CONNECT 2019 logoCONNECT 2019: a weekend of learning for Rangers and Unit Guiders of ALL branches.

Sessions will provide Unit Guiders and Rangers with skills, confidence and tools to encourage each girl to be everything she wants to be.

When: November 22-24th, 2019

Where: The Westin Ottawa

Registration is now closed. 

Keynote Speaker – Tina Varughese

Tina is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first-generation East Indian parents, which allows her to find ‘the best of both worlds’ and shed light, knowledge and most importantly universal humour. She draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend when delivering keynotes on work-life balance and diversity and inclusion-topics which resonate with her both professionally and personally.

Watch now: What is Unconscious Bias? Making a First Impression in Seven Seconds or Less - a video by Tina Varghese

Session - What is Unconscious Bias? Empower Girls with #GirlPower.

We all make quick assessments of others without even realizing it. We are not born with bias. Biases are formed by past situations, experiences, background and culture. Unconscious biases typically exist towards gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental) and weight. Most of us will say, “I see people for who they are”, but do we? Unconscious biases affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing and mitigating unconscious bias, particularly gender bias amongst young girls and teens, promotes diversity and inclusion. Diversity defines who is on the team. Inclusion defines who gets to play. Let’s all play together!

Breakout Sessions

Marcia Powers-Dunlop - Leading Mentally Healthy Units
Marcia has been a part of Ontario Council in many senior level roles including Provincial Commissioner. She is currently a Provincial Training Adviser and Girl Protection Adviser. Professionally, Marcia is the Senior Manager of Professional Support Services with the Toronto District School Board.

Gwendolyn Dekker - Five Pillars of the Girl-driven Approach | Download Session Material
Gwendolyn has been a Guider in most of the branches for over 25 years. She is currently a co-ACL for community 3 and has completed a year of being a Girls First Champion. As a retired teacher, her time is now spent enjoying gardening, her grandchildren and doing lots of Guiding!

Patti Carson and Michelle Causier - Introduction to Diversity and Inclusion in Guiding | Download Session Material
Patti and Michelle are two of the 12 new volunteer Diversity & Inclusion Facilitators within Guiding from across the country. They work as trainers to provide Guiders with capacity building opportunities to hone their inclusion lens, and gain skills and knowledge to deliver programming in more inclusive ways.

Dr. Jen Forristal – The Umbrella Project
Dr. Jen Forristal, BSc ND, is a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in paediatric mental health. She has worked extensively with schools, researchers and organizations, developing mental wellness strategies for families facing social, emotional and mental health challenges and those looking for optimal health and performance.

Dr. Tina Daniels - Coping with Bullying
Dr. Tina Daniels is an Associate Professor at Carleton University who has studied conflict and aggression for the last 30 years. Her interests are in the area of primary prevention. She has developed, implemented and evaluated conflict resolution programs, social skills training programs, peer mediation programs and anti-bullying programs both locally and internationally.

Lori Taylor - Guiding the Rainbow:  Creating 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusive Programming | Download Conversations | Download Guiding The Rainbow
Lori Taylor is an educator and administrator with over 20 years in education. She holds a BAH and BEd from Queen’s University and a MPEd in Equity, Diversity and Social Justice from Western University. She has held the Equity and Inclusion Portfolios in her Board and has worked in the Indigenous Education and Well-Being Division for the Ministry of Education of Ontario. Lori has presented on a diversity of topics for audiences of all ages ranging from Equity and Inclusion in Rural Schools for the Learning Partnership to Supporting LGBT2SQ+ students for the Ministry of Education Ontario. Lori is a recipient of the Harmony Movement’s Mary A. Samuels Leadership in Education Award, The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity Youth Role Model of the Year Award and the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation James Forster Human Rights Award.

Ranger Session

This session is for Rangers, by Rangers! It will be facilitated by Shea Wood, Ph. D, a staff member at the National office who holds dual roles of Girl Engagement Specialist and Coordinator, Program Development.

In this session, Rangers will come together to experience the new program through the lens of a leader. By participating in some fun activities, Rangers will get familiar with the new program while learning techniques to facilitate activities with a unit. The goals of this workshop are to have fun, get to know the new program and strengthen skills as a leader. At the end of this session, Rangers will have a better understanding of the opportunities available to them and feel supported by a community of peers as they step into leadership roles within the organization.

Watch Shea talk more about the Ranger session.

CONNECT with Youth

Unit Guiders will have the opportunity to have a discussion with youth members on what they like about Guiding, and what they hope to get from Guiding. Through these discussions Guiders will receive insight into how they can best support the girls in their journey through Guiding.

CONNECT with Council

Unit Guiders will get to ask questions to members of Council and high level staff regarding Ontario Council’s vision and plans for the future, as well as questions about operations.

Fun and Friendship

In addition to the professional development sessions that are offered, the event will also include:

  • An indigenous smudging ceremony as part of the opening ceremony
  • Special guests from within the Guiding community 
  • A Saturday night campfire on Parliament Hill
  • Guiding marketplace
  • Historical information about Guiding, courtesy of local Trefoil Guilds
  • Drop in program selections


Priority Registration* for Rangers and Unit Guiders that were unable to attend CONNECT 2018:
11:00 a.m., Friday, June 14th, 2019.

General Registration:
11:00 a.m., Friday, June 28th, 2019.

*To ensure fairness to delegates who were unable to attend last year's CONNECT event, the first two weeks of registration is limited to Rangers and Unit Guiders who did not attend CONNECT 2018. If you did attend CONNECT 2018 and attempt to register within the priority registration period, your registration will be cancelled and you will be notified and invited to register during the general registration period. General registration is open to Unit Guiders who attended CONNECT 2018.

Registration notes:

  • All registrants must be current members for the 2019-2020 Guiding year. Registrations will be cross-referenced in iMIS and any individuals that are not Unit Guiders (adults) or Rangers (girls/youth) may have their registration cancelled.
  • If you are registering as a Ranger delegate, please have your parent/guardian complete the form.
  • The registration is payable by Visa or MasterCard only.
  • It will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete this comprehensive registration form, but we promise you that CONNECT 2019 will be one for the books!


The registration fee for this event is $150 plus HST. The registration fee contributes towards the cost of sessions, meals, snacks, accommodation (based on double occupancy – two individuals per room) and transportation. Please know that the registration fee for this event is substantially subsidized by Ontario Council. The actual cost per participant is $550. If you wish to make a donation to the organization to offset the event’s cost, it would be very much appreciated.


The deposit for this event is $75 plus HST and is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Refunds for the balance payment will be considered if the request is submitted in writing to connect@ by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, August 23rd, 2019. After this time no refunds will be provided without medical documentation. Refunds are provided via the same method used to pay for the event. For this reason, if you paid using a prepaid Visa or MasterCard, we recommend that you retain the card for any future transactions.


Participants will be accommodated in The Westin Ottawa. You will have an opportunity to indicate your preferred roommate on the registration form.

Additional details:

  • Ontario Council reserves the right to determine final room assignments.
  • Accommodation is based on double occupancy (two individuals per room).
  • Accessible rooms are available and you may note on your registration form if you require one.
  • This hotel and conference centre is non-smoking facility.


Transportation to and from the event will be subsidized in part by Ontario Council.

The Westin is centrally located in downtown Ottawa, and as such, public transportation is an excellent option for those that are local to the Ottawa area.

For those coming from further away, we suggest carpooling. Mileage is reimbursed to the driver only at $0.25/km. On the registration form, you will have an opportunity to indicate whether or not you are offering or would like carpooling. In September, we will be sharing information about carpooling with all registrants that have provided permission for us to do so, so that you may facilitate this with members in your community.

If you live more than 400km from the event, you may be eligible to fly in. There will be a spot on the registration form for you to indicate this selection. In September, staff will share your information with our Travel Agent who will contact you directly to make arrangements.

The final option for transportation to and from the event is via VIA Rail or a bus. Individuals that select this option on their registration form will be contacted in September to make these arrangements.


The menu for CONNECT will be healthy, filling and delicious! We are happy to accommodate food allergies and sensitivities, but we are not able to accommodate food preferences. Please tell us about any of your requirements on the registration form. Your registration fee includes the following meals:

  • Friday evening snack
  • Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Sunday breakfast, with a lunch to go


Frequently Asked Questions

I live in the Ottawa area and do not require accommodation. Can I pay a reduced fee?

You may choose not to stay overnight if you wish, but by doing so, you miss out on the opportunity to further connect with your sisters in Guiding. There is no discount for those that choose not to stay overnight.

How do I get reimbursed for my travel expenses to and from the event?

Details about reimbursement will be provided at the event. Please remember to keep receipts for anything you purchase directly (i.e. public transportation pass).

How can I make arrangements for a support person at the event?

Please contact and a member of our staff team will contact you to facilitate these arrangements.

My Ranger is coming from a distance. Will she be supervised during the trip?

Whenever possible, we will try to facilitate having an adult member travel with the girl(s). Arrangements like this will be discussed once registration is complete and we know who/how many participants will be travelling. Before making any travel commitments, Safe Guide requirements related to travel will be followed and consultation with families will take place to make sure everyone is comfortable with the suggested arrangements.

Questions? Please contact

Curious about past CONNECT event sessions? Explore the sessions from CONNECT 2018

11/27/2020 4:25:07 AM