Sparks and Brownies and Fish (oh my)

The 54th Brownies and 27th Guiding (Sparks & Brownies) units recently had a fun-filled, fish-filled sleepover in the local Steveston and Richmond communities. The visited the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, ate fish and chips at a local restaurant, and then returned to Richmond Guide House for a fun sleepover with fish-themed crafts and activities.

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Did you know the Gulf of Georgia Cannery offers tours specifically catered to Girl Guide programming? The excellent staff at the cannery have developed a program for girls to explore their local cultural and natural heritage through stories, activities, and a guided tour. The cannery was built in 1894 and it is fascinating to learn about the history of the fishing industry, the people who worked there, and the ways that this effected the local communities.

The group then took a lovely stroll through historic Steveston, ending up at the Sockeye City Grill for a delicious meal of fish and chips. The staff was impressed by how well mannered this large group of Sparks and Brownies was, and the girls and leaders all thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

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After supper the group enjoyed a ride on local public transit, riding the bus to Richmond Guide House, one of our favourite local spots for Guiding sleepovers. There the group did a variety of fun activities including a bright colourful fish-themed craft before finally getting some sleep.

It was a fish-tastic time. And a great oppor-tuna-ty to learn all about fish and the local community.

 

Equestrian Sleepover

Recently Guides from the 56th and 49th Burnaby Mountain Guide units participated in an awesome sleepover at A & T Equestrian Centre in Surrey.

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With the patient guidance of the excellent equestrian staff, the girls learned horsemanship, how to feed/take care of horses and of course how to ride!

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This was a great activity for the unit to engage with a thoughtful growth mindset — for some of the girls, the horses were a bit intimidating, especially in the beginning! But it was really wonderful to see how proud they were when they faced these fears whether that meant getting up the courage to ride, or even just to touch and interact with such a large animal.

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Girls this age seem to have a natural curiosity about horses, so they were very excited to learn and become a part of the equestrian world, even just for a night. It is an experience they are unlikely to forget! A & T Equestrian offers programs for different levels of Guiding — check out their website for more information!

Physics & Astronomy Sleepover

The 2nd Sparks and 47th Brownies recently had an awesome science-themed sleepover with activities facilitated by volunteers from the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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They learned about light and electricity and fulfilled a part of the Experiment and Create program area!

One highlight was the experiment using special spectrum glasses. The foil in the spectrum glasses breaks the light into its different visible electromagnetic waves creating a continuous rainbow of colours when they look at their flashlight or any light source around them.

The girls got to talk about what electricity is and then each Spark and Brownie built a flash light using a breadboard, a switch, an LED light, wires, and a battery. Each girl got to take home their LED flashlight at spectrum glasses.

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The girls really enjoyed the activity and had a great time with the UBC volunteers. After the volunteers left, girls watched a movies and got some sleep. It was a great night!

 

Guides Indigenous Culture Sleepover (with bonus 80’s themed dance party)

Saturday afternoon, the 49th Guides headed out to Chilliwack for a unique sleepover. The aim was to achieve the provincial Splendid Sleepover Challenge, and they did some Girls First badgework while they were at it.

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 The group rented a 24′ majestic luxury tipi built by a woman of indigenous heritage for ceremonies, with some furnishings and heated by wood stove, with the option of an electric heater.

The girls wanted cake, so since one of the Guiders had learned how to make a reflector oven just the previous weekend in a Girl Guide OAL Tent Training, half the girls made one and the other half made the batter, and they baked the cake in the backyard using charcoal preheated in the firepit! Everyone was very excited by the success. While that baked, the girls made dream catchers and helped prepare dinner.

Once they had washed their dishes, the girls played Capture the Guiding Flags and other active games, using their flashlights, and then moved onto the traditional Girl Guides campfire singalong.

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When that ended, the party began! The girls had chosen 80’s as their theme, so some brought costumes, and they danced around to an 80’s playlist while the disco lights spun.  They had so much fun!

In the morning, their hostess made 3 different kinds of pancake and they chowed down around a roaring fire. When everything was packed up and cleaned up, the group was treated to a presentation on the cultural significance of certain ceremonial practices and items, and the history of the tipi.

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It was a great sleepover for cultural awareness — with an 80’s themed dance party because, well, why not? This event is sure to be memorable!

 

Sleepover at the Aquarium

Burnaby Mountain recently organized a district-level event for all girls in Guides, Pathfinders, and Rangers to spend the night at the Vancouver Aquarium. The sleepover was full of fun and hands-on learning about nature, the environment, and important lessons about conservation.

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The overnight event packed in 12 hours of interesting educational programming with a little bit of sleep mixed in. It sure was a unique experience to get the place to themselves, to get to explore scientific labs behind the scenes, and sleep with aquatic friends.

The program included a hands-on Invertebrae Lab, 3 Eco-System guided tours (Northwest Pacific, Arctic, and Tropical), and some free time after breakfast to explore the Marine Mammal Deck And the Amazon Free Flight Gallery.

It was a very late night, so girls were exhausted when they finally laid down their heads for some sleep. Earlier in the year, Sparks and Brownies had the aquarium come to them at an event better suited to younger girls’ bedtimes.

The Aquarium sleepover was an amazing night full of amazing wildlife. Girls will hang on to these memories for a lifetime. We’d like the thank the amazing staff at the Vancouver Aquarium plus the planning committee of Guiders who worked hard to make this happen.

Pathfinders at Lighthouse Park

This January, the 14th Pathfinders went camping at Lighthouse Park. The Phyl Munday nature house is operated by Girl Guides in West Vancouver and is an optimal place for Friday night sleepovers, close to the city but steeped in nature.

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The girls planned everything from meals of rainbow pancakes to exciting nature activities and it was a great success! These all-weather girls enjoyed a crisp cool January weekend, exploring the forest and sea side with great enthusiasm.

They had a great time exploring the beautiful surroundings on night hikes, day treks, and geocaching. There are lots of geocaches in the area, making it a great activity for girls interested in trying out that exciting world of technology assisted community scavenger hunting.

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What a weekend! In addition to all this fun, it was a great chance for girls to practice camping in cooler weather — although they slept indoors, the old army hut that the nature house has been converted from does get very chilly in the winter months. They spent most of their time outdoors and having a great time together.

Spark-Pathfinder Buddy Sleepover

Burnaby Mountain District’s two smallest units, the 2nd Sparks and 10th Pathfinders, recently teamed up for a fun Guiding sleepover at Richmond Guide House. The Pathfinders got to work on their event planning and leadership skills by doing all the preparations and leading the event for the younger girls.

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The Pathfinders decided on an “Under the Sea” theme which involved eating seashell pasta with blue Hawaiian punch for supper, making a cool underwater craft, and watching a Little Mermaid movie together.

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The Sparks loved having the older girls around and doing activities with them. The craft was a really big hit — an under the sea tambourine that looks like a ship’s porthole!

All the Guiders were impressed by the Pathfinder’s dedication and helpfulness. When the leaders tried to jump in and help, the Pathfinders assured them that they were happy to take care of it. It left the Guiders lots of time to relax, hang out with the girls, and take advantage of the cozy comforts of the Richmond Guide House property. Guiders spent some downtime doing this cool retro GGC puzzle that they found on one of the shelves — it had all its pieces!

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The buddy sleepover worked really well. It was a great way for Pathfinders to take the lead and a wonderful way for Sparks to be with some dedicated role models. It was a great sleepover — THANK YOU, PATHFINDERS!

District Spark/Brownie Sleepover

This past weekend, girls from all five Spark and Brownie units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered at Camp Capilano in North Vancouver for a really fun sleepover.

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One highlight of the sleepover was the special guests for the Vancouver Aquarium. Staff from their mobile outreach program turned Camp Capilano into an AquaZone, including live inter-tidal animals and other interactive display items.

The aquarium staff were super engaging and the girls learned a lot about marine life. They also chatted with the girls about the importance of protecting our oceans and some things we can all do to help keep our waters safe and clean for aquatic life.

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The mobile outreach program was a great way to let our girls learn about the ocean in a program specifically designed to work well for them. Older girls in the district can look forward to having their own way to connect with the Vancouver Aquarium later this year — stay tuned!

Sparks and Brownies also got the chance to tap into their artistic side by decorating masks. The leaders were really impressed by their efforts! Girls did such a great job using the paints, jewels, feathers, and other decorations to create awesome masks. They turned out so well.

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Masks are fun at all time of year, but especially with Halloween coming up it seemed like a great time to embrace pretend play.

A sleepover is a great way to start introducing camp skills, and these girls loved the chance to have a real campfire (with s’mores!) outside. Camp food was also a big hit.

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Also very impressive is how well all of the girls did at this sleepover. There were no tears, and no problems getting to bed or packing up in the morning. You’d never have guessed that this was the very first sleepover for many of these girls. Great job!

Thank you to all the adults who made this happen, especially the amazing Vancouver Aquarium staff!

Brownie Sleepover at Fort Langley

At the start of May, a multi-unit sleepover saw the 27th, 54th and 24th Brownies get together for a heritage-themed sleepover at Fort Langley.

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Once everyone was settled into their oTENTik (a Parks Canada A-Frame/Platform tent structure), they had an interpreter lead them in a “campfire program”, for which they actually spent very little time at the campfire!

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He took the girls into a few of the exhibit buildings and taught them about the voyageur lifestyle. The Brownies lugged “fur bales” around and got to check out the brand new play area which wasn’t yet open to the public.

Once the interpreter left, the Brownies had the place to themselves. Securely locked within the walls of the Fort, the girls roasted hot dogs and sang a few favourite camp songs around the fire, rolled down the grassy incline, climbed the watchtowers, panned for gold, ran around and tried to find bunnies, and made yarn dolls.

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In the morning, after packing up and eating breakfast, the Brownies did a nature scavenger hunt before the fort opened to the public. They took advantage of the Girl Guides heritage tour they have designed, which provides workbooks for the girls, activity guidelines, puppets and scripts for the Guiders, all of which earned them a special Fort Langley crest.

Richmond Sleepover with Extreme Air Park

In October the girls from the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides had a sleepover at Guiding’s own Richmond Guide House property. When asked what activity the girls wanted to pair with this sleepover they enthusiastically chose Extreme Air Park.

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Extreme Air Park Richmond is Canada’s largest trampoline park, featuring a massive 42,000 sq/ft of enclosed interlocking trampolines and a variety of activities. The girls had a blast playing on the equipment.

Some of the highlights of air park were the bounce balls, foam pit, and black lights.

After some exhausting time bouncing around the air park the girls went back to Richmond Guide house for dinner and to watch a movie together. The weekend also served as a great camp skills opportunity as girls got to use tents to sleep in Guide House’s huge back yard!

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A fall sleepover is a great way for girls to get to know each other and to get the Guiding year off to a great start. Another Burnaby Mountain unit recently had a fall sleepover at Eileen Daily Pool — swimming is another excellent active activity to pair with sleepover fun!