Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's a Jungle out There: Sparks Safari Camp!

The final event of the Sparks year was Safari Camp! We had 14 out of our 16 Sparks attend which was awesome! We had a really great time and it was a great end to the year!
I love themed camps! The little details that pull a camp together are my favourite things to design and use! This is the chore chart we used. The monkeys were stationary and the bananas with the group names on it moved from monkey to monkey at each meal.
This is my name tag design, I had fun with the Safari theme!
We started our camp with a flag ceremony on Saturday morning. I have never done this before with Sparks, but they really enjoyed it and it was fun to do something new.
We also tried to tackle beginner orienteering with the girls which actually turned out better than I expected. The girls were really engaged in the activities and learned a lot too!
It rained all day on Saturday which was a bit of a bummer, but the Sparks were all prepared with raincoats and boots- I love this picture from our first hike of the day. 
I got a little "artsy-fartsy" at the chapel while the girls were eating their snack and took this picture of the beautiful rain drops on a tree.
The Sparks at the Chapel, my second favourite place in the world (after Disneyland!) They look so happy in their rain gear.  
We were supposed to be doing bug houses that weekend but because of the rain we decided to do rain gauges instead. We put about eight buckets all around the campsite and went out 2 or 3 times throughout the weekend to see how much rain was in the bucket. It was a lot of fun!
One of the games we played was a survival game of sorts. We pretended to be squirrels and got 6 beans to hide somewhere in the forest to find for winter food. We had to get back to the leader before the winter frost came and we starved. It was a really good game and the Sparks learned a lot about animals in the winter time.
This WAS the trail we were supposed to go on for our hike, but it decided to be a river instead.
My rubber boots (customized when I was bored one day) were my favourite accessory of the weekend!
Keeping with the Safari theme we made these adorable card stock and clothespin giraffes. My favourite thing about doing crafts with Sparks is that they are all given the same materials and they all turn out totally different. There were rainbow giraffes and giraffes with tails, and three eyes, they were awesome! Here are a few of my favourites.
We also made autograph books for the girls to sign as a memory of the year. They turned out really well- and it was fun to watch the girls get each other's signatures.
Story time in the afternoon! Books were a pretty big part of the weekend, which, as a teacher I was totally okay with!
The fire ban was still on so we had a glow stick campfire and, like I did at Sparks Friendship Camp, the girls got to take a piece of the campfire to bed with them.
To get the girls excited for camp we made bunk tags at a meeting for the girls to use at camp. This is mine and I love it! I made most of the other leaders' bunk tags as well and I put the sticker that says "Going Bananas" on each of them to represent the weekend. :)
The next morning the sun was shining (hooray!) and we had another flag ceremony. One of our girls was unable to come to the district advancement so we gave her her Brownie book and pin at the end of camp. It was a very touching moment for me.
This is another camp hat craft we did- a little fire. It is pretty simple, all you need is some orange ribbon, orange tulle, sticks, and some raffia. I also made a little tag to remember the camp by and it was so cute to see the girls put their first camp hat craft on their hats.

We had some time to spare so we played with some bubbles and skipping ropes. They had a lot of fun!

 I am pretty happy with how the camp turned out and I hope that the girls had fun. We had a great year and I wish them all the best in Sparks or Brownies next year!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Guides on the Go at Camp!

I was lucky enough to go to camp with my mom and sister's Guide unit over the May long weekend. The weekend started off with a brand new experience, I saw a beaver! We have had a beaver dam out at camp for many years. but I have never seen the home owner- it was really cool. I tried to get a picture, but it didn't turn out too well.

Once all of the girls arrived they had a site tour, set up tents, and went over the rules and activities of camp. All of these Guides were first time tent campers so I was a little bit nervous about the weekend, but overall I was really impressed with how well they did.

There was a fire ban while we were out at camp so we had to come up with new and exciting ways to cook. One of my favourite recipes for camp are tacos in a bag or walking tacos. You need all of the typical things for tacos (ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, etc.) and a snack size bag of Doritos. You open up your bag of chips and then put all of the ingredients into the bag, roll it up, and shake the bag.

You open up the bag and grab a fork and then you eat up. It is a delicious snack and fun to make!

We went to the lake the next day and I got this beautiful shot! The lake at our campsite is one of my favourite places to be. I have stayed at the site with my family in the summer before and when I do I will grab a book and my journal and lay out on the dock all day. I love it!

There was a little frog in the lake that was super cute. The Guides were quite taken with the nature out at the lake. They found sticks, bugs, shells, and bones! We had a good opportunity to talk to the girls about conservation and the importance of looking after our earth. They did a really good job on skits about conservation and water safety.   
Another beautiful shot of the lake... I think I have them from all seasons now!
This was on the shore... EWW! The girls were very interested in it and I was happy to take pictures of it, but I had  NO idea that fish had that many teeth... it just gives me the creeps!
On a much happier note, we had a special surprise snack for dessert, ice cream sundaes! It was a lovely treat after a hard day of work learning knots and gadgets, orienteering, new songs, and camp cooking! It was  a very busy day.
Alternative to the traditional s'more. Instead of roasting the marshmallow and then adding graham crackers and chocolate you make the s'more and wrap it in a piece of tinfoil. Put the tinfoiled s'more in a tinfoil oven (with charcoal at the bottom) and cook it. It was super messy but delicious! 
The next morning the girls were still smiling which is always a good sign! These girls did not know each other that well (one of them is from another unit) but they were really good friends by the end of the weekend. It always make me happy to see friendships grow so much over just a few days.
We finished with a few games of Screaming Dinosaurs (great for getting energy out of kids, basically run and scream and when you run out of air you stop running. Whoever gets the farthest wins!), What time is it Mr. Wolf, and Red Light, Green Light.  
I had a lot of fun at camp and I was so glad to be able to go. Great job Guides, you did awesome!!

Guiding Traditions: Horseshoe and Scarf Tying 2.0

Here are my most recent Guiding Traditions videos! If you have any ideas for videos that you would like to see please comment below!

Thanks to the awesome Guides for letting me use them to make the horseshoe video! You were awesome!

This video is a "revamp" of my previous one to add a bit more information about the history behind the scarf as part of a uniform.

New post up soon about Guide camp over the weekend and then Sparks camp this weekend!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three Cheers for 100 Years!

Yesterday was the celebration for the hundredth birthday of Alberta Girl Guides. Just like with the national centenary, we had a rally to celebrate the occasion. We joined over 2000 other Girl Guides from around the area to celebrate 100 years of Guiding in Alberta and it was a lot of fun! 
The Sparks were waiting patiently for the bus to take us to the rally and even though it was very windy and a bit chilly, they were excited and ready to roll!  
When we arrived and were waiting to be registered the Sparks got to meet Gofer Guiding and each of them got a big hug! The girls were thrilled with Gofer and pointed her out every chance they got! As a special treat Gofer was handing out older crests that were from 2005, Alberta's 100th birthday as a province, which made the crests older than the Sparks!
We got to play a bunch of games at one of the stations including graveyard and a three legged race. It was cool to see the Sparks interacting with other branches from around the area. We had one girl who was a champ at graveyard, no one could crack her and it was really funny to see them try. :)
 As part of the 100th birthday celebrations you can make quilts and donate them wherever you see fit as part of an Alberta quilt challenge. One of the craft stations was making quilt squares about what Guiding means to you. The Sparks focused more on what their favourite part about being a Guide is and they said things like camping, tobogganing, crafts, games, and sleepovers. 
We also made ribbon streamers to wave and celebrate with! As you can see they were a big hit!
The Sparks had some time between sessions to play a few games with my mom's Guide unit. They played Bob the Weasel- a highlight in our unit. Basically a small object is passed around the outside of the circle and the person in the middle has to figure out who has it in their hand.
The Sparks and Guides caught the attention of a local news station, which was very neat!

Yummy cupcakes and hot dogs for lunch. They were delicious!  
The campfire was acoustically not the greatest (a loudspeaker does not make a god microphone), but I enjoyed it and found it quite moving to hear so many people singing together. Even though we did not do the entire planned campfire, the songs we did sing were a lot of fun. The Sparks have been learning the songs over the course of the year so I was very proud of them for singing along!  
Overall we had a great day and the weather was perfect! I enjoyed seeing the Sparks interact with other girls from around the area and I also loved singing all of the songs we had been practicing all year.
Happy 100th Birthday Alberta Girl Guides!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 2013: It only gets busier from here!

April was a fun month and it wasn't overwhelmingly busy which was awesome! My month started out with a trip to the fire hall which was so much fun! The Sparks loved seeing all of the equipment, climbing into the fire truck, and seeing where the firefighters eat and relax when they are at work.
I was so impressed when the Sparks wanted to know where the girl firefighters were and what they had to do to become one when they grew up.  
The Sparks learned all about fire safety and one of the firefighters put on the gear to show the girls that even though they might look kind of scary with the helmet and mask, firefighters will help them if they need them.

In this picture one of the Sparks is showing the firefighter that the weight isn't that heavy (he was fooling around with the girls pretending he could not lift it!)

We did this adorable craft when we were learning about water and how the water filtration system works. The girls LOVED them and they were easy to make! You can find instructions here.
The Sparks had a visit to Brownies which was crazy! 25 Brownies and 16 Sparks together in one space made for a very active meeting! The Sparks who are moving up are now VERY excited to move up.
I finished off the month at Pathfinder Skills Camp. The best part of it was definitely being out in nature and relaxing from a pretty stressful personal situation. I love being at camp!
Here is the scarf tying video! I am currently working on a new Guiding traditions video and a different version of this one to be used for training. I will post it when I am finished!
This is just a short post but May will be SUPER busy so look forward to that with me!