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Zurba taken by surprise by Girl Guides Canada


Dauphin’s Tammy Zurba was recently recognized with an Honourary Life Award from Girl Guides of Canada.
The Honorary Life Award (HLA) is granted by the board of directors to adult members and is given in recognition of ongoing, dedicated and long-term service to Guiding.
In order to be considered for the HLA, a member must demonstrate a leading cumulative contribution as a member of major committees, working groups, teams or other groups; the promotion of Guiding to the broader community; the development of initiatives that support the strategic direction of Guiding; and having made a profound cumulative impact on Guiding at the local, the provincial or national level.
Evelyn Paddock of Girl Guides of Canada said the award was to have been presented in the spring.
“And with everything going on, we weren’t able to,” she said, adding the award was presented virtually, Nov. 30.
Zurba has been a leader with Girl Guides for more than 35 years.
“She runs units for all age groups. And if it weren’t for Tammy, there wouldn’t be Girl Guides in Dauphin. She’s the main thrust,” she said.
“We definitely surprised her and it’s really hard to surprise her.”
Zurba had no idea she was getting the award, so it came as a complete shock.
“Pretty much I was in shock. In my opinion, I didn’t think I had done enough to deserve or earn it. But the letters written by everyone who nominated me, I guess, said differently,” she said.
“It’s a great honour and I always felt I was going to be a Girl Guide member for life and now, I guess, I am. Girl Guides has always had a big place in my life.”
Zurba was with Girl Guides for four years, joining when she was 13. After a year or two off, she came back as a full-time leader in September 1989, serving in various capacities.
“So I’ve been a leader for over 30 years,” she said.
There are many things Zurba enjoys about being a Girl Guide leader, such as the looks on the girls’ faces when they accomplish something they did not think they could do.
Every winter, Zurba said, the girls are taken to winter camp where they learn to cross-country ski, snowshoe and set up tents.
“Some of them have never been on skis before,” she said.
There are many benefits to being a Girl Guide. One story Zurba told was of her niece, who went on a school camping trip.
“And when she came back she said she was glad she was a Girl Guide member, because nobody knew how to set up a tent,” she said.
That is an example of the basic life skills Girl Guides learn in the program.
And being part of the Girl Guides helps in their development and confidence. Zurba has seen shy girls come out of their shells and speak in front of people they otherwise might not have.
“Seeing them come up with different ideas on how they can give back to the community on their own,” she added.
Although the Dauphin Girl Guides do not have a lot of members, the girls were asked what kind of service project they would like to do. The Humane Society was on their radar when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but Zurba hopes when they are able to get back to holding their weekly meetings, they can get back into giving back to the community.
Most of their meetings were held outdoors in September and October and they had one meeting before the COVID restrictions were put in place.
A lot of the activities involve not only learning, but physical activity, as well.
“We take them locally to different places. We took them to the corn maze. That’s kind of our tradition now, so we’ve gone every year. We went hiking in Riding Mountain. We do the Vermillion trails at least once or twice a year. They like to be outdoors when they can and playing games,” she said.
Zurba plans a lot of the program work around games.
“So they don’t really realize what they’re doing. Our sleepovers usually have a theme and we tie it into their program work, as well,” she added.
Anyone who wants to join the Girl Guides can find information on the website at www.girlguides.ca.
“And registration and all that type of info is there,” she said.
As of Friday, the recognition Zurba received had still not sunken in.

Doug Zywina