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 🙂
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!
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 🙂
Dry Print Art
Assuming that all these activities go ahead, my girls will earn the following badges for attending:
Winter is Great
Which Way (possibly)
Be Aware (possibly)
Friday night snack
3 meals on Saturday + snacks
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!!
We are awarding them periodically throughout the year. Personally, I really don’t like waiting until May. For many of our girls, receiving them – and watching friends receive them – is a motivating experience. Everyone wants to get every badge that they can. It is the reward for all of their hard work.
We handed out a few right after Halloween, although we hadn’t earned much by then. Most of the girls earned a fair number this time around though and they were So. Excited.
Sorry for the rough quality in this picture. I shot it really quick as I ran out the door to our meeting on Tuesday night.
I made the infographic using this free website. I place it in wordpress to play with the sizing a little and ended up with the following document, which you are welcome to download and use for yourself:
I printed out enough copies on plain white cardstock, and we cut them into rough Christmas tree shapes. Then we stapled brown ribbon to the bottom for our tree trunks and used safety pins to pin the badges onto the ribbon.
This was a fairly simple process. All in all, it took about 2 hours to do everything and I had 19 Brownies to prep for.
I knew they were excited for the badges since they ask for them every single week but they were so happy with the presentation as well, which surprised me. We could overhear them saying to their parents, “Look what Skye Owl made for us” , “It is so pretty!”. This was lovely and reiterated the importance of making this a big deal every once in a while.
I am a stickler for only giving the girls the badges they have earned, so they didn’t all have the same ones. However, if someone is sick for an evening, I try to make sure I have a way for them to “make up” the badge work at home, if they want to.
While handing out the badges, I also recognized three girls for outstanding Brownie work. Two of the girls went with their Mums in the fall to plant trees with a local community group. A third girl collected new, warm socks with her Mum to send to the far North of Canada, to communities with a lot of poverty. Each of these girls got a crest for her efforts (see pic below) and I explained how and why they earned them. We all clapped for them. Hopefully their actions will encourage the others to take action for a better world as well.
In retrospect, seeing what a big deal it was for the girls, I wish that we had invited the parents to pick up a little early so they could see the presentations. But I am positive they heard all about it on the way home.
Next week will be our last meeting before our month-long holiday break. Huzzah!
The local Optimist’s Club of Canada started hosted something called Fantasy of the Lights in the local park about a decade a go. Many of the different businesses, families and groups put in a light display to mark the holidays and it is beautiful.
This has become the traditional end of year meeting activity for most of the Guides and Scouts. We suit up in warm winter gear and stroll through the park for an hour, often with parents and siblings in tow. Afterwards we play in the snow.
This is always a fun night. Beautiful, good exercise and FREE! Or close to. Usually a leader or parent volunteers to stay behind to prepare hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie or something for a warm treat at the end.
We are challenging our Brownies to complete the Family Heritage badge at home this holiday season. There is a month off from regular meetings, so we are taking a few minutes at the end of our Christmas PJ party to talk about family heritage and earning this badge.
It would be really difficult for us to teach the girls without knowing their family information… so this badge seemed like the perfect Christmas holiday opportunity!
I teamed up with Emily from Growing Little Leaves to come up with a worksheet printable to send home with each of the girls. Emily created this family tree, which is available to download on her website. I have edited it slightly for use with my Brownies, and you can download this version here.
We broached the subject of ancestry during our Dias de los Meurtos celebration in November. Hopefully there isn’t a lot of discussion required during our Christmas party…
The official Brownie book contains these tips for earning the badge, and we will communicate this to parents:
Interview an older relative about life when she was young. What games did she play? What was school like for her? What chores did she have at home? If she was a Brownie, what activities did she do? Locate the places your parents or grandparents came from on a map. Why did your family move from that place? When did they come to where they are living now? Share a special family treasure, such as a photo, a piece of jewelry, or a quilt. Why is it special? Tell its story.
The hope is for each girl to return in January ready to present her badge!
Growing Little Leaves has a bunch of other FREE printables on her website. I am also sending home with the girls this cute maternal/paternal snowman print-out which is perfect for December.