It’s not too late!

Most units in Burnaby Mountain district are having their first meetings this week. Some have already gotten started and have been announcing upcoming sleepovers, camps, outings, and events to kick off the year.

But it’s not too late! We still have spaces available in every branch, so if your girl is aged 5-17 Guiding is available for her in this community. We accept new members at any time, though we do recommend you sign up soon so you don’t miss out on the fun!

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Experience the fun and friendship of Girl Guides where our mission is to enable girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world.

If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Registration is available online at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Brownie Camping Fun

In June the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies went on a fun-filled weekend camp to lovely Camp Olave on the sunshine coast. Their theme for the weekend was Happy Birthday! They celebrated Camp Olave’s 90th birthday, Canada’s 150 birthday, and even one of the Brownies’ birthdays which happened while they were at camp.

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Getting to camp is part of the fun! After taking a school bus from our community out to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, girls passed the time with quiet games while they waited to board the boat. A quick 40 minute ferry ride later the group got on another bus which delivered them to camp.

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The Brownies enjoyed the quiet setting of the Nawilak. This site has the best of both worlds — it’s a quiet secluded spot in the forest, but only a short walk to the beach. You can see the girls enjoying their beach time here.

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Another great thing about this site is that in addition to the cozy cabin, there are two platform tents. Brownies who felt they were ready and interested in a platform tenting experience got the opportunity to try sleeping outdoors. Those who did loved it! It’s so great to see Brownies getting the chance to experience new things that are within their comfort levels.

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The birthday celebrations happened alongside a variety of traditional camp activities. The girls (and the leaders!) enjoyed trying their hand at archery. It’s tricky to do, but lots of fun.

Brownies love doing arts and crafts. These girls were pretty excited to get to decorate their own keepsake T-shirt which they can keep as an awesome camp souvenir.

It wouldn’t be camp without campfire. On the way home when asked what was her favourite part of camp, one girl replied “roasting things!” The group really got into the campfire spirit by trying out different things that can be cooked over an open flame. They roasted marshmallows, hotdogs, and even perogies over the fire!

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The very best part of camping, of course, is spending time with Brownie friends and making memories to last a life time.

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Now that’s something worth celebrating.

A huge thank you to the volunteers who make special trips like this possible. Girls love going to camp and experiences like these are part of what makes Girl Guides of Canada so special for girls in our communities.

Enchant Maze Outing

Last week the 54th Brownies had an outing to Enchant in Vancouver!

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Enchant is the world’s largest Christmas Light Maze, made up of over 55,000 sq. ft. of brilliantly illuminated sculptures. Enchant also includes a Christmas market and food trucks.

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The experience involves a story and a scavenger hunt for participants to find 9 incredible light sculpture reindeer. In the story, Santa asks for the help of the children of the world to find his reindeer who got lost after a sudden blizzard at the North Pole. They wandered into the enchanted light forest and if they’re not found on time, Christmas would have to be cancelled! These Brownies were happy to help.

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Girls had a great time exploring the beautiful lights. It was awfully cold out and some of them learned a good lesson about layering clothes when it’s chilly! It was also very busy, so girls had to be sure to practice their buddy system and stay together as a group.

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Luckily the group got to enjoy a nice toasty hot chocolate at the end to help warm up. Even though they were bundled up under their warm jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves, girls were proudly wearing their Brownie scarves and sashes — it was great to be noticed out in the community.

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Enchant was an awesome experience, and an enchanting way to end the year. We can’t wait to see what these girls get up to in 2017.

Rangers start to finish

November was a big month for Rangers in Burnaby Mountain District. For this, our oldest age group of Guiding, ceremonies and celebrations have lots of meaning as many of these girls have been in Guiding for most of their lives.

The 12th Rangers were happy to welcome new members to their unit at their enrollment ceremony. The Guiders tried to make the day special, including nice gifts. Lots of red and white made the day extra festive.

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Every November girls from West Coast Area gather to receive Guiding’s highest level girl awards at the annual Celebration of Achievement. At this event, two Burnaby Mountain girls who finished Rangers last year were awarded with their Chief Commissioner’s Gold Award. This award takes lots of hard work and includes a lengthy process of personal and skill development, community service, and dedication to Guiding. The celebration was a very special night and it was a pleasure to hear all the award recipients say a few words about what Guiding has meant to them.

Welcome, to all the new Rangers and may your coming years have lots of fun, friendship, and excitement. The unit has lots of great adventures planned, including an upcoming snowshoe outing to Mt. Seymour. Have a great time! And congratulations to the girls who completed their Ranger programming last year. Burnaby Mountain is thrilled that both of these young women are continuing to be involved in our district. They are proving to be excellent assets to our team.

Guiding Reunion 2016

In May, Burnaby Mountain District hosted a reunion event for past and current members of Guiding. The planning committee worked hard to get word out to past members who were involved either as girls or as adults who were now over 19 whether they were involved here in Burnaby Mountain or elsewhere but now lived in the community. The event was intended as a fun evening to thank our current members and to share memories about what Guiding has meant to us throughout the years.

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At the event, women enjoyed a wine and cheese reception, an interactive history timeline, nostalgia hat crafts, a 50/50 draw, and a campfire. The District Commissioner gave an address sharing information she had learned about the history of Guiding in Burnaby from the Burnaby City Archives.

Guests especially enjoyed looking at old photos of themselves and friends and sharing memories of camping trips, enrollment ceremonies, outdoor adventures, and friendship. Below is a photo of the current District Commissioner celebrating her birthday during a Girl Guide trip to Victoria in 1999!

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Another highlight was the campfire, complete with a s’more treat. Past members remarked at how surprised they were to remember the words to classic Guiding songs like “Land of the Silver Birch,” “Princess Pat,” and “I Don’t Wanna Go to Girl Guide Camp!”

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Thank you to everyone who came out to spend the evening with us. It is always nice, sometimes, for Guiders and Guiding friends to get together as adults to reflect on the spirit of Guiding and to remember fun times passed. Burnaby Mountain has lots of fun coming up ahead as well, and we made sure to remind all the past members that we’d love to have them back as leaders any time!

An Amazing Transitioning Member

In BC, we have a unique position for young women who are too old for Rangers, but who have not yet reached the age of majority in this province. These 18 year-olds, who must wait until they are 19 to officially count as leaders, still have an important place in our organization. We call them transitioning members.

Eliesse, a transitioning member from Burnaby Mountain District was featured on the National GirlGuidesCANBlog this week. Click here to see Eliesse’s post about the value of Guiding, giving back, and the amazing opportunities available through the Girl Guide scholarship programs.

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Way to go, Eliesse! Thank you for your continued commitment to Girl Guides.

Eliesse is one of many university students who balance their time between studies and volunteering with Guiding in Burnaby Mountain District. We have many SFU students in our district who choose to volunteer here because it’s convenient to where they go to school. If you’re thinking of joining as a leader but are unsure how it will balance with a university student schedule, send us a message — we’ve had plenty who have made it work. And if you’re not yet 19, talk to us about becoming a transitioning member.

Introducing the new DC team

Burnaby Mountain District is pleased to be welcoming a new District Commissioner team.

For the last four years, Burnaby Mountain has had a wonderful Commissioner, Gerry. During her term, Burnaby Mountain’s membership numbers have increased substantially, and new units have opened allowing us to serve more girls in our community. Gerry also was at the helm of a variety of district events, with highlights such as Science Day at SFU in the 2013/2014 Guiding year and the super successful Space Centre Sleepover in 2014/2015. These kinds of all-ages, large scale events with clear educational benefits are typical of Gerry’s conviction for having “fun with a purpose” in Guiding. These are traditions that the district will hopefully continue.

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Gerry, out-going DC, happily barbecuing for her district’s Guiders

Starting today, Gerry’s term has concluded and taking over for her as District Commissioner is Bethany. In addition, the district now also has the benefit of a Deputy District Commissioner who will help support Bethany with the DC duties. Bethany is thrilled to have Saffina taking on the Deputy DC role.

The new DC team! Deputy District Commissioner Saffina (right) and District Commissioner Bethany (left)

The new DC team! Deputy District Commissioner Saffina (left) and District Commissioner Bethany (right)

Bethany and Saffina both have several years of Guiding experience. They have been active guiders in the district for a long time and both have experience with international Guiding.

Sometimes, parents and girls don’t have a very clear idea of what the District Commissioner does. The DC leads the district council. This includes a variety of important duties including (but not limited to):

  • Communicating information from the Area, Provincial, and National levels of Girl Guides of Canada to our unit’s Guiders
  • Ensuring that safety, legal, financial, and administrative procedures are being followed in all units
  • Interviewing and orienting new leaders
  • Facilitating communication throughout the district including team building, workload sharing, and if necessary, conflict management
  • Coordinating the district’s biannual Girl Guide Cookie campaigns
  • Planning, or overseeing the planning, of large-scale district events

It is a big job, and Bethany and Saffina anticipate that Gerry will continue to mentor them for the next few months as they get accustomed to their roles.

Thank you, Gerry, and welcome to Bethany and Saffina!

Seeking New Leaders

This week, volunteers from Burnaby Mountain District represented BC Girl Guides at a Volunteer Fair at Simon Fraser University. Here are the district commissioner and PR advisor posing at the booth with SFU mascot McFogg the Dog.

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Many units in Burnaby Mountain are currently full and some have wait lists. In some cases, more girls could be admitted if another leader were to join the team. SFU is a great place for us to find enthusiastic women who are excellent role models for our girls. Lots of people were interested, and of course SFU students come from all over the lower mainland. We found potential leaders for groups in Burnaby, Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, and Langley!

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We are still looking for more volunteers in our District. We are also looking for an assistant treasurer who has experience working with Sage accounting software. If you, or someone you know, wants to consider volunteering with our organization, feel free to drop us a line!

Sparks with Critters

Never a group to shy away from an adventure, the 1st Sparks recently had a special guest come to a meeting. And he brought… friends.Frog

Mike, of Mike’s Critters, was a great host for the girls who learned a tremendous amount about different kinds of animals including what they eat, how they protect themselves, why they look the way they do, and lots of other really cool trivia.

Mike brought a rabbit, a hedgehog, a red-eyed tree frog, a parrot, a leopard gecko, a chinchilla, a chameleon, and a mealy corn snake. The girls got to look at all of the animals up close and were able to touch most of them.

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Did you know the Chinchilla is the softest animal in the whole wide world?spark critter 3

Some special volunteers even got to take turns holding some of the animals. The girls were so brave and were even excited to get to hold the snake!spark critter 1

The girls were so excited to have Mike and his critters at their meeting. It was educational, engaging, and totally hands-on. What a great opportunity. This unit and its leaders give Mike a rave review and totally suggest you check out his website and condsider booking him for your upcoming events.

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District Thinking Day

On Saturday February 16th Burnaby Mountain District gathered to celebrate Thinking Day. The theme for the event was WAGGGS Around the World: 10 million strong. All ten units in the district were present. Families were inivited to stay and participate in the event.

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Guides marching in with a Scottish flag

First girls did a parade of nations. Each unit chose a WAGGGS country to represent and they marched into the hall singing “It’s a Small World.”

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Sparks demonstrating a game of quick cricket, very popular in India

Then each unit took a turn giving a short presentation about their county. There were songs, dances, poems, trivia, and games.

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Women’s shelter donations collected by the units

As part of the World Thinking Day theme this year about maternal health, the district collected shoe boxes full of donations to give to local women’s centers. The donations that came in from families were just amazing and we’re so proud to be able to help the community in this way.

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Yum! Thanks to everyone who contributed baked goods for our sale.

Finally, the day ended with socializing and a bake sale to raise funds for our year end family picnic. A big thank you to all the Pathfinders in the district who ran such an efficient (and delicious!) sale.

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Pathfinders at one of the bake sale tables