Freezing temperatures have arrived in Ontario just in time for our outdoor skating party!
Girls will earn their Swim/Skate badge for coming out with us, and part of their cookout badge as well, but the real purpose of this is just to have a night out and enjoy ourselves!
We are encouraging parents and siblings to stay and play as well, partially for practicality, but the more the merrier!
One of our unit leaders lives in the country and she and her husband build this outdoor rink each year for their family, so the Guide and Scout units are greatly benefiting from their hard work 🙂
The unit is providing hotdogs, buns, hot chocolate and marshmallows. Our hosts are providing the ice and a bonfire and roasting tools. We have emailed parents to remind them of the location change for our meeting, and to outfit their daughter with skates and helmets!
Should be a fun night, and it is basically a night off for leaders since we don’t have much to plan or organize 🙂
This is the Kit List that I have prepared for our trip to the Jungle Cat World Zoo. It will be taking place in early April – an unpredictable time to be outside in Ontario. Since I am handing out trip forms to parents in February, there are going to be a lot of items with “weather dependent” written beside them!
We are going to Jungle Cat World for our second (and final) overnight trip of the year!
This will be in April so we haven’t done too much work for it yet. We are keeping it a surprise from the girls until February or so.
Jungle Cat World will hopefully be a great experience. It is a small zoo with big cats (surprise, surprise) as well as plenty of other animals. It is only about 30 minutes from home and was a cheap $50.00 per person. You can’t really beat that price!
What is included?
Indoor, dormitory-style sleeping quarters
Supper the night we arrive
Private, after-hours tour of the zoo
Watching the animals’ evening feeding
Bonfire (we will provide s’mores for the girls)
Classroom lesson on conservation and endangered species
What’s NOT included?
Transportation (parents to arrange)
* Breakfast the next morning (guiders to provide)
We do have access to a full kitchen to prepare and serve breakfast to the girls.
Our group is able to stay at the zoo for the entire next day without paying another admission. We are going to have the girls picked up at 1:00 so that we don’t also have to organize and provide lunch. We will definitely let parents know ahead of time though, that if they want to bring their other children and spend the day, their Brownie won’t have to pay again.
For this trip, we prepared these forms: SG.1, SG.2, H.2. We already have IR.1 and H.1 for each girl. These forms are available on the GGC website, but you will need to login to view them.
We also prepared a Kit List for each family to know what to pack. Our trip is in early April, and we have to provide the forms in February so we basically told them to pack everything with a little “* weather dependent” note beside half of the items. Depending on the year, it could still be snowing or 20C!
I will post the Kit List in a separate post later today.
Pro Tip: After you print all the sheets and staple them together for each girl, write her name on the top of each packet. Then you know exactly who hasn’t received theirs yet when it is still sitting with your guiding things!
Just before Christmas, one of the local Boy Scout units invited GGC units to go snow tubing with them at a local ski “resort”. One of our leaders was interested so we opened it up to the girls and their families, and 8/20 families in our group decided to join in!
Scouts secured a great group rate for anyone booking through them for the evening, so our girls are excited to head out and have some fun in the snow this week.
Hopping in on other units’ activities is a great way to create access to more activities than you can generate on your own. Don’t forget that networking in your local community, and it doesn’t just have to be other GGC units!
We are fortunate enough that many of our girls can earn their winter activity badges many times over in the unit this year, but if there is someone who missed the previous events and attends on Thursday, we will definitely be awarding them their badge!
A fellow guider recently told me about a heated argument on a Canadian guiding Facebook page, where a leader shared that her unit didn’t sing the national anthem in their meetings. I’m not sure if she was just taking a poll on how many groups did or didn’t, or if someone had said something personally to her and she was asking for feedback…
Nevertheless, I felt terrible for her because she was 100% bullied for asking this question. To the point that she left the Facebook group. I have been bullied as an adult in guiding before and there needs to be much less tolerance for it among guiders, GGC leadership and by the admins of online sites and pages.
Leaders should and do share their questions and ideas online. We share resources and routines and solicit input from others in this community.
But we are a COMMUNITY. And we are shaping the next generation of women. If you are the type of person who brings others down, you should be removed from the guiding world. Period.
For the record, my unit does not sing O’Canada in our meetings. No one has asked to all year – girl, parent or leader – and last year we only sang it once. We will sing the national anthem in an upcoming meeting because we are doing the Canada badge and it is directly relevant, but I do not see any need to do it on a regular basis.
We are starting our first meeting back from Christmas break on January 15th. We are attempting to cover two badges this week: Food Power and Go For It.
Luckily, one of the girls’ Mum is a fitness instructor and nutritionist and she volunteered to run this meeting. We have prepared a few things in order to help facilitate, just in case our speaker doesn’t have enough items to fill the meeting. She is really on the ball though and I doubt she will need our ideas!
So in our circles, we will catch up any badge presentations that need to happen after our month long break. We will also ask the girls to name their three favourite vegetables and three favourite fruits.
Throughout the evening, we will also ask the girls how physical activity keeps you strong and healthy, and it means to be healthy?
It is important at this age to encourage kids to play actively and to play outside. During Canadian winters, this can be tricky so it is really important for the girls to talk about their favourite ways to do so. We also want to talk about playground equipment: what types are there and what games you can play on the equipment.
Some games that we have thought up to actively play in our meeting (we meet in a gym, luckily) are tag (any variation), dodgeball, and the giant parachute. During any of our physical activities, we will take our “pulse” before and after and discuss whether it changed and why.
I am hoping to bring a healthy snack with me this week. Probably some clementines or carrots and humus. We purposely did not start our snack signup for the first meeting back because we didn’t want to spend the whole meeting talking about being healthy and then eat cookies, etc.
Finally, we are sending the girls home with this I Tried Something New page to encourage them to try new foods.
For the second half of our guiding year, we are trying out something new in our unit.
Girls are growing and they are always hungry. Especially after 90 minutes of running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
So I set up a simple google docs spreadsheet, by inserting a table into a normal blank document. I changed the background to pink. Added a bit of info for parents.
I shared the document with the other leaders and with every parent in our roster. There are two sharing options so if you decide to do this, make sure that you choose one that doesn’t require parents to log into a Google account, as not everyone will use gmail.
I have no idea how well this will go over, but it is difficult for the unit to pay for snacks every week, and children are hungry. Plus, badge work 🙂
We are preparing some special things to give the girls our last meeting. At the end of the document, I have asked parents to please email their recipe so that we can include a cookbook of kid-friendly recipes in this surprise.
You may notice that there are dates missing from the calendar. These are dates we are on a field trip, have visitors or are not meeting (example: March Break).
On nights that no one signs up, we will not have a snack.
Hopefully this goes over well and it successful! Leaders originally discussed this idea a few months ago, but we didn’t get it started quickly and decided to wait until after the winter break.