Survival Snowshoeing Brownies

Earlier this month, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies and 27th Brownies went to Mount Seymour for a day of snowshoeing fun!
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They did a Junior Survivor snowshoe tour with park staff on the mountain. It was hard to believe they were tromping on over 2m of snow in such beautiful weather with the most incredible views.
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Getting there wasn’t too bad, even in the wintery weather. They simply took the shuttle up there from Rupert station.
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The girls didn’t trek terribly far, but they enjoyed a little scavenger hunt and the discussion of which items would be helpful for survival. It was impressive to see how well the girls could run in snowshoes while playing “Hypothermia Tag”.
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Although for the most part it wasn’t overly cold up there, the wind was pretty vicious when the girls were shelter-building. They were all glad to be served hot chocolate when they got back to the starting point.
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The girls all seemed to have a great time, except for one Brownie who thought it was too cold — gee, I wonder why with all that beautiful snow!

Nutcracker Ballet Outing

This weekend the 22nd Guides went to see the Nutcracker performed by the Goh Ballet company at The Centre in Vancouver. Below are the girls posed with some of the very talented dancers!

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This was an event that the girls were really looking forward to. They had been working up to it with other unit activities including their Nutcracker themed puppet show at enrollment and a visit from a community theatre actor to talk about drama and stage make up.

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The unit was able to heavily subsidize the cost of this outing with money earned through the unit’s Girl Guide Cookie sales. Way to go, girls!

It was a great way to celebrate the holiday season with friends.

Brownies on Ice

The 24th Brownies recently went ice skating, fulfilling the girls’ most-voted activity request. Coincidentally, their meeting time falls into a Loonie Skate period at Moody Park Arena in New Westminster, which runs from 7-8:30pm on Thursdays, so that by the time the girls got all laced up, they only had to wait a few minutes before they were allowed onto the ice.
One of the unit’s Guiders is a skating instructor, so it didn’t take long before girls who had started out pushing the skating support frame were tootling around on their own, and even attempting to jump while skating.
It was great to see so many girls having their skills and confidence increasing so quickly. And this is also a great example of unit programming being chosen by the girls — great idea, Brownies!

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.