Halloween Sleepover

On Halloween weekend, Sparks and Brownies from four different units got together at Camp Capilano to enjoy some spooky fun and friendship at a super fun sleepover. The girls had a great time making new friends from the different groups, and everyone got along great. Everybody was kept busy with lots of fun activities.

The girls got to make a variety of crafts including their very own jack-o-lantern candle holder. These were made by gluing tissue paper to mason jars, and lighting them up with a battery operated tea light. This is a special keepsake that girls will be able to remember this sleepover with for a long time.

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Other crafts included pom-pom aliens, and a popular Halloween mask colouring station.

After a supper of mummy dogs and spooky veggies, the group was lucky enough to have nice weather for a wonderful campfire. They each got to take turns making s’mores. For some of the girls this was their first time roasting marshmallows over a campfire! They sang lots of fun campfire songs before going back to the cabin.

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Before bed the girls had a dance party featuring great Halloween music like “The Monster Mash” and theme songs from Ghostbusters and Spiderman. The common room was decorated with awesome Halloween decorations including the jack-o-lantern candle holders the girls had made earlier that night. The disco-style party lights made the atmosphere perfect for dancing.

The next morning early risers got to watch the movie Hotel Transylvania 2, and once everyone was up they all enjoyed a hearty breakfast of pancakes with turkey bacon. A few more festive activities, including the ever-popular pumpkin bowling, kept girls entertained until it was finally time to be picked up.

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Over all it was a very successful sleepover. The leaders were all impressed with how well the girls got along, and everybody was very well behaved. For most of the Sparks it was their first sleepover with Girl Guides, and everyone did great!

 

Fire Hall #6 Sparks Outing

Tonight the girls from the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a very exciting visit to Burnaby Fire No. 6 — a little bit more exciting than they had hoped! Every time the leaders book this outing they are warned that it is an active on-duty fire hall and should there be an emergency the fire fighters will need to respond. Tonight that actually happened!

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The girls had barely arrived when the first truck had to leave. It was exciting watching some of the firefighters quickly gather their things and take out the truck. The siren was really loud too. Once that truck left, the remaining fire fighters started a talk about fire safety and the importance of calling 911… but only in a real emergency!

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A few minutes later the buzzer sounded and the remaining fire fighters had to take the second truck and respond. The Sparks and their leaders were left alone on the grass outside the station. After talking for a bit longer about fire safety, the group decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather to play some duck-duck-goose in the grass.

Luckily, before too long one of the fire trucks came back. The fire fighters had responded to a medical emergency, but the ambulance had arrived allowing the firetruck to go back to the station. The firefighters told the girls a little bit more about fire safety and they practiced “stop, drop, and roll.”

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There was just enough time left for each girl to take a turn using the fire hose. The fire fighters set up a cone to use as a target and each Spark got the chance to spray it with water. It was lots of fun using the equipment.

Finally, everyone got to have a popsicle, which was a great treat on such a hot day. Thank you to the fire fighters of hall #6! The girls learned a lot and it was great to see the first responders in action. They do amazing life-saving work and it was a treat to get a taste of what it’s like to be a fire fighter.

 

 

Art Studio Sparks Outing

A few weeks ago girls in the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks group visited 4 Cats Art Studio (Capitol Hill), one of their favourite outing places! Visiting 4 Cats has become a springtime tradition for the unit, an activity that is partially funded by their spring Girl Guide Cookie campaign.

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Girls who were in the unit last year remembered coming to this place to make awesome Van Gogh-inspired sunflower paintings. This year, they got to try something new — sculpting fairy princesses out of polymer clay and mounting them on starry painted backgrounds.

The staff at this art studio are absolutely amazing. The program leader, Dino, showed great patience and expertise working with girls of this age and helped them work through the art process one step at a time until each of them had created unique and beautiful art.

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Visiting the art studio is a real treat because it exposes girls to supplies and techniques that are much more sophisticated than we can use for our regular unit meeting crafts. Girls love the chance to put on their smock, and make a mess… I mean, a work of art!

Teddy Bear Picnic

For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic

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A couple of weeks ago two Burnaby Mountain Sparks units attended the West Coast Area Teddy Bear Picnic, which was organized by the camping committee for Sparks and Brownies all across the Area. The picnic was at Confederation Park in Burnaby and was a “beary” fun day!

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The girls had a blast participating in classic picnic activities like potato sack races and scavenger hunts. It is always a treat to have such classic outdoor fun with your friends. There were lots of fun teddy-bear themed games, stories, and songs.

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Of course, everyone took a break from the festivities to eat their picnic lunch as well. In addition to all that, each girl had the chance to get her face painted, and everyone got a ride on the miniature train!

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Thank you “beary” much to the West Coast Area camping committee for planning such a fun event. The girls all had a wonderful time.

Pippin Pen Pals

In November of 2014, the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks were surprised to receive a package, hand delivered, from a woman who said it came from her family member in New Zealand. The leaders opened it up and discovered it was from a group of Guiding members from Whitby, Wellington in New Zealand, who wanted to be pen pals!

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In New Zealand, the equivalent of Sparks is called Pippins, and it is for girls aged 5-7. Here in Canada, our Sparks promise “I promise to share and be a friend.” In New Zealand, the girls learn the Pippins saying, “Pippins care, so Pippins share with other children everywhere.” In keeping with both of those ideas, an international friendship has blossomed with each group sending the other packages periodically throughout the year.

The groups have exchanged greeting cards made by the girls, photos, crafts, friendship bracelets, postcards, and crests! In a recent package from the Pippins, each Spark in the unit got a cool crest like one of the ones pictured here:

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The Sparks have heard the Pippins story and all about the different activities the Pippins group does. It is interesting to hear that many of the Pippins will be going to see Frozen on Ice in a couple of months, which is an activity that these Sparks did this year. The Pippins also take turns taking home a doll named Penny Pippin, similar to the Sparks doll, Crystal, who gets taken home by a Spark each week. The Sparks have also learned that New Zealand has opposite seasons to Canada, so when the Sparks had their winter-themed sleepover, the Pippins were having summer camp, and when the Sparks go to camp in the summer, the Pippins are doing winter activities!

Most recently, the Pippins sent the Sparks a package of their Guide biscuits! These biscuits, pictured below, are their equivalent to our Girl Guide cookies. Yum! The 1st Sparks will definitely be sending a box of our own cookies back to them.

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Having gone on for more than a year now, the Pippin pen pal project has been a lot of fun. What an awesome way to experience International Guiding, even at as young an age as Sparks. It really helps the Sparks understand what we mean when we talk about the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts having more than 10 million members all around the world. There is even a possibility that we might get to meet some of the Pippins in person one day!

Sparks go “Go, Dog. Go!”

The girls from the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a fun time at Granville Island this weekend taking in a production from the Carousel Theatre for Young People called “Go Dog Go”. This play, especially for kids aged 3-8, was a lot of fun for the Sparks. Having read the classic children’s book at a previous unit meeting, the girls were eager to see the story made live on stage.

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The 60 minute play was an exploration of movement, color, and music. Check out the colourful set pieces behind the girls as they pose here with one of the show’s talented dogs!

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The Carousel Theatre Company is one of Burnaby Mountain’s favourite local arts organizations and over the last few years, girls from several units have taken in great age-appropriate plays for Sparks, Brownies, and Guides (they have group rates available, too). Burnaby Mountain girls love experiencing the arts!

Dance Workshop for Sparks

The girls in the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks recently visited local Art Space Children’s Art Centre to partake in a physical, creative dance workshop put on by one of their talented instructors.

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The interactive workshop included lots of creative expression as well as working on a group routine that they could show to their parents at the end of the session.

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According to the Art Space website, “Children instinctively communicate ideas and express their emotions to others through movement. As children explore the creativity of movement through dance at artspace, they will develop coordination and endurance,
and strengthen their growing bodies.”

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Girls had a great time learning dance skills like coordination, movement, and technique. For some girls, this was their very first formal dance instruction — for others, they have been involved in dance for a long time. Either way, all the girls had a great time dancing with their Sparks friends.

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Thank you to the staff at Art Space for helping us organize this. It was a lot of fun.

The Perks of Being a Sparks Leader

There are times that being a grown up can be kind of hard. In my case, I’ve been hobbling around my normal life with increased difficulty due to the big awkward cast on my left leg. It has compounded my regular level of mobility difficulty which is due to nerve damage in my legs and feet and has made me a little bit grumpy. Walking is hard, and it makes me tired and sore after just a short time. Meanwhile, I’m busy with work commitments, Girl Guide volunteering, and finishing my final (and most stressful) semester of a Master’s degree.

20160105_183942So when I was arriving at Sparks last night, part of me was just eager for it to be over so I could go home and relax after a long day. Before long my spirits were lifted as I chatted with a dad who was so proud that his daughter would be doing her very first show and tell that evening – even though she was nervous and not sure she wanted to bring anything from home, at the very last minute she decided to bring a special doll and was excited to show it to her friends. He was thrilled by how much Sparks was helping her to try new things and develop her confidence.

At the show and tell circle, I started things off by showing the girls my cast. They expressed lots of concern and were very interested to hear lots of details about what it was made of and how it was put on. They even asked lots of really great questions – “are you able to wiggle your toes in there?” one asked, with big curious eyes. Yes, as a matter of fact, I can… but you can’t tell by looking at me. Several wanted to know if I was allowed to draw on it, and I told them that I was.

After show and tell finished and we completed another activity, I took out a pile of coloured Sharpies and invited the girls to help me decorate the cast.

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At first there was a little bit of chaos as they swarmed around me – they were so excited to do this! – but we quickly agreed that they could take turns and once someone finished a design they would move aside to let someone else have a turn. Not all 16 Sparks could colour one cast at the same time, after all.

Watching them attentively draw and write messages, I was quickly overcome with emotion. It was so clear how much they all cared. The cast was soon covered in hearts, flowers, and rainbows, along with carefully penned messages like “I love you” and “I hope you feel better.”

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Prior to going to Sparks I was grumpy and tired. I had also spent the last several days embarrassed of the cast, trying to hide it behind baggy pants and feeling awkward when people asked me about it. Today I love the cast and it makes me smile when I see it. I wore a skirt to work today and have been showing it off to my coworkers.

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Sure, being a grown up can be kind of hard – and being a volunteer Sparks leader is a lot of work sometimes too. But this week, I was reminded of why it is so worth it, and why I love what I do. Thank you, 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks, for sharing your cheer, your caring, and your confidence. I am proud to be your leader, and so proud to wear the cast you decorated for me.

Units Visit Bright Lights

Recent weeks have seen outings from two different Burnaby Mountain units visiting the Bright Lights at Stanley Park and the festive Christmas Train.2nd sparks stanley park

First, on a Saturday afternoon, the 2nd Sparks enjoyed the sights and sounds of seasonal merriment, then on a Tuesday evening the 22nd Guides enjoyed the lights during a much darker time of day.

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The Sparks really enjoyed the train itself, oohing and ahhing over the different displays. They enjoyed the music and recognizing scenes from different Christmas stories that they all know and love, including Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and Frozen.

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For the Guides, at nighttime, what really stood out were the 3 million lights set up in a variety of displays. It really looked magical.

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The Bright Lights event benefits the local Burn Fund, an excellent cause! Both units had a great time.

Sparks See Frozen on Ice

Eight months ago when Disney on Ice announced their touring production of Frozen on Ice would be visiting Vancouver this November, one Spark Guider knew that this is something girls in her unit would love to see. She jumped on the opportunity to order tickets in the group sales pre-buy.

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This fall, girls in the 1st Sparks worked very hard to sell Girl Guide cookies — together they sold more than 70 cases! — to help subsidize the event.

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Eager for the show to start

On November 28th, 16 girls and their Guiders went to Pacific Coliseum to see their favourite movie re-enacted by world class figure skaters. Girls were dazzled by the special effects, impressed by the skaters’ talents, and eager to sing along to their favourite Frozen tunes.

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Mesmerized by the skating

The leaders were impressed by how well the girls followed instructions and kept together as a group. As you might imagine, there were a lot of little girls at the coliseum that day. The group navigated the busy chaos without any problems — even the super crowded bathroom at intermission!

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Olaf singing about summertime

It was a fun day, enjoyed by all. The only thing more magical than seeing Frozen on Ice is seeing it with a big group of your closest Spark friends.