Girls First in Action

Girl Guides of Canada launched its newly updated program, Girls First, this past fall. Over the course of the Guiding year, our members have been getting trained in and familiar with our new program. Built on a girl-driven approach designed to give our girls choice, voice, and action, Girls First helps the Guiding experience meet the needs of each individual girl in a way that is relevant, meaningful, and fun.

Part of making Girls First work is making sure that girls have an active voice in making unit plans. How they approach their badge work, what kinds of outings they go on, and the goals they have for camps or community service projects depends on the girls in that unit and what they are interested in. Our 49th Guides recently shared some photos of a Girls First planning day with their unit. Girls loved getting involved in making plans!

Part of their exercise was thinking of all the things they had already done that year to figure out how it maps into the Girls First program (so they know what badges they’ve earned!) and to give them some guidance for what they should try next.

From group brainstorming to exploring the various Program Areas and Themes within Girls First, there is a lot that girls can do to shape their Guiding journeys. Based on their collective efforts, the 49th Guides were able to identify topics that their girls have liked or still want to explore like Guiding traditions, active living, wellness, STEM, and leadership.

Girls First is a bit of a learning curve (did you know the program is now entirely online rather than in traditional book format??) but we’re super excited about how it puts girls in the driver’s seat. It’s a program that really does allows each girl to be everything they want to be.

Pathfinders Urban Art Walk

For a recent unit event, our 10th Pathfinders explored Vancouver through art! They found and viewed murals as they traced their way through Main Street with the previous year’s Vancouver Mural Festival map to view different styles of art with various mediums making up beautiful city walls and alleys.

As many of the girls hadn’t spent much time in this vibrant part of the city before, it was a great adventure for them! They were able to deepen their appreciation of local artistry at the same time.

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They enjoyed lunch in the park before making their way to a  4CATS art studio to create a panda planter from clay!

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On the way home, they checked out some Vancouver history from antique shops to record stores.  Learned lots and saw some real west coast gems!

Recognizing Our Awesome Volunteers

Recently, West Coast Area Girl Guides hosted its annual awards dinner, which is wonderful night for Guiders from across the area to get together to celebrate everything that we do to support girls in our various roles. Several of our adult members came out to celebrate together.

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At this year’s event we saw awards granted to Guiders Helen, Sandra, and Gerry — thank you ladies, for all that you do! From helping with camping equipment, to coordinating our cookie deliveries, to managing our volunteer human resources, these ladies are all fundamental parts of our district’s success.

Did you know that we are now planning for next Guiding year (2019-2020), and we have many vacant positions in our rosters? If you are interested in volunteering to join this amazing team, please reach out and let us know. Guiding is all about running great programs for girls, but it is also a way for like-minded adults to find new friends, have lots of fun, and make a difference in the community.

Sleepover at the Aquarium

Burnaby Mountain recently organized a district-level event for all girls in Guides, Pathfinders, and Rangers to spend the night at the Vancouver Aquarium. The sleepover was full of fun and hands-on learning about nature, the environment, and important lessons about conservation.

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The overnight event packed in 12 hours of interesting educational programming with a little bit of sleep mixed in. It sure was a unique experience to get the place to themselves, to get to explore scientific labs behind the scenes, and sleep with aquatic friends.

The program included a hands-on Invertebrae Lab, 3 Eco-System guided tours (Northwest Pacific, Arctic, and Tropical), and some free time after breakfast to explore the Marine Mammal Deck And the Amazon Free Flight Gallery.

It was a very late night, so girls were exhausted when they finally laid down their heads for some sleep. Earlier in the year, Sparks and Brownies had the aquarium come to them at an event better suited to younger girls’ bedtimes.

The Aquarium sleepover was an amazing night full of amazing wildlife. Girls will hang on to these memories for a lifetime. We’d like the thank the amazing staff at the Vancouver Aquarium plus the planning committee of Guiders who worked hard to make this happen.

Girl Guide Cookies on the Mind

Happy Spring Equinox! What’s your favourite part of spring? Ours is classic chocolate and vanilla Girl Guide Cookies, of course! Cookies are now on sale throughout the community. Cookie sales help support excellent girl programming including sleepovers, camps, guest speakers, craft supplies, outdoor adventures, building skills, and international travel.

The girls at the 54th Brownies recently had cookies on their mind, celebrating spring cookies season with a bunch of fun cookie related games and activities. Here you can see them trying to get cookies from their foreheads to their mouths using only their face muscles! It wouldn’t be Brownies without laughter.

Watch out for Girl Guides in your local community and support our fun and friendship by buying a delicious box for only $5.00.

Pathfinders at Lighthouse Park

This January, the 14th Pathfinders went camping at Lighthouse Park. The Phyl Munday nature house is operated by Girl Guides in West Vancouver and is an optimal place for Friday night sleepovers, close to the city but steeped in nature.

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The girls planned everything from meals of rainbow pancakes to exciting nature activities and it was a great success! These all-weather girls enjoyed a crisp cool January weekend, exploring the forest and sea side with great enthusiasm.

They had a great time exploring the beautiful surroundings on night hikes, day treks, and geocaching. There are lots of geocaches in the area, making it a great activity for girls interested in trying out that exciting world of technology assisted community scavenger hunting.

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What a weekend! In addition to all this fun, it was a great chance for girls to practice camping in cooler weather — although they slept indoors, the old army hut that the nature house has been converted from does get very chilly in the winter months. They spent most of their time outdoors and having a great time together.

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Burnaby Mountain District’s two smallest units, the 2nd Sparks and 10th Pathfinders, recently teamed up for a fun Guiding sleepover at Richmond Guide House. The Pathfinders got to work on their event planning and leadership skills by doing all the preparations and leading the event for the younger girls.

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The Pathfinders decided on an “Under the Sea” theme which involved eating seashell pasta with blue Hawaiian punch for supper, making a cool underwater craft, and watching a Little Mermaid movie together.

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The Sparks loved having the older girls around and doing activities with them. The craft was a really big hit — an under the sea tambourine that looks like a ship’s porthole!

All the Guiders were impressed by the Pathfinder’s dedication and helpfulness. When the leaders tried to jump in and help, the Pathfinders assured them that they were happy to take care of it. It left the Guiders lots of time to relax, hang out with the girls, and take advantage of the cozy comforts of the Richmond Guide House property. Guiders spent some downtime doing this cool retro GGC puzzle that they found on one of the shelves — it had all its pieces!

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The buddy sleepover worked really well. It was a great way for Pathfinders to take the lead and a wonderful way for Sparks to be with some dedicated role models. It was a great sleepover — THANK YOU, PATHFINDERS!

Girl Guides at the Canucks

This past weekend was a huge event for BC Girl Guides — more than 1000 members and their guests gathered at Rogers Arena for Girl Guides day at the Canucks. Highlights of the event included the awesome custom crest for all members in uniform, a members-only draw for awesome prizes, plus Girl Guides shout outs, members in the VIP High-Five zone, and an on-ice presence for the national anthems. To make the day even more exciting, the Canucks won the game against the Detroit Red Wings — Yay!

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Burnaby Mountain district commissioner, Gerry, started organizing these events with the Canucks a few years ago as part of her role as BC Membership Advisor. Her term in that position has since ended but she has stayed on as special events coordinator for this exciting day. Way to go, Gerry!

Some Burnaby Mountain girl members also got to participate in the colours ceremony, carrying flags for the US and Canadian national anthems. This was a very special experience for the Spark and two Guides who were involved.

Other Burnaby Mountain members were present helping to run the event with jobs at the membership table and selling Girl Guide cookies. Lots of Burnaby Mountain girls and Guiders were also in attendance to enjoy the game. Girl Guides from around the province filled the arena — people came from as far as Prince George, Lillooet, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, and Castlegar. Many Girl Guides (including some of the Burnaby Mountain ones) got the thrill of being featured on the gigantic trinitron in the arena.

What an awesome day! We can hardly wait for next year. Keep your eyes peeled for a save-the-date coming soon for a Guiding “kick-off” event with the Vancouver Whitecaps this coming fall.

Guides at Lafarge Lake

The 49th Burnaby Mountain Guides recently journeyed into Coquitlam for a festive outdoor outing. Lafarge lake has the lower mainland’s largest free outdoor lights display! It was a beautiful night.

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It was also a fun way to be active together. The lights display around the 1.2 km path and since it was a bit chilly out, the girls were motivated to keep moving to stay warm! Hot chocolate also helped with that.

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Lafarge lake is really easy to get to on skytrain and well worth the visit. Learn more about this local event here. Even the unit’s shining star Guiders are all smiles, below.

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This is just one of the awesome seasonal outings happening this month. Several groups are also taking in the fun lights and displays at the Burnaby Village Museum. And at least unit is visiting the Aurora winter festival as well. So much fun stuff to do out in our communities!

Sparks Design Space

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks are enjoying working with the new Girls First program. Based on evaluations of the girls’ interests and personalities during meetings earlier in the year, the unit has decided to work on the Experiment and Create program area this year. At their last meeting, the group did some activities for the Design Space theme.

Design Space is described as follows in the Girls First program:sparks-design-space-theme-badge.jpg

Innovate and create! Activities in this theme will equip you with the skills you need to tinker with machines, build robots, code programs, and re-think recycling, as you push the limits of your imagination.

Difficult to do with 5-6 year old Sparks? The group didn’t think so! Using a combination of activities from the Girls First online platform plus activities their crafty Guiders came up with themselves (and then submitted for consideration to the National program team!) the girls had a great meeting.

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The group had a great discussion about robots including household uses they were familiar with like roombas and Siri. Then they got creative and design their own robots using recycled materials and leftover craft supplies. Each girl designed a tin can robot and talked about its functions and personality.

Then they made a circuit track on the floor using painters tape and figured out how to guide their blindfolded Guider through the track — first by physically manipulating her, and then using voice commands only (“Walk forwards”, “Turn left” etc). Then the girls took turns leading each other through using these coding commands. We discussed that this is how you give directions to robots.

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They also made I-Spy Bottles, an activity from the online platform. This quiet activity involves using investigative skills to find small items in a bottle filled with rice. Another great opportunity to upcycle!

Finally, the girls took their fully dried robots to play on the robot circuit course, or took time to play with their I-Spy bottle — whichever they preferred.

It was a great day of robotics, coding, and recycling, fitting perfectly with the Design Space theme. They’re looking forward to doing more design space activities at their next meeting so that they can earn the theme badge. Way to go girls!