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!

Circus Sleepover

Girls from several Brownies units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered last weekend for the first sleepover of the year! Used as a way to kick off the Guiding year, this sleepover at West Coast Area’s own Richmond Guide House, was a big hit with all of the girls.

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They started the event by exploring the city of Richmond! The group went on a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where they learned a lot about the local history of people and industry in that area. They also took a Once Upon a Time walking tour, seeing sites in the community of Steveston which have become famous as Storybrooke in the popular television show.

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Back at the Guide house, the girls embraced their circus theme for the rest of the night. At this circus, tents were used for sleeping, not performing — despite it raining in the night, the girls slept in tents in the secure backyard. What a great way to start girls with camp skills! Girls (and even some of the leaders) learned a thing or two about setting up tents. And by not dedicating sleeping space inside, the group had lots of space for awesome circus themed activities.

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The girls worked through stations including drama games, songs, and dance. The event earned girls the Arts to Go: Circus challenge for exploring all these different areas. Their craft was cool little acrobat dolls that had a marble inside which made the figures tumble down a slope on the right kind of surface.

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They ate some carnival type snacks (sliders, ribs, corn on the cob, mac ‘n cheese) before making a “dessert craft” of circus trains made out of graham crackers, animal crackers, and smarties wheels held together with frosting. The girls got a chance to try making balloon animals, and even had a talent show, before ending the evening with an indoor “campfire” with glow sticks.

Over all it was a fun and memorable way to get the Guiding year going. It was a great preview of some of the fun activities these Brownies will experience in their regular units.

Interested in joining the fun? It’s not too late. Even though all the units have started meeting for the year, we do take registrations all year ’round and most Burnaby Mountain units still have space available to welcome new girls. Registration is available online at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Sports Hall of Fame & Museum Sleepover

Last month girls from all branches in Burnaby Mountain district gathered for a sleepover at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

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With so many girls involved in different sports at school or extra-curricularly, and living in a city with lots of great sports teams to be fans of made this a really exciting opportunity for girls and Guiders alike.

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Girls got a chance to explore the different parts of the museum, including an Olympic Zone and features about notable figures like Rick Hansen and Terry Fox. Staff from the museum led artifact explorations and a scavenger hunt to help girls learn about the items on display.

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Everybody especially enjoyed spending time in the participation zone which featured lots of fun hands-on sports activities and games. There was a climbing wall, foosball, a hockey shoot-out, ping-pong, a sprint track and more. This was a great place to be active and burn off some steam!

Evening activities also included a craft and a yummy pizza dinner. After a night-time movie everyone settled into their sleeping bags in the exhibit rooms.

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In the morning, the girls got to meet a local female athlete. Inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, Andrea Neil is best known for her contributions to the Canadian National Women’s Soccer Team (1990-2007). She retired after representing Canada internationally more than any other player, male or female. The girls really enjoyed listening to her speak — her presentation was informative, amusing, and really inspiring. This woman overcame a lot to make the achievements that she did, and several girls commented that meeting her was highlight of the event.

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Burnaby Mountain District is very thankful to the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for hosting us. It was a fun event for everybody involved!

Guides Trip to Victoria

Last weekend the 22nd Guides took a trip to Victoria, BC to see the sites, have fun, and experience a great Guiding adventure.

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These girls have been planning this trip for about a year and have done extra fundraising and lots of planning sessions to make it the best trip it could be. Clearly their hard work paid off because they had a blast!

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The trip started with a Friday morning bus ride from Pacific Central Station to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Once they made it to the island they found their way to South Vancouver Island Guide House, a Girl Guide property, which was their home base for the weekend.

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Then it was time for exploration! Over the next couple of days the Guides explored the city. From attractions like miniature world, to shopping at the famous Munro’s Bookstore, to the Royal BC provincial museum, and beyond!

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One of the highlights of the trip was the tour of the BC legislature. A very knowledgeable tour guide informed the group about the role of the Legislative Assembly and MLAs and the history of both the province of British Columbia and of the Parliament Buildings. They even got to visit part of the building not normally accessible to the public! The tour guide gave them lots of cool tidbits of information and was even happy to take this commemorative photo of the girls inside.

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Meals on the trip included a supper at the Old Spaghetti Factory plus a chance to go grocery shopping at a local store for food they could make back at the Guide House.

Visiting all the awesome sites like Chinatown, the waterfront, and monuments, and staying out late into the evening made the group hungry!

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By the time they got home on Sunday afternoon the group was exhausted. But everyone had lots of fun, making Guiding memories to last a lifetime.

Gymnastics Sleepover

This past fall the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies had a great time at one of our fave local sleepover spots — Club Aviva Gymnastics in Coquitlam!

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Many of our units have had sleepovers at this location, and every year Guiders report that girls had a great time. It is always so awesome to see girls having fun in an active environment. Healthy living is a blast when you’ve got trampolines, high ropes, and foam pits at your disposal!

Whether they’re brand new to gymnastics or have used this equipment before, it doesn’t matter — girls have a great time exploring the fun things they can do. The helpful staff keep girls safe and give them great tips too.

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And to top it all off, the event is made into a slumber party with all their Brownie friends. Girls get to sleep in gyms, exhausted after an evening of active play. Thanks, Club Aviva, for hosting us again. I’m sure we’ll be back soon!