Saturday, 20 May 2017

Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up & The Cross Canada Challenge

Have you heard of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up? (

Its an amazing organization that encourages you to clean up local waterways. We always do a community clean up in the fall but this year we thought we would focus on a shoreline and decided to clean up a nearby creek. 

 A few years ago we purchased 20 sets of BBQ tongs at our local dollar store. We've found that they are perfect for picking up trash (girls don't actually have to touch any garbage) and when you're done you can just pop them all in the dishwasher for a quick clean.  Here are some photos of our clean up.

The girls were super eager to help and ended up picking up 8 bags of garbage!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Ignite, Inspire, Innovate Conference!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being an Adult Ally at the Ignite, Inspire, Innovate Conference in Toronto. Over the weekend over 100 Pathfinder/Ranger aged girls came to a conference to learn and talk about issues that they are really interested in. There were sessions on LGBTQ+ issues, Dating and Relationships, Social Media, Mental Health, Starting a Service Project and more. I was blown away that the organizers were able to keep the whole weekend so youth focused. The National Youth Council and the Event Organizers put in a ton of work and it showed.

Over the weekend I got to meet amazing girls and guiders from all over Canada. I had such an amazing time! Thank you GGC!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sparks Hug a Tree and Survive!

While our Brownies Hug-A-Tree and Survive presentation got cancelled we were able to rearrange the dates for the Sparks and had another presenter come to do the presentation. If you've never heard of the program Hug-A-Tree and Survive I encourage you to check it out: Hug a Tree Website

The presentations are available for free from an organization called AdventureSmart and they are really well done. Each presentation explores how to prepare for hiking and what to do if you were to get lost in the forest. The presentation consists of what a search and rescue team is, a video about what to do if you were to get lost and how/what you should pack before going out to explore. 

Our presenter was very knowledgable and was happy to answer the many, many......many questions that my Sparks had. He even had a gift for them at the end, Emergency whistle, reflective cards and emergency blankets for them to pack in their bags the next time we go hiking. 

Thanks Adventure Smart!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Gateway to Our Past

I've always been really interested in Girl Guide history. I often wondered if the girls would be interested in this too or if they would think it's boring. In February we took the girls to the Girl Guide archives and they had a blast! They learned a lot and in that trip we ended up completing 1/2 of the Alberta Gateway to our Past Challenge. In order to finish up the requirements we used tonight's meeting to explore some old Brownie badge requirements and have a vintage uniform fashion show. 

The first thing we tried out with the girls was some Brownie badge requirements from the 1940's. In the earlier days of  Brownies the girls would be expected to learn a variety of household and life skills such as taking phone messages, setting the table, knitting, mending, childminding, etc. We thought it would be fun experience for the girls to give these skills a try.

At the beginning of the meeting we talked to the girls about answering the phone and taking a message. None of them knew how to do this and it was a great skill to teach them. We had set up a message station on the side of our meeting space. It had message taking papers, a mailbox for each owl and a phone. Throughout the meeting the phone would ring. The girl who answered it had to take a simple message such as "The Bird is red" and put it in the correct mailbox. This was trickier then it looked but turned out to be a great experience for the girls. They learned a lot!

While the girls we waiting for the phone to ring we did an activity where they learned to set the table for dinner. Some had knowledge of this but others had never set a table before. Once they learned where everything went. We took all the plates, cups and cutlery and spread them out on the floor. We set up two teams and did a relay race to see who could set the table correctly the fastest. They LOVED this and had a fantastic time. 

Next we learned about vintage Brownie Uniforms. The girls had seen some of the old Brownie and Guide uniforms when we visited GGC Archives a few months prior but this time they all got to play dress up. First I showed them some of my Brownie, Guide and Leader dolls that show some of the old uniforms that were once worn. We also learned the difference between the girl guide hand sign and girl guide salute.

Then the girls got to play! Each got to try on as many uniforms as they liked from the pile of vintage uniforms we rented. After they had settled on an outfit we took them to the Church gym (which has a stage) and we did a fashion show!

I think this was one of the girls favourite meetings of the year. We had an awesome time!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The 2nd Year Girls Visit the Guides

This is my third year being a Brownie leader. My very first year I had 12 little Brownies. They add ahd a good time with me but when it came to moving up only one of my 6 eligible girls moved up to Guides. I know that Brownie aged kids have a lot of other activities to choose from but i thought we could do better then only one kid continuing. 

The next year along with my local guide leader and friend Cathy, we arranged for the girls to come and visit a guide meeting. The girls had a blast, learning all about different kinds of dance and hanging out with the "big kids" That year of the 3 girls who came to the guides meeting 2 of the girls signed up for the unit for September (the other moved out of the country). 

This year we tried the guide meeting again and ended up taking 11 girls. They had a great time learning all about water and seeing their friends from last year that had moved up. The girls got to see what guiding was like and what kinds of fun they could expect to try our the following year. I am happy to report that of the 11 girls who went to that meeting 8 are signed up for guides next year!!!!!!! The others are planning on signing up but haven't quite gotten around to signing up yet. I would call that success. 

I highly recommend you taking your advancing girls to see what the next level is all about. We do a lot of bridging in our area but having the just the Brownies and Guides allowed our girls to really feel what its like to be a part of the guide team. 

Good luck in Guides Girls!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Who Stole the Wise Old Owl!?

At the beginning of last summer I started booking things that we’d like to do with the Brownies in the upcoming year. One thing I knew I wanted to book was a presentation from the Hug-A-Tree and Survive organization. I booked for April which was getting into our camping season and we counted down the weeks until we could have our presenter in.

Unfortunately a day before our presentation was supposed to happen I got a call. Our presenter had been in an accident and although he was okay now he wouldn’t be able to come in for our meeting. Oh No! I had nothing else planned! We had just one night before our meeting and nothing to do with the girls. After a night of chatting with the other leaders, googling and pinteresting we had come up with a plan. Tomorrow we’d complete the Alberta CSI challenge. Our Owl was going to be kidnapped!

This meeting took a little bit of time to set up because we wanted it to have a crime scene feel. I put a note on the door outside our meeting space that the Brownies had to wait outside. A few times I went in and out and made it look like I was very concerned about something. The girls were so confused and had so many ideas about what could be going on inside.  As soon as all the girls got there we let them inside.

Shock and panic! The girls were aghast to see that their beloved owl was missing. Even the parents were concerned (that’s them peering in from the hallway). The girls knew it was going to be a fun meeting and we sat down to discuss what happened and how we could get the owl back.

I told the girls that the toadstool was like that when I got here. The owl was missing and I couldn't find her anywhere. What was also left were case files with each of their names on them. It looks like tonight they were all going to have to learn to be detectives. They would be learning some new skills, finding clues and hopefully finding out beloved owl!

Before the meeting I made up these case files. Throughout the meeting our girls completed various CSI themed activities and were rewarded with clues. Once they put all of the clues together they would be able to figure out: who took the owl, how she was lured away and where she was being hidden.

The first activity we did together as a group. The girls did a type of Kim's game where they were shown a group of objects on a tray for one minute. After the minute the tray was covered and they had to use their super memory skills to write down what they say. After this we tried the traditional Kim's game where we would remove an object from the tray and the girls had to guess which one was missing! After the girls completed the activity they were rewarded with clues to the mystery. 

After the memory game the girls split into their fairy circles and we did rotations of: fingerprint identification, code breaking and invisible ink. After each group completed the activity they were given a clue to the mystery. We designed our meeting similar to the way the board game Clue is laid out. Each clue the girls got was more information. Once all the clues were found the girls met in the middle and discussed what each person got. They found out that based on what was left over the Nymphs had taken the Owl using a Freeze Ray and she was being held in the storage room!

The girls rushed to the Storage Room but were met with LAZERS!!!! On the other side of the lazer patch there were three boxes. The girls deciphered a secret code to tell them which box the owl was in and then quickly scooted through the lazer grid.

The secret clue said that the owl was frozen with a freeze ray so they knew that she would be cold. Using a thermal camera (our leader Tawny Owl is proficient in these and did a little info session for the girls) the girls looked at the boxes and figured out which box contained the owl.

 The made their choice and - 


This was an amazing meeting. The girls had a blast and learned all sorts of new things!

If you are interested in running a CSI meeting with your Brownies feel free to use my printables. You can click here to get them!

Brownie CSI Meeting Documents

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Brownies Celebrate National Engineering Month with ENGspire!

Last year my guider friend Alison told me about a really interesting program called ENGspire. ENGspire is a non-profit company that focuses on matching up Girl Guide groups with Female Engineers. The Engineers bring with them amazing activities that teach the girls about the wonders of engineering and expose them to a variety of types of engineers. 

This year the ENGspire crew created a fabulous program called Super Engineers! The activities all followed a storyline about being captured and hidden away on an island. Using limited materials and their super engineering skills the girls would have to build a flashlight, learn the basics of coding and build a catapult. 

The first activity was for the girls to build a flashlight. Using a battery and an LED the girls explored simple circuits and how the positive and negative ends of the LED had to be manipulated to create light. Once they created the circuit they used some foam and card stock to make a flashlight that worked when you pressed the sides together. These were a ton of fun and a HUGE hit with the girls!

The next activity was an introduction to Coding. The girls were told that now they had found their way out of a maze. They worked in partners to plot their way through the maze using a map. breaking down their instructions step by step was a challenge for the girls but they persevered. Once the girls thought they had the maze figured out they got to give the life-sized map a try. The girls LOVED trying out their instructions on the big map.

The last activity was a crowd favourite - Making Catapults! In the ENGspire Story the girls had to make a catapult to launch themselves off of the island. The girls put these together fairly quickly and got to play with them for the rest of the meeting. 

This was a truly wonderful meeting and I can't promote this company any more. The program did have a cost but it was very minimal ($25 for up to 25 girls). They supply you with all of the craft/activity supplies as well as a crest for everyone. For more information click the following link:

Thanks ENGspire!!!