District Thinking Day: Connecting

February 27th Burnaby Mountain District came together to celebrate World Thinking Day. Following the lead from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) we took a “Connect” theme and decided to connect as a district while also connecting with the community. The focus of the event was a food bank drive for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank done in the style of a can art construction competition.

Thinking Day 2016 2

Each unit had been working for the past few months on collecting non-perishable foods, mostly in cans, in preparation for the event. Girls took time to consider their donations and to plan a sculpture that took into consideration a Guiding theme (so we could also connect with worldwide Guiding!). At Saturday’s event, the girls worked together, showing great cooperation, to assemble their sculptures.

Thinking Day 2016 (4 of 16)

Sparks, Brownies, and Guides had a great time building with the canned goods. Older girls got involved in other ways. One Ranger took the lead coordinating the donation drop off with the food bank and lead a team of dedicated Pathfinders and Rangers in tasks like assembling and filling the boxes, and arranging to have the goods dropped off at the local fire department, which would hold the donations until the Food Bank could arrange pickup on Monday morning.

Frames

Pathfinders and Rangers also helped to run the bake sale, which was a fundraiser for the upcoming district camp, and also the WAGGGS inspired “Connect” picture frame activity, which helped some units complete their WAGGGS Thinking Day 2016 Challenge.

Thinking Day 2016 (12 of 16) (1)

Congratulations to the 49th Guides who won the sculpture competition with their trefoil-inspired piece. The unit won some funds for unit activities and each girl got a small prize.

Thinking Day 2016 1

The real winner, of course, was the Greater Vancouver Food Bank which got a donation of more than 800 cans and other items (including a good number of Girl Guide Cookies!). Thank you to everyone who donated, and who helped to pack and move the boxes. We also want to thank the City of Burnaby, which donated cool prize packs for every participant including a pin, pencil, and chocolate treat.

 

Units Visit Local Seniors

Our district is pretty excited this year to be continuing to make connections in this community. This fall and winter, units from our district have been building a relationship with LJ Christmas Manor, a local senior citizens highrise complex under the sponsorship of the Lions Club. This vibrant community of seniors have been happy to receive our units, and our girls have been so welcomed that we hope to make return visits.

22 Guides Seniors 2In November the 22nd Guides did a Remembrance Day visit. They sang some of Guiding’s more traditional and sombre songs in honour of the occasion and shared a snack with residents afterwards.

54 Brownies Seniors 9In December the 54th Brownies visited and sang a campfire that mixed traditional campfire songs (including some silly ones!) with Christmas carols. The girls then gave out Christmas themed gift bags with handmade ornaments and cards.

54 Brownies Seniors 4As an added bonus, the Brownies ended up invited to watch a shuffleboard tournament happening down the hall and were given a lesson! For many, this was the first time they had encountered the game.

Thanks for having us, Christmas Manor! Hopefully some of our units will be able to make it out to visit you this Spring.

Thinking Day 2014: Operation Earth Action

On February 22nd, Burnaby Mountain District gathered to celebrate Thinking Day, a special day celebrated by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all around the world.

earth action

This year, our district decided to celebrate Thinking Day by completing the Girl Guides of Canada National Service Project Challenge, Operation Earth Action. Girls from nine different units presented challenges that they completed related to environmental sustainability.

Projects included making lip balm from household ingredients, doing crafts with recycled supplies, and doing litter pick ups. Feb 2014 086One unit presented a map-your-meal project to learn about how far away some of our food travels to meet us and to learn about the benefits of eating local. Feb 2014 091A Pathfinder group gave a presentation about tree planting in the community.

In addition, every girl at the event got to decorate a tote bag made out of a recycled T-shirt. Everyone at the event also participated in an oath to use reusable bags and water bottles when possible. All girls who participated got a crest celebrating their participation in the National Service Project.

Feb 2014 087The event also included a bake sale which is a fundraiser for our District camp at the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who donated baked goods, and to everyone who bought treats — we earned almost $250 for camp. About 80 girls came out to the Thinking Day event, and many parents and siblings stayed to join in the festivities. It was one of our most successful Thinking Days yet!

International Day of the Girl

Did you know that October 11th was declared by the United Nations the International Day of the Girl? The girls of the 24th Brownies commemorated this event by participating in Girl Guides’ International Day of the Girl Postcard project. To read more about the day and this project, click here.

Below is a gallery of the girls’ postcards explaining why the world needs girls. Way to go, Brownies!

(If you click on one of the pictures you can open it bigger and scroll through the gallery to better see the postcards)

Guider Participates in UN Commission on the Status of Women

Earlier this year one of our Guiders took part in an amazing opportunity where she was able to represent Girl Guides (and women, more generally) on the world stage. Saffina, a leader of the 47th Brownies, attended the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, New York as a WAGGGS youth delegate. She was selected at the national level to participate in this event because of her dedication to Guiding as well as her personal accomplishments. Saffina majored in Women’s Studies and minored in Islamic History. She currently works at a local rape crisis center and crisis line as well as a youth detox facility and therefore has an ample understanding of the challenges girls and women face every day and their value to society. What an amazing role model to our girls!

activismLike many of the Guiders who take part in international opportunities, Saffina says that one of the highlights of her experience was meeting the other members from around the world. The delegation also featured World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) members from countries ranging from Pakistan to Malawi — a total of 13 countries were represented.

delegation_and_board_etc

 

The delegation focussed on educating others and lobbying globally for girls rights in all aspects of life by promoting the “Stop the Violence” campaign. Saffina invites you to add your voice to this campaign by visiting http://www.wagggsworld.org/en/take_action/violence.

Saffina’s incredible contribution has already been featured on the Girl Guides of Canada national blog. See what she wrote about her trip here. You can also check out more information about the Commission on the Status of Women WAGGGS delegation here. The other members of her district are extremely proud of her. We couldn’t have asked for a better representative for such an important event.

A Season in Sangam

We finally got a chance to sit down and talk to Chelsea, a Guider with the 1st Sparks and 54th Brownies about the time she spent as a volunteer at the World Centre Sangam, in Pune, India, last fall. She has been touring many local units to share her story, and here she has answered some questions and shared some pictures.

Can you tell us about your programme? What did a typical day look like?

The progamme was 12 weeks (Aug. 25 – Nov. 11). There were four others who did the 12 week programme as well. We were called “Tare”, meaning star in Hindi. The first two weeks was orientation so we were participants in an event, learning about Indian culture and learning how to get a rickshaw. The rest of the weeks we went to our community partner. I went to Door Step School four days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) a week from about 10:00 to 4:00. I would wake up about 7:30 and have breakfast at 8:30. 9:30 we would set out to our site. In the mornings I would hang out and lead activities for the younger children and then there was lunch at about 12:30. The children would leave at 1:00 to go home and come back at 2:00. From 2:00 to about 4:00 I would try to teach English to the older children. I would come back to Sangam at about 4:30 and have dinner at 6:30. On Wednesdays we would have cultural lessons, including Hindi class. The teachers and children knew only a very little bit of English so communication was hard!

Children from the Doorstep Program

Children from the Doorstep Program

 What made you decide to apply for a trip like this?

I wanted to do something that would challenge myself. I also want to learn about all the cultures that I can and I wanted to live in another country.

Fresh Mehendi

Chelsea’s freshly applied Mehendi, an Indian tradition

What was the application procedure like?

The application process was relatively easy. You just need to find the application forms on Sangam’s website under Community Programme (http://www.sangamworldcentre.org/en/programmes/cp01) and fill them out. There’s a form that the applicant has to fill out and a reference form for their references. Send them to Sangam by the deadline and then you are all done the application. It took quite a while for Sangam to respond to me about whether or not I got through, but when I did I was so excited!

Rangoli for Ghandi

Art called Rangoli created on the ground to celebrate Ghandi’s birthday

What was the best part of living/volunteering in India?

The best part about living in India was the people. The kids and teachers at site were amazing. They were so happy and willing to bond with you. I got to know everyone and how special they were. It made me so happy to go to site everyday, knowing that I could be changing these children’s lives. Both me and the teachers cried when I left on the last day at site.

What was the best part about staying at a world centre for so long?

I got to talk to Guiding and Scouting people from all over the world and I learned so much about them. I met people from Kenya, Ireland, Denmark, England, Costa Rica, USA and Australia, just to name a few. I also met people from across Canada too so I got to learn what they did. The two other Canadians that I met were from Ontario so we talked about things like the new uniform, on-line registration and Safe Guide. It was really neat to learn that in many countries Scouts and Guides do things together so there are co-ed units and events.

Chelsea and Meg England

Chelsea with another Guiding Tare volunteer, Meg, from the UK on Sangam’s beautiful grounds

Do you think this experience changed you as a person, or changed the way you think about Guiding?

I think this has changed me as a person. I am more aware than ever of the extreme poverty that there is in other places in the world. There are so many people in slums in India. There are even legal and illegal slums! This experience has made me appreciate all that I have, and everything that I have a right to. For many women in India even primary schooling is unattainable because people think that educating women is useless. The role that women play is that of housewife and many people do not think they need education in order to do that job. The Indian culture is totally different than in Canada.

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Chelsea has been busy visiting units to talk about her trip

What advice do you have for other girls or women considering an international Guiding experience?

I encourage everyone to go on an international Guiding trip. I have learned so much about different cultures and about myself as well. I never realized how much I could actually do. Going through things like language barriers and extreme culture shock is hard, but I managed to overcome them. I would advise to be cautious of the culture shock though, especially if you go somewhere like India. There is so much poverty and inequalities in India that you have to be mature enough to handle those issues. But like I said, I do encourage people to go out and travel. You learn so much and I had an amazing time with lifelong memories and pictures!

Community Tree Planting Event

Yesterday, a small group of dedicated and hard working girls from three different units in our district got together to plant native plant species in Stoney Creek Park. The event was organized by the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks unit, who had won a tree planting grant from Girl Guides of Canada & TD Bank’s Friends of the Environment. Helpers also came out from the 56th Guides and the 14th Pathfinders. This event was part of Girl Guides of Canada Operation Earth Action National Service Project. The event was also made possible with the support and expertise of the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee.

A truck load of plants

Overall the hard working girls and adult volunteers planted about 50 plants native to the area.In addition to the almost $500 worth of plants you see in the truck bed, there were donations from the Stoney Creek Environmental Centre’s Nature Garden. Our plants included

  • Snowberry
  • Wintergreen
  • Salal
  • Kinnik Kinnik
  • Oregon Grape
  • Salmonberry
  • Sword Ferns

Great teamwork, all day!

One interesting highlight was that there were salmon spawning in the stream as the group worked — it definitely helped remind all of us why we were there. Stoney Creek is an urban stream that successfully hosts salmon every year. The natural environment in that area is precious and also at risk. That’s why it is important for people to help protect and replenish the area’s environment.

Watching the salmon

It was a cool rainy day, and everyone got mucky. Girls worked in pairs with either a Guide or a Pathfinder paired with a Spark, and the older girls showed incredible leadership skills as they worked with their buddies to accomplish this task.

Working together

After the planting everyone got to relax in the Environmental Centre with hot chocolate, cookies, and rice krispie squares. The ladies from the Environmental Centre told us about some of their other local projects and everyone got to take home some goodies, including a neat key chain showing different salmon species.

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who came out for this event. It was a lot of work, but it was for a great cause. A special thank you to Gail and Christine from the Environmental Committee — we couldn’t have done it without them.