Growing Fun with Grassy Gnomes

It is always so much fun to see the creative activities that our fantastic volunteer Unit Guiders come up with to present Girl Guides of Canada programming (on a related note, we love Pinterest!!). Especially at the Sparks and Brownies level, girls love making crafts. Finding crafts that not only encourage creativity and self expression but also promote hands on learning is a great way to have fun with program.

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At one of their weekly meetings, girls from the 24th Brownies learned a bit about plants and their life cycles. How do seeds grow? What do plants need to be healthy? They put this knowledge to work by planting and watering some grass seeds in an especially creative way. Grass is fun to work with because it doesn’t take long to grow. When the leaders brought back the gnomes the following week they were already growing some pretty rad hair.

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The finished grassy gnomes are adorable! Want to know how to make them yourself? Check out some instructions here. At this regular weekly meeting, STEM + crafts = Girl Guides of Canada fun.

Pirate Camp

When three different Brownie units came together to do their year-end camp this June, the leaders knew they wanted a fun and dynamic theme to help all the girls get excited and engaged in the camp. With girls from the 24th, 47th, and Highlands Brownie groups all participating, lots of girls didn’t know each other or all of the leaders so a fun theme was a great way to get everyone on the same page.

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The leaders did a great job decorating the site, Kwi Kwa at Camp Olave on the sunshine coast, with pirate flags, ships, and other related items. They played pirate themed games and even learned a fun new pirate themed campfire song. Food had a fun pirate element too — at dinner, for example, girls created their own flatbread pizza to look like a treasure map.

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They also made cool pirate crafts like their skull and cross bone hats and fun spy glasses. The hats especially made them recognizable as pirates as they roamed camp and tried out one of the hiking trails.

Camp Olave is a great place to spend time outside enjoying nature. These Brownies challenged themselves with hiking the nature trail, trusting each other in the blind trail, and working together on the low ropes course.

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Aside from the forest, Camp Olave also has a wonderful waterfront. A pirate theme works especially well at a campsite on the water and these girls also very much enjoyed their time swimming in the ocean on a beautiful sunny day.

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Over all the camp was a huge success. The girls all had a wonderful time. It was so great to see many of them making new friends. These Brownies, even if they belong to different units, all share in the sisterhood of Guiding. One of the great things about this organization is knowing you’re one of the 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in the world — that’s a lot of friends to make!

Sun Printing at Brownies

We love the summertime sunshine, don’t you? The girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies did a cool science-related craft using 100% natural sunlight at one of their meetings earlier this year.

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The process is called Sun Printing. It uses special sun-sensitive (cyanotype) fabric to change colour. First, they laid out a design with various items items on the cyanotype cotton squares. They used a mix of natural materials like plants, and non-natural materials like foam craft shapes to make a design.

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After leaving them outside for about 20 minutes, the items which had blocked the UV rays from causing a reaction on the cotton left a negative print.

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The girls then rinsed the cotton squares in cold running water and then spritzed them with rubbing alcohol to quickly change the background to a lovely shade of blue. They then arranged the squares on pillowcases, carefully pinned them in place, and one of the leaders brought them home to sew them on.

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The finished products show each girl’s unique design, made with a super awesome sun-powered printing process.

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What a unique way to combine science and art in Girl Guides of Canada programming. This is just another example of what girls get up to at regular unit meetings.

Brownie Beach Explorers

Who would like to go to the beach???

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During their camp at beautiful Camp Olave this June, the girls from the 54th Brownies enjoyed an especially low tide during their beach time. With the tide so far out it was like an entirely different beach than the one some of them had experienced in past years.

The low tide meant there was a lot more sandy beach to play in. When the tide is up high the sand can be all covered by water leaving only the rocky beach behind. This cool low tide allowed for great digging and sandcastle adventures.

There was also a lot more wildlife that could be found (and safely observed and put back in its natural environment, of course). Beach combing is a great way to learn about the natural environments right here in our backyards.

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In some places the sand was very soft and girls had a blast feeling their feet sinking a few inches down. So much fun and laughter!

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The water, of course, was also great for swimming — the weather was warm that weekend and it was a real treat for everyone to cool off. One of the things that makes Camp Olave so special is the opportunity for this awesome beach play. The camp has qualified lifeguards there all summer long so we can enjoy this beachfront camp property as it is meant to be enjoyed!

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Nothing says summer like a great day at the beach and these Brownies loved every minute of their pacific ocean adventure.

Brownie Keepsakes #TBT

Happy Throwback Thursday, Guiding friends! Check out this cool wall hanging that one of our Guiders recently unearthed when tidying her basement. Guider Kim from the the 56th Burnaby Mountain Guides says she remembers making this more than 30 years ago as a keepsake of her Brownie memories in the 32nd North Vancouver Brownies where she was a member as a girl.

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As we come upon the end of the Guiding year it’s a great time to think about how you’re going to save your girl’s Guiding memories. What can you do with those badge sashes and fun crests? Lots of people sew them onto a camp blanket. Others have incorporated them into quilts, or made them into wall hangings with or without frames.

Thanks, Kim, for sharing your cool keepsake project!

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!

Girls Jump to the Sky

Back in March the University Highlands Guiding Unit had a fun active outing at Sky Zone, a trampoline park in Surrey.

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This unique physical activity is lots of fun. With massive wall-to-wall trampolines to bounce on, these girls had an absolute blast! They just about defied gravity with their high jumps.

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Sky Zone was a great way for girls to play with their friends. In Girl Guides, even adults make new friends. The Guiders for this unit didn’t know each other before working together with the unit this year and it’s been so great to see their friendship grow.

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If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to bounce over to girlguides.ca to register for next Guiding year. Some units in Burnaby Mountain District are very close to full already. And if you want to volunteer, please reach out and contact us — we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for the University Highlands Guiding Unit? Next year this mixed Brownie and Guide group is splitting into two separate groups. Look for the 27th Brownies and 49th Guides if you want to register your girl at the Highlands location.

Gymnastics Sleepover

This past fall the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies had a great time at one of our fave local sleepover spots — Club Aviva Gymnastics in Coquitlam!

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Many of our units have had sleepovers at this location, and every year Guiders report that girls had a great time. It is always so awesome to see girls having fun in an active environment. Healthy living is a blast when you’ve got trampolines, high ropes, and foam pits at your disposal!

Whether they’re brand new to gymnastics or have used this equipment before, it doesn’t matter — girls have a great time exploring the fun things they can do. The helpful staff keep girls safe and give them great tips too.

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And to top it all off, the event is made into a slumber party with all their Brownie friends. Girls get to sleep in gyms, exhausted after an evening of active play. Thanks, Club Aviva, for hosting us again. I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

Program fun

All units in Burnaby Mountain are back and meeting after the holiday break. Units are busy planning great adventures for the rest of the year including camps, sleepovers, trips, outings, community service, and more. Many units are taking advantage of the cold, wet, weather to focus on the exciting and enriching Girl Guides of Canada program materials designed for our girls.

At this week’s meeting the 47th Brownies tackled the Famous Five challenge, in which the girls learned about the five women who took part in the “Persons Case.”  In this famous legal battle, five women successfully convinced the British Empire’s highest court that several Canadian governments were wrong when they interpreted the British North America Act to mean that women were not “persons.” This is a great way to introduce Brownies to the important topics of politics, activism, and women’s rights.

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As a part of the challenge the Brownies invited a local female politician to talk to the girls about our right (and duty!) to vote and to be involved in change. The girls also decorated stylish 1920’s style hats, such as may have been worn by Nellie McClung and the other pioneers of women’s rights in Canada. The above photo shows the girls posing in their hats with the special guest.

On the very same day, the girls in the 2nd Sparks learned about life in another country important to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — Switzerland! The girls had a blast playing a game where they pretended to ski around the hall and watched the Lonely Goatherd puppet show scene from The Sound of Music. Pictured below are the girls performing a concert with their homemade alpen horns. Switzerland is awesome! Maybe some of these girls will one day visit the WAGGGS World Centre in Switzerland, which is called Our Chalet.

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These are just some of the amazing activities being led by our creative and enthusiastic volunteers here in Burnaby Mountain. Every week our girls are engaging in creativity, self-discovery, and hands on learning about the world around them… and all in a safe, empowering environment!

Happy Holidays from Burnaby Mountain District

Wishing you and yours a joyful holiday season, whichever way you choose to celebrate it. May you find joy, happiness, and peace with family and friends. Guiding in Burnaby Mountain will pick up again in the new year. 

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Above are the girls from the University Highlands Guiding group showing off their crafty reindeer ornaments and a wreath made from all of their hand prints on which they wrote things that they love about the holidays and about Guiding.

See you in 2017!