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!
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.
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.
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.
2 pairs mittens
plastic bag to separate wet items from dry items
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)
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
warm sleeping bag
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!
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!!