About Bethany Koepke

Burnaby Mountain Girl Guides District Commissioner - 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks Leader - AKA "Sparkles"

Brownie Sleepover at Fort Langley

At the start of May, a multi-unit sleepover saw the 27th, 54th and 24th Brownies get together for a heritage-themed sleepover at Fort Langley.

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Once everyone was settled into their oTENTik (a Parks Canada A-Frame/Platform tent structure), they had an interpreter lead them in a “campfire program”, for which they actually spent very little time at the campfire!

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He took the girls into a few of the exhibit buildings and taught them about the voyageur lifestyle. The Brownies lugged “fur bales” around and got to check out the brand new play area which wasn’t yet open to the public.

Once the interpreter left, the Brownies had the place to themselves. Securely locked within the walls of the Fort, the girls roasted hot dogs and sang a few favourite camp songs around the fire, rolled down the grassy incline, climbed the watchtowers, panned for gold, ran around and tried to find bunnies, and made yarn dolls.

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In the morning, after packing up and eating breakfast, the Brownies did a nature scavenger hunt before the fort opened to the public. They took advantage of the Girl Guides heritage tour they have designed, which provides workbooks for the girls, activity guidelines, puppets and scripts for the Guiders, all of which earned them a special Fort Langley crest.

Brownies get Guides Greatest Hits

With registration for next Guiding year already open for returning members, this is a great time of year for girls to get a taste of what Guiding in the next branch has in store. Recently, girls from the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies visited our 22nd Guides to see what a Guide meeting is really like.

The Guides, feeling inspired by our upcoming new Girls First programming, got their creative thinking caps on to plan an evening of fun inspired by some of their favourite activities that they had done earlier this year.

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One of their favourite meetings was a spa day when they made all kinds of natural products and learned about how to feel good with activities like yoga and mindfulness. The girls borrowed their favourite activity from that meeting — chocolate face masks! — to share with their Brownie friends. Entirely eatable, these face masks apparently make your skin feel soft and smooth. But as we can all tell, really the fun comes from getting to wear your chocolate!

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Another favourite activity which had come from a series of meetings on STEM related topics was slime making. The Guides helped the Brownies make slime in a variety of colours. Science is cool. The meeting was definitely a bit more messy than your average Guide meeting, but the girls were all great about helping to clean up too.

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They also got to share some of their Girl Guide traditions like their regular opening routine and some favourite songs. What a great way for the girls who are moving up to Guides next year to know what kind of fun things to expect. Thank you, Guides, for planning such an awesome meeting!

Great Salmon Send-Off

This past weekend Burnaby Mountain District had a wonderful presence at the annual local community event, the Great Salmon Send-Off. Organized every year by the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee (this was the 28th annual event!), community and environmental organizations gather at Stoney Creek School for a rain-or-shine day of family friendly outdoor fun.

Luckily, this year the sun did shine — it was a beautiful day for the event! A few of our volunteer leaders and Rangers were there with a station at the event. They were selling cookies, running activities for kids, and giving out information about registration which is on now for the 2018-2019 Guiding year.

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The district was also represented by some younger girls, as the 27th Brownies visited the community event as a unit, visiting all the different stations. The highlight, of course, was getting the opportunity to help release young salmon into the steam.

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It was a great day for learning about the environment and what we can do to help keep it safe and healthy for all the creature, including the fish, who need it as their home. Thanks for helping to do your part girls, and thank you to everyone who visited our table that day as well. We look forward to coming back next year.

Leaders Planning Fun Things

At last week’s district meeting the adult members of Burnaby Mountain district discussed exciting upcoming events including the Great Salmon Send-Off (happening right now at Stoney Creek School!), district camp, and awesome things happening in the various units.

District camp quartermaster Jenn demonstrated how to make cinnamon sugar witches hats which are going to be a tasty treat at the Harry Potter themed district camp next month. They were delicious! These ladies are all very excited about the creations.

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This is a great team to join! Several of our units are looking for new Guiders to join in the fall. Guiders have lots of fun, give back to the community, make new friendships, and learn lots of great transferable skills.

Did you know Burnaby Mountain District is opening a new Guide unit and a new Pathfinder unit for next year? Phase 2 of registration which includes all current girls (including those changing units or branches) opens on Monday. Don’t delay — some of our units may fill during this phase!

Contact us for more information about how to sign up as a volunteer adult or about how to register your girl into our exciting programs.

 

Camp Kanaka with Guides

Last month girls from the 22nd Guides and 49th Guides in Burnaby Mountain District went camping together to Camp Kanaka, a Girl Guide camping property in Maple Ridge. They stayed at the platform tent site, Naka Naka Naka.

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Despite some yucky weather, they ate great food (that girls helped prepare), had a campfire, hiked, played a variety of games, made fun crafts, and had a dance party that the girls organized.. and through it all, new friendships were formed!

Isn’t it funny how at camp everyone has so much fun working together in the kitchen? At home cooking can be a chore, but at camp it’s so much fun!

One highlight was the hike, which some girls enjoyed so much they opted to continue to make an even longer nature adventure.

Handshake murder, a monk’s meal, and a musical version of capture the flag were all included in the weekend of silly fun. There was also opportunities for girls to take some down time with crafts or fancy colouring pages. The dance party was especially popular, with girls canvassing their fellow campers to find out what songs needed to be included on the playlist.

The rain didn’t dampen any spirits as all the girls had a great time. Springtime camping is always such an adventure. These girls are now all set for district camp in June!

Brownie day trip to Galiano Island

One recent Saturday, despite the foreboding skies and strong winds, the 24th and 47th Brownies ventured to a Southern Gulf Island for a field trip with the Galiano Conservancy Association.
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With the Edible Forest program, they went on a hike, matching paint chips to things in nature. The sun smiled on them, and they stopped for a snack before being taught how to harvest nettle and two species of fir needles along the way to the Forest Garden.
When the girls had gathered enough foliage, they played some games under the tarp while their tea steeped. They participated in a teaching train activity, teaching each other things they learned about some of the plants in the garden.
Lastly, they planted peas, and one of the Guiders heard that in only a week and a half, they had already sprouted (that’s the photo below, sent from one of our contacts there).
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The interpreters were really great. They were super friendly and patient, full of stories and songs, and an obvious love of nature!
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It was a 10-hour day for the group, and it was a big day of outdoor fun. Way to go, Brownies!

Spring Cookie Season

Girl Guide Cookies are on sale now in the lower mainland. Burnaby Mountain girls are busy selling them to family and friends, going door-to-door, and out in public at skytrain stations and other blitz locations.

Recently, the girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies got geared up for Girl Guide Cookie season by baking their own using the recipe that was used for the very first Girl Guide cookies back in 1927. Each circle had a recipe card. Written into the instructions were important steps like,”wash your hands,” and “put all ingredients away,” so that from start to finish, they were independently working together and cleaning as they went. The leaders were there only for assistance when needed.

The cookies have come a long way since they started. The 1927 cookies were mildly spiced sugar cookies. Most girls seem to like the current chocolate and vanilla (or in the fall, Chocolatey Mint) version a little better. Still, it was a lot of fun to make the originals! In the end, each girl brought home a container of cookies, and even left some behind for the school staff.

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Want to try it yourself? Here is the recipe:

Christina Riespman’s 1927 Girl Guide Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 Eggs
2 tablespoons cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 or more cups flour to make soft dough

Directions:

  • Cream butter and sugar, Beat in eggs and cream
  • Combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and flour
  • Sift dry into wet ingredients and mix into dough.
  • Roll and cut, using a small floured glass or cookie cutter
  • Sprinkle with sugar, then bake at moderate heat, until done.
  • Enjoy!

Look for the much more modern Chocolate and Vanilla sandwich cookies out in the community now!

Survival Snowshoeing Brownies

Earlier this month, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies and 27th Brownies went to Mount Seymour for a day of snowshoeing fun!
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They did a Junior Survivor snowshoe tour with park staff on the mountain. It was hard to believe they were tromping on over 2m of snow in such beautiful weather with the most incredible views.
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Getting there wasn’t too bad, even in the wintery weather. They simply took the shuttle up there from Rupert station.
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The girls didn’t trek terribly far, but they enjoyed a little scavenger hunt and the discussion of which items would be helpful for survival. It was impressive to see how well the girls could run in snowshoes while playing “Hypothermia Tag”.
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Although for the most part it wasn’t overly cold up there, the wind was pretty vicious when the girls were shelter-building. They were all glad to be served hot chocolate when they got back to the starting point.
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The girls all seemed to have a great time, except for one Brownie who thought it was too cold — gee, I wonder why with all that beautiful snow!

Thinking Day 2018

Burnaby Mountain Girl Guides hopes all of our sisters around the globe had a wonderful World Thinking Day.

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Last night, our 56th Guides were lucky enough to have their regular unit meeting fall on Thinking Day. How did the girls choose to celebrate the joint birthdays of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell? With a fabulous Dairy Queen ice cream cake, of course! Happy birthday!

For some of our units, the party continues as they will be joining the provincial celebrations at BC Guide House this weekend. We hope they have a wonderful time.

Happy Lunar New Year

Last week, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies did some work on the program area Key to My Community (with a bit of Arts thrown in). Given the trio of holidays the calendar presented them with, they had a Valentine’s-Flag Day-Chinese New Year mashup!
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For Flag Day activities, the girls took turns reading out “fun facts” about the flag, and quizzed themselves (multiple choice) about the national anthem (and, of course, learned the lyrical change that was recently made). They then learned the Michael Mitchell song, “Canada In My Pocket” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnZlAOSEmYQ).
So that there would be some time for the glue to dry, they next decorated the dragon mask that one of the leaders had made at home.  They were really into it! They decided that it had to be a girl, to be in Girl Guides.
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When that was done, another leader shared some traditional Chinese foods with them: longevity peach buns, and nian gao, a sticky sweet rice cake, which she had made. They weren’t a big hit, but the leaders were proud of the girls for trying new foods.
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They then split the girls into their circles and rotated them through the Chinese calligraphy station (where a leader showed them how to use the brushes and ink or special watercolour paint to write “dog” and other words), and the “lucky money” Valentine’s station. There they each wrote a compliment on a bit of paper for another Brownie, and put them in a red envelope so that each girl left with a pocket of nice things about themselves.
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The girls enjoyed finishing the meeting with at least a few minutes to do the dragon dance in the gym. They used 4m of this really lovely flowy fabric and the freshly decorated mask. After a few minutes, it dissolved into a game of body chasing the head (and plenty of giggles!).
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Anyway, for a Key that can tend towards the cerebral rather than the experiential, it was a really fun meeting!
Happy New Year!