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.

IMG_0150 (1)

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.

IMG_0260

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.

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.

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.

IMG_1539

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.

IMG_1519

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.

IMG_1460

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.

IMG_1540

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.

SOAR group

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.

SOAR Marie

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.

facebook_1501012222284

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!

Sun Printing at Brownies

We love the summertime sunshine, don’t you? The girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies did a cool science-related craft using 100% natural sunlight at one of their meetings earlier this year.

IMG_0134 (1)

The process is called Sun Printing. It uses special sun-sensitive (cyanotype) fabric to change colour. First, they laid out a design with various items items on the cyanotype cotton squares. They used a mix of natural materials like plants, and non-natural materials like foam craft shapes to make a design.

IMG_0138

After leaving them outside for about 20 minutes, the items which had blocked the UV rays from causing a reaction on the cotton left a negative print.

IMG_0141

The girls then rinsed the cotton squares in cold running water and then spritzed them with rubbing alcohol to quickly change the background to a lovely shade of blue. They then arranged the squares on pillowcases, carefully pinned them in place, and one of the leaders brought them home to sew them on.

IMG_0146

The finished products show each girl’s unique design, made with a super awesome sun-powered printing process.

IMG_0259

What a unique way to combine science and art in Girl Guides of Canada programming. This is just another example of what girls get up to at regular unit meetings.

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.

20170715_132951

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.

20170715_114747

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!

20170715_121253

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.

20170715_132641

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.

20170715_123618

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.

20170715_115057

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???

20170624_111442

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.

20170624_114100

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!

20170624_114529

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!

IMG_0374

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.

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!

Year-End Family Picnic

At Burnaby Mountain District we believe that part of our job as an organization within the community is to provide opportunities for the families of all of our girls to gather for fun, informal, social events. This is why we love putting on events like this year’s advancement and family picnic!

Picnic

The event began with a simple advancement ceremony where girls symbolically crossed footbridges to signify crossing over to the next branch in Guiding. This leaving ceremony complimented whatever celebrations different units had to give girls their end of year badges, awards, and recognition.

Picnic-3

The main part of the event was a family picnic including barbecued hotdogs and other snacks plus a variety of games and activities for the kids. Check out one Brownie, below, showing off her cool temporary tattoo, and some other members catching a watermelon break at the craft station:

Activities like these are really exciting because it gives the girls a chance to play and interact with girls from other units. Older girls and younger girls have a good time together, plus siblings get to get in on the fun as well!

Picnic-4

We really appreciate all the families who chose to spend the day with us to celebrate the close of the Guiding year. Although summer has just started, we can hardly wait to get back at it in the fall.

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.

DSC_0486

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.

DSC_0456

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.

DSC_0483 (1)

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.

DSC_0515

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.

DSC_0457

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.

DSC_0455

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!