As a Canadian Girl in Training
I would be brave and strong and true
In 1915, girls didn't go to the mall, play Nintendo™, or watch television. They didn't wear jeans and t-shirts and they didn't download music from the internet. But that doesn't mean they didn't have fun. Like you, they enjoyed getting together with friends, doing crafts, playing games, and learning together. This is the common thread that runs throughout CGIT's history -- the desire to get together, learn, and have fun.
Things were different in 1915 in other ways as well. Women were fighting for the vote and there was huge political unrest the world over. During this time a boy's movement called Tuxis gained popularity; Tuxis was a program that offered mid-week activities for boy's Sunday school classes. Perhaps following the suffragist's lead, girls spoke up and said, ""Hey, we'd like to do that too." The girl's challenge was taken up, so the story goes, by five women having tea together. The five women decided to "do something for the girls." They struck a committee, and the rest, they say, is history...
the Canadian Encyclopedia Online
This committee, backed and financed by the YWCA, made an intensive study of the interests and needs of teenage girls, and prepared, in broad outline, the CGIT program. The first program outline was published in October 1916 in a booklet called Canadian Girls in Training -- Suggestions for the Mid-Week Meetings of Sunday School Classes, Clubs, etc., for Teen-age Girls and it sold for the sum of 5¢.The booklet was so popular with church youth leaders that "Canadian Girls in Training" became a household word and was adopted for use as the name of our movement.
CGIT was led and supported for its first five years by the YWCA (the Y) and its many dedicated national and local secretaries throughout Canada. Without the Y, we might never have survived. When CGIT appeared to be well under way, the Y withdrew its support and let CGIT grow up on its own. During the years 1916 to 1918, the national committee named Olive Ziegler to travel across the country, armed with the 5¢ booklet and wall charts to capture teenage girls for CGIT. Through conferences, meetings, and banquets, CGIT groups sprang up in churches all over Canada. Usually Sunday school or local school teachers were recruited to be the CGIT leader but the CGIT emphasized the importance of leaders working with the girls in a democratic environment where programs and activities were chosen and planned together. By 1920, CGIT was operating on three levels: local, provincial, and national.
Today, CGIT boasts 150 groups and roughly 2000 members, and the influence of CGIT girls and leaders has helped carry the CGIT program to countries around the world. CGIT has been responsible for raising thousands of dollars for many worthwhile causes, including:
So not only are you having fun, you're providing a valuable service to many people around the world. You can be proud of our history and the part you play in carrying on its traditions.
To learn more curious facts, click on the dates below: