Sparks Design Space

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks are enjoying working with the new Girls First program. Based on evaluations of the girls’ interests and personalities during meetings earlier in the year, the unit has decided to work on the Experiment and Create program area this year. At their last meeting, the group did some activities for the Design Space theme.

Design Space is described as follows in the Girls First program:sparks-design-space-theme-badge.jpg

Innovate and create! Activities in this theme will equip you with the skills you need to tinker with machines, build robots, code programs, and re-think recycling, as you push the limits of your imagination.

Difficult to do with 5-6 year old Sparks? The group didn’t think so! Using a combination of activities from the Girls First online platform plus activities their crafty Guiders came up with themselves (and then submitted for consideration to the National program team!) the girls had a great meeting.

20181201_114633

The group had a great discussion about robots including household uses they were familiar with like roombas and Siri. Then they got creative and design their own robots using recycled materials and leftover craft supplies. Each girl designed a tin can robot and talked about its functions and personality.

Then they made a circuit track on the floor using painters tape and figured out how to guide their blindfolded Guider through the track — first by physically manipulating her, and then using voice commands only (“Walk forwards”, “Turn left” etc). Then the girls took turns leading each other through using these coding commands. We discussed that this is how you give directions to robots.

20181201_115413

They also made I-Spy Bottles, an activity from the online platform. This quiet activity involves using investigative skills to find small items in a bottle filled with rice. Another great opportunity to upcycle!

Finally, the girls took their fully dried robots to play on the robot circuit course, or took time to play with their I-Spy bottle — whichever they preferred.

It was a great day of robotics, coding, and recycling, fitting perfectly with the Design Space theme. They’re looking forward to doing more design space activities at their next meeting so that they can earn the theme badge. Way to go girls!

Saturday Sparks

Did you know Burnaby Mountain District offers Sparks and Brownie units on Saturdays? Most units in the lower mainland meet only on weeknights, but to meet the needs of busy families we have Saturday options available. It’s also a popular option for girls who prefer quieter evenings and/or very early bedtimes through the week. The Saturday groups meet during the day.

Spark-Paint_0I1A0668

This year, enrollment is currently very low in the Saturday Sparks unit and we’re actively recruiting more girls. Sparks is for girls in kindergarten and grade one. If this Saturday morning unit would be a good fit for you or someone you know, please send them to http://www.girlguides.ca to register online.

Burnaby Mountain District still has spaces available in all branches, so use the Find a Unit tool on the national website to find a spot for your girl.

Sparks tour an ambulance

At the most recent meeting for the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks, the leaders warned the parents not to be alarmed when the picked up their girls and saw an ambulance in the parking lot — it wasn’t an emergency, it was just some awesome hands-on learning with a friendly neighborhood paramedic!

IMG_20180120_105506568

The girls had a great time learning about emergency response procedures in their community while chatting with a friendly paramedic who was very happy to show the girls the workings of his ambulance. They learned all about what is and is not an emergency and when it’s time to call 911. And should any of them ever experience an emergency involving an ambulance, maybe it will be just a little bit less scary now that they know what they look like up close.

IMG_20180120_105118937

They even got to take home a cool craft that allowed them to build their own 3D model of an ambulance. It was an awesome day!

It’s the Simple Things

As the days of summer of stretch out before us, are you looking for a simple, inexpensive way to keep your kids entertained? Look no further than balloons!

An experienced Girl Guide leader always has a few tricks up her sleeve that come in handy when she needs a quick fun activity with very little preparation. Maybe the weather didn’t cooperate with an outdoor plan, or a guest speaker cancels at the last minute, or craft you’ve planned just doesn’t come together… whatever the case may be, there are always reasons to have a quick easy back up ready to go.

At the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks the leaders pulled out balloons on one of these occasions. And wouldn’t you know it — the kids had a total blast! There are so many things you can do with balloons:

  • Use them as a name game — pass the balloon to someone after saying their name
  • Find out how long you can keep one in the air using only “wind” power (i.e. air blown from your mouth, or with a paper fan)
  • See how long you can keep one balanced on one finger
  • Work as a group to keep many balloons in the air as long as possible
  • Use one as a ball for a game of soccer
  • Try to “juggle” 3 or more balloons at once
  • Create an obstacle course and complete with a balloon between your knees

Use your imagination to come up with activities that can be done alone, in pairs, or as a group. The possibilities are endless! And since balloons are inexpensive and can easily be stored (before inflation, of course) in just about any bag you might carry, they make for a great “rainy day” back up.

Sparks at the Palace Camp

At the end of June girls from the 1st and 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks joined forces to close out the Guiding year in style at their Sparks Go Wild at the Palace Camp and beautiful Camp Olave on the sunshine coast.

Camp-14

Activities included princess themed crafts like crowns and a stained glass castle. These girls really enjoyed the chance to show their creative side and camp — Sparks love crafts!

Camp-10

The little princesses also enjoyed on-theme food like a high tea party, frog princess sandwiches, princess pasta, and chocolate fondue (that last one proved that even princesses can get a little bit messy). They listened to music from some of their favourite Disney princess movies, and perfected their princess wave whenever other campers passed by.

Camp-11

In addition to all the princess themed fun, the girls also enjoyed their good old fashioned camp activities like going for long walks in nature, using the blind trail, and roasting s’mores over the campfire. The girls were lucky to have beautiful weather all weekend so swimming in the ocean was a particular highlight for everyone.

Camp-9

The girls were lucky to have their friends from a few of the Burnaby Mountain Brownies groups staying at a different site on Camp Olave — those girls were having a pirate camp, so the Sparks joined them one night for a joint princess-pirate campfire for s’mores and singing of some of their favourite songs.

Camp-12

Camp Olave is a breathtakingly beautiful spot and our Guiders very much enjoy the opportunity to bring girls there. Even at a very young age the girls have an appreciation for the natural beauty. For many members in the lower mainland, heading to Camp Olave feels a little bit like going home.

Camp-13

Over all the Sparks had a royally good time. They’re all looking forward to what kinds of adventures Guiding will bring them when we get started again in the fall!

Sparks Go Fly a Kite

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks recently celebrated their last regular meeting of the year by taking their meeting outside to fly some kites! Girls had a wonderful time running around to keep their kites in the air and filled the sky with bright moving colours.

IMG_20170610_111140700

Each girl was thrilled to be able take their kite home at the end of the day. The beautiful kites you see here, plus several more, were donated by the wonderful folk at the Kelowna Actor’s Studio. Plenty more girls in Burnaby Mountain District are going to get to have fun with kite flying thanks to their incredible generosity.

IMG_20170610_111133841

Although they’re done with meetings until after the summer, this group is looking forward to camp next weekend. Rumour has it they’re preparing to walk the plank all the way to pirate camp at Camp Olave!

IMG_20170610_111204026

Did you know the 2nd Sparks are one of the only groups in the Area to meet on Saturdays? Burnaby Mountain District is thrilled to offer this option to families. If weekend meetings work better for you, register your girl for next year today at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Sparks Celebrate Canada 150

Last night the girls in the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a great time celebrating Canada in honour of our country’s 150th birthday this year.

2017-05-01 18.37.01

The meeting started with a great discussion about the flag and the singing of the national anthem. Then the group discussed different things they knew about Canada and asked some interesting questions.

2017-05-01 18.36.09

Everyone’s favourite part of the meeting was playing a fun game of “pin the tail on the beaver” — it was so fun they wanted to play again and again! One interesting thing about this meeting was that it was entirely planned by the unit’s Junior Leader, a Ranger who has been working with the unit for the past three years. The Guiders were happy to see how much she has learned about running a unit meeting and working with the girls. It was a great way for this Ranger to work on her leadership skills in a safe, supportive environment.

2017-05-01 18.33.28

The meeting ended with a couple more activities including a flag craft and some goal setting for the future. They sang a traditional Canadian song together before saying goodbye for the night. As an added bonus, this meeting allowed the girls to complete the Canada 150 Challenge, which meant everyone went home with a cool crest. Yay Canada!

Sparks Visit Seniors

Burnaby Mountain District is thrilled to have a great relationship with nearby seniors residence LJ Christmas Manor. Every month a unit visits there to share some Guiding spirit with the older adults who live there. The residence always provides a lovely snack of juice and cookies and the girls provide some entertainment and socialization. The residents always appreciate the visit, some of them looking forward to the event every month.

Last month the 1st and 2nd Sparks visited together. The visit happened to occur on February 22nd, which of course is World Thinking Day, a very special day for Girl Guides. The leaders spoke to the girls and the residents a little bit about the history of Guiding and then sang some favourite campfire tunes to celebrate. Some of the residents even joined in when they sang “Quartermaster’s Store” which is a very traditional song.

20170222_190303

Then the girls and residents paired up to play an exciting game of Sparks Bingo! Words associated with Sparks were called out and the players had to find and dab those words on their cards. These Sparks words included “sharing,” “friendship,” “Crystal,” “promise,” “sleepovers,” and “crafts.” The prize for the bingo games was a package of radish seeds, which happened to fit in great with the “grow” theme that had been decided upon by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for this year’s World Thinking Day.

Everyone was amused to see just how much of a mess five and six year olds can make while using a bingo dabber.

It was a fun evening! Other groups that have visited the manor this year have done activities including skits, games, dancing, and quilting. We love the opportunity to share these moments and memories with others in the community. A huge thank you to the staff at LJ Christmas Manor for allowing us to come in each month.

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.

47th-brownies-politician

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.

2nd-sparks-alpen-horns

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!

Sparks Making Friends with Critters

Last night the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks got to practice the part of their promise that tells them to “be a friend” — with awesome animals! The group welcomed a special guest, Mike (from Mike’s Critters), who brought with him lots of critters for the girls to touch, hold, and learn about.

20161212_181716

The first animal was a chinchilla, which is the world’s softest animal. Her fur was soooo soft to touch! Everyone got the chance to touch her, and some even got to hold her. It was a very exciting start to the presentation.

Other animal guests included a chameleon, a turtle, a hedgehog, and a bunny. There were even some kind of scary animals: a tarantula and a snake! But every animal was very friendly and safe to be around. Mike did a great job of teaching the girls cool things about every single animal that he presented. They learned what kinds of food the animals eat, what kind of environment they live in, how they stay safe from predators, and other interesting facts.

The girls also showed great interest and critical thinking skills when they asked some really good questions. One girl asked why the chameleon has a big ridge on his head (answer: to collect morning dew so it can flow into his mouth) and another wanted to know why the chinchilla had whiskers (answer: so it it can tell if a hole in a cave or tree is big enough to climb into safely).

20161212_184105

It was a really fun day and everyone — even the leaders! — learned a lot. Thank you, Mike, for bringing your awesome critters to our Sparks meeting.