About Bethany Koepke

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

Holiday Crafts and CWFF Fundraising

The 24th Guides have been getting into festive spirit by making crafts and decorating cookies at their most recent meetings. Some favourites have included making calendars to count down to fun holiday days.

In addition to the crafts the girls made for themselves, the unit also made crafts for a CWFF fundraiser craft sale. The CWFF is the Canadian World Friendship Fund, and it supports Canadian Girl Guides getting involved internationally with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

According to our national website, “The Canadian World Friendship Fund is maintained through voluntary contributions from members and friends of Guiding, to help our members to experience Guiding internationally. It offers financial assistance to adult members who have been selected to accompany girls on nationally sponsored trips, to members attending international Guiding events as GGC representatives, and to girls and adults from other Guiding countries visiting Canada for special events.

All Burnaby Mountain District units have been challenged to do a CWFF fundraiser this year. Way to go, Guides — we hope your craft sale was a success!

Gingerbread Houses

At their last meeting, the 2nd Sparks and 47th Brownies had a blast decorating gingerbread houses. It was a great way to get the holiday season kickstarted with some Guiding friends.

The large cookie pieces were tricky to maneuver, so the delicious treats actually needed a surprising amount of engineering skill! Frosting is a sticky glue, to be sure, and while the girls did make a pretty spectacular mess, they all ended up pretty proud of their creations.

Stay tuned this month as we’re likely to see updates from other units getting up to some holiday fun with awesome outings and special meetings.

How teenage girls in Pathfinders are the BEST teachers

This post was originally posted on the GirlGuidesCAN blog on November 4, 2019. See original post here. The author is Saffina Jinnah from Burnaby Mountain District . Saffina works with Pathfinders and Rangers.

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Teenage girls in Pathfinders are all kinds of amazing – spreading positivity and passion in little and big ways every day. As Pathfinders celebrates its 40th anniversary, Girl Guide volunteer Saffina shares six lessons the girls in her Pathfinder unit teach her every week.

Optimism

These girls bring their best selves to meetings.  And it is a treat.  After a long day at work, sometimes it can seem rather daunting to volunteer.  Not with Girl Guides of Canada though.  Not with Pathfinders.  And definitely not with these girls.  Despite a full day of school, drama, homework, extra-curriculars, and scarfing down dinner, my Pathfinders always show up ready to go.  They always see an opportunity to learn, to play, and quite literally live their best life.  They laugh.  ALL THE TIME.  And it is SO refreshing.  I love being around their positive energy and spark.  When I appear stressed out from work, they share jokes.  When I forget an essential element to our meeting, they improvised.

They teach me to laugh every day and that you can find something positive in every situation.

Live passionately

It doesn’t matter if we are discussing feminism, immigration, climate change or cookies; Pathfinders care. A LOT. I have never witnessed such a young generation care so deeply about issues affecting all of us today.  They care about the world.  They are concerned for humankind.  They want social justice.  They want climate justice.  They are knowledgeable and eager to learn more and do more.  And do it with passion.  Pathfinders challenge me and keep me on my toes, always pushing boundaries and seeking solutions.

Leave your comfort zone

Pathfinders are resilient.  We go on adventures.  Sometimes they are planned and sometimes they are not.  Sometimes we don’t know where it will take us but we know we will be okay.  We have gone on journeys through Vancouver and meandered the murals of Main Street.  We went geo-trekking around the woods of Lighthouse Park and I was nervous about my first geo-trek, they took the lead.  Pathfinders are daring, brave, creative.  They are leaders.

We can conquer the world

Even as an adult, I often feel defeated.  Though I try to be a good person and live with kindness and compassion in pursuit of a more just world – basically abide by the Guiding promise – sometimes it feels really hard.  But when I am with the Pathfinders, I remember that we can all still create change – big or small – we can make a difference.  They believe so strongly in themselves and in the goodness of others and inspire me to continue to challenge myself and others to continue to learn and grow together.

It is okay to eat Girl Guide cookies for dinner once in a while.

I think this is self-explanatory!

The “’gram”

Despite my youthful good looks, I am a tad older than the Pathfinders of my unit.  That being said, I’d like to think I am very “woke” and “with it.”  Evidently, I am not.  My Pathfinder unit taught be about Instagram and the power of social media.  It is such a great tool to reach many people and spread a positive message, and that is exactly what they do on their social media platforms.  It has also been useful in meetings and an interesting way to connect with them on their level.  I was so inspired, I too now have the “‘gram.”

I look forward to growing with these girls and trying new things (while chowing down on cookies and posting on the “‘gram”)!

Sparks and Brownies and Fish (oh my)

The 54th Brownies and 27th Guiding (Sparks & Brownies) units recently had a fun-filled, fish-filled sleepover in the local Steveston and Richmond communities. The visited the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, ate fish and chips at a local restaurant, and then returned to Richmond Guide House for a fun sleepover with fish-themed crafts and activities.

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Did you know the Gulf of Georgia Cannery offers tours specifically catered to Girl Guide programming? The excellent staff at the cannery have developed a program for girls to explore their local cultural and natural heritage through stories, activities, and a guided tour. The cannery was built in 1894 and it is fascinating to learn about the history of the fishing industry, the people who worked there, and the ways that this effected the local communities.

The group then took a lovely stroll through historic Steveston, ending up at the Sockeye City Grill for a delicious meal of fish and chips. The staff was impressed by how well mannered this large group of Sparks and Brownies was, and the girls and leaders all thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

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After supper the group enjoyed a ride on local public transit, riding the bus to Richmond Guide House, one of our favourite local spots for Guiding sleepovers. There the group did a variety of fun activities including a bright colourful fish-themed craft before finally getting some sleep.

It was a fish-tastic time. And a great oppor-tuna-ty to learn all about fish and the local community.

 

Rangers on the Town

The 12th Rangers recently went on an urban adventure in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Vancouver, riding transit, walking around, visiting with seniors, stopping for snacks, and doing some uniquely sustainable shopping.

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The group visited Cavell Gardens independent living home for seniors and chatted with some residents during coffee time. It was lovely visiting with the residents, many of whom were previous Girl Guides from different parts of Canada and Ireland as well!

The Rangers and seniors shared stories, sang a few girl guide songs, and the girls even sold plenty of Girl Guide cookies at the residents’ request! The residents loved the visit and they even exchanged thank you cards, hoping the girls will come back soon!

They also walked Main Street, enjoying the vibe of the city. The girls shopped for sustainable fashion and explored Mintage Mall and F as in Frank for vintage, recycled, and upcycled clothes. Our fashion choices make a difference!

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Another cool shopping opportunity was when they checked out Urban Source for upcycled goods and got craft supplies. This store gets its materials from over 100 different local industries, diverting safe, useable off-cuts, discards, misprints and over-stock from the land fill. It will be great to see what amazing (and sustainable!) creations the group comes up with.

It was a lovely adventure. As their Guider said, the group “Walked a lot, ate scones, and stayed merry” — what more could you want?

Equestrian Sleepover

Recently Guides from the 56th and 49th Burnaby Mountain Guide units participated in an awesome sleepover at A & T Equestrian Centre in Surrey.

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With the patient guidance of the excellent equestrian staff, the girls learned horsemanship, how to feed/take care of horses and of course how to ride!

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This was a great activity for the unit to engage with a thoughtful growth mindset — for some of the girls, the horses were a bit intimidating, especially in the beginning! But it was really wonderful to see how proud they were when they faced these fears whether that meant getting up the courage to ride, or even just to touch and interact with such a large animal.

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Girls this age seem to have a natural curiosity about horses, so they were very excited to learn and become a part of the equestrian world, even just for a night. It is an experience they are unlikely to forget! A & T Equestrian offers programs for different levels of Guiding — check out their website for more information!

Physics & Astronomy Sleepover

The 2nd Sparks and 47th Brownies recently had an awesome science-themed sleepover with activities facilitated by volunteers from the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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They learned about light and electricity and fulfilled a part of the Experiment and Create program area!

One highlight was the experiment using special spectrum glasses. The foil in the spectrum glasses breaks the light into its different visible electromagnetic waves creating a continuous rainbow of colours when they look at their flashlight or any light source around them.

The girls got to talk about what electricity is and then each Spark and Brownie built a flash light using a breadboard, a switch, an LED light, wires, and a battery. Each girl got to take home their LED flashlight at spectrum glasses.

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The girls really enjoyed the activity and had a great time with the UBC volunteers. After the volunteers left, girls watched a movies and got some sleep. It was a great night!

 

Girl Guides Engage

The kids and teens of today will tomorrow grow into the adults shaping our world and making important decisions about the future of our country. During the recent Canadian federal election period, lots of Guiding groups took the opportunity for girls to learn about democracy and some of the issues driving people to the polls.

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Here in Burnaby Mountain District, the 56th Guides took the opportunity to attend the Burnaby all-candidates debate where they got to see democracy in action. They met all of the candidates from the different political parties and a few of the girls’ questions were posed to the candidates. It was a great way to get them involved in our election process.

In a few years time, these girls will be visiting the polls themselves. It is great to see them already engaging with the process!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Burnaby Mountain District! Lots of units are getting up to festive fun this week, but perhaps none quite so earnestly as the 14th Pathfinders who spread Halloween into a multi-part event!

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The group decided to check out the local Burnaby Village Museum, which puts on a great haunted attraction for Halloween.

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There can be lots of spookiness in history. Highlights included a spontaneous conga line street party!

But that’s not all. The group also recognized Halloween at regular meetings where they first spent a day making great Halloween decorations for the next week when they had a fun spooky party with snacks and games.

You’ve got to admire this group’s dedication to the season! Looks like a great time was had by all.

Guides Indigenous Culture Sleepover (with bonus 80’s themed dance party)

Saturday afternoon, the 49th Guides headed out to Chilliwack for a unique sleepover. The aim was to achieve the provincial Splendid Sleepover Challenge, and they did some Girls First badgework while they were at it.

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 The group rented a 24′ majestic luxury tipi built by a woman of indigenous heritage for ceremonies, with some furnishings and heated by wood stove, with the option of an electric heater.

The girls wanted cake, so since one of the Guiders had learned how to make a reflector oven just the previous weekend in a Girl Guide OAL Tent Training, half the girls made one and the other half made the batter, and they baked the cake in the backyard using charcoal preheated in the firepit! Everyone was very excited by the success. While that baked, the girls made dream catchers and helped prepare dinner.

Once they had washed their dishes, the girls played Capture the Guiding Flags and other active games, using their flashlights, and then moved onto the traditional Girl Guides campfire singalong.

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When that ended, the party began! The girls had chosen 80’s as their theme, so some brought costumes, and they danced around to an 80’s playlist while the disco lights spun.  They had so much fun!

In the morning, their hostess made 3 different kinds of pancake and they chowed down around a roaring fire. When everything was packed up and cleaned up, the group was treated to a presentation on the cultural significance of certain ceremonial practices and items, and the history of the tipi.

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It was a great sleepover for cultural awareness — with an 80’s themed dance party because, well, why not? This event is sure to be memorable!