Relaxing Rangers

A couple of weeks ago girls from our 12th Rangers unit went for a relaxing weekend at beautiful Camp Olave. The main goals were to relax and to get to know each other better, and these goals were met with great success!

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The Rangers stayed in the Ranger cottage, which was a beautiful site right by the water. They were very lucky, as they ended up having beautiful weather the entire weekend.
They spent the weekend hiking the various trails that Camp Olave has, cooking, and spending a lot of time on the beach! Since it was the weekend before Halloween, the girls also carved pumpkins!
They also spent the evening playing a game of Monopoly that ended up lasting 5 hours. The girls got so serious about the game that they ate dinner around the coffee table, so that they wouldn’t have to move the game board! Afterwards, they made S’mores in the oven for mug up.
These girls work hard in Guiding, at school, and with their other commitments including family, jobs, and sports. It was so nice to relax together and have fun.

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.

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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!

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

Sparks Go Fly a Kite

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks recently celebrated their last regular meeting of the year by taking their meeting outside to fly some kites! Girls had a wonderful time running around to keep their kites in the air and filled the sky with bright moving colours.

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Each girl was thrilled to be able take their kite home at the end of the day. The beautiful kites you see here, plus several more, were donated by the wonderful folk at the Kelowna Actor’s Studio. Plenty more girls in Burnaby Mountain District are going to get to have fun with kite flying thanks to their incredible generosity.

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Although they’re done with meetings until after the summer, this group is looking forward to camp next weekend. Rumour has it they’re preparing to walk the plank all the way to pirate camp at Camp Olave!

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Did you know the 2nd Sparks are one of the only groups in the Area to meet on Saturdays? Burnaby Mountain District is thrilled to offer this option to families. If weekend meetings work better for you, register your girl for next year today at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Sea-to-Sky Day Camp

Earlier this month Burnaby Mountain District hosted a day camp for girls from all branches at the beautiful Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC. We have already posted about some of the older girls going on an extended hike, and this post is about what the majority of the participants were up to that day.

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Everyone gathered at a local meeting spot to board school buses out to the gondola site. Once they got there, the girls split into groups and began working through a series of activities with Sea-to-Sky Gondola staff. The staff were so knowledgeable and they were great at working with the girls. Everybody learned a lot!

Much of the day involved hiking through different trails and checking out some of the highlights of the mountain. From the base, girls were brought to see the magnificent Shannon Falls.

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Riding the gondola was a great experience. Did you know the Sea-to-Sky gondola is the steepest gondola outside of Europe? The ride takes about 10 minutes and features incredible views of the surrounding area. The staff members also made sure to take time to show the girls some of the gondola mechanics, giving a cool engineering perspective to learn how the thing actually works.

At the top of the mountain girls got to go on another hike which featured a great lookout point to see The Chief mountain. The girls were surprised to see there was still quite a bit of snow up top.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather. Even though it had been rainy earlier in the week, we got excellent spring weather which made for a lovely day of walking about. For some of the Sparks and Brownies, this was the most hiking they had ever done!

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Another highlight of the site is the very cool suspension bridge. Even though some girls were a little bit nervous to cross it, everybody did great! On the other side of the bridge was another trail where girls got to do a Canada 150 themed scavenger hunt.

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A huge thank you to the Sea-to-Sky Gondola team who worked with us to make the day a success. The staff members were fantastic, the lunch was delicious, and girls had a great time! Offering this experience as a day camp was a great way to bring some outdoor adventure in a way more accessible for some girls who don’t prefer overnight experiences. We had a wonderful day!

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!