TORONTO (AP) — The Girl Guides of Canada has renamed its Brownies branch the “Embers” in a bid to become more inclusive and welcoming to all girls.
The organization said Wednesday that the new name applies immediately to its program for kids aged 7 and 8.
Chief executive Jill Zelmanovits said the previous name dissuaded some racialized girls and women from joining the outdoor adventure and activity group and that members embraced the chance to change that.
“We were really thrilled with the support from within the organization, and especially that girls understood this change,” said Zelmanovits.
“When you say to a girl, you know, at a very basic level, this name makes some girls feel like they don’t belong, their automatic reaction is: ‘You should change it.’… What we thought might have been a difficult conversation was not a difficult conversation for them. For them it was a very automatic response.”
Zelmanovits said current and former members chose “Embers” over “Comets” in an online vote conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 13.
She added it will take several months to update various websites, marketing materials and resources and that the name will be fully adopted by Sept. 1.
Other branches of the Guides include Sparks for those aged 5 and 6; Guides, who are 9 to 11; Pathfinders who are 12 to 14; and Rangers who are 15 to 17.
The Guides said in November they would change the name of the 7 and 8-year-old branch after hearing from current and former members that the previous name caused harm and was a barrier to belonging for racialized girls and women.
Zelmanovits also acknowledged the move addresses one “specific concern” and that there “are always more things that organizations can do.”