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.

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!

Girls Jump to the Sky

Back in March the University Highlands Guiding Unit had a fun active outing at Sky Zone, a trampoline park in Surrey.

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This unique physical activity is lots of fun. With massive wall-to-wall trampolines to bounce on, these girls had an absolute blast! They just about defied gravity with their high jumps.

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Sky Zone was a great way for girls to play with their friends. In Girl Guides, even adults make new friends. The Guiders for this unit didn’t know each other before working together with the unit this year and it’s been so great to see their friendship grow.

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If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to bounce over to girlguides.ca to register for next Guiding year. Some units in Burnaby Mountain District are very close to full already. And if you want to volunteer, please reach out and contact us — we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for the University Highlands Guiding Unit? Next year this mixed Brownie and Guide group is splitting into two separate groups. Look for the 27th Brownies and 49th Guides if you want to register your girl at the Highlands location.

Cleaning Up with Teamwork

This week girls from the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides and the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies worked together to collect litter, cleaning up the environment around Silver Creek and Forest Grove elementary school where the Guides meet.

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A registered service project with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, this group of 17 girls managed to collect about 4 pounds of garbage — not bad since most of what they found was lightweight objects like food wrappers and cigarette butts. Together they walked about 4km, leaving the area much cleaner than they found it.

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The project started a few weeks ago when as part of their program work, the Guides invited the second year Brownies to one of their meetings so they could see what it was like to be a Guide. One of the things the Guides were doing that day was planning their upcoming community clean up project. The Brownies helped the older girls plan, brainstorming what supplies they would need, what routes they would take, and how to organize the day. It was a great example of girls taking the lead.

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On the day of the clean up, the Brownies once again joined the Guides to see the project through. The girls started with a fun ice breaker game of Unicorn Tag to energize them and get them working together. Then they set out on the clean up.

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We are very fortunate in Burnaby Mountain District to meet in an area of such great natural beauty. The forests and creeks around our meeting places feature lovely and important greenery as well as salmon-bearing streams and habitats for wildlife like birds, bugs, and even bears. Thank you, girls and their leaders, for helping keep our community clean!

Sea-to-Sky Extended Hike

This past weekend girls from all branches of Burnaby Mountain District participated in a fun-filled day camp at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC. It was a really successful district event!

This post is the “extended hike” out-trip option that was available for older girls. Those who were in third year Guides or older had the option to choose an “extended hike” program that was a little bit more adventurous than the other activities planned that day. In total, 6 girls and 2 adults took part in this option.

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The hikers started their day with a hike over to Shannon Falls before riding the gondola to the summit. From there the real adventure began. The group took on the Wonderland Lake Loop hike, which was designated as a “snowshoe” only trail.

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When we first started planning this event back in September we didn’t expect there to still be so much snow at the summit in May! But the leaders were keen to take the girls on this adventure and used it as a great opportunity to learn about hiking skills and emergency preparedness.

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The trail is a 1.6km loop, normally a low-intermediate difficulty, but was made more challenging by the wet, soft snow. It was a great workout of a hike. It was the first time snowshoeing for many of the girls, but the leaders, who did have more snowshoe experience, assured us that the softness of the snow would have made it tricky for even seasoned snowshoers. There was some slipping and falling, but everyone kept in great spirits. The girls did great!

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After the Wonderland Lake Loop, which took the group a couple of hours, everyone was happy to relax amidst the beautiful views and eat their lunch before descending in the gondola and heading home.

What a great adventure! Stay tuned for a post in a few days about what the other 50+ girls got up to at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola day camp. It was a fun day for all!

Street Wise Martial Arts Outing

Last week the girls in the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides didn’t let Spring Break keep them from working together on awesome Girl Guide programming! The group got together during the break for an outing at Excel Martial Arts in Coquitlam.

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At the martial arts centre, the girls took part in a self defense class which was tailored to help them work towards their Street Wise Safety badge. They learned skills that could help keep them safe while also having an excellent time being active.

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Their instructor for the evening was none other than Burnaby Mountain district’s camping advisor and Pathfinder leader extraordinaire — it seems there is nothing this woman can’t do! Thanks, Guider Marie, for a fun night!

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There is something deeply satisfying about seeing so many pieces come together so nicely: program work for a badge, empowering our girls to feel safer in the community, the Guiding sisterhood in action, a new example of healthy active living, and, of course, FUN!

District Camp Flower Power

Burnaby Mountain District was thrilled to wrap up the 2015/2016 Guiding year with a District Camp at beautiful Camp Olave last weekend. Guiders have been busy planning and promoting this camp since February of this year — hosting a camp for 78 girls and 20 adults is a lot of work! But it was worth it. Camp Flower Power was a great success.

One of the great things about District Camp is it encourages girls to make new friends and experience the sisterhood of Guiding. Girls from all Burnaby Mountain units were mixed up on three sites (two for Sparks/Brownies and one for Guides/Pathfinders/Rangers) so they got to meet lots of new girls and leaders.

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Stay tuned for more posts about camp with lots of pictures from different activities — since most units are now done until September, we’ll be posting about camp a few times over the summer.

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Thank you so much to the hard working core staff volunteers who coordinated organization, transportation, accommodation, program activities, and health and safety for this camp. Thank you as well to all the hard working Guiders who worked as site Guiders, patrol Guiders, program leaders, and quartermasters all weekend. Girls had a great time!

District Thinking Day: Connecting

February 27th Burnaby Mountain District came together to celebrate World Thinking Day. Following the lead from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) we took a “Connect” theme and decided to connect as a district while also connecting with the community. The focus of the event was a food bank drive for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank done in the style of a can art construction competition.

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Each unit had been working for the past few months on collecting non-perishable foods, mostly in cans, in preparation for the event. Girls took time to consider their donations and to plan a sculpture that took into consideration a Guiding theme (so we could also connect with worldwide Guiding!). At Saturday’s event, the girls worked together, showing great cooperation, to assemble their sculptures.

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Sparks, Brownies, and Guides had a great time building with the canned goods. Older girls got involved in other ways. One Ranger took the lead coordinating the donation drop off with the food bank and lead a team of dedicated Pathfinders and Rangers in tasks like assembling and filling the boxes, and arranging to have the goods dropped off at the local fire department, which would hold the donations until the Food Bank could arrange pickup on Monday morning.

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Pathfinders and Rangers also helped to run the bake sale, which was a fundraiser for the upcoming district camp, and also the WAGGGS inspired “Connect” picture frame activity, which helped some units complete their WAGGGS Thinking Day 2016 Challenge.

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Congratulations to the 49th Guides who won the sculpture competition with their trefoil-inspired piece. The unit won some funds for unit activities and each girl got a small prize.

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The real winner, of course, was the Greater Vancouver Food Bank which got a donation of more than 800 cans and other items (including a good number of Girl Guide Cookies!). Thank you to everyone who donated, and who helped to pack and move the boxes. We also want to thank the City of Burnaby, which donated cool prize packs for every participant including a pin, pencil, and chocolate treat.

 

Badges, Badges, Badges!

Girl Guides LOVE earning badges. Recently the girls in the 22nd Guides had a badge testing night where they got to show off their hard work on interest badges as part of Girl Guides of Canada programming. Interest badges are a great way for girls to explore their interests, try new things, learn new skills, and have fun.

At badge testing, girls are responsible for showing leaders what they have done to satisfy the requirements of the badges. Here are some of the girls during their testing.

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These two girls demonstrated different kinds of artistic skills for the Art Production badge.

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These two baked up some delicous snacks for the Tasty Treats badge.

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This girl earned her Cycling badge.

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The unit would like to thank District Commissioner Gerry for coming to the meeting to help with badge testing. All the girls had a great time earning their badges and presenting their work. Another great example of the cool personal development opportunties in Girl Guides of Canada!