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.

Pathfinders-Blog-Post_October-2019-header-image

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”)!

Enrollment Season

Late fall is always a busy time for enrollments as Girl Guides around the country learn to tie their ties, make friends with their new groups, and make their Guiding promise. Enrollments take many themes, often cooked up by our very creative girls. In this post we feature two groups who had fun making enrollment their own.

20171125_104230

Firstly, the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a lovely rainbow themed enrollment where girls crossed through a rainbow arch before making their promise.

20171125_102632

The leaders got an awesome butterfly cupcake-cake to celebrate the occasion as well! They finished the event with a family sing-a-long, practicing the tunes that the girls would be singing for local seniors in a couple of weeks.

IMG_2516And secondly, the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides had their enrollment with girls making their promises and then entertaining their parents with an elaborate Nutcracker puppet show that the girls had been working on for weeks ahead of time.

IMG_2524

They made the puppets themselves and enjoyed studying the story as it is preparing them for an outing to see the Nutcracker performed by the Goh Ballet coming up in December.

Welcome to all of the new girls who joined Guiding in Burnaby Mountain this year! It’s still not too late if your daughter is interested in joining the fun. We accept new members all year round. More girls are still joining every week and there is still room in most of our units.

Richmond Sleepover with Extreme Air Park

In October the girls from the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides had a sleepover at Guiding’s own Richmond Guide House property. When asked what activity the girls wanted to pair with this sleepover they enthusiastically chose Extreme Air Park.

20171021_193553(0)

Extreme Air Park Richmond is Canada’s largest trampoline park, featuring a massive 42,000 sq/ft of enclosed interlocking trampolines and a variety of activities. The girls had a blast playing on the equipment.

Some of the highlights of air park were the bounce balls, foam pit, and black lights.

After some exhausting time bouncing around the air park the girls went back to Richmond Guide house for dinner and to watch a movie together. The weekend also served as a great camp skills opportunity as girls got to use tents to sleep in Guide House’s huge back yard!

20171022_090220

A fall sleepover is a great way for girls to get to know each other and to get the Guiding year off to a great start. Another Burnaby Mountain unit recently had a fall sleepover at Eileen Daily Pool — swimming is another excellent active activity to pair with sleepover fun!

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!

Camp_Olave23 (1)

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.

20170623_181606

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.

20170623_180541

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.

IMG_0373

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.

20170625_085906

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!

20170623_222835

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

20170623_180312

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!

dsc_0106

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.

dsc_0119

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.

dsc_0111

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.

20161215_190233

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.

dsc_0114

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.

rangers-enrollment
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.

Reunion (2 of 7)

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!

Bethany 1999

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!”

Reunion (7 of 7)

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.

20150614-_MG_0252

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.

Gerry, out-going DC

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!