secret huddle with leader Jodie Trimble, the girls retreated to sit around a "horseshoe" dotted with stones on the carpet of the Sunday School classroom at Lighthouse Uniting Church.

The girls wore blue-and-yellow outfits with a navy-blue sash.

A mock fire, made out of sticks and a bowl containing fairylights, was the centrepiece.

Jo Wellgreen, whose grand-daughters Kairah Parry and Lylah Ashman and daughter Maya Beevers were in the group, told me half-seriously: "You are the only male here. You must be privileged. It is secret girls' business."

The guides are divided into patrol groups known as Pelicans, Gumnuts, Kangaroos and Galahs.

In groups of three or four, they stepped forward, showed their right-handed three-finger salute and made their promises.

A badge was then pinned to their lapels and the Girl Guide leaders offered each of them a left-handed handshake.

This meant they were now accepted as members of the Port Pirie Girl Guides.

They were watched by about 20 people including members of women's service group Soroptimist International.

Leader Ms Trimble, who used a whistle to round up the sprites, said a "new generation" was entering the movement.

"We are all about empowering young girls," she said.

"Recently we weeded the front of the church for the Flower Show and then we won a prize in the show."

To the mothers, she said: "Thanks for sending your daughters. It is actually a privilege to have you bring them to me."

The Promise recited by the Girl Guides included the phrases, "I promise I will do my best ... to serve my community... and live by the Guide law".

The movement has made a return in Port Pirie after an absence of about 20 years.

Chloe Hosking, 10, said she had started with the Pirie group in May.

"You learn each others' strengths and make new friends," she said.

Dayna Evans, 10, who has just started, said there was the chance to earn badges.

"I have not got some yet, but I have got my joining badges and will go for my challenge badges," she said.

Jenna Hosking, 7, said she liked receiving badges and meeting new friends. "I like the uniform," she said.

Ms Trimble said almost every school in Pirie was represented in the group.

"It is Girl Guides, but men are welcome to support us," she said.

"Down the track there might be men with particular skills who we can invite in so we are open to working together."

She said there would be a "core" of about 16 members in four patrol groups with leaders.

"They are learning from each other and taking responsibility," she said.

"If you know how to sew, you might be able to help someone in the group to sew."

The patrols from the animal kingdom then took a well-earned rest before resuming duties at the next meeting.

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