Investing in the Lives of the Young through the 6th Company of the Girls’ Brigade

The 95th Anniversary of the Girls’ Brigade Singapore (GBS) was celebrated on 24 September 2022 with a thanksgiving service held at the GB Hall@GB Centre, located at 795 Upper Serangoon Road,

As GBS celebrated its significant milestone, the guest-of-honour for the service themed ‘Rise Above’, Reverend Pastor Chris Chia, the senior pastor of Adam Road Presbyterian Church and Moderator of the English Presbytery, reminded guests that Girls’ Brigade (GB) has a “rich heritage” in the ministry of sowing.

Indeed, GB is a significant ministry and co-curricular activity (CCA) in many schools in Singapore today. GB equips young girls with practical handles and skills in life, provides them with opportunities to work at resilience and builds community and lasting friendships that could see them through their lives.

This year marks the 73rd year Wesley has supported the 6th Company of GB.

The GB’s mission is to develop “each Girl and Officer to her fullest potential by equipping, empowering and enabling: every Girl a Leader, Every Officer a Servant Leader”.

Currently, the GB 6th Company helps over 50 secondary school girls at Guangyang Secondary School acquire practical handles and skills, learn more about fortitude in life and make friends for life.

Underscoring the importance of helping and supporting teenage girls to build up good life values, Chow Yuen Peng, Officer of the 6th Company of GB, said GB’s mission is to help build girls to their fullest potential.

“We want to invest in the lives of these girls. We want to journey alongside them and help to build them up in resilience and leadership. We understand that these teenage years in their lives come with challenges and confusion. Yet, we also see that these learning years can be optimised for them if they are given the right opportunities and social and emotional support. We try to facilitate open communication, motivate them to rise above their challenges, and encourage them to make a difference in the lives of others.”

An Officer with GB for more than 30 years, Yuen Peng has seen many GB girls who have thrived and blossomed in GB, including two girls from the 6th Company who eventually went on to serve as the vice-president and treasurer of the GBS, and lead GBS in their own right.

Learning in GB extends beyond just regular CCA activities in school. Through practical actions, the girls learn about kindness and building up one another and others in the community. Many such community-building opportunities are provided through various activities organised by GB.

On 7 July this year, the GB 6th Company responded to the ‘wishes’ of the elderly at the TOUCH Senior Activity Centre in Geylang Bahru. Organised in conjunction with the Girls’ Brigade Friend-in-Deed campaign, this was part of the GB national event in which every GB company in Singapore could participate.

After putting up a short musical performance on the kalimba, a lovely Malay musical instrument, 50 GB girls presented the elderly at the centre with gifts according to their respective ‘wish list’. Some items on the wish list included new stoma bags, rice cooker, electric kettle, toaster oven, radio, standing fan and mattresses.

The GB girls at TOUCH Senior Activity Centre at Geylang Bahru

“It was a great opportunity to serve and bless the elderly. The joy spread was palpable,” said Rev Lilian Ang, Chaplain of the GB 6th Company, who has been with GB since 1993 . “We are thankful for all the sponsored items and, more than that, the sustained sponsorship of the programmes for our girls. We can all play a part in nurturing the next generation of young leaders.

Very often, charitable work helps the girls pick up other communication skills. In participating in such events, the girls often have to overcome their reluctance and learn to initiate conversations with the elderly. The girls learn to speak up and step out of their comfort zone.

Another event earlier this year was held at the Bishan SBS Bus Interchange on 20 May.

GB girls hard at work packing goody bags

The girls helped to pack 345 goody bags to bless the bus drivers and staff. They also helped SBS to distribute their SBS Kindness-themed pens to the public that same day, allowing SBS to spread their message of kindness to members of the public at the bus interchange that day.

“The girls also learned to show appreciation to the hardworking bus drivers and be more confident when speaking to strangers,” said Pastor Lilian. “We are very proud of them.”

Yuen Peng (first from left) and the GB girls help spread some goodwill cheer at the Bishan Bus Interchange with help from the mascot

The 6th Company of the Girls’ Brigade currently has 56 members. The members’ age range from 13 to 16, and they are students from Secondary One to Four. They meet every Thursday afternoon from 3 to 6 pm at Guangyang Secondary School, spending time practising drills, doing recreation and badge work such as arts and crafts, creative gift wrapping, writing reflections, and picking up communications, time management and first aid skills. During their annual adventure camps, they also learn fun team building and basic survival skills.

“We run annual camps, help prepare them for participation in the National Day Parade, and work with them to plan what to do on special occasions like GB Friendship Day,” said Yuen Peng.

Pastor Lilian shared her thoughts about supporting the GB girls in an increasingly complex world today:

“Being a teenager nowadays is much more complex. Their pressures are enormous. They may have many self-identity issues, pressures in school and stress from the comparisons that can come from social media. Hopefully, we can be of some practical help and a source of emotional and mental support to them. My co-workers and I have been here for the long haul because we believe in the girls. We want to help them lead and serve by example.”

If you are interested to find out more about volunteering opportunities with the 6th Company of the Girls’ Brigade, such as imparting age-appropriate and relevant skill sets or conducting badge work to help the GB girls earn their various badges, we want to hear from you! Please get in touch with yuenpengc@wesleymc.org.

For more information on the Girls’ Brigade, please visit: About Us | Girls’ Brigade Singapore – A place for Every Girl (gb.org.sg)

Read also: Campus Ministry Freshmen Connect; Little Candles – a Light of Hope

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