Sunday, 4 March 2018


I'm a guider who loves to craft. I love crafting tiny little things at meetings and camp to add to hats and backpacks. Making and trading crafts is a big thing in our guiding circles. Any little thing you can make and trade is called a SWAPS (Small, Watch-a-ma-call-it, Affectionally, Pinned, Somewhere). 

Every year we teach the girls about this guiding tradition and they are so eager to make things to trade with their friends and girls in other groups. A few big thing we stress with SWAPS are:

  1. You never say no to a trade - everyone has different crafting skills but we want everyone to be included. We trade with everybody - sparks through to rangers.
  2. Always use your manners
  3. Make LOTS! Its heartbreaking for girls to get to an event and see everyone is Swapping and they have nothing to trade. If you make lots giving a handfuls of traders to a friend is no big deal and then everyone can participate. 

We've always had an amazing time with SWAPS. Do you do them in your Unit?

Monday, 27 November 2017

UK Pen Pals

Last year our group decided to complete the Brownie Pen Pals interest badge. Since I'm a member of a few UK Girl Guiding Facebook pages I thought it would be great to find some pen pals to do a swap. In no time at all we had three units lined up for a swap. My unit made crafts, sent pictures and badges - they were really excited. 

Unfortunately, weeks then months passed and we heard nothing back from our pen pals. I tried to contact these units on Facebook and although they confirmed that they had received our packages they never ended up sending things back to us. My girls were really disappointed and I was frustrated as well. 

In the summer I posted the story onto one of these Facebook pages to see if there was any other way to contact these groups. I was then overwhelmed by the response of people who wanted to send us something to make up for these other units. 

We ended up receiving letters and parcels from 8 different groups containing all sorts of things from letters and photos of their groups to guiding teddy bears and UK badges for our girls to earn. I was simply overwhelmed by these guiders generosity. 

Since there was so much sent to us (8 groups after all) we split up the goodies between the girls from last year and our current group. Our current girls wrote back to these new pen pals and will be doing some of the challenge badges that they sent us. Our girls from last year got a lovely package of badges in the mail from the groups that wrote back. 

I'm so glad to know that the guiding sisterhood extends near, far and overseas and that we truly have friends where ever we go. A HUGE thank you to the UK Girl Guide groups that wrote back to us. We are so thankful that this story had a happy ending. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Key to I Can - Cooking and Tool Skills

We're heading into December now and working to finish up our program area - Key to I Can. The girls have been super eager to try their hand at cooking and some wanted to work with tools so we thought we'd do a meeting that incorporated both. 

We decided that alongside the Key to I can we wanted to do the "Mouse around the House" challenge from Alberta. This challenge focuses on basic home skills, things like setting a table, cooking and woodworking - very "traditional" brownie skills. 

For this meeting Tanwy Owl took over the "tinkering" section of programming. She went over all sort of different tools with the girls and talked about their uses. Then using our fancy colour-changing unicorn night lights from camp she showed the girls how to change batteries using a screwdriver to remove the base plates. Also, bring the crafty leader that she is Tawny Owl taught the girls about different kinds of simple circuits taking apart and putting back together the night lights entirely. 

While half of the girls worked with tools, I did pizza and s'mores making with the other group.  The girls loved learning how to use the can opener and cut up all of the toppings for their pizza. Leader Tip: Before you put your girl's pizzas in the over have them take a picture with their creation. Then you can (hopefully) match up the pizza with its owner when it's finished cooking. 

After the pizza was done it was time to set the table. The 2nd year girls learned how to do this last year when we completed the "Girl Guides Gateway to our Past" challenge so happily took the lead to show the younger girls what to do. Once the table was set it was time to eat. 

The Girls Loved this meeting and were so happy to go home with some new badges for their sash and camp blanket. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Brownies Enrollment - 2017

One of my favourite events in the fall is our annual Enrolment ceremony. Its so exciting to see the girls work so hard to learn everything Brownie. They take a lot of pride in their uniforms and sashes, knowing their Promise, Motto & Law and being a part of a fairy circle. 

This year we did a lot of work to prepare for the Enrolment Ceremony. The girls created lanterns for decorations and we created a whole introduction/setting up of the toadstool for the second year girls to get more involved. 

We were all ready to invite parents into our meeting space for the ceremony when there was a big issue. The church had double booked our space by accident and it appeared that the other group couldn't be moved into another space. The girls were a little worried about the ceremony and what was going to happen next but we assured them that Brownies are flexible and we would still have a great time. 

Cue the move across the hall to the church's storage room. Big enough for a very cozy Enrolment, our girls moved over and set up all of our props and chairs for our ceremony. In about 10 minutes things were back to normal and after a quick run through we were ready for family and friends. 

The girls did a wonderful job and were so proud of themselves. So happy to be a leader with this amazing group!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Emergency Preparedness

The second program key we are working on this year is the "Key to I Can". We decided to cover a large chunk of first aid and emergency preparedness tonight - covering what is and what is not an emergency. 

We had a great discussion with the girls, played some emergency preparedness running games and finished off with a plasticine craft about natural disasters. Below are some of the girls Emergency Preparedness artwork!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Its Halloween and time for a Party! We do a joint Sparks/Brownies Halloween celebration every year and its always a blast. This year we decorated pillowcases for collecting candy, made monster pop-puppets and played all sorts of games for candy prizes. 

We finished off with a potluck reception and treats were had by all. Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Brownies Visit Mountain Equipment Co-op!

Every year as a unit we complete several interest badges in addition to the program keys. Typically the girls get to choose which interest badges they want to complete together and then my co-leaders and I pick a few more to round out the other badges we are doing. Now that its my 5th year leading a Brownie group I've pretty much done every interest badge with my girls. There are however a few that have always been tricky to accomplish as they require going somewhere specific. 

In early October I got a call that our meeting space wouldn't be available that week due to a large church function. I was worried we would have to cancel as its often hard to find a meeting space - especially in a time crunch. Luckily with come quick thinking and a great community partnership led to the perfect idea. A Trip to Mountain Equipment Co-Op!

When I called up our local MEC store and asked if i could bring a bunch of rowdy 7 & 8 year olds to run around their store for an hour and a half I wasn't sure what the were going to say. The gentleman I spoke to was AMAZING and said not only that the girls could come to tour the store but what programming did he want them to provide? I sent him the requirements for the "Go Camping" interest badge and he said not to worry he would plan something awesome for the girls. 

When we got to the store we were greeted with this happy sign. We chatted with the girls about using our best manners in public and that since the store was still open for shoppers that we would need to be mindful of our voice volume. The first thing we did was meet with Graeme our MEC Liaison who answered any and all the girls had about camping equipment and gear. Afterwards he handed out a group scavenger hunt which had the girls tour the store and find out information about different products they might use while tent camping. 

We went around the store in small groups - taking pictures of the fun camping gadgets and equipment that were available to purchase. The girls learned a lot about what was things were waterproof and why it was so important to stay warm and dry when being outside. 

All of the Brownies loved the "tiny things" you could take camping with you. Collapsable water bottles, tiny flashlights, etc. were all super exciting to the girls. 

After the scavenger hunt we came back to the MEC community room and got to learn about tents! The staff at MEC provided 2 tents for the girls to practice setting up. We learned about where is best to pitch tents, about tent poles and most important - the waterproof rainfly. The girls LOVED setting up and playing in the tents. Truly a highlight of the trip!

Thank you SO MUCH Mountain Equipment Co-Op! We had a FANTASTIC TIME!