Friday, June 28, 2013

SOROCO Blogging Contest: Girl Greatness Starts Here!

My friend Pippa from the UK has kindly asked me to enter her blog competition for her organization Speak Out Reach Out Camp Out. I met Pippa at the Young Women's World Forum in England and she has been a huge inspiration for me to continue working with Girl Guide for Change! Please visit her website at


Enough with the lollygagging let's get down to business!

To defeat the Huns! :p

I have been in Guiding for seventeen years, that is most of my life and I can honestly say that it is responsible for shaping me into the person I am today. I think that the issue I would like to talk about is Guiding and why it is necessary to girls in our society. It might not be as crucial as ending world hunger or finding a cure for cancer, but it is something that I am passionate about and it is the main focus of Girl Guides for Change.

I often think about what my life would be like without Girl Guides and it scares me a little bit to think about. I come from a pretty typical middle class Canadian family, a mom, a dad, and two sisters. I went to Catholic school and had piano and swimming lessons, got to go on little road trips around my province with my family, and played school in the basement- my childhood was overall pretty standard. I am very lucky for the life I have and Guiding was an asset to it. Without it I probably would not have ended up living on the street or arrested, but I know that there are some people who might have. I have met people throughout my Guiding career who have said that being a member of Girl Guides saved their life. Being a part of a community where they felt valued, safe, and protected was everything to them. That is why Guiding is important.


While I was thinking about what I would do for this post I went back and looked at the report I submitted for the Young Women’s World Forum and this line caught my eye I want to get girls and women excited about being a Girl Guide and inspire younger girls to believe that they can make a difference in the world and matter in the grand scheme of society.”


As much as I love Guiding I think there are definitely a few things that need to be changed in the organization. Most of the decisions are made at a national level where girls are not part of councils. If I could change anything about Guiding in Canada that is what it would be. Millennium Development Goal #3 is all about female empowerment and what better place to reach this MDG than within a girl based organization! The girls and young leaders know the program, understand and value its importance and should be listened to.
After all Girl Guides of Canada’s motto is “Girl Greatness Starts Here!”


Thanks for listening!  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Make it Mondays: Tracking Sticks


I have decided that I want to start a new "segment" of sorts on my blog called Make it Mondays. I have seen this idea floating around the interwebs and since I am a pretty crafty person I will feature different things I have made on Mondays. Woohoo!
The first Make it Monday is going to be the tracking stick I made at the Camping Advisers Workshop last weekend. This stick can be useful when you are hiking and looking at animal tracks. It starts with a piece of dowel with a hole drilled through the top to put a piece of leather cord in for a handle. 
The next thing is to stain the wood. We used watered down acrylic paint and it went on really nice. I tried to do an ombre type thing, but it didn't work out too well so I just went with it and it turned out pretty nice overall. It dries really fast too (even in the rain!) which is a bonus.
Painting brings out a lot of imperfections in the wood and it gets kind of rough and bumpy so it is best to sand it with a piece of sand paper to get it silky smooth. Once you are done sanding use a j-cloth to get all of the shavings off the stick.

Now that the stick is all prepped and polished the fun begins. Because the tracking stick is not only pretty it has a purpose, to measure the stride of animals, size of tracks etc. there has to be some markings on them! Luckily the painters tape we were using is exactly one inch thick so that can be used to paint markings with a specific measurement.
I was obviously very focused on getting my tape on straight. :p 

I chose to do five pieces of tape but you could do as many as you wanted. 

Now it is time to paint! I chose some pretty colours and got started! These are acrylic paints, in case you were interested.

The painters tape definitely did its job, but if I was doing this project again I would definitely make sure that the tape was "sealed" against the wood because it did run a little bit and had to be fixed up.

Once the paint tried I took off the tape and painted the wood in between white. After the fact I wished that I would have left them plain, but I always do that with crafts...

The final touches I made included polka dots on the white (to cover up my lack of foresight on how it would look) and I also lightened up the third turquoise colour to make it fit in the colour scheme a bit better.

Time for decorating! I used stamps to make these tracks on tissue paper. I cut them out and then mod-podged them onto the stick. I love these track stamps! We used them to make track rocks for a game at our last camping adviser workshop which you can read about here. 

We also used paper napkins that had butterflies on them to decorate the sticks. After carefully cutting them out and peeling the layers apart (who knew napkins had 3 layers!) we mod-podged them onto the sticks.

I also stuck a ruler on the bottom for smaller measurements.

Et voila! Here is my completed tracking stick in all its glory.

The last thing that needs to be done is put a clear coating on the stick to weather proof it and keep it all together. We used a clear spray varnish in an oh so attractive pose to get the whole stick covered.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed my first Make It Monday post! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Camping Advisers Workshop: Round Two!

I spent all day Saturday out at one of our area campsites with the camping advisers from all around the area having a meeting, doing crafts, and participating in general hilarity. :)

I am so impressed with the dedication and passion our area camping advisers have for camping and I really enjoyed just chatting about some of the events and activities that we want to do in the next year. It should be a lot of fun so stay tuned!

We started off the day with a sit down and talk meeting about what we wanted to accomplish next year as a camping committee. We got this really cool s'mores cookbook with a whole bunch of recipes from s'mores Rice Krispie squares to milkshakes. I will definitely be using it this summer. :) We also used the red and green Popsicle sticks to play a safety game where someone would ask a question like "cross the street without looking both ways" and you would put up the green for yes and the red for no. It would be a great activity for younger kids to learn basic safety skills. 

This is our clothesline of favourite things about camping, songs, recipes, activities, and cooking methods. It is a really good way to share ideas and could be left up throughout a weekend to keep adding to.
One of the activities we did was make tracking sticks, I will put up a post on how to do this soon but here is a picture of me staining the stick with watered down acrylic paint. Although I am not completely happy with my finished stick (I rarely am with things I make, you could call it a character flaw) it was a great idea and could be very useful! 

Of course it was raining (and has been for the past two weeks) but I really like the look of raindrops on plants, and our campsite has some of the prettiest wild roses around! 

This rock was painted by my friend Sara about five years ago at a Gold Camp we were at and I was pretty excited to see that it was still at Hilltop House! There are so many memories associated with stuff like this and it was really fun to see! 

We had a delicious lunch of soup and make your own wraps and then had this yummy looking dessert. It is a wrap cheesecake. The theory behind it is that you always buy too many tortilla shells for camp and have leftovers. This dessert uses a tortilla wrap, cream cheese, and a few other ingredients to make a delicious concoction. I am not a fan of cheesecake or gooey things but I thought I would try it and it was pretty good. I ate the strawberries and cinnamon sugar mix and the ends of the tortilla but saved the gooey-ness for my mom :) Thanks mom! 

On our way down to the waterfront for some pond dipping we had a leaf scavenger hunt. If you use good judgement and do not completely strip trees, it is okay to collect leaves for things like this but you should use discretion when doing something like this with your girls. 

I have always thought the waterfront out at this campsite was beautiful, especially this time of year and I was pretty proud of my little camera for capturing some nature shots. Even though it was raining and overcast it is still beautiful Alberta! 

Pond dipping with collapsible strainers duct taped to sticks. The strainers were great for surface dipping but they were not quite sturdy enough for deep dipping. We found a lot of great little critters. 

When you are doing a pond study I think it is best to get bins like the one in the picture, plastic spoons, ice cube trays, and magnifying glasses so you can observe all of the bugs and plants from the water. Remember to return all of the life to the water when you are done! 

This is the crazy little monster I was talking about on twitter (@girlguidechange). It is a rat tailed maggot (EWWW!!). It had a body like a caterpillar, a mouth like a leech, and a really weird tail we did not even think was attached to the body. It was definitely one of the most interesting little things I have ever seen and if you download the picture you can zoom in and really see what it looks like. 

This is a pond peeper! It can be submerged in water to see what is going on below the surface. I thought it was a really cool idea and would be fun to use in clearer water...

This is a muskrat! I saw two swimming in the lake and then disappearing into the plants so they were probably a little muskrat family which made me smile. :) 

 I also got a picture of this really cool looking bird (I can't remember what it is called) that was flying all around the area we were looking at. 

Another beautiful picture of the lake! 

This was our supper dessert (we always seem to have lots of desserts at these things...) I was impressed by the pretty trefoil design on the top! 

Our last activity of the day was making a nature journal out of six envelopes. I will probably do either a video or a blog post on this soon. I was pretty proud of my front cover :).

We had a really good day and got a lot of things accomplished. Thanks to all of the camping advisers for doing such an awesome job this year and I can't wait for next year! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Video!

I have a new video out about how to tie a bedroll. Enjoy!
If you have any other Guiding traditions you would like to learn more about please let me know!

Monday, June 3, 2013

May 2013: Wrapping it all Up!

I don't know if you have ever seen that meme of Justin Timberlake when he was in NSYNC and sings "it's gonna be me" but it sounds like this.
It makes me laugh every single time I hear it and I thought of it often in this busy month of May.
Anyways shall we get on with it?

May started off with a mini trip with my mom and sister to High River, Calgary, and Drumheller to see some friends and get away for a few days. We met up with a friend from Alberta Girls' Parliament who gave us a walking tour of High River including the Guide and Scout Centre. I was obviously more excited than Heather was...

The next big thing in May was of course the 100th Birthday Rally for Alberta Girl Guides. To see a full post about it you can click here!

Every year our area has an awards and appreciation dinner for leaders. I think it is really important that Guiders be recognized for all that they do and who does not want to celebrate with fun, laughter, and two meats! :) Because of my position as deputy district commissioner I wrote a lot of the support letters for Guiders in our district so I was really excited to see every one's reactions. As I was looking and smiling around the table and listening to the names being called out for the Alberta Council Centennial Medal (a one time award to celebrate 100 years of Guiding in Alberta) I was SHOCKED to hear my own name. Thank you very much to the people who nominated me, you have no idea how much it means. :)  

This is Edna Dach's picture. My grandma currently has my letters and medal at her house so I couldn't take a picture of it.

Silliness with the promotion material for an event in the fall. Nice one Jessie!

My mom's Trefoil Guild, the coolest ladies in Guiding (in my opinion)!

I actually really liked the favour this year; a tree to plant to continue to "Grow Guiding". 
The next day was our district advancement. We had 11 out of 16 Sparks going up to Brownies so it was a big deal for our unit! Each unit in the district came up on the stage and gave  a little performance (we did Buddies and Pals and shared the best thing about Sparks) and then the advancing girls got to be taken over to the Brownies to sit with for the rest of the ceremony.

Our awesome poster! At a meeting we asked the girls the best part about Sparks this year and we made a list. I took everything they said and put it on a poster kind of artistically.

On the long weekend I was at camp with the Guides! I also did a full length post on that here.

Of course we are working super hard with the girls... no we are not relaxing while the girls are doing dishes... :)

We had our Sparks wrap up with the parents in May as well. Each girl got a flower (pink of course) and we played in the playground together and then had some yummy treats! It was a great finale to our weekly meetings.
Then the absolute grand finale of Sparks, Camp! We had so much fun and I am so proud of all the girls for being brave and awesome campers and really practicing their Spark promise of sharing and being friends. Here are a few more pictures of the camp, you can see a ton more in this blog post.

Chef Rainbow making delicious pancakes!


Getting ready for the big hike!

Some more awesome giraffes!
Campfire! A personal favourite of the Sparks "Gloop Gloop"

Story time, my favourite time of the day.

Congratulations on going on to Brownies!

I love these crazy Sparks!
Even though my Guiding year is "over" at the end of May I still have a few things coming up in June so stay tuned!