Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

This has been a big year for me personally and with Girl Guides and I think it is important to take a look back on everything that was accomplished this year so hear it is... a year in review!

JANUARY: Very busy with personal stuff (way too many trips to the hospital in my family) and Sparks which started off with a bang and a beach party! They were an awesome group of kids!


FEBRUARY: I think the highlight of this month was hearing two of my heroes Dr. Roberta Bondar and L. Gen Romeo Dallaire speak at Teachers Convention. They are rock stars in my mind and I was so inspired and in awe of what these two amazing people have done.  

MARCH: Alberta Girls' Parliament was a major part of March and it was a ton of fun! The planning is underway for the next session which is a lot of fun and I hope that many of the girls who came last year will come again in 2013.

APRIL: I finished my student teaching at the end of April and I was so proud of myself for doing well in practicum. I had an awesome class and was so lucky to have such a supportive school and mentor teacher.

MAY: May was a big one because I went to my favourite place on Earth and my sister left for her summer at Our Chalet. I started off the month in Disneyland which was an incredible way to celebrate finishing school because it seriously is the happiest place on earth! The next week Heather left for Our Chalet, which was big for our whole family- especially for her.

JUNE: Graduated from university with a Bachelor's Degree in Education! This was a big deal for me because I have wanted to be a teacher for pretty much my entire life and I finally got what I needed to reach my goal
JULY: Hmm.. what can I say about July, nothing too major happened. JUST KIDDING! The Girls' World Forum in Chicago was probably one of the biggest highlights of the year personally and in Guiding. It was an amazing time and I learned so much- plus it really boosted my enthusiasm for my projects.

AUGUST: I was still on a bit of a high from the Forum in August so I really got the ball rolling with project ideas and getting more involved. I did a bit of camping with friends and family and just got some time to relax which was great. I also accompanied my mom's Extra Ops group on their last hurrah trip to celebrate finishing the girl program in Guiding.

SEPTEMBER: I started substitute teaching which is amazing! I love being with the kids everyday and as much as I would love to have my own classroom I love subbing and seeing a bunch of different ways to teach, set up a classroom and interact with new people everyday. Plus I am one step closer to being a classroom teacher which is awesome!

OCTOBER: The major thing I can think of for this month was the Camping Adviser Workshop and getting baby Louis the kitten. He is so awesome and adorable with a very unique personality. He just has a way of making me smile and I love it. Here is a picture of him now- he thinks he is a parrot. :)

NOVEMBER: I had the very first official Girl Guides for Change event! It was a film screening for the documentary called Miss Representation which I have talked about several times on this blog, but I loved hearing what Pathfinders and Rangers thought about it and the topics within it.

DECEMBER: The world didn't end, HOORAY! :) The last month of the year was crazy with Christmas,
school finishing up, and also getting everything sorted out and planned for the Sparks Friendship camp I am heading in February. I will definitely have something on here about that as the planning continues- it is a big job! The theme is shown in the picture below.. I AM SO EXCITED!! 

I know I have mentioned most of these things in previous blog posts but they really were highlights in my year. Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of my starting this blog which is pretty cool so I thought I would share my stats so far:
57 Posts
8 followers (THANK YOU!)

2450 visits onto the blog

I hope that these will double by this time next year- that would make me really happy and make me feel like I am actually making a difference.

I am going to end this extremely long post by wishing you all a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tragedy in Connecticut

Sorry I have been a bit MIA lately- it has been a busy time for me personally and with work. This will be a pretty short post but I just had to get my thoughts out "on paper."
I am sure by now everyone knows about the school shooting in Newtown, CT that happened on Friday December 14. I am disgusted, horrified, and incredibly heartbroken by the whole situation and I have thought a lot this weekend about the children, teachers, parents, and the community as a whole who were effected by this tragedy and especially the twenty seven souls who lost their lives. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I cannot even imagine the pain and deep sadness they are feeling in a time that is supposed to be full of joy and togetherness.
As a teacher a school shooting is one of my biggest fears because it is my job to keep my students safe when they are at school. A school should be the safest place for a child to be, a place where they are loved, cared for, and protected- something that some children do not get anywhere else. To be put into a situation like in Newtown where kids no older than 7 are shot and killed in their safe place makes me sick. The thing that makes it even worse is that this happens way more than it should around the world. If you watch the news or read the newspaper you will see that practically every day there is violence towards innocent people. Whether it is men, women, or children it happens and it is not okay. I don't have all of the answers, I don't even know all of the questions but what I do know is that I am not proud to be part of a society where people are shot and killed on a daily basis. Even if mankind has done amazing things like go to space, cure diseases, write music, and explore the depths of the ocean I am not proud that our most precious and vulnerable members, our children, experience violence on such a grand scale. Something needs to happen to stop this, so parents do not have to bury their babies. Whether it is in Canada, Syria, China, or the United States violence is never okay.
Sorry if this is all rambly and ranty, but I feel a lot better now that I can express my thoughts on such a horrible event.
"May the Lord bless you, and keep thee;
May the Lord make his face shine to upon you, and be gracious to you;
May the Lord turn his countenance to you and grant you peace."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

GGFC Event- Miss Representation

I am so excited to write this blog post today because I am reflecting on the very first Girl Guides for Change event! I have decided that my focus group is really Pathfinder and Ranger age girls so I invited them to come and see the film Miss Representation (I did a review on it a few months ago) 
This is the board with my information and what is next for Girl Guides for Change. Isn't it pretty?! :)
Thanks to all the awesome people who came out!

I think it is super important for all Pathfinder and Ranger age girls to see this documentary because these issues are very prevalent in their live and the film is sort of geared towards their age group. I am so happy that eighteen people came to the film and girls and their leaders were able to have a conversation and share their thoughts on the film they had just watched. I was so impressed by all of the responses the girls had to the film and we had a great chat about issues related to it. We only had about fifteen minutes but in that time we covered Halloween costumes, bullying because of what girls look like, and wondering why the actresses and models wore the clothes they did and acted the way they did. I was blown away by the insight, understanding, and passion the girls and the leaders had for these issues. My favourite thing that I will be doing with these events is filling up this jar with ways that the participants will change the world. I am so excited to see all of the ideas girls have for how they can make a difference in the world.

Here is the trailer again in case you haven't seen it before:

I will be having another screening in mid-January for all of my area and I hope to have another great response! Thanks again to all of the ladies who came and participated in the screening!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Hello there! I haven't been on here in a while- not sure why but my days seem to be slipping away from me. I just wanted to do a quick update on my life and what has happened since I last blogged. Because my life revolves around Guiding it will be mostly Guiding things but a few personal as well!
~ Remember the kitten we found out at camp? We still have him- yes him. Madeline is a boy so his new name is Louis (you say it the French way loo-ee.) Here is a picture of him and our other cat Audrey. They love each other :)
~ Sparks is in full swing and we are having a ton of fun with our seventeen girls. Our coolest project we have done this year is for something called the Holiday Spirit Challenge with Edmonton Area. This year we are making tray favours and festive lunch bags for the Hope Mission for their Christmas Dinner. The Sparkies totally embraced the idea and did an awesome job!

~ I have had a couple of Skype conversations with the Girls' World Forum delegates about their Take Action Projects and I am so impressed with what they are coming up with. Elizabeth is focusing on a compost project for small spaces and Helen is working on getting girl members involved in councils in Guiding like committees, districts and areas. Great job ladies I can't wait to see what happens!
~ I will be having my first Girl Guides for Change event on Monday and I am super excited! To keep it more of a surprise that is all I am going to say for now and I will do a full post on Tuesday. :)

~ I am working almost everyday as a substitute teacher and I am absolutely loving it! I love being in the classroom with the kiddos and learning more and more about teaching and myself as a teacher and it is pretty cool to get a new start everyday.  

That is pretty much all I have going on right now. Thanks for being so patient with me for not being super active and I hope things will pick up soon!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Camping Adviser Workshop!

I spent the day out at Sandy Lake, an Edmonton Area campsite with other camping advisers from around the city to have a meeting, gain some skills, and have a lot of fun! We started off the day with a meeting where we talked about what we want to accomplish this year, we revamped our job description, and shared what we are doing in our districts to promote camping. One enormous project that is happening right now is a nature centre out at the waterfront. We got to see what has happened so far and what will happen in the future. I am excited to see how it comes along and what it will look like when it is finished! The rest of this post will be pictures and what they represent. Enjoy!

This is scat. Of course not real scat, rather cocoa powder, oats, and a little bit of water. This awesome hands on activity gives kids the chance to experiment with the different kinds of scat, what animals they come from, and how to identify them in nature.
 My mom thought it would be funny to pretend to eat the scat and that was just a bit too gross for me, hence the face. :)

 These are painted rocks for parts of track matching games. We did a white base coat on the rock first then we put a colour on top of the white. Then we used a track stamp and an ink pad on a piece of tissue paper to get the stamp. Next we cut out the tracks and glued them to the rocks and voila! 

We also started nature journals that would record what kinds of plants are out at the campsite. I was kind of in a zone when I was doing this. I guess I was really at peace with nature.
Here is my page in the nature journal.
We kept hearing meowing underneath the step of the building we were staying in. A little kitten popped out every so often and she was having a hard time standing up. We fed her a little bit of milk and mushed up chicken from lunch and she wolfed it down- she must have been starving! We waited for most of the day for the mother to return, but she didn't so I sat and watched her and eventually she came and let me pick her up. The people who stayed over also said that she cried all night outside so we knew that mom wasn't coming back.
 Look how tiny she is! We snuggled her and played with her for the rest of the day and mom and I took her home with us because as an abandoned kitten she would not survive alone.

 Double rainbow! We had quite a strong storm in the afternoon that started out with this beautiful sight over my favourite place at the campsite- the Gazebo.

 I love that it looks like the rainbow is coming out of the gazebo!

 And here is the best part of the day, my new kitten! My family has decided to call her Madeline (after the famous children's story character- also an orphan). We think she is about five weeks old and she is the tiniest, cutest little thing!


Friday, October 12, 2012

First Ever International Day of the Girl Child!

Yesterday was a very exciting day! I am so proud to have been a part of the first International Day of the Girl Child! I think it is so important to have a day like this to celebrate every year because girls do have such a key part in our society and in this day and age it is key for all people to realize their significance. Here are a couple of things I did to celebrate the day.

I am so excited about the WAGGGS initiative, The World We Want For Girls. I first heard about this program a few months ago and I thought it was fantastic. I was scrolling through some of the entries and I think they are absolutely spectacular! I am also very impressed by the video they created which I have put below. I would highly recommend checking out the tumblr blog and seeing the things Girl Guides and Girl Scouts want to have in the "perfect world." 

Later in the evening I went down to the University of Alberta for a screening of the documentary "It's a Girl" put on by the Indo Canadian Women's Association at the University of Alberta. The film is all about a concept called gendercide which means the systematic killing of a specific gender- in this situation the destruction of girls in India and China. I had such a whirlwind of emotion while I was watching the film. First I was overwhelmed by the things I was hearing and seeing and then I was angry, than sad, angry, again, and then inspired to learn more and do something to make others aware of what is going on. There was quite a turn out for the film which was quite exciting. We also had an opportunity to Skype with the director of the film, Evan Grae Davis, and Jill McElya of the Invisible Girl Project. Dr. Amy Kaler of the Department of Sociology at the U of A also spoke. The three of them put together a discussion panel and then took questions from the audience. It was a really interesting evening and despite the incredibly challenging subject matter of the film I really enjoyed it. I also quite enjoyed the samosas and juice after the film and discussion. :)

Trailer for the documentary "It's a Girl" 
I think it is so cool how some of the world's most famous monuments were lit up pink. Here are a few of my favourites and the link to see some more.
Pyramids in Egypt
Little Mermaid Statue in Denmark
Niagara Falls in Canada :)
London Eye in United Kingdom

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adopt a District!

I have had the opportunity to be a part of a really cool project in Edmonton Area called “Adopt a District.” Basically it is an evening where all of the units in a district meet together in the same space. The girls all meet in one room and the leaders meet in another and do their Safe Guide training and branch specific trainings they need to be ready for the year. I am not a trainer, but I volunteered to help out with the girl portion of the event.

We decided that we would do a basic meeting plan that is adaptable for all age levels for all of the districts we go to. Because Canada has two countries as their “twins” this year we decided to have a Grenada and Curacao theme to the meeting. By participating in the meeting the girls will earn the Twinning challenge set out by National. I think the crests are pretty cool!

Some of the activities we did include making finger puppets of Canadian Girl Guides and Girl Guides from Grenada and Curacao to show the similarities and differences between the uniforms.

Girl Guides of Canada uniforms

Girl Guides of Grenada uniforms

Girls working on their finger puppets.

We also did a Grenada flag relay race where the girls had to put together the different parts of the flag together and learn what all of the symbols mean. It was a lot of fun to see the girls running back and forth with the pieces of the flag while their team was cheering them on. Great team spirit!
Flag of Grenada

We also learned the songs "Caimarusa" and "I let her go go," which was a lot of fun with the Sparks, Brownies and Guides. The actions for the two songs were a little challenging at first the girls definitely got the hang of it! 


 "I let her go go"

Here is the link to hear Caimarusa and here is a video of I let her go go. The actions we use are a bit different, but it is the same general idea. 
Overall I think it is a really cool project idea and I am looking forward to going to all of the districts in Edmonton so the girls can learn about our twins and the leaders can get the training they need for a successful Guiding year.

For more information on the Girl Guides of Canada Twinning Project click here!
All photo credit of the evening goes to Nadine Beyersbergen Weiting. Thanks for letting me use your pictures!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Powerful Play Experience Team-building Workshop!

The new Guiding year is fast approaching and Edmonton Area Council started it off with a bang and a team building workshop. We learned about each other, had fifteen points for team success, danced, sang, made Kinex models and laughed- a lot. I had a great day!

Here is a picture of Edmonton Area council in our snazzy blue shirts made especially for the event.

The day started off with an opening involving multicoloured jelly beans, glass houses (aka clear candy containers with adorable little scoops and a story about the different branches of Guiding. I should have taken a picture of it, but the jelly beans were delicious :)

Next we talked about what we did over the summer break and how it related to the Guiding law... The Girls World Forum pretty much covers the whole thing! I really felt proud of what I accomplished this summer.

For the next activity we had fifteen points of being a good team that were scattered about the room on five different tables and we had to pick a table to sit at based on which points we thought were the most important. The points I identified with the most were overcome obstacles together, resolve differences quickly, and look out for each other. We had to create posters representing these points and then share them with the rest of the group.

This is my group's poster. I really like it and it was a lot of fun to make. We all signed it and I think it was like signing a contract saying we were going to follow these goals.

My favourite part of the day was making up a song with boomwhackers aka the best instruments ever, building a sculpture with Kinex, floam, and a giant flower, and writing action items we can do to achieve the goals for team building. Here is my team's beautiful sculpture.

We finished off the day with a good old fashioned campfire which was a lot of fun and it was definitely cool singing some of Melinda Carol's songs after singing with her this summer at GWF.
Overall it was a great day. The facilitator Robert was the most energetic and enthusiastic person I have met in a long time, it was a ton of fun, and I got to feel refreshed and ready to start the new Guiding year.

Here is the link to Powerful Play Experiences, I would highly recommend it!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Go Back to School and Help the Environment!

I got an idea for this blog post a few weeks ago and I haven't had a chance to just sit down and write it. I know school has already started in a number of places, but if you are a last minute shopper like me there is still time to make a difference in the way you shop.

While I was at the Girls' World Forum this summer we had a seminar about the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and how they help endangered animals and regulate the forestry industry. I had seen the symbol on a number of products before, but I had never known what it meant. 

I was surprised just how many products do have the FSC approval and how affordable it can be to buy these products. There is also another organization that supports sustainable forestry called the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). Between these two organizations I was overwhelmed with the number of products that are approved and they are still pretty school supplies!
While I was shopping for my own supplies I noticed that there were a few brands that have all approved products. All of Hilroy's paper products including notebooks, paper, duo tangs, and folders had either the FSC or the SFI logo on it. I have always bought these products because they are inexpensive and of good quality so the fact that they also support environmental sustainability (MDG7)  is fantastic!  
So if you haven't bought your school supplies yet- look for these two symbols when you are shopping and also look for recycled products, and things like pencils that do not use rain forest wood. Here are a couple of things I bought while I was shopping:
There is also an organization called Act Responsibly that certifies some products for both environmental sustainability and social responsibility- which I think is very cool.
Remember the environment and do your part to achieve Millennium Development Goal #7! And now a few pictures of the cute, big cats you are protecting by buying FSC approved products.