Circus Sleepover

Girls from several Brownies units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered last weekend for the first sleepover of the year! Used as a way to kick off the Guiding year, this sleepover at West Coast Area’s own Richmond Guide House, was a big hit with all of the girls.

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They started the event by exploring the city of Richmond! The group went on a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where they learned a lot about the local history of people and industry in that area. They also took a Once Upon a Time walking tour, seeing sites in the community of Steveston which have become famous as Storybrooke in the popular television show.

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Back at the Guide house, the girls embraced their circus theme for the rest of the night. At this circus, tents were used for sleeping, not performing — despite it raining in the night, the girls slept in tents in the secure backyard. What a great way to start girls with camp skills! Girls (and even some of the leaders) learned a thing or two about setting up tents. And by not dedicating sleeping space inside, the group had lots of space for awesome circus themed activities.

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The girls worked through stations including drama games, songs, and dance. The event earned girls the Arts to Go: Circus challenge for exploring all these different areas. Their craft was cool little acrobat dolls that had a marble inside which made the figures tumble down a slope on the right kind of surface.

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They ate some carnival type snacks (sliders, ribs, corn on the cob, mac ‘n cheese) before making a “dessert craft” of circus trains made out of graham crackers, animal crackers, and smarties wheels held together with frosting. The girls got a chance to try making balloon animals, and even had a talent show, before ending the evening with an indoor “campfire” with glow sticks.

Over all it was a fun and memorable way to get the Guiding year going. It was a great preview of some of the fun activities these Brownies will experience in their regular units.

Interested in joining the fun? It’s not too late. Even though all the units have started meeting for the year, we do take registrations all year ’round and most Burnaby Mountain units still have space available to welcome new girls. Registration is available online at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Art for Reconciliation

The 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies got off to a great start this year by finding a way to contribute to peace and friendship in our community. The group participated in the Reconciliation Art Project as part of the annual Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver.

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The Brownies painted rocks with messages of acceptance and friendship and then placed them as part of a large art installation in Strathcona Park which greeted participants where the walk ends.

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It is great to see our girls taking acting to support better relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Way to go, girls!

It’s not too late!

Most units in Burnaby Mountain district are having their first meetings this week. Some have already gotten started and have been announcing upcoming sleepovers, camps, outings, and events to kick off the year.

But it’s not too late! We still have spaces available in every branch, so if your girl is aged 5-17 Guiding is available for her in this community. We accept new members at any time, though we do recommend you sign up soon so you don’t miss out on the fun!

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Experience the fun and friendship of Girl Guides where our mission is to enable girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world.

If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Registration is available online at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Growing Fun with Grassy Gnomes

It is always so much fun to see the creative activities that our fantastic volunteer Unit Guiders come up with to present Girl Guides of Canada programming (on a related note, we love Pinterest!!). Especially at the Sparks and Brownies level, girls love making crafts. Finding crafts that not only encourage creativity and self expression but also promote hands on learning is a great way to have fun with program.

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At one of their weekly meetings, girls from the 24th Brownies learned a bit about plants and their life cycles. How do seeds grow? What do plants need to be healthy? They put this knowledge to work by planting and watering some grass seeds in an especially creative way. Grass is fun to work with because it doesn’t take long to grow. When the leaders brought back the gnomes the following week they were already growing some pretty rad hair.

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The finished grassy gnomes are adorable! Want to know how to make them yourself? Check out some instructions here. At this regular weekly meeting, STEM + crafts = Girl Guides of Canada fun.

It’s the Simple Things

As the days of summer of stretch out before us, are you looking for a simple, inexpensive way to keep your kids entertained? Look no further than balloons!

An experienced Girl Guide leader always has a few tricks up her sleeve that come in handy when she needs a quick fun activity with very little preparation. Maybe the weather didn’t cooperate with an outdoor plan, or a guest speaker cancels at the last minute, or craft you’ve planned just doesn’t come together… whatever the case may be, there are always reasons to have a quick easy back up ready to go.

At the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks the leaders pulled out balloons on one of these occasions. And wouldn’t you know it — the kids had a total blast! There are so many things you can do with balloons:

  • Use them as a name game — pass the balloon to someone after saying their name
  • Find out how long you can keep one in the air using only “wind” power (i.e. air blown from your mouth, or with a paper fan)
  • See how long you can keep one balanced on one finger
  • Work as a group to keep many balloons in the air as long as possible
  • Use one as a ball for a game of soccer
  • Try to “juggle” 3 or more balloons at once
  • Create an obstacle course and complete with a balloon between your knees

Use your imagination to come up with activities that can be done alone, in pairs, or as a group. The possibilities are endless! And since balloons are inexpensive and can easily be stored (before inflation, of course) in just about any bag you might carry, they make for a great “rainy day” back up.

Pirate Camp

When three different Brownie units came together to do their year-end camp this June, the leaders knew they wanted a fun and dynamic theme to help all the girls get excited and engaged in the camp. With girls from the 24th, 47th, and Highlands Brownie groups all participating, lots of girls didn’t know each other or all of the leaders so a fun theme was a great way to get everyone on the same page.

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The leaders did a great job decorating the site, Kwi Kwa at Camp Olave on the sunshine coast, with pirate flags, ships, and other related items. They played pirate themed games and even learned a fun new pirate themed campfire song. Food had a fun pirate element too — at dinner, for example, girls created their own flatbread pizza to look like a treasure map.

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They also made cool pirate crafts like their skull and cross bone hats and fun spy glasses. The hats especially made them recognizable as pirates as they roamed camp and tried out one of the hiking trails.

Camp Olave is a great place to spend time outside enjoying nature. These Brownies challenged themselves with hiking the nature trail, trusting each other in the blind trail, and working together on the low ropes course.

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Aside from the forest, Camp Olave also has a wonderful waterfront. A pirate theme works especially well at a campsite on the water and these girls also very much enjoyed their time swimming in the ocean on a beautiful sunny day.

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Over all the camp was a huge success. The girls all had a wonderful time. It was so great to see many of them making new friends. These Brownies, even if they belong to different units, all share in the sisterhood of Guiding. One of the great things about this organization is knowing you’re one of the 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in the world — that’s a lot of friends to make!

SOARing to Adventure

Last week a few girls plus two leaders from Burnaby Mountain District participated in a very exciting week-long provincial Girl Guide camp in Smithers, BC. SOAR — which stands for Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous — is a momentous occasion that happens every three year. Roughly 2500 girl and adult members gathered in Smithers to celebrate Guiding, camping, and fun.

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This veritable army of Girl Guides came from all around the province. There were also visiting patrols from across Canada and even international patrols from places such as Japan, Peru, and Scotland.

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SOAR is known for being an exciting camp full of incredible opportunities for activities and out trips. Program options at SOAR 2017 included horseback riding, paddle boarding, river rafting, forensics workshops, sculpting, a First Nations world heritage site, an amazing race, cycling, fly fishing, and more! Girls also got involved in local community service projects including putting together hygiene packages for a women’s transition house, renovating a horse arena, and constructing a horseshoe pit at a senior’s home.

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Flying to Smithers and camping for a week was an exciting — and expensive — endeavor. These girls worked hard selling a huge number of Girl Guide Cookies to make this experience possible. Thank you so much to the hard working Burnaby Mountain volunteer leaders who made this possible for their patrol.

Photo credits to West Coast Area. Check them out on Facebook for many more photos of this incredible camping experience!

Brownie Camping Fun

In June the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies went on a fun-filled weekend camp to lovely Camp Olave on the sunshine coast. Their theme for the weekend was Happy Birthday! They celebrated Camp Olave’s 90th birthday, Canada’s 150 birthday, and even one of the Brownies’ birthdays which happened while they were at camp.

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Getting to camp is part of the fun! After taking a school bus from our community out to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, girls passed the time with quiet games while they waited to board the boat. A quick 40 minute ferry ride later the group got on another bus which delivered them to camp.

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The Brownies enjoyed the quiet setting of the Nawilak. This site has the best of both worlds — it’s a quiet secluded spot in the forest, but only a short walk to the beach. You can see the girls enjoying their beach time here.

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Another great thing about this site is that in addition to the cozy cabin, there are two platform tents. Brownies who felt they were ready and interested in a platform tenting experience got the opportunity to try sleeping outdoors. Those who did loved it! It’s so great to see Brownies getting the chance to experience new things that are within their comfort levels.

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The birthday celebrations happened alongside a variety of traditional camp activities. The girls (and the leaders!) enjoyed trying their hand at archery. It’s tricky to do, but lots of fun.

Brownies love doing arts and crafts. These girls were pretty excited to get to decorate their own keepsake T-shirt which they can keep as an awesome camp souvenir.

It wouldn’t be camp without campfire. On the way home when asked what was her favourite part of camp, one girl replied “roasting things!” The group really got into the campfire spirit by trying out different things that can be cooked over an open flame. They roasted marshmallows, hotdogs, and even perogies over the fire!

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The very best part of camping, of course, is spending time with Brownie friends and making memories to last a life time.

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Now that’s something worth celebrating.

A huge thank you to the volunteers who make special trips like this possible. Girls love going to camp and experiences like these are part of what makes Girl Guides of Canada so special for girls in our communities.

Sun Printing at Brownies

We love the summertime sunshine, don’t you? The girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies did a cool science-related craft using 100% natural sunlight at one of their meetings earlier this year.

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The process is called Sun Printing. It uses special sun-sensitive (cyanotype) fabric to change colour. First, they laid out a design with various items items on the cyanotype cotton squares. They used a mix of natural materials like plants, and non-natural materials like foam craft shapes to make a design.

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After leaving them outside for about 20 minutes, the items which had blocked the UV rays from causing a reaction on the cotton left a negative print.

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The girls then rinsed the cotton squares in cold running water and then spritzed them with rubbing alcohol to quickly change the background to a lovely shade of blue. They then arranged the squares on pillowcases, carefully pinned them in place, and one of the leaders brought them home to sew them on.

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The finished products show each girl’s unique design, made with a super awesome sun-powered printing process.

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What a unique way to combine science and art in Girl Guides of Canada programming. This is just another example of what girls get up to at regular unit meetings.

Gold Camp at Manning Park

Last week Burnaby Mountain’s 14th Pathfinders had their year end camp at Manning Park. Gold Camp is the grand finale of Pathfinder program and allows third year girls to take on tremendous leadership in planning their own camping adventure.

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It’s great to see the Pathfinders continuing their programming even into July, after many groups have stopped for the year. Guider Marie is never one to let good camping opportunities slip away and nothing is better on a beautiful summer weekend than camping with your Guiding friends in a great BC park.

This Gold Camp was planned by three third year girls who each was responsible for her own site of two or three younger girls (Guides and Pathfinders) and got to host leaders at mealtimes.

It gives the girls a great chance to experience the work that goes into planning the meals, activities, and safety considerations involved in executing an awesome camp in Girl Guides. It’s a lot of responsibility to be in charge of what’s happening, especially when you have younger and less experienced campers in your care.

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The site was Coldspring Campground at EC Manning Provincial Park. It is a beautiful spot with lots of great nature and wildlife to enjoy. It was fun seeing the many marmots popping up to say hello!

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A particular highlight of the trip was spending a couple of hours canoeing and kayaking on Lightning Lake. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

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Other activities included field games like capture the flag, and a “campfire” that was hardly hampered by the campfire ban — the girls still sang their favourite songs and even roasted s’mores using their propane camp stoves.

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For the Guides who were invited as guests to this camp, it was a great chance to see what kinds of fun await in Pathfinders. Guiding is all about celebrating both old and new friendships.

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Well done, third years, for hosting such an awesome Gold Camp! Completing the Pathfinder program is a lot of work, but in the meantime you’ve all gained excellent skills, not to mention the fun, friendship, and memories!