Sparks tour an ambulance

At the most recent meeting for the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks, the leaders warned the parents not to be alarmed when the picked up their girls and saw an ambulance in the parking lot — it wasn’t an emergency, it was just some awesome hands-on learning with a friendly neighborhood paramedic!

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The girls had a great time learning about emergency response procedures in their community while chatting with a friendly paramedic who was very happy to show the girls the workings of his ambulance. They learned all about what is and is not an emergency and when it’s time to call 911. And should any of them ever experience an emergency involving an ambulance, maybe it will be just a little bit less scary now that they know what they look like up close.

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They even got to take home a cool craft that allowed them to build their own 3D model of an ambulance. It was an awesome day!

Program fun

All units in Burnaby Mountain are back and meeting after the holiday break. Units are busy planning great adventures for the rest of the year including camps, sleepovers, trips, outings, community service, and more. Many units are taking advantage of the cold, wet, weather to focus on the exciting and enriching Girl Guides of Canada program materials designed for our girls.

At this week’s meeting the 47th Brownies tackled the Famous Five challenge, in which the girls learned about the five women who took part in the “Persons Case.”  In this famous legal battle, five women successfully convinced the British Empire’s highest court that several Canadian governments were wrong when they interpreted the British North America Act to mean that women were not “persons.” This is a great way to introduce Brownies to the important topics of politics, activism, and women’s rights.

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As a part of the challenge the Brownies invited a local female politician to talk to the girls about our right (and duty!) to vote and to be involved in change. The girls also decorated stylish 1920’s style hats, such as may have been worn by Nellie McClung and the other pioneers of women’s rights in Canada. The above photo shows the girls posing in their hats with the special guest.

On the very same day, the girls in the 2nd Sparks learned about life in another country important to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — Switzerland! The girls had a blast playing a game where they pretended to ski around the hall and watched the Lonely Goatherd puppet show scene from The Sound of Music. Pictured below are the girls performing a concert with their homemade alpen horns. Switzerland is awesome! Maybe some of these girls will one day visit the WAGGGS World Centre in Switzerland, which is called Our Chalet.

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These are just some of the amazing activities being led by our creative and enthusiastic volunteers here in Burnaby Mountain. Every week our girls are engaging in creativity, self-discovery, and hands on learning about the world around them… and all in a safe, empowering environment!

Sparks Making Friends with Critters

Last night the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks got to practice the part of their promise that tells them to “be a friend” — with awesome animals! The group welcomed a special guest, Mike (from Mike’s Critters), who brought with him lots of critters for the girls to touch, hold, and learn about.

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The first animal was a chinchilla, which is the world’s softest animal. Her fur was soooo soft to touch! Everyone got the chance to touch her, and some even got to hold her. It was a very exciting start to the presentation.

Other animal guests included a chameleon, a turtle, a hedgehog, and a bunny. There were even some kind of scary animals: a tarantula and a snake! But every animal was very friendly and safe to be around. Mike did a great job of teaching the girls cool things about every single animal that he presented. They learned what kinds of food the animals eat, what kind of environment they live in, how they stay safe from predators, and other interesting facts.

The girls also showed great interest and critical thinking skills when they asked some really good questions. One girl asked why the chameleon has a big ridge on his head (answer: to collect morning dew so it can flow into his mouth) and another wanted to know why the chinchilla had whiskers (answer: so it it can tell if a hole in a cave or tree is big enough to climb into safely).

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It was a really fun day and everyone — even the leaders! — learned a lot. Thank you, Mike, for bringing your awesome critters to our Sparks meeting.

Awesome Science Guest Speakers

In Burnaby Mountain District we are lucky enough to have access to lots of great guest speakers who are available to come in to speak to our girls about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). With close access to universities, museums, and other programs, we are fortunate enough to have lots of ways to expose our girls to these exciting subjects.

Recently the girls in the 24th Brownies applied to a Science World’s program where they send a professional scientist to your group. They had a chemist named Allyssa, who develops colours and formulas for gel nail polish for a living, volunteer to do a presentation on polymers for the girls.

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She started off with a bang, lighting some powders on fire. Next she did a trick where she poured some water into one of three cups, moved them around and had the girls tell her which one the water was in. When they were sure, she dumped the cup over her head, and nothing came out – and tried this with all three. Of course, she hadn’t disclosed that there was a polymer in the cup with the water, which absorbed the water and turned into into a spongy substance. Then she made fake snow, and lastly gave the girls these squishy little balls called Orbeez. Of course she briefly explained the science behind her demonstrations. The girls really enjoyed her presentation.

And this week, in the University Highlands Guiding group, the unit got a presentation from Let’s Talk Science, the same group that organized our District Science Day last year. For this unit of mixed Brownies and Guides, the SFU scientists led the girls in an activity where they got to extract DNA from strawberries! The hands-on learning was a great way to show the girls the science that exists around us every single day.

An important part of our programming STEM is always a hit with our girls. Stay tuned throughout the year for more examples of how girls learn all about the world around them and how this knowledge and these skills can be applied in on-going passions and careers.

 

Skulls on Tour visits Highlands

This week, the girls in the University Highlands Guiding Unit were thrilled to welcome a very special guest speaker to their meeting. The presenter’s name is Yvonne and her program is called Skulls on Tour. She has a large collection of natural science specimens including… you guessed it: skulls!

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In addition to the scientific learning opportunity the specimens provide, she talked about what it’s like to have a serious collection/hobby, and spoke about the community of other collectors that she’s become a part of. The girls and leaders found it informative on several levels.

The girls were very interested in checking out Yvonne’s collection. They got to get pretty close and even handle some of the specimens. It was a really neat chance to learn about animal physiology.

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Bones, horns, teeth, and fur were all included in the display. There was so much to look at, touch, and feel. Girls were very engaged and asked lots of questions. It was fascinating! Guest speakers are such a fun way to bring something new to a regular unit meeting.

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Yvonne is a Sparks leader in Vancouver and can customize her talk for any age group. For more information, or to inquire about booking Skulls on Tour for your own unit, check out her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skullsandoddities/.

Sparks with Critters

Never a group to shy away from an adventure, the 1st Sparks recently had a special guest come to a meeting. And he brought… friends.Frog

Mike, of Mike’s Critters, was a great host for the girls who learned a tremendous amount about different kinds of animals including what they eat, how they protect themselves, why they look the way they do, and lots of other really cool trivia.

Mike brought a rabbit, a hedgehog, a red-eyed tree frog, a parrot, a leopard gecko, a chinchilla, a chameleon, and a mealy corn snake. The girls got to look at all of the animals up close and were able to touch most of them.

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Did you know the Chinchilla is the softest animal in the whole wide world?spark critter 3

Some special volunteers even got to take turns holding some of the animals. The girls were so brave and were even excited to get to hold the snake!spark critter 1

The girls were so excited to have Mike and his critters at their meeting. It was educational, engaging, and totally hands-on. What a great opportunity. This unit and its leaders give Mike a rave review and totally suggest you check out his website and condsider booking him for your upcoming events.

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Three Ring Brownies

Girls in the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies have been learning about the circus. They recently had one of the district’s Pathfinders, who does circus lessons, come in to show them some tricks and let them try some equipment. stackedActivities including spinning plates, crazy yoyos, juggling, ring tossing, human pyramids, and more. It was a lot of fun!
natashaThe unit is carrying on with the circus theme, currently working on puppets for a three ring puppet show that they will be presenting at a Mother’s Day luncheon. Their puppets are animals, clowns, and acrobats… stay tuned!pyramid

The circus activities are also involved in completing a provincial Arts challenge. How cool is that?

Thank you to the awesome Pathfinder who donated her time to teach the Brownies fun new skills.

Turtles Visit Brownies

A recent regular meeting of the 54th Brownies was made even more exciting than normal with a visit by a guest speaker from an organization called Species at Risk.

The speaker came in to discuss identification of local species and distinctions between native and invasive species, threats to survival, habitat needs and the actions being done to help. She also brought in “ambassador animals” — two juvenile painted tutles named Bert and Ernie that the girls got to handle.

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This presenation worked towards the unit’s program activities about the living world, particularly their “Saving our Plants and Animals” badge. Thank you to Andrea (and Bert and Ernie!) for such an informative presentation. The girls learned a lot.