Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

Sleepover Themes

Next week is our Enrollment ceremony and, as you know, we’re Baking a Batch of Brownies. Since my typical post would be mostly redundant, I’m going to look ahead a couple of weeks to our Sleepover and what we’ll do.

About Themes:

  • I’m not against themes, but they are not my favourite thing.
  • They’re good to tie everything all together.
  • The Girls usually love them.
  • But you shouldn’t get too tied up in them – For camp, I recommend a general theme like “go camping” or “be outside”. You can go overboard on the planning around a theme and then feel disappointed when you don’t get to everything – or feel beholden to rush things along. The girls just want to play.

Sleepover Themes:

  • We’ve done Tent Camping inside. It is the best of camping – tents that you don’t have to hang to dry afterwards, a proper kitchen, flushing toilets and, best of all, NO BUGS or MUD.
  • Puppets – A nice chill crafty evening where the girls make stuff is a dream come true for me.
  • This year, they’ve chosen a Space Theme. Alberta Girl Guides Bright Ideas is always a good spot to start. As usual, Bright Ideas has us covered with a Space Camp plan.
  • Check out 5 things I learned organizing a sleepover for Sparks – the lessons translate well to Brownies too. (Although Brownies do not bring an adult – they’re bigger girls now)

What a typical Sleepover looks like (for our unit):

  • 6:30 Friday night arrival (after supper on a full tummy) – Big hug at the door and an arrival activity – colouring or game depending on your group.
  • 6:45 Program starts – we’ll draw on ideas based on the theme
  • Around 8:00-8:30 Program ends – Snack before bed and program closing. Also time to get their last questions answered.
  • 8:30-9 start setting up beds and getting into PJs. Encourage Library Voices (including Guiders). If you’re tired, you may go straight to bed.
  • 9:15-9:30 – Quiet Campfire with everyone in bed – no Aunt Huva’s Chickens here – we want On My Honour, and Taps.
  • 9:30 – Lights out but flashlights permitted. No more talking. A Guider reads a story. Girls may read their own book or listen to my story. But everyone is quiet.
  • 10PM hard stop lights out.
  • 6AM Saturday morning – girls will start waking up (actually, it’ll be the week after the time change, so probably 5AM with our luck). If Brown Owl isn’t up, you aren’t up. And don’t slam the bathroom door!!!
  • 6:30 – get up and get dressed. Pack up
  • 7:30 – Breakfast and final clean up. Instant oatmeal, yogurt and juice boxes.
  • 8:00 – Closing and everyone outside to play.
  • 8:30 Family pick up (our facility is needed by 9AM and the girls have their own activities like hockey and swimming to get to).

Anyway, I hope you have plans to get out with your Brownies this year. The Girls love it, and Guiders, you CAN do it.

Read Full Post »

We struggle with going over the rules at camp… they’re really boring. So Snowy Owl made up a Camp Rules Mad Lib and she is willing to share. Customize it for your own rules or use ours. Write them out on big chart paper for presenting to the girls. And just call me Brown Cheetah. =) Mad Lib instructions.

For another rule option, look at our Brown Owl’s Rules game (played like Captain’s Coming).

Read Full Post »

dr-seuss-clipart-dr_seussI’ve been writing this blog since January 2011 and it started as a way for our little group to keep track of the things we do year to year. We consult the blog often and walk the line between repeating the same things because they worked and introducing new things because they sound fun.

Camp is in a couple of weeks and we’re getting out of our comfort zone by introducing a THEME! I know that many of you already do themes, but we don’t. Our goal is to get our city kids out into the woods for walks, camp skills, and play time. A theme over and above that has been beyond our brains to accomplish and a packed schedule is too stressful.

But this year’s camp is over the April Fool’s day weekend and the element of silly that that brings is undeniable.

We’re going to go with the Dr. Seuss theme and now I’m looking at things like Girl Guide themed Mad Libs, and how to make Blue Spaghetti for Who Hash and Roast Beast Balls.

Oh my goodness…what have we done?

Read Full Post »

There are lots of different names for this thing … ditty bag, dippy bag, dish bag, mess kit, dilly bag … it goes on and on. For us it is called a ditty bag and it is for dishes at camp.

  • The bag should be a cloth or net bag (or small reusable fabric grocery bag) with a drawstring or handle to hang it up with. Not too big – about the size of a folded tea towel like mine in the photo (any bigger and it drags on the floor). No plastic grocery bags – they keep the water in.
  • Inside you’ll put MARKED dishes and cutlery. Put the camper’s name on everything with labels, nail polish, sharpie markers, tape, or whatever you can do to make your stuff identifiable.
  • Dishes and cutlery should be plastic or metal. No glass please.
  • At camp, your camper will loop the drawstring over her arm, wash her dishes, then put the wet dishes in the bag to drip dry. We use a bit of bleach in the dishwater… the bag might fade or get some bleach blotches.



Read Full Post »

Our unit is going camping soon and as part of the communications home to parents I found myself creating this illustrated explanation of how WE (the 119th Ottawa Brownies) would like bags to be waterproofed. I emphasize the WE part… other units may (almost certainly) have other instructions and ways of doing things.

Setting the stage: This is a residential camp (in a heated building) with bunks and mattresses provided. We want bags to be waterproofed so that they make it from the parking lot to the building (500 meters) on the way in, and so that they can be placed outside in whatever the weather to wait for parents on the way out of camp while we close the building on Sunday.


  • All items must be marked with the Camper’s name.
  • Make sure your camper packs her own stuff. One of the first things we do at camp is to say “please find your flashlight”. Girls who packed their own bags will know where to find it. Also, girls should be able to identify their own stuff too.
  • We allow clear recycling bags for waterproofing. Anything we can’t see through might be mistaken for garbage and you don’t want that.
  • Soft sided bags are important – we need things to be able to fit (squish) underneath a bunk. No hard sided suitcases or laundry baskets please.
  • In Girl Guides (and older years) girls may be asked to prepare a tarped rolled bedroll. This is too much for our residential Brownie camp. We’d prefer to spend the time outside playing over rolling up 20 bedrolls on Sunday.

Option One – Big Zip Bags.  I like this for my bedroll. 

BrownOwlWPBedroll BrownOwlWPBedroll2

Option Two – Line a Duffle Bag with a clear plastic bag. Put the clothes in the clear bag and make sure it is sealed tight. Zip the duffle bag over top. The outer bag may get a little wet, but the stuff inside will be nice and dry.


Option Three – Dry Bag – only if you have one. They’re about $20-$40 per bag – Available at Canadian tire and other camping stores.

2016-02-28 09.40.40

And there you go. Preparing to go to camp shouldn’t be expensive. Just ask questions, see what you can sub in or borrow, and do your best. Wishing you a dry camp.  =)

NEXT – look for Brown Owl Cara’s Ditty bag



Read Full Post »

We’ve had a bit of a crisis in sleepovers here in Ottawa.  There are two local museums that run wonderful sleepover programs…but unfortunately, one of them has been forced to close (only temporarily, but probably into early 2015) because of a mould problem. EDIT – Nov 2014 – they’ve decided to renovate and the museum will reopen sometime in 2017.

aviation sleepover

Gathering at the Aviation Museum in 2012. Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but it allows me to give you a taste without showing kid’s faces. =)

As you look into sleepovers, think about why you’re planning one. Of course, you want to provide an educational and enjoyable experience for the girls, but the biggest benefit of a sleepover is for the everyone to get to know each other in a new environment for a longer time. The girls (some of whom have never slept away) can try an overnight. And the Guiders have a chance to watch the girls and see who may need a little more prep before you take them on a two night sleepaway camp. We also try to look for a sleepover location that is close to home (just in case someone needs to abandon ship).

With that in mind…here are some sleepover ideas (if you add your ideas in the comments, I’ll edit them into this list later).

  • The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is open for business and has a top notch program. Try holding a Brownie Opening in the Hall of Honour (so fun!). You need to provide your own evening snack (granola bars) and morning breakfast (easily accomplished with muffins, an apple and a juice box).  And you get to sleep under an airplane! Cost works out to be around $25 per girl (if you have 25-30 girls and 5-6 leaders. Any more or less will increase the price – we had fewer girls so our cost was around $35 per girl). We slept under the Helicopters (it was dark enough to sleep, but there’s a small and well-lit washroom nearby) and it was great.
  • The Canada Science and Technology Museum is currently closed (Sept 23, 2014).  When they are open, they run a marvelous sleepover program.  We like their puzzle hunt program especially – it is very active, interesting, and good for tiring the girls out so they’re ready for bed.  Bonus is that there is a cafeteria and they provide coffee to adults in the morning with a breakfast of cereal and fruit.  And you get to sleep between trains.  Read this though to make sure you sleep in the right spot. Cost is around $38 per girl (includes breakfast only option).
  • Church Basements and community centres are great potential sleepover spaces, if you can book them.
    • PJ party...Have girls arrive at 7:00 in their PJs (bring sleeping bag stuff, toothbrush, etc), sing songs, watch a movie or do a spa/manicure night, introduce your teddy bear/sleep friend, play some games, go to bed by 9:30 or 10. Up by 7:30-8AM.  Breakfast and out by 9:30 or 10.  Done.
    • Drive in Movie – get boxes, have them decorate them like cars, watch a movie with popcorn, go to bed.  Up for breakfast.
    • Superhero Sparks Sleepover – themed evening with a cape to decorate.
    • My favourite is to have them put up a campsite inside!  Borrow some tents, teach them how to put up a dome tent.  Let them set up their beds.  Play some wide games like you’re outside. Do a candle (or flashlight) campfire. Done! They’ll love it.  (And you don’t have to dry out tents in your garage for days!)
  • Cosmic Adventures is an option. I know of groups that went and who loved it. “You can sleep anywhere… just not at the top or bottom of a slide.” Most Ottawa kids have been to Cosmic and it is a popular spot for kid’s birthday parties.  Cost is around $40 per child.
  • Funhaven is also an option (I honestly don’t know much about it, but found group sleepover info so included it here). It is also a hot spot for kid’s birthday parties so your kids may have already been there.
  • I’ve heard unconfirmed rumors that Skyzone and Laser Quest have sleepover options.

Please add to this list. What other ideas are out there?

Previous Sleepover Posts:

Read Full Post »

Today’s Parent (June 9, 2014) had a fantastic article from a parent’s perspective about preparing your child for sleepover camp.  It is especially neat because this is a Guiding family with a Spark and a Brownie.  Thanks Snowy Owl for finding it.

Since we’re talking about camp preparation… the 64th Guides wrote a great article about why girls should help pack for camp.

And this is a nifty clip art from http://www.mormonshare.com/sites/default/files/handouts/cg_camp-2.jpg 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »