Sparks Visit Seniors

Burnaby Mountain District is thrilled to have a great relationship with nearby seniors residence LJ Christmas Manor. Every month a unit visits there to share some Guiding spirit with the older adults who live there. The residence always provides a lovely snack of juice and cookies and the girls provide some entertainment and socialization. The residents always appreciate the visit, some of them looking forward to the event every month.

Last month the 1st and 2nd Sparks visited together. The visit happened to occur on February 22nd, which of course is World Thinking Day, a very special day for Girl Guides. The leaders spoke to the girls and the residents a little bit about the history of Guiding and then sang some favourite campfire tunes to celebrate. Some of the residents even joined in when they sang “Quartermaster’s Store” which is a very traditional song.

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Then the girls and residents paired up to play an exciting game of Sparks Bingo! Words associated with Sparks were called out and the players had to find and dab those words on their cards. These Sparks words included “sharing,” “friendship,” “Crystal,” “promise,” “sleepovers,” and “crafts.” The prize for the bingo games was a package of radish seeds, which happened to fit in great with the “grow” theme that had been decided upon by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for this year’s World Thinking Day.

Everyone was amused to see just how much of a mess five and six year olds can make while using a bingo dabber.

It was a fun evening! Other groups that have visited the manor this year have done activities including skits, games, dancing, and quilting. We love the opportunity to share these moments and memories with others in the community. A huge thank you to the staff at LJ Christmas Manor for allowing us to come in each month.

Guide Quilt to be Auctioned

The 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides are thrilled to finally unveil a project that they’ve been working on for a long time: an original Girl Guide quilt!

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Over a year ago the unit found out about a collection of old Girl Guides of Canada uniform pieces that had been stored at Provincial Guide house but that no longer had any use. After confirming that the uniforms were not of interest to other committees, including the museum and archives, they decided they had to come up with a worthy project for this textile piece of Guiding history.

The idea was born to make the uniforms into a quilt. It seemed like a great idea… except for the fact that neither the girls nor their Guiders actually knew how to make a quilt.  The unit brainstormed some design ideas and sought out some expert advise from family and community members.

As an ongoing service project, units in Burnaby Mountain District take turns going to LJ Christmas Manor, a local senior’s residence, for monthly visits. When the 22nd Guides had their turn, they decided to appeal to the seniors for help. In September 2016 with the help of the residents of the manor, they dismantled the uniforms, removed the buttons, and cut the fabric into usable squares. It was a great hands-on project to engage the seniors and it was great to see the girls working with them on a task.

Then, the group reached out to some local West Coast Area Trefoil members to help with the next steps. In January 2017, with the guidance of these experienced quilters the girls helped lay out the quilt and did some of the sewing at their unit meeting. A huge thank you goes out to Guider Nancy who took the quilt home to help with putting the last bits together on her sewing machine.

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Almost done, the quilt came back to a Guide meeting in March 2017 for the girls to put on the finishing touches, which included sewing on buttons for decoration. In addition to the old Guiding uniforms and scarves, the quilt also features commemorative crests from Lady BP’s 100 club, 100 years of Girl Guides in Canada, Thinking Day,  the four original world centres, and West Coast Area.

The quilt is going to be auctioned off at the Trefoil Guild Rendezvous, happening April 28-30 2017 in Richmond, BC. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Canadian World Friendship Fund.

Rangers Help Homeless Youth

Recently the 12th Burnaby Mountain Rangers decided to have a hoodie drive to collect new and gently used hoodies and sweatshirts for homeless youth. This winter has been a particularly cold one in Vancouver, and these girls have stepped up to help make a difference.

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Altogether they collected 92 hoodies, folded them and tagged them by size. One of the girls then made the trip downtown to deliver the donations to Covenant House where they were gratefully accepted.

One of the objectives for Girl Guides of Canada as per our national strategic plan and priorities is to empower girls to have the confidence to advocate. We will continue learning effective ways to speak out and take action on issues of importance to girls and relevant to the quality of life for girls and women. Projects like this one carried out by these Rangers demonstrate exactly the kind of service project that contributes to these goals of taking action for a better world.

Way to go, Rangers! We’re proud of your hard work, and confident that these 92 hoodies will help make a difference to youth in need.

Remembrance Day Meetings

This week at Girl Guide meetings across the country, girls and their leaders have had tough, but important conversations about remembering. One of Burnaby Mountain District’s leaders wanted to share what they did to honour to Remembrance Day in the 24th Brownies:

We had a good talk about the poppy and its symbolism, Canada, our flag, our national anthem, the geography of our history/presence in wars, and our veteran family members, and we did some singing. Then we made Christmas cards to send to military personnel overseas. The girls were pretty into that. Take a look! It was a fun meeting despite the density of the subject matter.

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Way to go, girls! Those look great. These cards are sure to bring cheer to some who really need it this holiday season. This meeting, complete with service project, is a great example of how the Guiding program connects girls with the world around them. These activities helped fulfill part of the Brownies’ My Community program area.

Refugee Welcome Cards

At the recent Burnaby Mountain District camp, girls had a great time all weekend with the theme “Camp Flower Power.” Activities were designed, where possible, to fit around the concepts of peace and love. This didn’t only involve tie dye (though it did, of course, also involve tie dye!). The camp’s program coordinators incorporated a service project for all girls at camp to put the idea of peace into practice. Girls of all ages spent some of their time at camp making welcome cards and letters for refugees arriving in Canada.

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Girls took the task very seriously and spent time thinking about how and why refugee families need to be welcomed. The considered what kinds of tips they could give about Canadian culture and how they could help newcomers feel more comfortable. In their messages, girls wrote things such as the following:

Welcome to Canada! I hope you like it here. In Canada we respect everybody.

I hope you feel safe here and make lots of friends. In Canada people are nice to each other and play games like hockey.

Some of my favourite activities are swimming, gymnastics, and being a Brownie. What do you like to do? You should try maple syrup when you’re in Canada.

In Canada it rains a lot. But that’s ok, just get an umbrella. It’s nice here.

This week, two of our adult volunteers visited ISS of BC to deliver the cards and get a tour of one of their welcome centres. Our Guiders were blown away by the important work being done by this organization and were amazed by the courage and strength of the refugees that they were told about. One of the Guiders described the experience as life changing.

The people at ISS of BC were touched by the thoughtful cards and letters and assured us that gestures like this can make a major difference to refugee families when they arrive.  Feeling welcome and finding a sense of community can be important factors in how well refugees settle into Canadian culture. The girls of Burnaby Mountain District were given a lovely thank you card, pictured below.

Burnaby Mountain District is proud to have been a part of such an experience and looks forward to finding other ways to spread messages of peace and welcome throughout our communities, especially to people in situations like this who need it the most.

 

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.

 

Community Tree Planting Event

Yesterday, a small group of dedicated and hard working girls from three different units in our district got together to plant native plant species in Stoney Creek Park. The event was organized by the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks unit, who had won a tree planting grant from Girl Guides of Canada & TD Bank’s Friends of the Environment. Helpers also came out from the 56th Guides and the 14th Pathfinders. This event was part of Girl Guides of Canada Operation Earth Action National Service Project. The event was also made possible with the support and expertise of the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee.

A truck load of plants

Overall the hard working girls and adult volunteers planted about 50 plants native to the area.In addition to the almost $500 worth of plants you see in the truck bed, there were donations from the Stoney Creek Environmental Centre’s Nature Garden. Our plants included

  • Snowberry
  • Wintergreen
  • Salal
  • Kinnik Kinnik
  • Oregon Grape
  • Salmonberry
  • Sword Ferns

Great teamwork, all day!

One interesting highlight was that there were salmon spawning in the stream as the group worked — it definitely helped remind all of us why we were there. Stoney Creek is an urban stream that successfully hosts salmon every year. The natural environment in that area is precious and also at risk. That’s why it is important for people to help protect and replenish the area’s environment.

Watching the salmon

It was a cool rainy day, and everyone got mucky. Girls worked in pairs with either a Guide or a Pathfinder paired with a Spark, and the older girls showed incredible leadership skills as they worked with their buddies to accomplish this task.

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After the planting everyone got to relax in the Environmental Centre with hot chocolate, cookies, and rice krispie squares. The ladies from the Environmental Centre told us about some of their other local projects and everyone got to take home some goodies, including a neat key chain showing different salmon species.

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who came out for this event. It was a lot of work, but it was for a great cause. A special thank you to Gail and Christine from the Environmental Committee — we couldn’t have done it without them.