Overnight Trip – Jungle Cat World

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!

The badges we expect to earn this visit are:

  • Saving Plants and Animals
  • Cookout (for those who missed that meeting)
  • Help our planet

xx

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Canadian Anthem Controversy

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.

Does your unit sing O’Canada on a weekly basis?

xx

Snack Signup

For the second half of our guiding year, we are trying out something new in our unit.

Weekly snacks.

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.

And VOILA!

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 🙂

Win-win!

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.

xx

Winter Camping Kit List

This is the Kit List that we provided to parents for our weekend long trip to Lake St. George in February. I always remind parents to label everything and provide the list with the initial forms, on our unit website (which is private) and send to parents via email.

Outerwear

  • snow suit
  • warm hat
  • scarf
  • 2 pairs mittens
  • snow boots
  • plastic bag to separate wet items from dry items
  • sunglasses

Clothing

  • warm PJs
  • 3 pairs underwear
  • 5 pairs socks (I’m assuming most of us will end up with wet socks at least once)
  • 2-3 pairs pants (again, wet pant legs from outdoor play)
  • 2-3 warm, long-sleeved shirts
  • Brownie shirt
  • sweater or hoodie
  • 1 pair of indoor shoes

Personal Items

  • stuffie (if desired)
  • ear plugs (if desired)
  • toiletries (toothbrush/paste; wash cloth; towel; hair brush and elastics; soap; kleenex; sunscreen; lip balm)
  • There are shower facilities at this location. You may send your child with shower shoes; towel; shampoo/conditioner if desired
  • medications (clearly labelled with child’s name and instructions for leaders)
  • reusable water bottle
  • pillow
  • warm sleeping bag
  • extra blanket
  • bedroll (if desired)
  • book (if desired)
  • personal mini first aid kit (made in unit meeting)

All of our food and mess items are provided at the location we are visiting so parents are not required to send these items with their daughters. Post in the comments if you notice anything that I have missed!

Lake St George Trip

We booked an Outdoor Experiences Trip for February 2019, at Lake St. George. We arrive on Friday evening, and parents pickup around lunchtime on Sunday. I wrote broadly about the Outdoor Experiences program in a recent post, but this one is more about our actual trip.

This camp weekend is for Sparks, Brownies and Guides so there may be other units there as well, although the ages won’t be too drastically different since my girls are the middle age group 🙂

Activities Included:

  • Tubing
  • Broomball
  • Evening Hike
  • Mini-Olympics
  • Dry Print Art
  • Astronomy

Assuming that all these activities go ahead, my girls will earn the following badges for attending:

  • Winter Outside
  • Winter is Great
  • Team Together
  • Which Way (possibly)
  • Be Aware (possibly)

What’s Included?

  • Friday night snack
  • 3 meals on Saturday + snacks
  • Sunday breakfast
  • All equipment rental (example: tubes and art supplies)
  • Daytime facility staff who will lead activities
  • heated, dormitory-style sleeping quarters

What’s Not Included?

  • Transportation to and from

We prepared a Kit List to share with parents on this trip. I will upload this in a separate blog post this week since there is a lot of content.

In addition, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, the registration process provides you with the necessary SafeGuide forms, so I just needed to print out copies for each of my families and collect the completed forms and money!

The badges we expect our girls to earn from this trip are:0

I am a little nervous about this camp but also super excited. It should be lots of fun!!

Any tips to share?

xx

Ontario Outdoor Experiences

New this guiding year, Ontario created a series of overnight weekends called Ontario Outdoor Experiences. This is a new way for leaders to bring their girls outdoors and work towards different badges, without the guiders have to arrange as much as they would during independent camping trips. girls All we have to do is register, fill out the normal paperwork, and show up with the girls to supervise!

The provincial council has partnered with third party outdoor experience providers to arrange dedicated GGC weekends, with each weekend being dedicated to a specific branch.

We have booked our first outdoor experience for February 2019. This is a pretty big trip for us – two nights – which is the most I would feel comfortable arranging at the Brownie level.

While searching for a camp to book, our main requirements were less than 1 hour’s distance from home (one-way) and the correct branch on a weekend Guiders were free. So that pretty well narrowed it down to the camp we are doing!

The benefits to booking this type of trip:

  1. With Outdoor Experiences, you have to cover 10% of the total cost for the unit in the deposit. Leaders are free within the Safeguide Ratios. We were able to cover this, so that is the amount that we are subsidizing for our unit. The remainder, the parents are expected to pay for. The province automatically transfers the deposit amount from our account to the providers, so I didn’t have to deal with credit card limits and submitting receipts!! As treasurer, I definitely appreciated this!
  2. Every girl member in your unit is automatically applied for a campership (subsidy), based off the information parents submit when they register their child each year. This means that the province will subsidize a portion of that girl’s cost due to financial hardship. The lead guider for the trip and the parent are both notified by email. In our unit, two girls qualified and the Province deposited the amount of each girl’s campership subsidy directly into our account within one week.
  3. When you register your unit, the process prompts you along and tells you exactly which forms you need to prepare for SafeGuide. More, it actually fills out most of the form for you! For me, the margins weren’t lining up properly so I printed blank forms and wrote it out anyway, but I was able to copy out their answers directly which still made the process easier!
  4. Girl receive a special crest for participating in this type of program.

The main drawbacks to these programs that I have discovered so far are:

  1. The unit has to be able to afford the 10% deposit before collecting money from parents for the trip to book it. In the fall, our unit couldn’t afford this and so missed out on the opportunity to do a fall overnight trip.
  2. When you are booking, you have to upload each person’s information, including name, IMIS number, medical concerns and food allergies to be able to submit the form. For a large unit like mine, this meant that registering took about 90 minutes. It also means you have to input everyone’s information since you don’t know yet who isn’t attending.
  3. The cost. The amount our girls are paying is ~$140.00. This isn’t extreme considering that it is two nights, all our meals are included and so is equipment rental. But for some families, that is a lot to shell out. I really hope that the trip proves worth the expense!

I am going to write a separate post about our actual trip later this week 🙂

xx