Sunday, 15 October 2017

Nighthawk Goes to Platform 9 3/4

This weekend we traveled to Camp Conestogo for Nighthawk, a camp for Pathfinders and Rangers. At this camp, activities take place all night Friday until 6amSaturday, and begin again Saturday afternoon. The theme for this year's camp was Harry Potter! A huge THANK YOU to the organizers for a great event and for keeping things going despite the rain and mud!!

Friday night started out with drop-in activities. We adopted our owls at Eeylops Owl Emporium, played name games in Hogsmeade, gathered firewood and played Wizards, Giants and Elves in Knockturn Alley, and got our wands at Ollivanders.

The Sorting Ceremony was held at Hogwarts at 11pm, with all the participants being divided between the four Houses - we were in Hufflepuff! Each House then separated to decorate their House Banners, to be displayed proudly at Hogwarts throughout the weekend. We were also given the weekend challenge of finding all of Dobby's socks hidden around the camp (each sock gained a House Point!).

Midnight found the girls heading into the Forbidden Forest for a game similar to Capture the Flag. Houses had to guard their own tealight and try to capture those belonging to other Houses. This was followed by Potions Class (making lip balm) and Charms Class (making bookmarks).

A hot snack and drink followed, and then everyone entered into the QuadWizard Tournament. Activities included dance, drama, trivia contest and Pin-the-Scar-on-Harry". A Campfire and pre-bed snack ended the night and everyone still up headed off to bed.

For early risers on Saturday, breakfast was served between 8.30 and 10.30am and quiet activities - cards, games, colouring, word searches, and crafts were available. All snacks and meals were served at the Leaky Cauldron, and Saturday afternoon's activities started off with lunch at 1pm. Most of the afternoon was spent playing in a Quidditch tournament. The rain started during the final match, but play still continued! During the down time before dinner, girls took part in crafts, quiet activities, and, of course, dressing for dinner in the costumes they had brought with them. Dinner was a banquet eaten in the Hogwarts Great Hall, after which everyone settled in for an evening of movies (Harry Potter I and Hocus Pocus) and staying out of the rain.

Sunday morning was wet and muddy, but the rain had stopped overnight. We packed, folded up the tents and piled our gear under the building shelters before heading over for breakfast. A final activity, Dragon Hunt, was held before closing with the song "I Am One Voice" followed by Taps. We all headed home, tired and muddy, but with good memories and plans to return next year!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

International Day of the Girl 2017

At this week's meeting we celebrated the International Day of the Girl (October 11th) with the WAGGGS #TeamGirl Challenge and began making plans for this year's service projects!

Team Girl Gets Rights on Their Side
The first activity we did was aimed at helping the girls understand their right to an education and differentiating between needs and wants. We printed out 3 sets of the Needs/Wants Cards (see download below) and played a relay game. The cards were placed at the far end of the room and the members of each Patrol took turns to run up and get a card and decide if it was a Need or a Want. Once all the Patrols had sorted their cards out, we talked about a few of them to see if everyone agreed. As part of this discussion we noted that the basic needs for survival are food, water and shelter, but in order to thrive, we need other things as well.

Pathway to Education
This activity introduced the girls to some of the barriers to education that girls face, as well as a number of fun challenge activities! We used a slightly modified version of the game provided in the Challenge Pack and marked out a large gameboard on the floor with painter's tape. The girls played in Patrols and used water bottles and shoes as markers and large foam dice. The Patrols took turns rolling the dice and moving their counter around the board. Depending on where they landed, they had to complete tasks - sing a song, stay silent, name 7 countries starting with the letter B, name 10 different fruits, etc. It was very interesting to see which Patrols worked best together and how the Pathfinders interacted with the Guides.

At this point in the evening we separated, the Pathfinders and Rangers went upstairs and the Guides continued in the main room.


Get Set to Break Barriers
Our third activity further explored barriers to education, but also challenged the girls to start thinking of ways to overcome them. We chose three of the characters and scenarios from the Challenge Pack and gave a character to each Patrol. They had to come up with the character's back story - name, family, hobbies, feelings. They were then given a scenario that described a barrier to the character's education. Each Patrol then made up and presented a skit about their character and how the barrier affected her ability to get an education.

Team Girl Speaks Out
The final activity was about making a difference, so we asked each Patrol to make a list of issues they care about and any ideas they had for service projects. We had a variety of ideas and will be choosing some of them to work on later this year!


Making a Difference
Our Ranger talked about her experiences at WE Day in September (it was awesome!!) and the group worked through some of the WE Resources to come up with a list of issues they care about and potential service projects. We will be putting their plans into action over the course of the year!

Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 26
(1) Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the UN for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Convention on the Rights of the Child - Article 28
You have the right to a good quality education. You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.

Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women - Article 10 
Countries must end discrimination against women and girls and ensure equal rights in education. This includes equal access to education and vocational training at all levels. Women and girls must be provided with the same curricula, examinations, standards for teaching, access to scholarships, and equipment.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Hamilton City Hall Campfire

For our meeting this week, we joined other Units at a Campfire at Hamilton City Hall. It was a great night and everyone had lots of fun! We heard from a member of the Ontario Girl Forum, got to spend time swapping with other Guiding members, and earned the Sing Ontario Sing Challenge.

Opening Songs
Gathering Songs
Round or Repeat Songs
Rowdy Songs
Silly Action Songs
Slower Songs
Reflective Songs
Closing Songs 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

WE Day Toronto 2017

Imagine spending a day with nearly 20,000 young people committed to making change in their schools, communities, country and the world. Add a slate of inspiring speakers, musical performances, a surprise appearance by Prince Harry and you have WE Day Toronto 2017!

Unfortunately, none of the Pathfinders were able to join us for the day, but our small group of 2 Guiders and 1 Ranger still had a great time! We caught the 6.50am GO Train from Aldershot Station and made it to Toronto by 8am, ready for the short walk to the Air Canada Centre, once inside we made our way upstairs to our section and settled in. There were so many speakers and performances, that I know I've missed a few, but here are my memories of the day:

The first performance of the day was by Vanessa Hudgens and Shawn Hook, with "Reminding Me", followed by a welcome from Craig and Marc Kielburger. The first speaker was Gaten Matarazzo from "Stranger Things", spreading awareness for cleidocranial dysplasia, a congenital disorder that affects one in a million people. Jacob Tremblay and Millie Davis, co-stars in the upcoming movie "Wonder", urged us to "Choose kind. On the playground, in your classrooms, in your neighbourhoods".

Bailee Madison ("The Good Witch") introduced us two students who are working for change, something she would repeat thoughout the day. Sofia Carson ("Descendents") encouraged girls to be bold and fearless, saying "Books and pens are our greatest weapons, and girls, we are our own knights in shining armour."

Shawn Hook performed again, then Lisa Charleyboy spoke about reconnecting with her indigenous heritage and finding her passion in an unexpected way. Beginning in the world of runway fashion, moving to print media, and eventually creating a magazine showcasing indigenous design.

Spencer West interviewed Olympians Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse about their role as Ambasasdors, not only for sport but for youth engagement and making a positive difference in the world. Watch Three Stools With Spencer West at WE Day.

George Takei ("Star Trek") spoke about his time in a Japanese Internment Camp as a child during World War II and the hope that youth represent for the future. He ended with "Today I see our future built by all of you. Boldly go where no one has gone before!" Watch George Takei at WE Day.

Lilly Singh spoke on the need to end girl-on-girl hate, challenging girls to build each other up instead of tearing each other down #GirlLove. She also launched her new #GirlLove Rafiki project to provide education to girls in Kenya! Watch Lilly Singh at WE Day.

Kelly Clarkson performed "Stronger" (with full crowd accompaniment!) and her new single "Love So Soft".

Hedley performed as well, then Mike Downie spoke about reconciliation and updated everyone on the work of the Downie-Wenjack Fund since its launch a year ago. Watch Mike Downie at WE Day. Rick Hanson spoke about perseverance and believing in yourself, and then there was a surprise speaker...

... who was no less than HRH Prince Harry, who is in Toronto for the 3rd Invictus Games! I think he received the loudest response of the day. Prince Harry spoke about the Invictus Games and the spirit of hope, challenging all of us to "say yes to optimism, yes to hope and yes to belief". He also spoke to our social media-obsessed culture saying "You all know that it's great to 'like' things on social media, but that it's more important to look up from our phones, to get out into our communities, and to take real action; to stand up for what you believe in!"

Ban Ki-Moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations spoke on climate change, the Paris Climiate Agreement, and the need for people from around the world to work together - "We are truly all in this together." Watch Ban Ki-Moon at WE Day.

Alexandre Trudeau spoke about his world travels, his adventures, and the need for kindness and understanding. Watch Alexandre Trudeau at WE Day. Then Theland Kicknosway spoke about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and performed a Hoop Dance

Sabrina Carpenter performed, followed by the final speaker of the day, Mia Farrow, who spoke about finding happiness by helping others and focusing on an issue that matters to you to start making change. Watch Mia Farrow at WE Day.  The closing performance was also by Sabrina Carpenter, with her song "Thumbs", and then it was time to head home, inspired to make change at home and around the world!

For those of you who couldn't be there, watch the WE Day Toronto broadcast on CTV on November 25, 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Outdoors Night (in 30+ degree weather...)

Each year we try to spend at least one meeting outside in September while it is still light out during out meetings. This
year, we ran into extremely hot weather and had to improvise a bit!

Once everyone had arrived, we headed out for a leisurely walk to a local park close to our meeting place. The Guides made a beeline for the play structure and spent some time playing Grounders - although they did pause long enough for me to get our first group photo of the year!

We strolled over to the creek that borders the park and took a short walk across the bridge and along a trail through some wild raspberry bushes. Coming back, we had another game of Grounders before starting our walk back to our meeting place.

In total, we spent about an hour outside and everyone was happy to head inside where it was cooler and have a drink of water.

We had everyone sit down and had each 2nd/3rd Year Guide who was interested in being a Patrol Leader introduce themselves and tell the others why they wanted to be a Patrol Leader and why they would be good at the job. We then handed out ballots and each girl was able to vote for the 3 Guides they thought would be the best Patrol Leaders. Our Guides also have an opportunity at this point to let us know who they would like to be in a Patrol with, and also if there is anyone they would rather not be with. We tell them at the beginning that while we will take their preferences into consideration, there are no promises.

While the votes were counted and Patrols formed, the Guides were challenged to build a boat using only straws, plastic wrap and duct tape that would float and support as many pennies as possible. There were some great designs and our record was 41 pennies!

Once the Patrols were announced, we had each one try to pass a ball around without using their hands, followed by games with a beach ball. We ended with reminders for next week and closed with Taps.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Mini Messy Night & SWAP Making

For our second meeting we had some messy fun outdoors and a session of SWAP making to get ready for the Campfire Event in October.

As the girls arrived they organized a game of Everybody's It Tag (I mentioned it was a favourite, didn't I?!). Once the Guiders were finished talking to parents, receiving forms, etc. we had a short opening to explain the plan for the evening.

We had forgotten the baking soda so one Guider went to get some, while everyone else headed outside. We started the evening off with Slime! It was pre-made for the Guides due to the amount of time it would have taken to do at the meeting, but the Pathfinders and Rangers went into the kitchen for their own slime making session. The recipe we used was:


  • 1 Tbsp of Metamucil (or generic version - we used Life Brand from Shopper's Drug Mart)
  • 3/4 Cup of Water
  • Mix Metamucil and Water together in a large microwavable dish for about 1 minute, or until all the powder is dissolved. 
  • Place the dish in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. (The large bowl is needed here as the mixture will bubble up!)
  • Take the mixture out of the microwave and stir. Let cool for a few minutes and pour out onto a piece of plastic wrap or into a ziplock bag.
  • Let cool and enjoy! (One batch makes enough for 2 girls)
We put the slime aside for a game of Hide and Seek around the church property, and once the baking soda arrived we moved on to making film canister rockets. We had some pretty good 'bangs' from the rockets as the girls experimented with the baking soda to water to vinegar ratios. To make the rockets, place some baking soda on the inside of a film canister lid. Add a tiny bit of water, just enough to make the baking soda stick to the lid. Fill the canister with vinegar. Press the lid tightly onto the canister and quickly flip upside down on the ground or a table. When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda it creates carbon dioxide. The pressure from the carbon dioxide will 'pop' the canister off the lid, and, hopefully, up into the air!

As we had reached the mid-point of our meeting, we headed back inside for one more activity - Chocolate Unicorns! In this activity, each girl was given a Girl Guide Chocolately Mint Cookie to place on her forehead (the unicorn horn). She then had to move the cookie into her mouth without using her hands. Girls were then sent to clean up before we started crafting.

The remainder of the meeting was spent making SWAPS. We showed the girls some sample SWAPS and let them create! We provided twigs, pipecleaners, pompoms, string, beads, feathers, fun foam, googly eyes, foam cups, markers, glue, and scissors.

Clean-up took a bit of time, so we ended with a couple of songs led by the Pathfinders and Taps led by our Ranger helper.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Welcome to Guides!

Welcome to another great Guiding year!

The Caledonia Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers had their first official meeting on Tuesday, September 12th with 12 Guides, 4 Pathfinders and 1 Ranger. Since then, we have gained 2 more Pathfinders and still have lots of room for new Guides!

As everyone was arriving, they were given a scavenger hunt card and challenged to get the initials/signature of everyone else on their card. This gave the Guiders time to check off/add girls to our list and talk to parents.

The Pathfinders led an active game - Everybody's It Tag - which is a favourite. Afterwards, the Pathfinders and Rangers headed off to do some of their own planning for the year and the Guides had a brief welcome discussion and shared some important things about Guides with our new members.

We then played a getting-to-know-you game with toilet paper. Each girl took 3-8 squares of paper and for each square shared something about herself. We limited the squares to 8 as some girls would have take many more! Moving on, we split the girls up into small groups and gave each group a sheet of paper with a heading - Outdoors/Camping, Arts/Crafts/Drama/Music, International/World Guiding/Cultural, Anything Goes. Each group had 2-3 minutes to write down their ideas and then we switched the papers, so each group had a chance to add ideas to each page. We now have lots of great ideas to work with!

The Guides then played Everybody's It Tag again, followed by a teamwork activity, Pass the Can. For this activity, the girls take off their shoes and sit in a circle. A large empty coffee can is placed on the right foot of one girl. Using only her feet, she has to move the can to her left foot and then pass it to the right foot of the girl beside her. The goal is to pass the can all the way around the circle without letting it fall or touch the floor or hands.

Our final activity of the evening was Guide Law Skits. The girls had to find a partner and each pair was given a Guide Law to act out. As we had 6 pairs, we omitted 'Share in the Sisterhood of Guiding'. The evening ended with a campfire led by the Pathfinders, handing out newsletters and Goodnight.