Brownie day trip to Galiano Island

One recent Saturday, despite the foreboding skies and strong winds, the 24th and 47th Brownies ventured to a Southern Gulf Island for a field trip with the Galiano Conservancy Association.
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With the Edible Forest program, they went on a hike, matching paint chips to things in nature. The sun smiled on them, and they stopped for a snack before being taught how to harvest nettle and two species of fir needles along the way to the Forest Garden.
When the girls had gathered enough foliage, they played some games under the tarp while their tea steeped. They participated in a teaching train activity, teaching each other things they learned about some of the plants in the garden.
Lastly, they planted peas, and one of the Guiders heard that in only a week and a half, they had already sprouted (that’s the photo below, sent from one of our contacts there).
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The interpreters were really great. They were super friendly and patient, full of stories and songs, and an obvious love of nature!
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It was a 10-hour day for the group, and it was a big day of outdoor fun. Way to go, Brownies!

Spring Cookie Season

Girl Guide Cookies are on sale now in the lower mainland. Burnaby Mountain girls are busy selling them to family and friends, going door-to-door, and out in public at skytrain stations and other blitz locations.

Recently, the girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies got geared up for Girl Guide Cookie season by baking their own using the recipe that was used for the very first Girl Guide cookies back in 1927. Each circle had a recipe card. Written into the instructions were important steps like,”wash your hands,” and “put all ingredients away,” so that from start to finish, they were independently working together and cleaning as they went. The leaders were there only for assistance when needed.

The cookies have come a long way since they started. The 1927 cookies were mildly spiced sugar cookies. Most girls seem to like the current chocolate and vanilla (or in the fall, Chocolatey Mint) version a little better. Still, it was a lot of fun to make the originals! In the end, each girl brought home a container of cookies, and even left some behind for the school staff.

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Want to try it yourself? Here is the recipe:

Christina Riespman’s 1927 Girl Guide Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 Eggs
2 tablespoons cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 or more cups flour to make soft dough

Directions:

  • Cream butter and sugar, Beat in eggs and cream
  • Combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and flour
  • Sift dry into wet ingredients and mix into dough.
  • Roll and cut, using a small floured glass or cookie cutter
  • Sprinkle with sugar, then bake at moderate heat, until done.
  • Enjoy!

Look for the much more modern Chocolate and Vanilla sandwich cookies out in the community now!

Survival Snowshoeing Brownies

Earlier this month, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies and 27th Brownies went to Mount Seymour for a day of snowshoeing fun!
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They did a Junior Survivor snowshoe tour with park staff on the mountain. It was hard to believe they were tromping on over 2m of snow in such beautiful weather with the most incredible views.
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Getting there wasn’t too bad, even in the wintery weather. They simply took the shuttle up there from Rupert station.
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The girls didn’t trek terribly far, but they enjoyed a little scavenger hunt and the discussion of which items would be helpful for survival. It was impressive to see how well the girls could run in snowshoes while playing “Hypothermia Tag”.
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Although for the most part it wasn’t overly cold up there, the wind was pretty vicious when the girls were shelter-building. They were all glad to be served hot chocolate when they got back to the starting point.
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The girls all seemed to have a great time, except for one Brownie who thought it was too cold — gee, I wonder why with all that beautiful snow!

Happy Lunar New Year

Last week, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies did some work on the program area Key to My Community (with a bit of Arts thrown in). Given the trio of holidays the calendar presented them with, they had a Valentine’s-Flag Day-Chinese New Year mashup!
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For Flag Day activities, the girls took turns reading out “fun facts” about the flag, and quizzed themselves (multiple choice) about the national anthem (and, of course, learned the lyrical change that was recently made). They then learned the Michael Mitchell song, “Canada In My Pocket” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnZlAOSEmYQ).
So that there would be some time for the glue to dry, they next decorated the dragon mask that one of the leaders had made at home.  They were really into it! They decided that it had to be a girl, to be in Girl Guides.
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When that was done, another leader shared some traditional Chinese foods with them: longevity peach buns, and nian gao, a sticky sweet rice cake, which she had made. They weren’t a big hit, but the leaders were proud of the girls for trying new foods.
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They then split the girls into their circles and rotated them through the Chinese calligraphy station (where a leader showed them how to use the brushes and ink or special watercolour paint to write “dog” and other words), and the “lucky money” Valentine’s station. There they each wrote a compliment on a bit of paper for another Brownie, and put them in a red envelope so that each girl left with a pocket of nice things about themselves.
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The girls enjoyed finishing the meeting with at least a few minutes to do the dragon dance in the gym. They used 4m of this really lovely flowy fabric and the freshly decorated mask. After a few minutes, it dissolved into a game of body chasing the head (and plenty of giggles!).
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Anyway, for a Key that can tend towards the cerebral rather than the experiential, it was a really fun meeting!
Happy New Year!

Brownies on Ice

The 24th Brownies recently went ice skating, fulfilling the girls’ most-voted activity request. Coincidentally, their meeting time falls into a Loonie Skate period at Moody Park Arena in New Westminster, which runs from 7-8:30pm on Thursdays, so that by the time the girls got all laced up, they only had to wait a few minutes before they were allowed onto the ice.
One of the unit’s Guiders is a skating instructor, so it didn’t take long before girls who had started out pushing the skating support frame were tootling around on their own, and even attempting to jump while skating.
It was great to see so many girls having their skills and confidence increasing so quickly. And this is also a great example of unit programming being chosen by the girls — great idea, Brownies!

Brownie Halloween Party

Girl Guides loves celebrating special days! Many units, including our 54th Burnaby Brownies, celebrated Halloween at the end of October.

In Brownies, Special Days is even a badge that the girls can work on in their programming. This unit incorporated those activities into their Halloween party. Girls came to the meeting wearing their costumes. Pikachus, mermaids, unicorns, Hermione Grangers and more all had a great time.

One of the activities involved girls in teams turning one of their friends into a toilet paper mummy. It was a close competition, but the mummy below was the winning creation!

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At Girl Guides the leaders love to get in on the fun too. This, clearly, is a fun leadership team to be a part of!

The units Guiders came dressed as Super Guider and She-Ra, Princess of Power. Thanks for being so festive, ladies!

Special days can be a lot of fun and they can also be an important part of how we connect as a community. Stay tuned for some photos of our girls at a local Remembrance Day ceremony this past weekend.

Nocturnal Animal Tour of Burnaby Lake

Last week the 24th Brownies and 56th Guides teamed up for an outing to Burnaby Lake where they learned all about nocturnal creatures with the help of staff from Metro Vancouver Parks. More info about their programming is available here.

It was a really fun night! Unfortunately, between the rain and the dark it wasn’t easy to get good photos, but luckily one of the Brownie leaders was happy to tell us all about it (and to share the couple of photos she did try to take). Here’s what she’s said:

Since the Guides group is so big, we had two interpreters, and it cost about $5/girl for a two-hour expedition. Since it was pretty well dark by 6:30, we did the Nocturnal Creatures program. My group started out with a “Hedbanz” style game where the girls had to guess which animal they had been assigned by asking yes or no questions.

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We talked about the heightened senses that nocturnal animals use. For the next activity, three bottles, each containing a different scent (lemon, coconut or mint) representing a different beaver family, were set out around the small area we were in.  The girls were each handed a bottle with one of three scents in it. They then had to use their sense of smell to identify which family they belonged to. Then we started on our hike. Along the way, we hoped to see a flying squirrel come out of a box high up on a tree, but none came out when our interpreter knocked. We were shown an owl skull, and a demonstration on how much noise a single goose feather makes when flapped through the air (a surprising amount) versus an entire owl wing (amazingly, none!). We looked (in vain) for salamanders. The girls learned about bats’ super hearing with wire hangers, string and a spoon.

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There was an activity on our (in)ability to see colour in the dark where the girls were handed different coloured crayons and papers and they had to write down which colour they thought each item was, and see if they were right when they turned on their flashlights.

Lastly, the girls played a sensory game where plastic toys (frog, fish, egg, etc) were hidden in a container they had to reach into blindly to find and discern. Despite the cold and the rain, it seemed like everyone had a good time!

Sounds like fun! The Metro Vancouver Parks people always do such a great job with their field trip programs. It’s a great way for our girls to learn about the natural world in a hands-on and interactive way. It’s always so cool to be reminded about the awesome nature that we have right here in our backyards.

Circus Sleepover

Girls from several Brownies units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered last weekend for the first sleepover of the year! Used as a way to kick off the Guiding year, this sleepover at West Coast Area’s own Richmond Guide House, was a big hit with all of the girls.

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They started the event by exploring the city of Richmond! The group went on a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where they learned a lot about the local history of people and industry in that area. They also took a Once Upon a Time walking tour, seeing sites in the community of Steveston which have become famous as Storybrooke in the popular television show.

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Back at the Guide house, the girls embraced their circus theme for the rest of the night. At this circus, tents were used for sleeping, not performing — despite it raining in the night, the girls slept in tents in the secure backyard. What a great way to start girls with camp skills! Girls (and even some of the leaders) learned a thing or two about setting up tents. And by not dedicating sleeping space inside, the group had lots of space for awesome circus themed activities.

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The girls worked through stations including drama games, songs, and dance. The event earned girls the Arts to Go: Circus challenge for exploring all these different areas. Their craft was cool little acrobat dolls that had a marble inside which made the figures tumble down a slope on the right kind of surface.

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They ate some carnival type snacks (sliders, ribs, corn on the cob, mac ‘n cheese) before making a “dessert craft” of circus trains made out of graham crackers, animal crackers, and smarties wheels held together with frosting. The girls got a chance to try making balloon animals, and even had a talent show, before ending the evening with an indoor “campfire” with glow sticks.

Over all it was a fun and memorable way to get the Guiding year going. It was a great preview of some of the fun activities these Brownies will experience in their regular units.

Interested in joining the fun? It’s not too late. Even though all the units have started meeting for the year, we do take registrations all year ’round and most Burnaby Mountain units still have space available to welcome new girls. Registration is available online at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Art for Reconciliation

The 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies got off to a great start this year by finding a way to contribute to peace and friendship in our community. The group participated in the Reconciliation Art Project as part of the annual Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver.

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The Brownies painted rocks with messages of acceptance and friendship and then placed them as part of a large art installation in Strathcona Park which greeted participants where the walk ends.

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It is great to see our girls taking acting to support better relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Way to go, girls!

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.