Emergency Preparedness at Guides

At a recent unit meeting, the 56th Guides learned how to make emergency heat/light sources using materials that can be found at home. In the case of a sudden emergency like a natural disaster, it would be great to have one of these Guides around to keep us warm and light our way.

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Supplies included things like tuna tins, cardboard, and crayons — all things that most families are likely to have on hand. It was also a great day for upcycling, with girls using recycled materials like cartons from Girl Guide Cookie sales!

Whether it’s camping in the outdoors or at home during an emergency, it is always the Girl Guide way to “Be Prepared!”

Girl Guide Cookies on the Mind

Happy Spring Equinox! What’s your favourite part of spring? Ours is classic chocolate and vanilla Girl Guide Cookies, of course! Cookies are now on sale throughout the community. Cookie sales help support excellent girl programming including sleepovers, camps, guest speakers, craft supplies, outdoor adventures, building skills, and international travel.

The girls at the 54th Brownies recently had cookies on their mind, celebrating spring cookies season with a bunch of fun cookie related games and activities. Here you can see them trying to get cookies from their foreheads to their mouths using only their face muscles! It wouldn’t be Brownies without laughter.

Watch out for Girl Guides in your local community and support our fun and friendship by buying a delicious box for only $5.00.

Sparks Design Space

The 2nd Burnaby Mountain Sparks are enjoying working with the new Girls First program. Based on evaluations of the girls’ interests and personalities during meetings earlier in the year, the unit has decided to work on the Experiment and Create program area this year. At their last meeting, the group did some activities for the Design Space theme.

Design Space is described as follows in the Girls First program:sparks-design-space-theme-badge.jpg

Innovate and create! Activities in this theme will equip you with the skills you need to tinker with machines, build robots, code programs, and re-think recycling, as you push the limits of your imagination.

Difficult to do with 5-6 year old Sparks? The group didn’t think so! Using a combination of activities from the Girls First online platform plus activities their crafty Guiders came up with themselves (and then submitted for consideration to the National program team!) the girls had a great meeting.

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The group had a great discussion about robots including household uses they were familiar with like roombas and Siri. Then they got creative and design their own robots using recycled materials and leftover craft supplies. Each girl designed a tin can robot and talked about its functions and personality.

Then they made a circuit track on the floor using painters tape and figured out how to guide their blindfolded Guider through the track — first by physically manipulating her, and then using voice commands only (“Walk forwards”, “Turn left” etc). Then the girls took turns leading each other through using these coding commands. We discussed that this is how you give directions to robots.

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They also made I-Spy Bottles, an activity from the online platform. This quiet activity involves using investigative skills to find small items in a bottle filled with rice. Another great opportunity to upcycle!

Finally, the girls took their fully dried robots to play on the robot circuit course, or took time to play with their I-Spy bottle — whichever they preferred.

It was a great day of robotics, coding, and recycling, fitting perfectly with the Design Space theme. They’re looking forward to doing more design space activities at their next meeting so that they can earn the theme badge. Way to go girls!

Brownies get Guides Greatest Hits

With registration for next Guiding year already open for returning members, this is a great time of year for girls to get a taste of what Guiding in the next branch has in store. Recently, girls from the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies visited our 22nd Guides to see what a Guide meeting is really like.

The Guides, feeling inspired by our upcoming new Girls First programming, got their creative thinking caps on to plan an evening of fun inspired by some of their favourite activities that they had done earlier this year.

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One of their favourite meetings was a spa day when they made all kinds of natural products and learned about how to feel good with activities like yoga and mindfulness. The girls borrowed their favourite activity from that meeting — chocolate face masks! — to share with their Brownie friends. Entirely eatable, these face masks apparently make your skin feel soft and smooth. But as we can all tell, really the fun comes from getting to wear your chocolate!

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Another favourite activity which had come from a series of meetings on STEM related topics was slime making. The Guides helped the Brownies make slime in a variety of colours. Science is cool. The meeting was definitely a bit more messy than your average Guide meeting, but the girls were all great about helping to clean up too.

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They also got to share some of their Girl Guide traditions like their regular opening routine and some favourite songs. What a great way for the girls who are moving up to Guides next year to know what kind of fun things to expect. Thank you, Guides, for planning such an awesome meeting!

Spring Cookie Season

Girl Guide Cookies are on sale now in the lower mainland. Burnaby Mountain girls are busy selling them to family and friends, going door-to-door, and out in public at skytrain stations and other blitz locations.

Recently, the girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies got geared up for Girl Guide Cookie season by baking their own using the recipe that was used for the very first Girl Guide cookies back in 1927. Each circle had a recipe card. Written into the instructions were important steps like,”wash your hands,” and “put all ingredients away,” so that from start to finish, they were independently working together and cleaning as they went. The leaders were there only for assistance when needed.

The cookies have come a long way since they started. The 1927 cookies were mildly spiced sugar cookies. Most girls seem to like the current chocolate and vanilla (or in the fall, Chocolatey Mint) version a little better. Still, it was a lot of fun to make the originals! In the end, each girl brought home a container of cookies, and even left some behind for the school staff.

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Want to try it yourself? Here is the recipe:

Christina Riespman’s 1927 Girl Guide Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 Eggs
2 tablespoons cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 or more cups flour to make soft dough

Directions:

  • Cream butter and sugar, Beat in eggs and cream
  • Combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and flour
  • Sift dry into wet ingredients and mix into dough.
  • Roll and cut, using a small floured glass or cookie cutter
  • Sprinkle with sugar, then bake at moderate heat, until done.
  • Enjoy!

Look for the much more modern Chocolate and Vanilla sandwich cookies out in the community now!

Happy Lunar New Year

Last week, Burnaby Mountain’s 24th Brownies did some work on the program area Key to My Community (with a bit of Arts thrown in). Given the trio of holidays the calendar presented them with, they had a Valentine’s-Flag Day-Chinese New Year mashup!
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For Flag Day activities, the girls took turns reading out “fun facts” about the flag, and quizzed themselves (multiple choice) about the national anthem (and, of course, learned the lyrical change that was recently made). They then learned the Michael Mitchell song, “Canada In My Pocket” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnZlAOSEmYQ).
So that there would be some time for the glue to dry, they next decorated the dragon mask that one of the leaders had made at home.  They were really into it! They decided that it had to be a girl, to be in Girl Guides.
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When that was done, another leader shared some traditional Chinese foods with them: longevity peach buns, and nian gao, a sticky sweet rice cake, which she had made. They weren’t a big hit, but the leaders were proud of the girls for trying new foods.
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They then split the girls into their circles and rotated them through the Chinese calligraphy station (where a leader showed them how to use the brushes and ink or special watercolour paint to write “dog” and other words), and the “lucky money” Valentine’s station. There they each wrote a compliment on a bit of paper for another Brownie, and put them in a red envelope so that each girl left with a pocket of nice things about themselves.
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The girls enjoyed finishing the meeting with at least a few minutes to do the dragon dance in the gym. They used 4m of this really lovely flowy fabric and the freshly decorated mask. After a few minutes, it dissolved into a game of body chasing the head (and plenty of giggles!).
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Anyway, for a Key that can tend towards the cerebral rather than the experiential, it was a really fun meeting!
Happy New Year!

Brownie Halloween Party

Girl Guides loves celebrating special days! Many units, including our 54th Burnaby Brownies, celebrated Halloween at the end of October.

In Brownies, Special Days is even a badge that the girls can work on in their programming. This unit incorporated those activities into their Halloween party. Girls came to the meeting wearing their costumes. Pikachus, mermaids, unicorns, Hermione Grangers and more all had a great time.

One of the activities involved girls in teams turning one of their friends into a toilet paper mummy. It was a close competition, but the mummy below was the winning creation!

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At Girl Guides the leaders love to get in on the fun too. This, clearly, is a fun leadership team to be a part of!

The units Guiders came dressed as Super Guider and She-Ra, Princess of Power. Thanks for being so festive, ladies!

Special days can be a lot of fun and they can also be an important part of how we connect as a community. Stay tuned for some photos of our girls at a local Remembrance Day ceremony this past weekend.

Growing Fun with Grassy Gnomes

It is always so much fun to see the creative activities that our fantastic volunteer Unit Guiders come up with to present Girl Guides of Canada programming (on a related note, we love Pinterest!!). Especially at the Sparks and Brownies level, girls love making crafts. Finding crafts that not only encourage creativity and self expression but also promote hands on learning is a great way to have fun with program.

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At one of their weekly meetings, girls from the 24th Brownies learned a bit about plants and their life cycles. How do seeds grow? What do plants need to be healthy? They put this knowledge to work by planting and watering some grass seeds in an especially creative way. Grass is fun to work with because it doesn’t take long to grow. When the leaders brought back the gnomes the following week they were already growing some pretty rad hair.

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The finished grassy gnomes are adorable! Want to know how to make them yourself? Check out some instructions here. At this regular weekly meeting, STEM + crafts = Girl Guides of Canada fun.

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.

Sun Printing at Brownies

We love the summertime sunshine, don’t you? The girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies did a cool science-related craft using 100% natural sunlight at one of their meetings earlier this year.

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The process is called Sun Printing. It uses special sun-sensitive (cyanotype) fabric to change colour. First, they laid out a design with various items items on the cyanotype cotton squares. They used a mix of natural materials like plants, and non-natural materials like foam craft shapes to make a design.

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After leaving them outside for about 20 minutes, the items which had blocked the UV rays from causing a reaction on the cotton left a negative print.

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The girls then rinsed the cotton squares in cold running water and then spritzed them with rubbing alcohol to quickly change the background to a lovely shade of blue. They then arranged the squares on pillowcases, carefully pinned them in place, and one of the leaders brought them home to sew them on.

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The finished products show each girl’s unique design, made with a super awesome sun-powered printing process.

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What a unique way to combine science and art in Girl Guides of Canada programming. This is just another example of what girls get up to at regular unit meetings.