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!

Welcome to Canada

As we embark on a Canada Day long weekend celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, it seems like a good time to post about Burnaby Mountain District’s Thinking Day event from this year — although this happened back in February, it is just as relevant today.

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Back in 2016 at our district camp, girls from all units in Burnaby Mountain District worked on Welcome to Canada cards which were donated to ISS of BC to help welcome immigrants and refugees new to Canada. When we delivered these cards, our Guiders were so impressed by the work of this organization that we wanted to do more to help welcome these newcomers.

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This is what inspired our Thinking Day 2017 Welcome to Canada luncheon. Working with ISS of BC, we invited six families with children aged 4-17 to join us for our Thinking Day celebration. Girls and their families from all of our units came out to this event, demonstrating how kind, friendly, and welcoming our community is.

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We began with a colour party and the singing of O Canada. We served a tasty lunch to everybody. Nothing builds camaraderie in a community quite like sharing food together, after all. Following the meal, girls gave presentations that they had worked on in their units which included sharing songs, dance, and artwork. At the end of the presentations, the entire district encouraged all the special guests to participate in a sing-a-long campfire. Specially chosen songs with big actions and repeat-after-me lyrics were chosen so that even those unfamiliar with our songs or language could still enjoy.

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In the closing remarks a representative from ISS of BC helped us hand out welcome gifts to the families. These were composed on donations from our girls and families of gift cards, transit tickets, and new gifts like Canucks scarves, toys, and treats — and of course, the gift bags also had Girl Guide Cookies! We were also able to donate a large basket of gently used toys, books, and games for ISS of BC to bring back to their welcome centre to use in their daycare facilities.

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This project felt more important than ever this year with the socio-political context in some parts of the world being less than welcoming to immigrants and refugees. Many parents commented on how valuable it is to have Girl Guides provide the opportunity for their girls to get involved and take action to welcome newcomers like this, to demonstrate their compassion and the warmth of our communities, and to get them engaged even at a very young age in conversations about why this is so important.

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The special guests all seemed to have a good time as well. They appreciated the warm welcome and their children had a great time singing the songs and then afterwards playing outside on the playground with our girls. Some of the families even made inquiries about how to join Girl Guides. Over all, it was a Thinking Day that we’re not likely to ever forget.

Happy Canada Day from Burnaby Mountain District!

Brownies Build Birdhouses

This week the girls from the 54th Brownies went to Home Depot to try out some new skills with tools and construction!

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Each girl got to make her very own birdhouse. Leaders were impressed with how quickly some of the girls picked up on the skills, figuring out how to assemble their pieces and how to screw and nail them together almost before they even told how! It is great to see them all so proudly showing off their creations.

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The leaders were very impressed with the program offered to them by the staff at Home Depot. One leader said “Mark, Gary, and Penny at Home Depot on Henning Drive were fantastic! They were so helpful, went out of their way to accommodate us (Especially Gary who precut all the pieces at home on his day off!)” Wow! A huge thank you to Home Depot and its staff for supporting Girl Greatness in our community!

Units Visit Local Seniors

Our district is pretty excited this year to be continuing to make connections in this community. This fall and winter, units from our district have been building a relationship with LJ Christmas Manor, a local senior citizens highrise complex under the sponsorship of the Lions Club. This vibrant community of seniors have been happy to receive our units, and our girls have been so welcomed that we hope to make return visits.

22 Guides Seniors 2In November the 22nd Guides did a Remembrance Day visit. They sang some of Guiding’s more traditional and sombre songs in honour of the occasion and shared a snack with residents afterwards.

54 Brownies Seniors 9In December the 54th Brownies visited and sang a campfire that mixed traditional campfire songs (including some silly ones!) with Christmas carols. The girls then gave out Christmas themed gift bags with handmade ornaments and cards.

54 Brownies Seniors 4As an added bonus, the Brownies ended up invited to watch a shuffleboard tournament happening down the hall and were given a lesson! For many, this was the first time they had encountered the game.

Thanks for having us, Christmas Manor! Hopefully some of our units will be able to make it out to visit you this Spring.