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

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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 🙂

Edit: Unfortunately, the amount owing that was in the emails I received from this registration was not correct. I had to contact GGC Outdoor Experiences in order to get the correct amount.

xx

Your Day Badge

The Your Day brownie badge is all about the girl and how she celebrates her birthday. I also refer to it as the birthday badge.

I created a brief sheet to send home with the girls so they could work on this with their parents. I really want to get away from worksheets, but I have yet to find a creative way to have girls work on badges away from our meetings and actually have them get done… 

Please! Send me some ideas!

Feel free to download or share this worksheet.

xx

Christmas Badge Presentations

How do you award your badges?

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. 

Badge Presentation Idea

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.

xx

Fantasy of the Lights

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.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xx

Family Heritage Badge – Genealogy!

Family Heritage Badge

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

Finally, I want to also try and do Emily’s Celebrating Female Ancestors worksheet since Guides is all about the girl.

Click the links above to find the exact documents I am referencing on Emily’s website. 

To help explain this activity and the meaning behind it, I am going to read My Family Tree and Me by Dusan Petricic. 

We also read Fancy Nancy: My Family History

Image result for fancy nancy my family history

How do you handle badges that are difficult to complete in-meeting? Do you have a better idea than worksheets?

xx