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.

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.

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!

Guides Look to the Stars

Earlier this month, for one of their regular weekly meetings the girls from our 56th Burnaby Mountain Guides went on an outing to the Trottier Observatory at Simon Fraser University.

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This was a great opportunity to see some first rate astronomy equipment and learn all about the stars from a very knowledgeable tour guide. The observatory features a six-meter-diameter dome housing a 0.7-metre diameter reflector telescope that is capable of tracking distant galaxies billions of years old. Unfortunately, the girls were not able to look through the telescope due to cloud cover and high chance of rain — the very fancy telescope cannot get wet.

One highlight of the tour was when they got to press the button to turn the closed dome around – it was very cool! The tour guide showed them many images on the monitor that had been captured using the telescope – stars, planets, galaxies, nebulas. Some of these images captured by the telescope can be viewed on the observatory’s website, here.

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Other awesome things to enjoy at the observatory include the beautiful outdoor light displays of seasonal sky maps and the ROYGBIV light spectrum. The Guides were really interested in this event and had non-stop questions. Everyone learned a lot! It was an excellent hands-on STEM activity that tied directly into Guide program.

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Burnaby Mountain District is very lucky to have this world class university right on our doorstep. Many of our leaders are SFU students or alumni and are keen to share these opportunities with the girls. SFU also holds star parties that are open to the public — the Guides highly recommend this activity to anyone interested in learning more about the night sky. Check out the observatory website for more info.

Rangers on Mt. Seymour

Last weekend the girls from the 12th Burnaby Mountain Rangers gathered for a day of snowy fun at local Mount Seymour. The wonderful group facilitators up there did a great job of helping the group plan a day of exciting adventures.

image3On this trip the unit enjoyed both snow shoeing and tubing. It was a very fun and active day on the mountain.

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Originally scheduled for December, the group had to reschedule due to bad weather/driving conditions. They lucked out with great weather on the mountain this past weekend.

Even more exciting was that all the girls were able to attend! This group of very busy grade 10-12 girls often have a hard time successfully scheduling time when they can all do activities together. Hopefully they’ll be able to have more similar adventures in the coming months.

Enchant Maze Outing

Last week the 54th Brownies had an outing to Enchant in Vancouver!

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Enchant is the world’s largest Christmas Light Maze, made up of over 55,000 sq. ft. of brilliantly illuminated sculptures. Enchant also includes a Christmas market and food trucks.

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The experience involves a story and a scavenger hunt for participants to find 9 incredible light sculpture reindeer. In the story, Santa asks for the help of the children of the world to find his reindeer who got lost after a sudden blizzard at the North Pole. They wandered into the enchanted light forest and if they’re not found on time, Christmas would have to be cancelled! These Brownies were happy to help.

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Girls had a great time exploring the beautiful lights. It was awfully cold out and some of them learned a good lesson about layering clothes when it’s chilly! It was also very busy, so girls had to be sure to practice their buddy system and stay together as a group.

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Luckily the group got to enjoy a nice toasty hot chocolate at the end to help warm up. Even though they were bundled up under their warm jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves, girls were proudly wearing their Brownie scarves and sashes — it was great to be noticed out in the community.

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Enchant was an awesome experience, and an enchanting way to end the year. We can’t wait to see what these girls get up to in 2017.

Horsing Around in Brownies

Over two 2-hour sessions these past few weekends, girls from the 24th Brownies participated in the Horsemanship Program at the Burnaby Equestrian Centre, which is also run by volunteers. Girls got to learn a lot about some amazing animals and how to take care of them.
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In the first session, the girls learned about colourings and markings, and got to meet most of the horses in the three barns, applying what they had just learned by identifying the colourings and marking on each of them.
They were divided into two groups, taught about safety around horses, and each group got to groom a horse. They fed horses, and they met a horse who plays fetch and smiles on command!
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At the next session they started off by sitting in on the rehearsal for the drill demonstrations that will be held around 10:30am and 1:30pm next Sunday at the Open House.
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Then the girls were split up again and groomed different horses than they had before. The rain had let up, so they went out to the Round Pen and they got to lead horses, and learn about the different gaits.
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They practiced imitating those gaits and had a short race that way. After that everyone went back to the barn and the girls learned more details about the horses’ feed, and the riding tack (gear). They put the tack on one of the horses, and by then it was already time to go.
The girls really had a great time at the equestrian centre. The volunteers were super friendly and knowledgeable. The fee covered an Associate Membership, which will enable girls to pursue further horsemanship opportunities if their parents so choose.
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Consider checking out the Equestrian Centre’s Open House, Christmas with the Horses, happening this Sunday, December 4th. Info is available here.

Climbing Guides

This week the girls in the 56th Burnaby Mountain Guides took their regular weekly meeting to local Climb Base5, Metro Vancouver’s largest climbing gym!

Some girls had been before, but for others this was a brand new experience. They spent about two hours climbing and had a great time. Girls learned about safety with the climbing harnesses and equipment.

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They had a wonderful time challenging themselves to see how high they could climb on the rocky walls.

This was a great outing for the girls to have fun and try new things. It is also a great way to get active and be healthy. Thank you to the great facilitators at Climb Base5 for helping our girls have a high-reaching fantastic night!

Eagle Bluffs Summer Hike

Most of our units are quiet in the summer as most of our activities follow the regular school year. However, Guider Marie with the 14th Pathfinders hates to see good weather and free time go wasted! Our 14th Pathfinders usually find time to have at least one great adventure during the summer months.

Last summer, the group tackled the Cypress Mountain Eagle Bluffs Hike, which is a part of the Baden-Powell trail, named for Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, the founders of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. The 8km hike took them about 5 hours, including a stop for lunch.

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There was a raven scoping out their food at the lookout point which was rather entertaining — everyone loves spotting local wildlife. The Pathfinders also received their badges from the previous guiding year when they broke for lunch at the lookout.

The girls learned a valuable lesson about being prepared: one of them borrowed Guider Marie’s vest, and another her extra pair of hiking socks! It was really cold in the morning hence the bundling up, but it warmed up later in the day.

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The Eagle Bluffs Hike was lots of fun and rewarded the group with beautiful views. This summer, the Pathfinders are getting ready to go camping. The unit is heading to Camp McLanlin in a couple of weeks.

Way to go, 14th Pathfinders and Guider Marie, for keeping the Guiding spirit alive all summer long! Guiding does offer other great summer opportunities such as travel and camping at an Area, Provincial, and National level. Guider Marie also recently got back from the National camp, Guiding Mosaic at Sylvan Lake, AB.

Fire Hall #6 Sparks Outing

Tonight the girls from the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a very exciting visit to Burnaby Fire No. 6 — a little bit more exciting than they had hoped! Every time the leaders book this outing they are warned that it is an active on-duty fire hall and should there be an emergency the fire fighters will need to respond. Tonight that actually happened!

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The girls had barely arrived when the first truck had to leave. It was exciting watching some of the firefighters quickly gather their things and take out the truck. The siren was really loud too. Once that truck left, the remaining fire fighters started a talk about fire safety and the importance of calling 911… but only in a real emergency!

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A few minutes later the buzzer sounded and the remaining fire fighters had to take the second truck and respond. The Sparks and their leaders were left alone on the grass outside the station. After talking for a bit longer about fire safety, the group decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather to play some duck-duck-goose in the grass.

Luckily, before too long one of the fire trucks came back. The fire fighters had responded to a medical emergency, but the ambulance had arrived allowing the firetruck to go back to the station. The firefighters told the girls a little bit more about fire safety and they practiced “stop, drop, and roll.”

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There was just enough time left for each girl to take a turn using the fire hose. The fire fighters set up a cone to use as a target and each Spark got the chance to spray it with water. It was lots of fun using the equipment.

Finally, everyone got to have a popsicle, which was a great treat on such a hot day. Thank you to the fire fighters of hall #6! The girls learned a lot and it was great to see the first responders in action. They do amazing life-saving work and it was a treat to get a taste of what it’s like to be a fire fighter.