Sparks at the Palace Camp

At the end of June girls from the 1st and 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks joined forces to close out the Guiding year in style at their Sparks Go Wild at the Palace Camp and beautiful Camp Olave on the sunshine coast.

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Activities included princess themed crafts like crowns and a stained glass castle. These girls really enjoyed the chance to show their creative side and camp — Sparks love crafts!

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The little princesses also enjoyed on-theme food like a high tea party, frog princess sandwiches, princess pasta, and chocolate fondue (that last one proved that even princesses can get a little bit messy). They listened to music from some of their favourite Disney princess movies, and perfected their princess wave whenever other campers passed by.

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In addition to all the princess themed fun, the girls also enjoyed their good old fashioned camp activities like going for long walks in nature, using the blind trail, and roasting s’mores over the campfire. The girls were lucky to have beautiful weather all weekend so swimming in the ocean was a particular highlight for everyone.

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The girls were lucky to have their friends from a few of the Burnaby Mountain Brownies groups staying at a different site on Camp Olave — those girls were having a pirate camp, so the Sparks joined them one night for a joint princess-pirate campfire for s’mores and singing of some of their favourite songs.

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Camp Olave is a breathtakingly beautiful spot and our Guiders very much enjoy the opportunity to bring girls there. Even at a very young age the girls have an appreciation for the natural beauty. For many members in the lower mainland, heading to Camp Olave feels a little bit like going home.

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Over all the Sparks had a royally good time. They’re all looking forward to what kinds of adventures Guiding will bring them when we get started again in the fall!

Brownies Gotta Camp

Last month girls from the 24th and 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies took part in an overnight camping experienced organized by the West Coast Area camping committee called Brownies Just Gotta Camp!

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This awesome introduction to camping event was a great way to show the girls some of the fundamentals of camping. They got to sleep in a tent, eat traditional camp food, have an awesome campfire, and learn some great skills. Woodwards Landing is the perfect spot for these kinds of adventures — this beautiful campsite is in Richmond, so it isn’t too far from home.

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As an Area level camp, this event featured girls from all across the lower mainland. So not only did the girls from two Burnaby Mountain Brownie groups get to make friends with each other, they got to meet new friends from other parts of Burnaby plus Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond, Ladner, and Tsawwassen. We have lots of Guiding friends!

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Guiding loves to empower girls to take on new challenges. At this camp, girls learned how to safely light a match, worked on their tenting skills, and got to learn about using a compass for orienteering. These are skills that the girls will build on as they continue to move through Guiding.

These units are both looking forward to ending their Guiding year with a trip to Camp Olave at the end of the month. It is so wonderful to see the girls making so many great Guiding memories.

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Outdoor fun is an important part of what Guiding offers girls. It is so great that West Coast Area is able to put on events like this to help support our Guiders in giving girls these opportunities. It’s a lot of work to plan camps like this, and the girls and leaders had a wonderful time — thank you!

Pathfinder January Camp

Earlier this month the 14th Burnaby Mountain Pathfinders braved the cold winter climate at Girl Guides’ wonderful Camp Kanaka in Maple Ridge. They stayed at the tenting site Serenity but were lucky to also have access to the basement of Lougheed Lodge to warm up from time to time! That especially nice for a cozy breakfast with friends.

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When they arrived (on a chilly Friday the 13th!) girls had to clear away snow so they could pitch their tents. Luckily, their fearless leader is the district camping advisor, so the group knew exactly what to do to stay safe, warm, and dry.

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It was a beautiful weekend for hiking. This group loves to spend time in the outdoors.

Much of the weekend was spent practicing camp skills, including campfire. They spent time making different kinds of fire starters and then testing them out to see which ones burned best. Materials included egg cartons, cotton balls, candle wax, vaseline, and even tampons! They recorded not only how long each kind burned, but also assessed the quality of the flame.

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Later that night they put their skills to the test for a wonderful evening campfire, including tasty “banana boat” treats. Bananas, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles all warmed around a toasty fire… how could that be bad??

Over all it was an excellent camping adventure. These Pathfinders had a fantastic time with their friends.

Halloween Sleepover

On Halloween weekend, Sparks and Brownies from four different units got together at Camp Capilano to enjoy some spooky fun and friendship at a super fun sleepover. The girls had a great time making new friends from the different groups, and everyone got along great. Everybody was kept busy with lots of fun activities.

The girls got to make a variety of crafts including their very own jack-o-lantern candle holder. These were made by gluing tissue paper to mason jars, and lighting them up with a battery operated tea light. This is a special keepsake that girls will be able to remember this sleepover with for a long time.

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Other crafts included pom-pom aliens, and a popular Halloween mask colouring station.

After a supper of mummy dogs and spooky veggies, the group was lucky enough to have nice weather for a wonderful campfire. They each got to take turns making s’mores. For some of the girls this was their first time roasting marshmallows over a campfire! They sang lots of fun campfire songs before going back to the cabin.

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Before bed the girls had a dance party featuring great Halloween music like “The Monster Mash” and theme songs from Ghostbusters and Spiderman. The common room was decorated with awesome Halloween decorations including the jack-o-lantern candle holders the girls had made earlier that night. The disco-style party lights made the atmosphere perfect for dancing.

The next morning early risers got to watch the movie Hotel Transylvania 2, and once everyone was up they all enjoyed a hearty breakfast of pancakes with turkey bacon. A few more festive activities, including the ever-popular pumpkin bowling, kept girls entertained until it was finally time to be picked up.

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Over all it was a very successful sleepover. The leaders were all impressed with how well the girls got along, and everybody was very well behaved. For most of the Sparks it was their first sleepover with Girl Guides, and everyone did great!

 

Campfire time

When you think of camp, one of the first things to come to mind may be sitting around the campfire with your friends — there’s a reason this is one of the most beloved traditions in Girl Guides!

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At this summer’s Burnaby Mountain District Camp Flower Power, girls loved their opportunity to enjoy campfire. And for many, campfire wouldn’t be campfire without one important treat… s’mores!

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Whether you prefer your marshmallow lightly toasted or charred all over, part of the fun is the experience of roasting your own. Every girl has her own trick to get it juuuuust right. Every now and again something unexpected happens: a marshmallow catches flame or falls into the pit. But each mishap is a learning experience. Nothing beats being able to do it yourself. Even our littlest girls really enjoy roasting their marshmallows.

Of course, the only thing better than roasting the marshmallow is eating it, right? And when it meets graham cracker and chocolate… mmm… perfection.

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But campfire means so much more than just marshmallows and s’mores. A highlight of District Camp was getting all 75 campers together to participate in a fun sing-a-long of campfire favourites. In honour of the Flower Power theme, we serenaded camp with our chosen camp theme song: All You Need is Love.

All you need is love — love is all you need.

Swimming in the Ocean

On the warmest days of summer nothing sounds as refreshing as cooling down in the chill waters of the pacific ocean. At Camp Olave, girls at our District Camp Flower Power got to get the summer started with exactly this experience.

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The waterfront is one of the best parts of camp, and having on site lifeguards means we get to take advantage of the water by going for a swim. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of waves crashing into your shins as you navigate the rocky beach. All around is nature — interesting rocks, seaweeds and crabs are all over the beach for girls who would prefer to beach comb.

Depending how far out the tide is, the water can be very deep or quite shallow. That’s why all swimmers either wear a PFD or have a swim test administered by life guards. Water shoes are also very important to protect our feet from the rocks. All of this being prepared allows us to have the best possible time on the beach.

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Beach time is one of the girls’ favourite camp activities — some start asking when we get to go swimming before we’ve even unrolled our sleeping bags the first night! They look forward to it all day until its their turn to explore the beach and the water under the warm summer sun.

Eagle Bluffs Summer Hike

Most of our units are quiet in the summer as most of our activities follow the regular school year. However, Guider Marie with the 14th Pathfinders hates to see good weather and free time go wasted! Our 14th Pathfinders usually find time to have at least one great adventure during the summer months.

Last summer, the group tackled the Cypress Mountain Eagle Bluffs Hike, which is a part of the Baden-Powell trail, named for Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, the founders of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. The 8km hike took them about 5 hours, including a stop for lunch.

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There was a raven scoping out their food at the lookout point which was rather entertaining — everyone loves spotting local wildlife. The Pathfinders also received their badges from the previous guiding year when they broke for lunch at the lookout.

The girls learned a valuable lesson about being prepared: one of them borrowed Guider Marie’s vest, and another her extra pair of hiking socks! It was really cold in the morning hence the bundling up, but it warmed up later in the day.

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The Eagle Bluffs Hike was lots of fun and rewarded the group with beautiful views. This summer, the Pathfinders are getting ready to go camping. The unit is heading to Camp McLanlin in a couple of weeks.

Way to go, 14th Pathfinders and Guider Marie, for keeping the Guiding spirit alive all summer long! Guiding does offer other great summer opportunities such as travel and camping at an Area, Provincial, and National level. Guider Marie also recently got back from the National camp, Guiding Mosaic at Sylvan Lake, AB.

Shoot the bow, the mighty mighty bow

“What was your favourite part of camp?”

That’s a question that we like to ask as many girls as possible when we ride the ferry home from Camp Olave. After Burnaby Mountain District Camp Flower Power this June, several of our older girls reported that they loved doing archery.

One of the cool activities at Camp Olave is the archery range, where girls can try out their hand with real bows and arrows. At Camp Flower Power, older girls did archery while Sparks and Brownies were busy with a different activity. Archery is one of those awesome things that not many girls get a chance to try outside of a setting like Girl Guides.

Lots of these girls are going to be eager to come back to Camp Olave to hone their skills with the bow even further — it’s not easy, but practice does help!

Refugee Welcome Cards

At the recent Burnaby Mountain District camp, girls had a great time all weekend with the theme “Camp Flower Power.” Activities were designed, where possible, to fit around the concepts of peace and love. This didn’t only involve tie dye (though it did, of course, also involve tie dye!). The camp’s program coordinators incorporated a service project for all girls at camp to put the idea of peace into practice. Girls of all ages spent some of their time at camp making welcome cards and letters for refugees arriving in Canada.

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Girls took the task very seriously and spent time thinking about how and why refugee families need to be welcomed. The considered what kinds of tips they could give about Canadian culture and how they could help newcomers feel more comfortable. In their messages, girls wrote things such as the following:

Welcome to Canada! I hope you like it here. In Canada we respect everybody.

I hope you feel safe here and make lots of friends. In Canada people are nice to each other and play games like hockey.

Some of my favourite activities are swimming, gymnastics, and being a Brownie. What do you like to do? You should try maple syrup when you’re in Canada.

In Canada it rains a lot. But that’s ok, just get an umbrella. It’s nice here.

This week, two of our adult volunteers visited ISS of BC to deliver the cards and get a tour of one of their welcome centres. Our Guiders were blown away by the important work being done by this organization and were amazed by the courage and strength of the refugees that they were told about. One of the Guiders described the experience as life changing.

The people at ISS of BC were touched by the thoughtful cards and letters and assured us that gestures like this can make a major difference to refugee families when they arrive.  Feeling welcome and finding a sense of community can be important factors in how well refugees settle into Canadian culture. The girls of Burnaby Mountain District were given a lovely thank you card, pictured below.

Burnaby Mountain District is proud to have been a part of such an experience and looks forward to finding other ways to spread messages of peace and welcome throughout our communities, especially to people in situations like this who need it the most.

 

District Camp Flower Power

Burnaby Mountain District was thrilled to wrap up the 2015/2016 Guiding year with a District Camp at beautiful Camp Olave last weekend. Guiders have been busy planning and promoting this camp since February of this year — hosting a camp for 78 girls and 20 adults is a lot of work! But it was worth it. Camp Flower Power was a great success.

One of the great things about District Camp is it encourages girls to make new friends and experience the sisterhood of Guiding. Girls from all Burnaby Mountain units were mixed up on three sites (two for Sparks/Brownies and one for Guides/Pathfinders/Rangers) so they got to meet lots of new girls and leaders.

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Stay tuned for more posts about camp with lots of pictures from different activities — since most units are now done until September, we’ll be posting about camp a few times over the summer.

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Thank you so much to the hard working core staff volunteers who coordinated organization, transportation, accommodation, program activities, and health and safety for this camp. Thank you as well to all the hard working Guiders who worked as site Guiders, patrol Guiders, program leaders, and quartermasters all weekend. Girls had a great time!