Sunday, 11 June 2017

Tekarama 10: Coast to Coast to Coast

This past weekend, 5 Guides and 1 Guider attended Tekarama 10: Coast to Coast to Coast with over 100 other Guides and Guiders, at Camp Teka in Paris. A huge THANK YOU to the organizing committee - we had a great time and will definitely go again!

On Friday night, we set up our tents and explored the camp as 4 of the girls had only been there in the winter. I also had the fun of introducing the girls to SWAPS and trading - something I love! Our first camp activity was to make Dreamcatchers, followed by a big campfire and snack. The campfire songs were suggested by the different units attending the camp and included Tall Trees, One Bottle of Pop, If I Were Not a Girl Guide, Get Loose, Mamma Don't Allow, Purple Stew and Black Socks. It was a bit of a late night as everyone was excited, but we were all eventually asleep.

Saturday started very early as the girls were up with the birds at 5.30AM - and were told by their very tired Guider to BE QUIET! The day officially started with Opening and Flag Raising, where the Patrols and Groups for the weekend were explained. All of the Guides and Guiders were divided up into 12 colour Patrols (my Patrol was light blue), and then the Patrols were grouped into 4 larger groups for the morning and afternoon activities. Patrols took part in activities together, ate together, and did camp duties together. We then all headed over to the Guide Kitchen and pavilions for breakfast (waffles with strawberries and whipped cream - yum!). After breakfast, each Patrol saw to their assigned camp duty - my Patrol were the "Lumberjacks" and had to gather wood for the campfire and lay the fire ready for Saturday night.

The four stations for the day were:
1. Central Canada
2. Atlantic Canada
3. Western Canada
4. Northern Canada

Groups did two activities, followed by lunch in the middle (tacos-in-a-bag!), and then the remaining two activities in the afternoon. It was a very hot weekend, and we all sought out spots in the shade as much as possible.

Western Canada
My group started our travels in Western Canada, where we took part in Roping, Racing, Milking, and Singing! For the first part of the session, the Guides were divided into 4 groups:
  • Roping - Girls were given a lasso made from a loop of glowsticks attached to a rope and had to toss it over the head of a wooden horse
  • Racing (1) - Girls rode pool noodle horses around a track of milk canisters
  • Milking - Plastic gloves filled with water were attached to a pole laid across chairs, and the girls had to 'milk' them into a jar to see who could get the most liquid in 2 minutes
  • Racing (2) - Girls split into two teams and used water pistols to move a plastic cup along a string - racing to see who could get their cup to the end first
We finished our time in the West by dividing the girls up into small groups and having them create songs using 6-7 words chosen from a hat.

Northern Canada
Heading North, our next stop was the Territories. Here, the girls gathered, washed and polished stones to make an Inukshuk. Once these were finished, we played a relay game on Canadian Symbols where a question was read out and girls had to run up, find the correct picture on a poster and then race back to their team.

Central Canada
After lunch, we headed south to explore Central Canada. here, the girls took part in a CN Tower trivia game (played like Four Corners) and completed to see which team could build the highest free-standing tower using only spaghetti, toothpicks and marshmallows.

Atlantic Canada 
Our final stop was Atlantic Canada, where we explored Newfie lingo, raced boats and learned new knots! For the first activity, the girls split up into smaller groups and each group had a sheet of Newfie phrases to try to match up with their meanings. Afterwards, we made boats and raced them in an inflatable pool, then moved onto tying knots to make Knot Boards to take home.

The afternoon ended with some free time, where everyone received a Canadian Atlas for Kids with activities, but were also free to nap, chat, swap, etc. Dinner was BBQ chicken with baked potatoes and Caesar salad, followed by cupcakes and ice cream to celebrate Canada's birthday.

Our evening activity was a Wide Game with nine stations where the girls learned something about a Province or Territory and did an activity. While moving between activities, we had to be careful not to get caught by a Sasquatch and sent to the penalty box! My group made it to Saskatchewan, where we played horseshoes; BC, where we learned about the Capilano Suspension Bridge and walked over a raised rope bridge; the Yukon, where we dug for gold; PEI, where we learned about Anne of Green Gables and talked in pairs about Canada and Girl Guides; and Ontario, where we peeled apples - seeing who could make the longest continuous peel!

We ended with Campfire, planned by one of the Patrols, and including Fire's Burning, One Bottle of Pop, Three Sharp-toothed Buzzards, There Was a Great Big Moose, Land of the Silver Birch, Say Why and Taps. Everyone settled down to sleep much more quickly tonight!

Sunday started at a much more reasonable hour than Saturday, but we still managed to get everyone packed and our tents down before opening and breakfast. Opening included flag raising and a short ceremony planned by one of the Patrols. Breakfast was leftovers, fruit, English muffins, cereal and oatmeal. After breakfast, each Patrol had a new duty to perform - my Patrol cleaned one side of the Lat Building, and then we all headed off to finish packing or for free time. Camp closed with a short Guides' Own Ceremony planned by two of the Patrols in the Reflection area at camp.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Advancement & Awards Ceremony

Our Advancement and Awards Ceremony for the 2016-2017 Guiding Year was held on May 30th. Girls received badges, awards, challenges, and we had 6 Guides move up to Pathfinders.

We started out by having the girls form a horseshoe, then laid out stepping stones across the centre. Family and friends were welcomed, and we then asked the advancing Guides to go to the beginning of the path. As each piece of the ceremony was read out (by a Guide, Pathfinder or Ranger), the group moved forward to the next stone.

Our stepping stones were: Promise & Law, Talents & Abilities, Left Handshake, Respect, Service, and Be Prepared. When the girls reached the end of the path, they were presented with their Guide Challenge Pin, Advancement Certificate and a gift.

Tonight 6 girls are moving along the Pathway from Guides to Pathfinders. We hope that they have picked up a few things along the way that will help them in the future. (Advancing Guides move to start of pathway)

Reader #1 - One of the first things you learned as a Guide was the Promise and Law. Your promise to do you best, to be true to yourself, your beliefs and Canada, to take action for a better world and to respect the Guiding Law will stay with you through Pathfinders and beyond.

Reader #2 - As a Guide you have helped others, shared your talents and taken on responsibilities. As a Pathfinder, you will have new experiences, develop your leadership skills, take on greater challenges, and explore your own abilities, beliefs and values. 

Reader #3 - Remember the left handshake? Our special greeting, shared with our Guiding sisters around the world. Pathfinders explore our global movement, learn more about our 10 million sister Guides and Girl Scouts, and deepen their awareness of the wider world.

Reader #4 - In Guiding, we learn to respect ourselves and others. In Pathfinders, you will continue to grow in awareness and confidence, while learning to be a global citizen and a community leader.

Reader #5 - As a Guide, you took part in community, environmental and global service activities. In Pathfinders, you will choose and create your own projects to take action for a better world. 

Reader #6 - The Guide Motto is Be Prepared, but it's not just something we say. You have learned how to prepare for an outing, bring the right things to meetings, and started to plan and run your own activities. In Pathfinders, being prepared becomes a way of life. Not just knowing what to do and how to do things, but also being able and ready to put your ideas and plans into action.

[Names of advancing Guides] are finishing this stage of their Guiding journey and are receiving the Guide Challenge Pin to remind them of their adventures in Guides. Whichever path they choose next, they will find new experiences and new adventures, with the same fun and friendship they have enjoyed so far.

Following the Advancement portion of the evening, the advancing Guides rejoined the horseshoe and we moved on to the Making A Difference Award. This is a certificate and the Girls Making A Difference crest that we present to any Guides who take part in all the GGC Making a Difference Days for the year. The special days this year were the International Day of Peace, the International Day of the Girl, International Human Rights Day, World Hunger Day, and Canada 150. This year, 6 girls received the award.

The final portion of the ceremony involved the presentation of badges, challenges crests and Cookie All-Stars certificates to all of the Guides. Our Pathfinder received the modules she has completed and a collection of Challenge crests, and we presented our Ranger with the Chief Commissioner's Bronze Award and the Girl Assistant Certificate of Appreciation. The final item was to present one of our Guiders with a 'care package' as she is heading off to college in September.

We finished with lemonade, shortbread cookies, and ice cream sundaes!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Amazing Photo Scavenger Hunt

On Sunday, May 28th, 1 Guide, 1 Pathfinder, 1 Ranger and 2 Guiders set out for an adventure in Toronto!

We met at the GO Station in Hamilton and took the express bus to Union Station in Toronto where we started the scavenger hunt.  Our first stop was the corner of Lower Simcoe Street and Bremner Blvd, where we took photos of the CN Tower and a long line of taxi cabs!

Continuing on down to Queens Quay, we explored the trembling aspen trees in Ontario Square and showed our Canadian pride in Canada Square. As we walked along the waterfront trail, we listened to performers doing a sound check for the Barbados on the Water Festival and watched the ducks in the Natrel pond.

Next up was a visit to the Purina Animal Hall of Fame - and to find out that in our group we have 4 dog lovers to 1 cat lover! It was also Doors Open Toronto this weekend, so we visited the Police Marine Unit and found out about what they do to keep the waterways safe.

We decided to stop for lunch in the HTO Park overlooking the somewhat flooded beach area.

Before going on any further, we visited the Marine Fire Station, where we took lots of pictures - and took a group picture with the 'Caledonia'!

Heading west, we found the Spadina Quay Wetlands - who would have thought you could find a wetland environment in the heart of Toronto! We spent some time wandering through the different plants and two girls waited patiently to get a picture of the fish in the pond.

Further along the waterfront, we explored the Toronto Music Garden, which is designed to reflect Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for the 'cello. We performed air concerts and danced through the gardens!

Next it was time to head inland and start our journey back east towards Union Station. In Canoe Landing Park we visited the red canoe, "hugged our polar bear", walked through the giant fishing bobbers and the Terry Fox Miracle Mile (but didn't do any running).

On our walk east, we passed Approaching Red (a piece of art by Maha Mustafa), the Puente de Luz (a 100m long pedestrian bridge over the train tracks), an orange sculpture and the Chinese Railroad Worker Memorial.

At this point, we ended our hunt and walked along Front Street back to Union Station - with a stop at Starbucks along the way! We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory (yum!), and coming home we were lucky and were first onto a double-decker GO bus, so we were able to sit right at the front!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Messy Night!

Our final regular meeting of the year was Messy Night, with paint, shaving cream, water, and bubbles all playing a part!
I think I'll let the photos speak for themselves this time, see the attachment below for more information on what we got up to, as well as some extra activities we didn't have time for!