Tuesday, 5 December 2017


This week's meeting was spent working on the Ecology Badge. One of the things we often do is to created our own requirements to meet the purpose of the badge, and this was no exception.

As the girls arrived, the Patrol Leaders took attendance and collected dues. Each Patrol then did some brainstorming and made two lists - things to eat at camp and things to do at camp - as we look ahead to our winter camp in February.

Following our usual opening, we played a Find Your Match Game with animal noses. Each girl is given the name of an animal (cat, dog, chicken, snake, bumblebee) and has to find the other person who has the same animal by making the sound that animal makes.

We then sat down for a short discussion. We talked about what ecology is (the study of how animals and plants depend on each other, the weather, sunlight and water) and ecosystems (environments and the plants and animals that live there). As we have a new subdivision being built just outside of town, we also talked about what happens to animals when humans build roads and houses where the animals live. This led to talking about the animals that are seen as 'pests' in the community (raccoons, rabbits, rats) and why we are seeing them more often.

The next activity was a Food Chain Game. I believe this game is often called Amoeba or something similar. Everyone starts as a Bumblebee and moves around the playing area 'buzzing'. When they meet another Bumblebee, they play "rock, paper, scissors". The winner moves up the food chain and the loser moves down the food chain, unless they are already at the bottom (Bumblebee), in which case they stay there. So, when two Bumblebees play each other, the winner moves up to become a Sparrow. Players can only play someone who is at the same level of the food chain as they are - i.e. Sparrows can only play other Sparrows. The goal is to moves up the food chain - Bumblebee, Sparrow, Fox, Eagle, Human - although we kept the game going by having the Humans play each other to remain at the top.

The group then split into two, with one group making milk carton birdfeeders and the other learning about vermicomposting.

The birdfeeders were simple, made out of 500mL milk cartons with a hole cut in the front and and a popsicle stick for a perch. We filled them with a mixture of birdseed and sunflower butter and talked about what birds eat and why it is good to leave some plant life (i.e. dead sunflowers) in the garden over the winter as a food source.

One of our Guiders has a vermicomposter that she brought in to show the girls. Vermicomposting is a form of composting that uses red wriggler worms to breakdown food scraps into rich compost that can be used in your garden. What's neat about vermicomposters is that they can be kept indoors and as long as they are cared for, they don't smell! The girls were able to see the composter (worm poop!) and handle some of the worms.

As our final activity, we divided the girls up into two groups and had each create and lead a game. The first group was
asked to come up with a game about living things and their surroundings. In their game one player is the Germinator and one is the Gardener. When the Germinator tags a player, they become a Weed and have to sit down on the floor. The Gardener can 'water' the weeds to turn them back into plants who can then rejoin the game. The second group was asked to come with a game about recycling. In their game, one person leaves the room and the others sit in a circle. One player has a water bottom and the person who was out of the room has to guess who has it. They made up and sang a song called 'Who's the Litterer?' to the tune of 'Make a Circle'.

We ended with reminders for next week and closed with Taps.

Useful Links

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Girls Count!

This week we worked on the Girls Count Challenge! To earn this challenge, girls need to take part in activities about Currency Awareness, Purchasing Power, and Money Management. All the activities we used can be found in the Guide and Pathfinder Challenge packs (see the link at the bottom).

The Guides finished part of the Learn How to Plan section of the program while learning about different forms of payment, spending habits and money management. The Pathfinders completed the Moneywise module and learned about borrowing, global currencies, and how to budget for camp!

As the girls arrived, the Guides worked with their Patrols to complete a quiz about payment and banking terminology (adapted from the "Word Scramble Relay" activity) and create a skit about one spending type. The Pathfinders and Rangers talked about earning and spending money, then created skits about borrowing and what to do when you don't have enough money for something you want.

We had our usual opening, quickly took up the Guide Quiz and then moved onto the skits. The Guide skits used the descriptions of different types of spenders ("What Kind of Spender Are You?" activity) - Hey Big Spender (a girl who loves to spend her money as soon as she earns it), Future Planner (a girl who balances saving and spending) and Money Avoider (a girl who doesn't care about money and lets her parents take care of everything). The Pathfinder skits were both scenarios where a girl didn't have enough money for something she wanted ("How Much Can I Borrow? How Much Can I Buy?" activity). In Skit #1 the girl babysits but gets paid on Mondays and wants to buy a new top before her friend's party on Friday - the girls resolved this by having the girl rake leaves and do other odd jobs to earn some extra money. In Skit #2 the girl walks a neighbour's dog when he has to work late, but she never knows how often she will walk the dog and needs $25 more to buy the running shoes she wants - the solution was to borrow the $25 from her parents and pay them back as she earns money dog walking.

After our skits, the groups separated with the Guides staying in the main hall and the Pathfinders and Rangers heading upstairs.

The Guides started off with a relay game adapted from the "Playing With Payments" activity. Each Patrol was give 6 labeled cards - Credit Card, Debit Card, Gift Card, Cheque, Cash, and Interac e-Transfer. They Patrols lined up at one end of the room and the Guiders stood at the other end and read out the scenarios one at a time. When a scenario was read out, the Patrols had to decide what methods of payment they could use and send a runner to the Guiders with the appropriate cards.

We then moved on to the "Money-opoly" game and played it with a few modifications. Each girl was given a plate with 50 beads to represent money. They had to decide how they wanted to divide their $50 between Spend, Save and Share. Once this was done, we explained that Share funds could only be used to make donations and that Save funds could only be used once all of their Spend funds were gone. Two plates with extra beads were placed in the middle. We had the girls sit in their Patrol and as each card was read out, one Patrol had to follow the instructions. We pre-stacked the deck of cards to ensure that each Patrol had a variety of expenses, earnings, donations and free activities. We also spent time throughout the game reassuring the girls that it was OK if they had to use funds from their Save pile. The discussion after the game was good and the girls left with a much better understanding of how money works - and that although it would be great to put all of our money into Save and/or Share, life costs money so we always need something in the Spend pile!

As we still had a bit of time, we had the girls work in Patrols to create a business. They had to come up with a name, decide on their product or service, determine how much they would charge, and design some advertising for their new business.

The Pathfinders and Rangers found out about some of the different types of currency used around the world - and some World Guiding trivia with the "World Currency Trivia" game. We printed out the World Region maps with the pictures of different currency in colour for reference. The game is played like Jeopardy, with teams taking turns choosing the category and question value. Scores are recorded on a separate sheet.

The second activity was "Budgeting For Camp" which was a great eye-opener about the costs of going to camp, and also the challenges we have as a small Unit. The whole group worked together to make budgets for a winter camp and a spring camp. We did have to explain to the girls that the costs are based on averages and some of our costs are very different, including the cost of renting a building or campsite and transportation. The challenge pack provides options for the girls to choose from and a budgeting sheet to do their calculations. Categories are:
  • Where will they go? (Facility Rental)
  • How will they get there? (Transportation)
  • What will they eat? (Food)
  • What will they do there? (Equipment, Crafts)
  • What other supplies will they need? (Gear, First Aid Supplies, Crests)
The girls gained a much better understanding of the costs associated with their activities and why things cost what they do!

We all came back together at the end of evening and closed with reminders for next week and Taps.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Fun With Fashion

This week we delved into the badge box and came out with a large number of Fashion badges. Wanting to use up some of our supply, we adapted the badge requirements and had an evening of 'Fun With Fashion'!

As the Guides arrived, they were asked to design a new Guide Uniform for 2060 (our 150th birthday!). There were some very unique designs - as well as some that look very much like our current uniform.

We held our usual opening and one of the Guides led an active game. The Guides were introduced to our theme and the planned activities and shared what they have done with outgrown clothing (given to siblings or relatives, passed on to neighbours, donated, or sold at mom-to-mom sales, etc.).

Our next activity was to watch a presentation on traditional and ceremonial clothing around the world and then try putting on a sari. We then divided up into Patrols, where the girls designed their own fashions using newspapers and masking tape. Each Patrol had to dress one or two of their members and we then had a runway walk where the designs were modeled and explained by their designers!

The remainder of the meeting was spent designing and making Fascinators. Each girl was given a headband and we provided fun foam, felt, ribbon, flowers, tulle, pipe cleaners, pompoms and feathers for them to work with (a great way to use up those miscellaneous supplies in the cupboard!). There were some really creative designs!


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Teamwork & Active Games

As some of the girls have been having difficulty working in small groups, we decided to spend the evening practicing our teamwork skills along with some active games!

As the girls arrived, the Patrol Leaders took attendance and collected dues. We started with a Horseshoe and the Guide Promise, followed by a game called "Germinator Tag" led by one of the Guides.

Our three Patrols then moved through four activities that challenged them to work together as a team.

(1) Trust Walk - Guides work in partners. One girl is blindfolded and her partner has to direct her around the room and different obstacles. The partner giving directions can only use her voice!

(2) Tarp Games - In the first tarp activity, the Patrol stands on the tarp then gets off and folds it half. They keep repeating this activity, making the tarp as small as they possibly can while still getting every one on it. In the second tarp activity, the Patrol stands on the tarp and then has to turn the tarp over without getting off.

(3) Pick Up and Carry -  The girls have to use an elastic band and some string to move and stack 6 cups in a pyramid.

We then tried two group teamwork activities. The first was a Beach Ball Pass. The girls lay on their backs in a circle and has to pass a beach ball around the circle using only their feet. The second activity was a game called Islands where there are islands (mats) spread around the playing area. Everyone moves around and at a signal has to find an island. Each round, an island is removed and the girls have to share until everyone is standing on a single island!

After spending several weeks playing Everybody's It Tag, we've decided that we need to teach the Guides some new active games!

Our first game was "Captain's Coming". To play, everyone starts in the middle of the playing area and practices the commands (see below). Once everyone has an idea of what to do, the game leader calls out commands and everyone follows them. The Guiders prefer to play this just as a fun game, but the majority of the Guides wanted to play it as an elimination game. For eliminations, it is the last person to reach a spot or perform an action (often it is too close to tell, so there isn't someone out after every command).
  • Captain's Coming - everyone lines up, stands at attention and salutes
  • Bow - players run to the front of the room
  • Stern - players run to the back of the room
  • Port - players run to the left side of the room (left when facing the front of the room) 
  • Starboard - players run to the right side of the room (right when facing the front of the room)
  • Man Overboard - players lie on their backs and 'swim'
  • Submarines - players lie on their backs with one leg in the air like a periscope
  • Man the Lifeboats - players find a partner and join hands
  • Torpedoes - players lie on their stomachs with their hands clapped together above their heads
Our second game was suggested by one of the Guides - Blog Tag - however it seems there are a lot of different versions of this game! The one we settled on is that when 'It' tags someone, they link arms and keep adding people as more players are tagged. The blob has to stay together and if they break apart, they have stop and reform before catching anyone else.

Our final activity was to design Be Prepared Kits. Each Patrol had to choose a theme (we had Camping by two Patrols and a trip to Canada's Wonderland by the third) and then decide what would be in their kit. They also had to create a short skit or commercial to advertise their kit to the rest of the Unit. After clean up, we closed with reminders for next week and Taps.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Enrolment 2017

This week we enrolled our new Guides and Pathfinders, and also participated in our first Girls First activity as Testing Units.

For Girls First, we talked to the girls about how the new program is going to be structured, and then got their opinions on badge shapes for the Areas of Program and Theme badges. The new program will have 7 Areas of Program (AOPs) and each AOP will have 3-4 Themes - and all of these will have a badge! We also talked about interest badges, program badges and fun/challenge badges and surveyed the girls on the importance of each to the Guiding program. For more information on Girls First, please visit https://www.girlguides.ca/WEB/GGC/Girls_First/GGC/Girls_First/Girls_First.aspx

For enrolment, we reused a ceremony from a few years ago about the Keys of Guiding. The girls all stood in a horseshoe
with the Pathfinders and Rangers at one end and Guides forming the opposite side and bottom. We welcomed our guests, and then two Pathfinders came forward holding the 'door' (bristol board with coloured doors on it). Each Guide with a speaking part then came up, read her piece and stuck her key onto the doorway for her section of the program.

Girl #1 - The Guiding program has 6 key areas. Girls in all branches of the program have the opportunity to explore, experiment, and learn through activities based on these keys.

Girl #2 - I use my key to open the door to the Arts. As a Guide I can explore my creativity through drama, drawing, games, crafts, dance and music. (Purple)

Girl #3 - I use my key to open the door to STEM. As a Guide I can experiment with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (Orange)

Girl #4 - I use my key to open the door to Camping and the Outdoors. As a Guide I can go on overnight adventures, take part in outdoor activities, and explore the natural environment. (Green)

Girl #5 - I use my key to open the door to Service and My Community. As a Guide I can give back to my community and make a difference in the world. (Red)

Girl #6 - I use my key to open the door to World Guiding. As a Guide I have 10 million sisters in 150 different countries and I can learn about cultures, the lives of girls, and Guiding around the world. (Blue)

Girl #7 - I use my key to open the door to Personal Growth. As a Guide I can practice skills I'll need in the future like communication, leadership, problem solving and teamwork.

Each Patrol was then called up and the Patrol Leaders presented the girls their new Guides and everyone said the Promise which each Patrol. After all the Guides were enrolled, we talked briefly about the challenges we have worked on so far (Sing Ontario Sing, #TeamGirl, and Girl Guides Go Galactic) and then presented Membership Pins and badges to each individual Guide. We had one Cookie All-Star reward to present from last year - a $125 Best Buy gift card for our 40-case seller!

The Pathfinders were then surprised with their own enrolment, and we welcomed 5 new Pathfinders into our group. The Pathfinders were also presented with Membership Pins, individual badges and challenges. With enrolments finished, we thanked our guests for coming and served cupcakes and lemonade to everyone.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Girl Guides Go Galactic!

This week we belatedly celebrated World Space Week. It was also one of those meetings where we had a plan, but changed it based on what the girls wanted to do.

We started out by practicing the horseshoe and working on learning the Guide Marching Song. (We still need a bit of practice!)

Our first activity was a trivia relay race to learn about the different planets in the solar system. The Guides lined up in their Patrols and a series of clues were read out. Once the Patrol figured out which planet was being described, one person ran to the other end of the room to find the planet itself and bring it back to the Patrol. Once each Patrol had all of the planets, they were challenged to put them in order from nearest to furthest from the sun.

We then played an active game to look at how planets orbit the sun. One girl was the sun and had a beach ball. The other girls chose their planets and walked or ran in a circle around the sun. The challenge - the sun kept moving! This was a great activity for using up some excess energy.

Our final big activity was intended to be origami alien bookmarks, but became a lengthy session of origami in general. The girls made bookmarks, cootie catchers, and other folded creations!

As a final game, we played Planets, a fruit salad-type game using different planets instead of fruit. We ended with a couple of songs, reminders for next week (no meeting) and Taps.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Guiding Traditions

This week we had our annual Guiding Traditions (or Guiding History) night. We borrowed one of the Heritage Boxes from Ontario Council and used some of the activities, along with some of our own.

As the girls arrived they each made two Semaphore Flags using white cardstock, blue construction paper and straws. (Heritage Box). These were put aside for use later on. We then spent some time learning and practicing how to form a horseshoe and singing the Guide Marching Song. (I was prepared this year and had the words to the song written out on a sheet of Bristol board!)

Next up was a game from a 1922 issue of The Guide magazine called "Pork and Green Peas". This game is very similar to "Darling If You Love Me" - and can have hilarious results depending on the questions asked. Players sit in a circle and one person is 'It'. 'It' goes up to a player and asks her a question - any question she wishes. The questioned player must answer "pork and green peas", no matter what she has been asked, without smiling or laughing. If she is successful, 'It' moves on to another player. If she smiles or laughs, she trades places with 'It'.

We have been having some difficulty getting the girls attention, so we tried some of the hand and whistle signals from an older Guide Handbook (not that old - it was mine!). I don't particularly like using a whistle, but it was certainly effective! We tried signals for stop, look. listen; come here; scatter; form two lines; form a circle; and never mind.

Next up, we split into Patrols and did a round robin of three activities:

Name That Badge!
For this activity, girls explored a camp blanket (mine) containing Brownie, Guide and Pathfinder Badge Sashes, as well as numerous crests and patches from all over. They were challenged to identify some of the different badges and to find the crests from 1 Territory and 8 Provinces.

Be Prepared Card Game
Using the Memory Game Cards (Heritage Box) we had the girls play a game like "Go Fish". There were 28 cards in the deck, with two of each card. Each girl was dealt 4 cards to start and the remainder were placed face down in a pile in the centre. They played by taking turns asking another player if they had a matching card (i.e. compass, fire lighting, throwing a life line). If the asked player had the card, they gave it to the other player, who placed the pair on the floor in front of her. If the asked player didn't have the card, they said 'Be Prepared' and the asking player had to draw a card from the pile in the centre. The winner was the player with the most pairs.

Each girl used the semaphore flags she had made at the beginning of the meeting and the replica Semaphore cards from the 1950s (Heritage Box). They practiced signaling the alphabet, their names, and 'Be Prepared'.

After cleaning up, we played a team game - Bean Bag Toss (Heritage Box).

Our final activity involved skits and a potted history of Guiding. Each Patrol was assigned a theme for their skit and we interspersed them with bits of Guiding history. The skit themes were Cookies, Camping, and Helping Others.

Guiding began in Canada in 1910. Early groups formed in Toronto, St. Catharines, Moose Jaw, Sardis (BC), Vancouver, Winnipeg, and even Dawson City in the Yukon! Girls were excited to try new activities and learn about first aid, tracking, woodcraft, outdoor cooking and camping. The first Guides chose a uniform of a loose white blouse and long navy blue skirt. This changed into a dark blue dress in the 1920s and, with slight changes in shade and style, this would remain the uniform for nearly 80 years.

Did you know that Girl Guides have been selling cookies since 1927? That's 90 years! The first cookies were baked by Christina Riepsame of Regina and sold by the 4th Regina Guides.

Cookie Skit

We have been selling chocolate and vanilla cookies for over 60 years and chocolately mint cookies for over 20 years. One of the things cookies help pay for is camping. Guides have been camping since 1911 - over 100 years!

Camping Skit

Every few years a National Camp is held with girls from across Canada and around the world. The last National Camp was Guiding Mosaic in 2016, which was held at Sandy Lake, Alberta. These large camps always involve a service project of some sort.

Helping Others Skit

Service and helping others has been a part of Guiding since the beginning. During the First World War, only 4 years after Guiding began, Canadian Guides gave service by working factories and government offices, volunteering in hospitals, knitting socks, making dressings and bandages, and collecting supplies and donations for the war effort. Today, Guides take part in service projects around the themes of Community, Environment and International.

We then ended with reminders for next week and closed with Taps.