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!

Saturday Sparks

Did you know Burnaby Mountain District offers Sparks and Brownie units on Saturdays? Most units in the lower mainland meet only on weeknights, but to meet the needs of busy families we have Saturday options available. It’s also a popular option for girls who prefer quieter evenings and/or very early bedtimes through the week. The Saturday groups meet during the day.

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This year, enrollment is currently very low in the Saturday Sparks unit and we’re actively recruiting more girls. Sparks is for girls in kindergarten and grade one. If this Saturday morning unit would be a good fit for you or someone you know, please send them to http://www.girlguides.ca to register online.

Burnaby Mountain District still has spaces available in all branches, so use the Find a Unit tool on the national website to find a spot for your girl.

Sparks tour an ambulance

At the most recent meeting for the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks, the leaders warned the parents not to be alarmed when the picked up their girls and saw an ambulance in the parking lot — it wasn’t an emergency, it was just some awesome hands-on learning with a friendly neighborhood paramedic!

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The girls had a great time learning about emergency response procedures in their community while chatting with a friendly paramedic who was very happy to show the girls the workings of his ambulance. They learned all about what is and is not an emergency and when it’s time to call 911. And should any of them ever experience an emergency involving an ambulance, maybe it will be just a little bit less scary now that they know what they look like up close.

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They even got to take home a cool craft that allowed them to build their own 3D model of an ambulance. It was an awesome day!

Enrollment Season

Late fall is always a busy time for enrollments as Girl Guides around the country learn to tie their ties, make friends with their new groups, and make their Guiding promise. Enrollments take many themes, often cooked up by our very creative girls. In this post we feature two groups who had fun making enrollment their own.

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Firstly, the 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a lovely rainbow themed enrollment where girls crossed through a rainbow arch before making their promise.

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The leaders got an awesome butterfly cupcake-cake to celebrate the occasion as well! They finished the event with a family sing-a-long, practicing the tunes that the girls would be singing for local seniors in a couple of weeks.

IMG_2516And secondly, the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides had their enrollment with girls making their promises and then entertaining their parents with an elaborate Nutcracker puppet show that the girls had been working on for weeks ahead of time.

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They made the puppets themselves and enjoyed studying the story as it is preparing them for an outing to see the Nutcracker performed by the Goh Ballet coming up in December.

Welcome to all of the new girls who joined Guiding in Burnaby Mountain this year! It’s still not too late if your daughter is interested in joining the fun. We accept new members all year round. More girls are still joining every week and there is still room in most of our units.

It’s the Simple Things

As the days of summer of stretch out before us, are you looking for a simple, inexpensive way to keep your kids entertained? Look no further than balloons!

An experienced Girl Guide leader always has a few tricks up her sleeve that come in handy when she needs a quick fun activity with very little preparation. Maybe the weather didn’t cooperate with an outdoor plan, or a guest speaker cancels at the last minute, or craft you’ve planned just doesn’t come together… whatever the case may be, there are always reasons to have a quick easy back up ready to go.

At the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks the leaders pulled out balloons on one of these occasions. And wouldn’t you know it — the kids had a total blast! There are so many things you can do with balloons:

  • Use them as a name game — pass the balloon to someone after saying their name
  • Find out how long you can keep one in the air using only “wind” power (i.e. air blown from your mouth, or with a paper fan)
  • See how long you can keep one balanced on one finger
  • Work as a group to keep many balloons in the air as long as possible
  • Use one as a ball for a game of soccer
  • Try to “juggle” 3 or more balloons at once
  • Create an obstacle course and complete with a balloon between your knees

Use your imagination to come up with activities that can be done alone, in pairs, or as a group. The possibilities are endless! And since balloons are inexpensive and can easily be stored (before inflation, of course) in just about any bag you might carry, they make for a great “rainy day” back up.

Sparks at the Palace Camp

At the end of June girls from the 1st and 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks joined forces to close out the Guiding year in style at their Sparks Go Wild at the Palace Camp and beautiful Camp Olave on the sunshine coast.

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Activities included princess themed crafts like crowns and a stained glass castle. These girls really enjoyed the chance to show their creative side and camp — Sparks love crafts!

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The little princesses also enjoyed on-theme food like a high tea party, frog princess sandwiches, princess pasta, and chocolate fondue (that last one proved that even princesses can get a little bit messy). They listened to music from some of their favourite Disney princess movies, and perfected their princess wave whenever other campers passed by.

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In addition to all the princess themed fun, the girls also enjoyed their good old fashioned camp activities like going for long walks in nature, using the blind trail, and roasting s’mores over the campfire. The girls were lucky to have beautiful weather all weekend so swimming in the ocean was a particular highlight for everyone.

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The girls were lucky to have their friends from a few of the Burnaby Mountain Brownies groups staying at a different site on Camp Olave — those girls were having a pirate camp, so the Sparks joined them one night for a joint princess-pirate campfire for s’mores and singing of some of their favourite songs.

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Camp Olave is a breathtakingly beautiful spot and our Guiders very much enjoy the opportunity to bring girls there. Even at a very young age the girls have an appreciation for the natural beauty. For many members in the lower mainland, heading to Camp Olave feels a little bit like going home.

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Over all the Sparks had a royally good time. They’re all looking forward to what kinds of adventures Guiding will bring them when we get started again in the fall!

Sparks Go Fly a Kite

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks recently celebrated their last regular meeting of the year by taking their meeting outside to fly some kites! Girls had a wonderful time running around to keep their kites in the air and filled the sky with bright moving colours.

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Each girl was thrilled to be able take their kite home at the end of the day. The beautiful kites you see here, plus several more, were donated by the wonderful folk at the Kelowna Actor’s Studio. Plenty more girls in Burnaby Mountain District are going to get to have fun with kite flying thanks to their incredible generosity.

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Although they’re done with meetings until after the summer, this group is looking forward to camp next weekend. Rumour has it they’re preparing to walk the plank all the way to pirate camp at Camp Olave!

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Did you know the 2nd Sparks are one of the only groups in the Area to meet on Saturdays? Burnaby Mountain District is thrilled to offer this option to families. If weekend meetings work better for you, register your girl for next year today at http://www.girlguides.ca.

Sparks Celebrate Canada 150

Last night the girls in the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a great time celebrating Canada in honour of our country’s 150th birthday this year.

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The meeting started with a great discussion about the flag and the singing of the national anthem. Then the group discussed different things they knew about Canada and asked some interesting questions.

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Everyone’s favourite part of the meeting was playing a fun game of “pin the tail on the beaver” — it was so fun they wanted to play again and again! One interesting thing about this meeting was that it was entirely planned by the unit’s Junior Leader, a Ranger who has been working with the unit for the past three years. The Guiders were happy to see how much she has learned about running a unit meeting and working with the girls. It was a great way for this Ranger to work on her leadership skills in a safe, supportive environment.

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The meeting ended with a couple more activities including a flag craft and some goal setting for the future. They sang a traditional Canadian song together before saying goodbye for the night. As an added bonus, this meeting allowed the girls to complete the Canada 150 Challenge, which meant everyone went home with a cool crest. Yay Canada!

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.

Program fun

All units in Burnaby Mountain are back and meeting after the holiday break. Units are busy planning great adventures for the rest of the year including camps, sleepovers, trips, outings, community service, and more. Many units are taking advantage of the cold, wet, weather to focus on the exciting and enriching Girl Guides of Canada program materials designed for our girls.

At this week’s meeting the 47th Brownies tackled the Famous Five challenge, in which the girls learned about the five women who took part in the “Persons Case.”  In this famous legal battle, five women successfully convinced the British Empire’s highest court that several Canadian governments were wrong when they interpreted the British North America Act to mean that women were not “persons.” This is a great way to introduce Brownies to the important topics of politics, activism, and women’s rights.

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As a part of the challenge the Brownies invited a local female politician to talk to the girls about our right (and duty!) to vote and to be involved in change. The girls also decorated stylish 1920’s style hats, such as may have been worn by Nellie McClung and the other pioneers of women’s rights in Canada. The above photo shows the girls posing in their hats with the special guest.

On the very same day, the girls in the 2nd Sparks learned about life in another country important to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — Switzerland! The girls had a blast playing a game where they pretended to ski around the hall and watched the Lonely Goatherd puppet show scene from The Sound of Music. Pictured below are the girls performing a concert with their homemade alpen horns. Switzerland is awesome! Maybe some of these girls will one day visit the WAGGGS World Centre in Switzerland, which is called Our Chalet.

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These are just some of the amazing activities being led by our creative and enthusiastic volunteers here in Burnaby Mountain. Every week our girls are engaging in creativity, self-discovery, and hands on learning about the world around them… and all in a safe, empowering environment!