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!

SOARing to Adventure

Last week a few girls plus two leaders from Burnaby Mountain District participated in a very exciting week-long provincial Girl Guide camp in Smithers, BC. SOAR — which stands for Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous — is a momentous occasion that happens every three year. Roughly 2500 girl and adult members gathered in Smithers to celebrate Guiding, camping, and fun.

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This veritable army of Girl Guides came from all around the province. There were also visiting patrols from across Canada and even international patrols from places such as Japan, Peru, and Scotland.

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SOAR is known for being an exciting camp full of incredible opportunities for activities and out trips. Program options at SOAR 2017 included horseback riding, paddle boarding, river rafting, forensics workshops, sculpting, a First Nations world heritage site, an amazing race, cycling, fly fishing, and more! Girls also got involved in local community service projects including putting together hygiene packages for a women’s transition house, renovating a horse arena, and constructing a horseshoe pit at a senior’s home.

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Flying to Smithers and camping for a week was an exciting — and expensive — endeavor. These girls worked hard selling a huge number of Girl Guide Cookies to make this experience possible. Thank you so much to the hard working Burnaby Mountain volunteer leaders who made this possible for their patrol.

Photo credits to West Coast Area. Check them out on Facebook for many more photos of this incredible camping experience!

Gold Camp at Manning Park

Last week Burnaby Mountain’s 14th Pathfinders had their year end camp at Manning Park. Gold Camp is the grand finale of Pathfinder program and allows third year girls to take on tremendous leadership in planning their own camping adventure.

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It’s great to see the Pathfinders continuing their programming even into July, after many groups have stopped for the year. Guider Marie is never one to let good camping opportunities slip away and nothing is better on a beautiful summer weekend than camping with your Guiding friends in a great BC park.

This Gold Camp was planned by three third year girls who each was responsible for her own site of two or three younger girls (Guides and Pathfinders) and got to host leaders at mealtimes.

It gives the girls a great chance to experience the work that goes into planning the meals, activities, and safety considerations involved in executing an awesome camp in Girl Guides. It’s a lot of responsibility to be in charge of what’s happening, especially when you have younger and less experienced campers in your care.

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The site was Coldspring Campground at EC Manning Provincial Park. It is a beautiful spot with lots of great nature and wildlife to enjoy. It was fun seeing the many marmots popping up to say hello!

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A particular highlight of the trip was spending a couple of hours canoeing and kayaking on Lightning Lake. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

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Other activities included field games like capture the flag, and a “campfire” that was hardly hampered by the campfire ban — the girls still sang their favourite songs and even roasted s’mores using their propane camp stoves.

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For the Guides who were invited as guests to this camp, it was a great chance to see what kinds of fun await in Pathfinders. Guiding is all about celebrating both old and new friendships.

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Well done, third years, for hosting such an awesome Gold Camp! Completing the Pathfinder program is a lot of work, but in the meantime you’ve all gained excellent skills, not to mention the fun, friendship, and memories!

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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!

Pathfinder January Camp

Earlier this month the 14th Burnaby Mountain Pathfinders braved the cold winter climate at Girl Guides’ wonderful Camp Kanaka in Maple Ridge. They stayed at the tenting site Serenity but were lucky to also have access to the basement of Lougheed Lodge to warm up from time to time! That especially nice for a cozy breakfast with friends.

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When they arrived (on a chilly Friday the 13th!) girls had to clear away snow so they could pitch their tents. Luckily, their fearless leader is the district camping advisor, so the group knew exactly what to do to stay safe, warm, and dry.

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It was a beautiful weekend for hiking. This group loves to spend time in the outdoors.

Much of the weekend was spent practicing camp skills, including campfire. They spent time making different kinds of fire starters and then testing them out to see which ones burned best. Materials included egg cartons, cotton balls, candle wax, vaseline, and even tampons! They recorded not only how long each kind burned, but also assessed the quality of the flame.

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Later that night they put their skills to the test for a wonderful evening campfire, including tasty “banana boat” treats. Bananas, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles all warmed around a toasty fire… how could that be bad??

Over all it was an excellent camping adventure. These Pathfinders had a fantastic time with their friends.

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!

 

Campfire time

When you think of camp, one of the first things to come to mind may be sitting around the campfire with your friends — there’s a reason this is one of the most beloved traditions in Girl Guides!

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At this summer’s Burnaby Mountain District Camp Flower Power, girls loved their opportunity to enjoy campfire. And for many, campfire wouldn’t be campfire without one important treat… s’mores!

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Whether you prefer your marshmallow lightly toasted or charred all over, part of the fun is the experience of roasting your own. Every girl has her own trick to get it juuuuust right. Every now and again something unexpected happens: a marshmallow catches flame or falls into the pit. But each mishap is a learning experience. Nothing beats being able to do it yourself. Even our littlest girls really enjoy roasting their marshmallows.

Of course, the only thing better than roasting the marshmallow is eating it, right? And when it meets graham cracker and chocolate… mmm… perfection.

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But campfire means so much more than just marshmallows and s’mores. A highlight of District Camp was getting all 75 campers together to participate in a fun sing-a-long of campfire favourites. In honour of the Flower Power theme, we serenaded camp with our chosen camp theme song: All You Need is Love.

All you need is love — love is all you need.

Swimming in the Ocean

On the warmest days of summer nothing sounds as refreshing as cooling down in the chill waters of the pacific ocean. At Camp Olave, girls at our District Camp Flower Power got to get the summer started with exactly this experience.

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The waterfront is one of the best parts of camp, and having on site lifeguards means we get to take advantage of the water by going for a swim. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of waves crashing into your shins as you navigate the rocky beach. All around is nature — interesting rocks, seaweeds and crabs are all over the beach for girls who would prefer to beach comb.

Depending how far out the tide is, the water can be very deep or quite shallow. That’s why all swimmers either wear a PFD or have a swim test administered by life guards. Water shoes are also very important to protect our feet from the rocks. All of this being prepared allows us to have the best possible time on the beach.

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Beach time is one of the girls’ favourite camp activities — some start asking when we get to go swimming before we’ve even unrolled our sleeping bags the first night! They look forward to it all day until its their turn to explore the beach and the water under the warm summer sun.