Year-End Family Picnic

At Burnaby Mountain District we believe that part of our job as an organization within the community is to provide opportunities for the families of all of our girls to gather for fun, informal, social events. This is why we love putting on events like this year’s advancement and family picnic!

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The event began with a simple advancement ceremony where girls symbolically crossed footbridges to signify crossing over to the next branch in Guiding. This leaving ceremony complimented whatever celebrations different units had to give girls their end of year badges, awards, and recognition.

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The main part of the event was a family picnic including barbecued hotdogs and other snacks plus a variety of games and activities for the kids. Check out one Brownie, below, showing off her cool temporary tattoo, and some other members catching a watermelon break at the craft station:

Activities like these are really exciting because it gives the girls a chance to play and interact with girls from other units. Older girls and younger girls have a good time together, plus siblings get to get in on the fun as well!

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We really appreciate all the families who chose to spend the day with us to celebrate the close of the Guiding year. Although summer has just started, we can hardly wait to get back at it in the fall.

Welcome to Canada

As we embark on a Canada Day long weekend celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, it seems like a good time to post about Burnaby Mountain District’s Thinking Day event from this year — although this happened back in February, it is just as relevant today.

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Back in 2016 at our district camp, girls from all units in Burnaby Mountain District worked on Welcome to Canada cards which were donated to ISS of BC to help welcome immigrants and refugees new to Canada. When we delivered these cards, our Guiders were so impressed by the work of this organization that we wanted to do more to help welcome these newcomers.

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This is what inspired our Thinking Day 2017 Welcome to Canada luncheon. Working with ISS of BC, we invited six families with children aged 4-17 to join us for our Thinking Day celebration. Girls and their families from all of our units came out to this event, demonstrating how kind, friendly, and welcoming our community is.

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We began with a colour party and the singing of O Canada. We served a tasty lunch to everybody. Nothing builds camaraderie in a community quite like sharing food together, after all. Following the meal, girls gave presentations that they had worked on in their units which included sharing songs, dance, and artwork. At the end of the presentations, the entire district encouraged all the special guests to participate in a sing-a-long campfire. Specially chosen songs with big actions and repeat-after-me lyrics were chosen so that even those unfamiliar with our songs or language could still enjoy.

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In the closing remarks a representative from ISS of BC helped us hand out welcome gifts to the families. These were composed on donations from our girls and families of gift cards, transit tickets, and new gifts like Canucks scarves, toys, and treats — and of course, the gift bags also had Girl Guide Cookies! We were also able to donate a large basket of gently used toys, books, and games for ISS of BC to bring back to their welcome centre to use in their daycare facilities.

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This project felt more important than ever this year with the socio-political context in some parts of the world being less than welcoming to immigrants and refugees. Many parents commented on how valuable it is to have Girl Guides provide the opportunity for their girls to get involved and take action to welcome newcomers like this, to demonstrate their compassion and the warmth of our communities, and to get them engaged even at a very young age in conversations about why this is so important.

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The special guests all seemed to have a good time as well. They appreciated the warm welcome and their children had a great time singing the songs and then afterwards playing outside on the playground with our girls. Some of the families even made inquiries about how to join Girl Guides. Over all, it was a Thinking Day that we’re not likely to ever forget.

Happy Canada Day from Burnaby Mountain District!

Sea-to-Sky Day Camp

Earlier this month Burnaby Mountain District hosted a day camp for girls from all branches at the beautiful Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC. We have already posted about some of the older girls going on an extended hike, and this post is about what the majority of the participants were up to that day.

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Everyone gathered at a local meeting spot to board school buses out to the gondola site. Once they got there, the girls split into groups and began working through a series of activities with Sea-to-Sky Gondola staff. The staff were so knowledgeable and they were great at working with the girls. Everybody learned a lot!

Much of the day involved hiking through different trails and checking out some of the highlights of the mountain. From the base, girls were brought to see the magnificent Shannon Falls.

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Riding the gondola was a great experience. Did you know the Sea-to-Sky gondola is the steepest gondola outside of Europe? The ride takes about 10 minutes and features incredible views of the surrounding area. The staff members also made sure to take time to show the girls some of the gondola mechanics, giving a cool engineering perspective to learn how the thing actually works.

At the top of the mountain girls got to go on another hike which featured a great lookout point to see The Chief mountain. The girls were surprised to see there was still quite a bit of snow up top.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather. Even though it had been rainy earlier in the week, we got excellent spring weather which made for a lovely day of walking about. For some of the Sparks and Brownies, this was the most hiking they had ever done!

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Another highlight of the site is the very cool suspension bridge. Even though some girls were a little bit nervous to cross it, everybody did great! On the other side of the bridge was another trail where girls got to do a Canada 150 themed scavenger hunt.

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A huge thank you to the Sea-to-Sky Gondola team who worked with us to make the day a success. The staff members were fantastic, the lunch was delicious, and girls had a great time! Offering this experience as a day camp was a great way to bring some outdoor adventure in a way more accessible for some girls who don’t prefer overnight experiences. We had a wonderful day!

Sports Hall of Fame & Museum Sleepover

Last month girls from all branches in Burnaby Mountain district gathered for a sleepover at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

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With so many girls involved in different sports at school or extra-curricularly, and living in a city with lots of great sports teams to be fans of made this a really exciting opportunity for girls and Guiders alike.

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Girls got a chance to explore the different parts of the museum, including an Olympic Zone and features about notable figures like Rick Hansen and Terry Fox. Staff from the museum led artifact explorations and a scavenger hunt to help girls learn about the items on display.

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Everybody especially enjoyed spending time in the participation zone which featured lots of fun hands-on sports activities and games. There was a climbing wall, foosball, a hockey shoot-out, ping-pong, a sprint track and more. This was a great place to be active and burn off some steam!

Evening activities also included a craft and a yummy pizza dinner. After a night-time movie everyone settled into their sleeping bags in the exhibit rooms.

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In the morning, the girls got to meet a local female athlete. Inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, Andrea Neil is best known for her contributions to the Canadian National Women’s Soccer Team (1990-2007). She retired after representing Canada internationally more than any other player, male or female. The girls really enjoyed listening to her speak — her presentation was informative, amusing, and really inspiring. This woman overcame a lot to make the achievements that she did, and several girls commented that meeting her was highlight of the event.

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Burnaby Mountain District is very thankful to the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for hosting us. It was a fun event for everybody involved!

Sea-to-Sky Extended Hike

This past weekend girls from all branches of Burnaby Mountain District participated in a fun-filled day camp at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC. It was a really successful district event!

This post is the “extended hike” out-trip option that was available for older girls. Those who were in third year Guides or older had the option to choose an “extended hike” program that was a little bit more adventurous than the other activities planned that day. In total, 6 girls and 2 adults took part in this option.

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The hikers started their day with a hike over to Shannon Falls before riding the gondola to the summit. From there the real adventure began. The group took on the Wonderland Lake Loop hike, which was designated as a “snowshoe” only trail.

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When we first started planning this event back in September we didn’t expect there to still be so much snow at the summit in May! But the leaders were keen to take the girls on this adventure and used it as a great opportunity to learn about hiking skills and emergency preparedness.

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The trail is a 1.6km loop, normally a low-intermediate difficulty, but was made more challenging by the wet, soft snow. It was a great workout of a hike. It was the first time snowshoeing for many of the girls, but the leaders, who did have more snowshoe experience, assured us that the softness of the snow would have made it tricky for even seasoned snowshoers. There was some slipping and falling, but everyone kept in great spirits. The girls did great!

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After the Wonderland Lake Loop, which took the group a couple of hours, everyone was happy to relax amidst the beautiful views and eat their lunch before descending in the gondola and heading home.

What a great adventure! Stay tuned for a post in a few days about what the other 50+ girls got up to at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola day camp. It was a fun day for all!

Uniform Exchange

Where has September gone?? Our Guiders have been so busy this month getting things organized for a wonderful year of fun and adventure. Burnaby Mountain District has a number of exciting district events planned this year. All units have gotten started with their first meetings and next month will hold lots of great things from outings, to enrollments, to sleepovers.

The first event to kick off our Guiding year was a uniform exchange in early September. The event was designed to give families a change to bring in the uniform items their girls no longer need and to hopefully pick up a gently used option for their next Guiding branch. We decided to run the event as a consignment sale where part of the proceeds were collected for donation to the Canadian World Friendship Fund, the national Girl Guide charity to support international Guiding.uniform-exchange

The event was well advertised and people came from all across the lower mainland. Many of the donations that were brought were old versions of the Guiding uniforms — did you know that official uniform always remains “official” even if it is not the current version? Many families loved the idea of collecting these older styled items that you can no longer purchase through our store to be used as extra uniform pieces to be used as back ups or at camp.

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Over all, the event was really well run and for that we have to thank the wonderful volunteers from Burnaby Mountain District (and even a few from other districts!) who came out to make this a success.

uniform-exchange-3Burnaby Mountain is extremely proud to report that we collected a total of $312.00 to donate to the Canadian World Friendship Fund. This contribution will go towards helping other girls experience the world and broaden their personal horizons. Well done, team!

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.

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.