Carrying The Spirit To Make A Difference

Trips to Children’s Hospital are often unplanned, and family members find themselves without certain necessities to help them through their stay. That’s where the Girl Guides Crocus Trefoil comes in.

Although it varies from year to year, the Crocus Trefoil tends to have about 25 members, who are dedicated to making sure toiletry kits are readily available at Children’s Hospital.

“We have a 3 point mission,” says Crocus Trefoil President Virginia Greening; “to keep alive the spirit of the Girl Guide promise and law, to carry that spirit into the community in which we live and work, and to give support to guiding.”

The Trefoil is an activity option for women over the age of 30 who have been enrolled in girl guides, or are willing to enrol. Members may be active in Girl Guides, or they may have held positions in the past and still want to be involved. There are several Trefoils in Winnipeg, and for many women if provides a real sense of community.

“A lot of our members join Trefoil because they love the social contact,” says Virginia. “In our years of guiding we have met many strong, powerful women, and we want to keep that contact. We really enjoy the camaraderie and don’t want to give that up. We have members in our Trefoil that are close to 80 years old. It’s a very tight social network.”

With meetings once a month from September to June, the Crocus Trefoil has certain annual activities, and various projects that change depending on the need. One of their permanent commitments is making toiletry kits for Children’s Hospital.

“We gather the toiletries all year long,” says Virginia. “Then we get together, unpack all the boxes, form an assembly line and fill the bags. We make sure that everyone gets a few bars of soap, a bottle of shampoo, a comb, a couple of tubes of toothpaste, a toothbrush, and some body lotion. Then, depending on what else we have, we may end up having some kits with cream rinse, deodorant, floss or anything else that we have gathered. We usually fill anywhere from 60 to 100 bags.”

The bags are distributed to families in need, and provide one less thing to have to think about during difficult circumstances.

“It’s easy enough to say that the little store downstairs is available,” says Virginia, “but not everyone is in the position to leave their loved one’s bedside.”

The Crocus Trefoil feels good knowing their efforts are going to support such a remarkable facility.

“I think there is barely a family in Winnipeg that hasn’t had a child at Children’s Hospital at some point,” says Virginia. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a life-threatening situation. My children are grown, but I have 5 grandchildren as well, and they have all been to Children’s Hospital at some time or other for a break, a high fever, or something more serious. The most wonderful thing is that when you go there you know that your child is going to be seen and looked after.”

The contents of the toiletry kits are kindly donated by the trefoil members, who have also taken the time to brighten up the Christmas Season for many seniors in our community.

“We discovered that there are people in nursing facilities who get no visitors and no correspondence,” says Virginia. “So we decided that we would write a personal Christmas card to everyone in one nursing home. A year later some of the residents still had our Christmas card on their bulletin board and would ask the staff to read it to them. When we heard that we decided to step it up and now we take care of 2 nursing homes with 105 residents each. I get my ladies together in November, have a cookie exchange, and spend the evening writing a personal note inside each of the Christmas Cards, which they also donate.”

In past years this remarkable group of women has collected new kids pyjamas for the United Way, food for Winnipeg Harvest, and hats and gloves for Siloam Mission. They are a living example of the principles Girl Guides holds dear.

“I’ve been pretty much a lifelong Girl Guide,” says Virginia. “I started as an adult in 1974, but I was also a Girl Guide when I was a child. I have friends that I’ve known for 30 or 40 years and we are all in Girl Guides.  I love it because it makes me feel like I’m participating and contributing. Best of all is the friendships that we have together.”

Anyone who would like to participate can contact Girl Guides of Canada, provincial office, to be put in touch with the Trefoil nearest you.

“We have a lot of fun,” says Virginia. “We laugh a lot, we cry together, and we support each other through milestones, both good and bad. It’s a pleasure, and a great organization. We truly love the idea that we are helping out and giving back.”

Thanks to the Girl Guides Crocus Trefoil for providing comfort to patients and their loved ones at Children’s Hospital.

If your organization wants to make a difference, get involved with the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, click here.