I know I post a lot of stuff on here from the Idea Room – here’s another gem that hits on Sewing Magic, Earth Day, and Terrific Trash! The cards pictured would be good for Sparks, but I’m sure you can make more complicated ones.

DIY Sewing Cards Made From Recycled Plastic Lids (The Idea Room)


Tomorrow night we’re Cleaning the Capital with Sparks for Earth Day. The Weather Network says that the two days of rain we’re currently enjoying (it isn’t snow!) should be done by the time our meeting starts but I wanted a backup plan. We’ll still go out in anything except a thunder storm.

I’ve got a stash of Terrific Trash crafts that will do in a pinch (Thanks to January Thaw).

6:30 – Arrival Game

6:40 – Brownie Inspections

6:50 – Brownie Ring

7:00 Program – Earth Day Quiz – use this as a discussion starter.

Terrific Trash Craft Night! To note, it takes about a year to accumulate enough trash for these crafts so, unless you’re a natural collector, read this meeting and start collecting for next year when Earth Day comes back.

And if we use all of those up, we’ll do some running games and it’ll be fine.

Here’s hoping we end up tromping around in a squishy field in our rubber gloves with black garbage bags. I like that we’ll be outside.  =)

Happy Earth Day.

The author of this blog (which was highlighted on the PEI Facebook page) makes Shell Pendants. I imagine you could do the same with small rocks or other keepsakes with your Brownies.

Go to Easy Salt Dough Keepsakes – Shell Pendant on Red Ted Art.


Brownies are going camping in the next couple of weeks and we’ve been quietly covering most of the Key to Camping requirements.  But there have been a few gaps and this meeting should fill those… but it won’t be very comprehensive for those of you covering this key (sorry about that).


6:30 Arrival Game – girls choice (the girls love making games up so it works).

6:40 Circle Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

7:00 Key to Camping

  • Discussion – Camping know how – Organize the food and cooking plans with your unit, so that everyone has a job. How do we organize ourselves at camp? (Patrols). what kind of chores do we do? What should our patrol names be this time?
  • Discussion – Lost & found in the outdoors Hug a Tree Program 
  • Teach (Which Way badge) – what are compasses? What are cardinal points?  An instrument containing a magnetized pointer that shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it. (Google)

7:15 – Game – Cardinal Points game from Becky’s site

7:25 – Activity – Compass Drawings from Becky’s site.  You need dots pages or graph paper, pencils.

7:35 – Introduce Thinking day – Guiding with Jewels has a great intro.  (we’ll do the first part of the discussion)

7:45 – Songs – featuring Hey Hey Hey, it’s Thinking Day and Twelve Days of Girl Guide Camp and a few other songs.

7:55 Close and wrap up.

Together with Guider Amanda (a Community Guider and Sparks Leader in Ottawa), I led a session about Ceremonies at the recent January Thaw Event (see Guider Training Days!) and I think it went well. Here’s part 1 of our notes.

What is a Ceremony? What kinds of ceremonies do we have in Guiding?

As Becky says in her blog: A ceremony is something a group does to make an ordinary event special, or to add significance to a special occasion. Read on here for Becky’s tips and wisdom on ceremonies.

Guiding has a lot of ceremonies. Some of them are the everyday ones like our Openings and Closings. And others are special like enrollments, advancements and Thinking Day ceremonies.

Traditional vs. non-traditional ceremonies

We set up our presentation as sort of a debate, with me standing up for why we should be doing more traditional ceremonies, and Amanda standing up for innovation, imagination and forward thinking.

In defense of tradition

  • The definition of tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation (Google).
  • Guiding is memorable…I meet many women who, when they found out I am a Guider, remember fondly the “tu-whit, tu-whit, tu-whoo”; ask if we still “twist me and turn me with the pond and stepping stones?”; or tell me about their Guider who made them practice a flag ceremony over and over and about how, when they got it, they were so proud. I want to give the girls today that sort of memory.

    A Jamaican Brownie Pack Enrollment

  • Pro – When we do the traditional ceremonies, the girls see us waving our Guiding flag. Guiding does things just a bit little differently and in order to become a member you need to learn how we do things.
  • Pro – girls will hopefully hear my enthusiasm for the traditions that are important to me.
  • Pro – we keep the magic of Guiding alive by honouring the past and looking to the future.
  • Con – tradition can be stodgy and not with the times. You may hear “not again!”.
  • Con – doing the same old thing is not tradition if you’re doing it “just because.” Sticking with tradition isn’t right if you’re unwilling to do something different because it is hard to change or because it might not work.

In defense of non-traditional ceremonies

  • Non-traditional doesn’t mean that you’re abandoning the purpose of the ceremony.
  • It gives you flexibility in your planning. For example, this fall badge sashes and ties were back ordered in the GGC store and it was uncertain whether or not they’d ship in time for enrollment… so Amanda’s unit did a Halloween enrollment ceremony. Can you imagine a Darth Vader with a Sparks sash? Hilarious, memorable, flexible, and it fit the day.

    Imagine this with a Sparks Sash. =)

  • By going with a non-traditional ceremony, it acknowledges that Girl Guides of Canada is changing with the times.
  • Younger girls benefit from non-traditional ceremonies – they experience a ceremony that they’re interested/engaged in.
  • Older girls are given the opportunity to practice their leadership and organizational skills because they get input.
  • Pro – Planning flexibility.
  • Pro – Can incorporate other badge challenge work or special events.
  • Pro – Inclusive for those girls and leaders who are new to Guiding and who aren’t as familiar with tradition.
  • Pro – Avoids the “we do it this way because that’s the way it has always been done”.
  • Pro – Starts a new tradition.
  • Con – can give too much freedom so that GGC values are not represented or the importance of the moment is lost.

In the end though, there is no wrong way to do it. And why not mix the two?

Part II will appear next week covering how to teach leadership to girls.

I took the Brownie craft session at January Thaw yesterday and Guider Suzanne who led the session is one crafty lady. This is just one of her great ideas.

She showed us how to make cute blingy rings for little fingers.


  • You need juice carton inserts (the little loopy thing that you have to unscrew the top to get). Start collecting them now for a super neat craft.
    JUICETOP 2015-01-24 12.00.10
  • Sharpie markers (indelible markers)
  • Stick on jewels.
  • Possibly a glue gun.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Everyone gets an insert and an indelible marker/Sharpie. Girls to colour the top. Collect the markers when they’re done.
    JUICETOP 2015-01-24 12.00.15
  2. Make sure to build in some time for the marker to dry. If you don’t, the jewels won’t stick.
    JUICETOP 2015-01-24 12.02.10
  3. After a minute of dry-time, distribute the stick on jewels and have the girls decorate as they wish – you may need to ration bigger jewels. And because the insert is a little bit rounded or has a pimple in the middle – you might need to use a glue gun.

Super fun. Super cute. Start collecting juice inserts TODAY – and ask your unit parents to collect them too!

Guider Training Days

As much as I’d love to say that my favourite times in Guiding are with the girls, that isn’t completely true. Camping with girls comes in at a close 2nd and taking girls to special events like the 95th and 100th Anniversaries of Guiding is #3 on the list. But leader training and enrichment is #1

Training days – like Ottawa’s January Thaw which is hosted and planned by Community 28 – send me back to my unit refreshed and renewed. At the beginning of the day, I’m a Guider who is focused on what’s in front of me…my meetings, my neighbourhood, the upcoming camp, the little one that is difficult to handle in the unit and the worry that we won’t have enough Guiders next year. At the end, those thoughts haven’t gone away, but I have new ideas for crafts, games, and songs along with strategies to deal with my concerns. And, more importantly, I know that I’m not alone in the Owl Biz.

This year I was peripherally involved in the planning of January Thaw – I’m a Community Guider (similar to a District Commissioner) and a number of my peers planned the event at our CG meetings. These Guiders know their stuff and it was wonderful to see how the event was put together – it gives me even more respect for them.

If you are in Ottawa or live near enough to come to this all-day event, watch for it on the event calendar and plan to attend. It is usually held on one of the last weekends in January. Attendees register in advance for four sessions in the day. Each of the four sessions has a lot of variety to choose from (often around 6 options). What impresses me most is that they draw on the community for session leaders. There are some official Girl Guide trainers in the mix, but there are also some truly wonderful and talented session leaders too.

Elf Owl's cutlery holder for Sewing Magic.

Elf Owl’s cutlery holder for Sewing Magic.

Here’s the 2015 agenda:

Session 1: Bold = what I attended

  • Managing Special Needs/Disabled Girl in the Unit (All)
  • Service Projects (G/P/R)
  • Crafts for Girls in Blue (G)
  • A Way with Words (S/B)
  • Rag Quilts (double session) (G/P/R/+ Adult)

Session 2:

  • Super Guide Program (G)
  • Brownie Crafts
  • Treasurer Tips
  • A Way with Words (G/P)
  • Music and Dance –

Lunch was offered by a Pathfinder group that was fundraising for a trip.

Session 3:

  • Safe Guide (double session) (All)
  • Service Projects (S/B)
  • Camp Hat Crafts & Swaps (All)
  • WAGGGS – The World Centres & Beyond.
  • Rag Quilts (double session) (G/P/R/+ Adult)
  • Music & Dance

Session 4:

  • Clarifying Safe Guide Forms
  • Wallet Brag Book
  • Ceremonies – which I led with Guider Amanda Brown. I will write a post about that later. I am pleased with how it went.  =)

If you aren’t close to Ottawa, I suggest you take the example of January Thaw and plan your own event. It is terrific to offer so much variety in one place. The event is held in a church with at least six classroom/hall type rooms – and you’d need to find something similar. The $10 registration fee covered the rental and some sessions had an extra fee to cover craft supplies. Overall, a real bargain because you get so much for your money.

If you are interested, contact me (brownowlcara at gmail dot com) and I’ll put you in contact with the organizers.


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