HEARTS OF THE COMMUNITY: A guiding light on the Saanich Peninsula

Marilyn Maggiora has been a long-time Rotarian and Girl Guide leader and was recognized with a Hearts of the Community Award.

Marilyn Maggiora has been a long-time Rotarian and Girl Guide leader and she was recognized for her dedication with a Hearts of the Community Award.

Maggiora was one of six recipients of the awards during a Feb. 23 ceremony at the Mary Winspear Centre.

The Hearts of the Community Awards recognize some of the Saanich Peninsula’s hard working volunteers. They are handed out each year by Beacon Community Services and the Peninsula News Review.

For 25 years, Maggiora has worked with young women in the Girl Guide movement, helping prepare them for life.

As a young woman herself, she says she was a Guide and grew up in a family that was keen on volunteering.

“Both my parents and grandparents were involved in volunteering,” she said. “My grandparents were involved with Scouting for 50 or 60 years and my mom was a Brownie leader.”

From those beginnings, Maggiora worked her way up into the leadership ranks in Guiding, only to take a two-decade break to have children of her own. By 2000, she was in Sidney and back volunteering with Girl Guides after a friend asked her for a little help one day.

“My daughter had become a  Brownie and I began helping out again and I have been in it ever since.”

She also threw in a 10 to 12-year stint as a volunteer with the area’s 4-H Club.

She said her parents were also Rotarians and that got her interested in the service organization too. She would find time to help out at Rotary bingos at the Saanich Fair.

“Everyone in my family has always been involved in one way or another,” she said.

Her main focus has always been with Girl Guides. Every three years for the last decade, Maggiora has volunteered to be a leader at a B.C. camp for Guides from around the world. She says she has another camp coming up soon, making it a 12 year span at that particular event.

Today, Maggiora has taken a step back from her busy Guiding schedule, but still finds time — three days a week at least — to act as a District Guide leader. These days, she’s helping new leaders learn the tricks of the trade.

Maggiora said volunteering in the community is important because it help ensure programs, clubs and activities continue into the future.

“Other parents and adults ran programs for me,” she explained.

“It was the right thing to do, to give back. And I enjoy it.”