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Tonight we used Rebecca Sadler’s AMAZING Who Stole the Wise Old Owl meeting (she’s also known as Brown Owl’s Adventures in Guiding). It is clever. It is smart. It is cool. The girls couldn’t stop exclaiming at how much fun they were having.

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Here’s what we did to make this amazing meeting happen:

First, I read through the blog post a few times and downloaded the handy documents. After some modifications to suit our unit we printed documents, assembled case file folders, collected supplies and got ready to go.

6:20 – we put a sign on the outside door asking everyone to stay out – plus a bucket of pencils and a word search. As suggested, there was some whispery “concern” among the Guiders.

6:35 – We let them in, exclaiming that Wise Old Owl was missing and we needed their help to find her. We couldn’t possibly do our regular opening until she was located. They were split into the four circle groups, they got their case files and we went immediately into our stations.

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6:45 – Station 1 Finger Prints – learn about fingerprints… info from BC Girl Guides CSI Challenge.

6:55 – Station 2 Ciphers and Codes (Where is Wise old Owl? She is on the stage) We used Rebecca’s code to make up messages like Applause, Audience, Performer, Curtain… This was in addition to her coded messages which were both pasted into their case file.

7:05 – Station 3 Invisible Ink (How was she taken? She was lured away with Girl Guide Cookies). We had invisible messages (white paper and white crayon painted over with water paint) already in the folders with words like: Vanilla, Mint, Chocolate, Girl Guide, and $5. Then they had a chance to make their own message for one of their circle friends with paper and white crayon.

7:10 – Station 4 Kim’s Game – (Who took her? The Fairies). The items we selected, if you look at the first letter of each, spelled out “The Fairies”. They played a Kim’s game as usual, then were guided to figure out what the letters spelled.

7:25 – Putting it all together. We went over the puzzle in the big circle. Who got her, how she was taken, and where she was.

7:30 –  Discovery! We opened the door to the stage and all of the girls went through a laser maze (love love love) made of birthday party streamers. At the end, they found four boxes – each one had a sticker with a different Circle Emblem. They knew that the Fairies had her so that’s the box they chose. Owl, as it turned out, also had our Halloween treats! GREAT excitement.

7:45 – we finally were able to do our opening. Then we sang a few songs, and then we closed our meeting as usual at 8. Phew.

This was a super fun meeting. Rebecca had a fantastic idea and did a great job of laying it out for us. It was also really nice to have her original documents so we could make modifications to suit our unit’s needs.

My tips, plan early, print early, assemble with help. And just do this meeting!


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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).

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Have you ever done the cooking at camp?

When you’re first asked about being cook (or, if you’re like me, you’ve coveted the job for years) you think, “hey, I’m a good cook. I can do this!”

But then reality hits you… you don’t just have to cook it, you have to figure out how much to buy, what to make (you want good food that is both healthy and palatable for kids), how to prepare it safely, and how much time you’ll need to make it happen.

Here is the downloadable annotated menu, shopping list and recipe index from our recent Dr. Seuss Camp.   

  • Friday Leader Supper – Home made chicken noodle soup with crusty buns and butter. Served as soon as it is done (30-60 minutes before camp).
  • Friday evening mug up – Remaining chicken noodle soup from leader supper with cheese and crackers. (8PMish). Toast up any remaining crusty buns from Guider supper.
  • Saturday Breakfast
    • Pan-fried green eggs — 28 eggs with about a tablespoon of green food colouring, some milk and salt
    • Pan fried or oven warmed ham – 2-3 lb ham cut up into slices.
    • Oven toasted english muffins with butter
    • Fruit or berries – we had pineapple, strawberries and bananas
    • Girl Task – using crinkle cutters or small sharp knives, cut bananas in half, remove strawberry leaves and cut in half, and cut up pineapple chunks. Divide fruit onto four plates — one for each table. Wash apples for snack time. Crinkle cutters are easier for little hands to manage independently.
    • Milk to drink


  • Saturday Snack – packaged granola bars, apples and oranges
  • Saturday Lunch – Taco salad served family style on four tables. Needs a LOT of bowls, plates and containers. It is a lot of work, but the girls get healthy food and choice. Everyone is happy. Easily converted to walking tacos – put the whole thing in a zip bag.
    • Taco meat – 3 lbs ground beef, 2 cans pureed red kidney beans, 3 packets taco seasoning, 2 zucchini cut up small. Adult to cook.
    • Shredded iceberg lettuce – girl task to cut up – adult to pre-wash – mostly for time because the campers are out for a walk.
    • Grated cheese – if time, girls to grate cheese. divide into serving bowls – remember though that you need cheese for evening. Once served it must be thrown out so keep refilling serving bowls.
    • Sour cream – girls to divide into four bowls
    • Salsa – girls to divide into four bowls
    • Canned corn drained and rinsed – girls to divide into bowls
    • Tortilla chips – crushed and divided up into four bowls by girls
    • Guacamole – girls to divide into bowls
    • Chick peas – girls to divide into bowls
  • Afternoon snack  – Supper prep patrol to cut up vegetables and put out hummus to dip. Carrots, celery, cukes, mushrooms, beans… Suggest crinkle cutters.
  • Supper – Pasta bake with pureed tomato sauce (image is before it went through the blender) and sausage in three (9×12) pans. All components prepared separately and then combined in a pan for baking. Served with Garlic Bread and Caesar Salad. 2017-04-01 16.33.37
    • 1500g of fusili pasta. We used green spinach pasta.
    • 2-3 lbs sausage (roasted at lunch),
    • Sauce: Onion diced small, 3-4 garlic cloves, 3 cans pasta sauce (680 ml x 3), 1 can diced tomato, big bag of fresh spinach, leftover veg from afternoon snack all washed, zucchini, leftover unused chick peas from lunch, 1 can tomato paste. All run through the immersion blender so there are no fights about mushrooms, etc.
    • Grated cheese (leftover from lunch – keeping in mind that once served you have to throw it out – see note about cheese above)
    • Salad (girls prepare) — Romaine lettuce (cut up by girls), salad dressing, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and bacon.
    • Garlic bread – girls to butter baguettes and to sprinkle the garlic
    • Milk to drink
    • Leftover veg from lunch snack as alternative veg instead of salad.2017-04-002campsupper
  • Evening snack – Blue jello with jelly fish
  • Breakfast
    • Pumpkin Muffins (double batch) use muffin papers or lots of cooking spray. (recipe in file)
    • Yogurt
    • Grapes (girls to wash), and any leftover milk, fruit, cheese and ham.

Post-camp menu review... this went very well and we threw out very little food in the end. In fact, we ran out of salad! One recent revelation was to have girls serve themselves at camp. They are required to eat what they take and they’ve really taken that to heart. I was impressed.

  • Disposable Pans? As you can see from the image of the serving table, we used a bunch of disposable baking pans (we got a set of 10 9×12 pans for just under $10 from Walmart). These are great serving options for when you’re using an unfamiliar kitchen with unknown serving/baking options. They were also used a lot for food prep and girl tasks because you could give them all of the tools and whatever food they were preparing in one pan. And, while not entirely green – they are recyclable and 8/10 of them survived and will be used again.

The link to my camp menu is at the top of this page. Email me at brownowlcara at gmail dot com if you have any questions. Happy Camping!!!

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Our Pathfinder unit planned an amazing Thinking Day fair for Sparks and Brownies. It was a very good plan and they’ve agreed to let me share it. Thanks to Guiders Jessica, Anna and Louise and the girls from the 119th Ottawa Pathfinders.

I’m going to set out the time for a 90 minute meeting (we were rushed to do it in the 60 minute timeline of a Sparks meeting and didn’t get to everything).1200px-pax_lodge-svg

6:00 (30 minutes before meeting): Guiders arrive to set up snack and crafts.

6:30: Arrival Game London Bridge. Girls join as they arrive. Two leaders form a bridge with their arms and girls form a long chain by touching each other’s shoulders … they will run under the bridge. At the end of each verse, two girls are caught as the bridge falls. They add to the bridge and the game ends when the last girls are caught.

Explain that we’re playing London Bridge because London is home to one of the five world centres (Pax Lodge) and it is where Guiding and Scouting began.

6:40 Openings (quickly – they help girls get settled into the event)our_chalet

6:45 Program: Thinking Day and the History of Guiding Participation Story

  • Explain that we are gathered to celebrate Thinking Day and this story will tell you about the history of Guiding.
  • This is an action story and the girls will have to help tell the story by doing the actions.
  • Show the actions and have the girls practice them before starting. (Options – you can teach all actions to all girls – or split the group up and give each group of girls one action)
  • Read the story – emphasizing the action words


7:00 – Mexican Traffic Police Game (great fun!)58794585a0032ac712f512ca7edccdaf
Explain: we chose this game from Mexico because the country is home to another one of the five world centres: Our Cabana in Cuernavaca.

7:10 Snacks (we didn’t actually do the snack because of our meeting space rules).
If you omit this section, run the two games a little longer and take your time in the craft.

  • What we’ll eat: Tropical Fruits, Swiss Cheese and Poppadoms
  • Explanation: Poppadoms are from India – home to another WAGGGS World Centre – Sangham – on the banks of the Mua River in Pune India. Swiss Cheese – Our Chalet is in Switzerland.
  • Other WAGGS Countries:
    • Costa Rica produces the most pineapples in the world (followed by the Philippines, Brazil, Thailand and India).
    • Prickly pears are grown in different WAGGGS regions (South America, Europe, and the Middle East)
    • Starfruit is popular in other WAGGGS regions such as Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, East Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States).
  • Materials / Ingredients: Mix of tropical fruits (pineapple, starfruit, prickly pears), knives, Indian Poppadoms, cups, jug of water, plates, napkins, paper towels, toothpicks.sangam_world_centre

7:20 – Madame Tussaude’s Wax Museum Game (Britain and Pax Lodge)- girls start at one end of the gym. The museum security guard (leader) has her back to them. Girls start to move toward the security guard, but must freeze when she turns around. If she catches them moving, they have to go back to the starting wall. The first girl to touch the security guard wins the game.

7:30 – Lantern Craft (Based on the mighty minds lantern craft)

  • Materials: clear cups and LED tea lights (1 each per girl); and tissue paper cut up into small squares, stickers, and glue sticks (minimum – 1 per two girls)
  • Explain: we chose lanterns because they are very popular in the Asia WAGGGS region
  • Instructions: girls put glue on outside of the plastic cups to and put tissue paper and stickers on them. Put an LED candle in each cup.c54b4ee8b69b9de364afed55b5a749d5

7:40ish Campfire

  • Gathering Song – Ging Gang Goolie  – explain that this is a gibberish song for Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Lord Baden-Powell wrote the lyrics for the first World Scout Jamboree in 1920, as scouts were coming from all over the world and didn’t understand each other’s languages.
  • Building song – Our Chalet Song (Switzerland)
  • Building song – Zulu Warrior – we chose this one from South Africa, where the Kusafiri World Centre is located. Kusafiri has no fixed site, but changes location at every event, creating international experiences for girls in different African countries. This song is about strong warrior that wrestled a lion (Zimba means lion).
  • Slower Song – Frere Jacques – a french nursery song about a friar who has overselpt and is urged to wake up by the sound of the bells for matins (midnight or very early morning prayers monks are expected to wake up for)
  • Ending song – This little Guiding light of mine – let the girls light their candles.
  • 7:55 Unit Closing Songs

As I said, we omitted the snack portion – even still we were pressed for time in 60 minutes, but 90 would be perfect. Be prepared in advance and you’ll have a great meeting.

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This idea is brought to you by Guider Shawnna. She and her Guide unit made camp crests for their recent Wizard of Oz camp and the results are pretty awesome.

You need Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets for Ink Jet Printers (June Tailor Brand). Get ten letter-sized sheets for $22 at Walmart. There are a bunch of different options so make sure whatever you get says COLORFAST so the colour stays put after washing.


Design your crest, keeping in mind any copyright rules – including the Girl Guides of Canada Artwork Approval process. Print on an inkjet printer – Shawnna wanted me to point out that the original colour was a richer pink, but after the colour was set with an iron it turned more peach. Check out the June Tailor instructional video.

The result is pretty cool – the crests have the feel of a thick cotton. They’re not flimsy, but not the sturdy embroidered crests either. They’re an inexpensive option that would work well for a camp on a budget, or for when you can’t find a crest that suits your theme.


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For Key to I Can: Sewing Magic, we did a Chunky Arm Knitted Cowl. It was 24 projects, 48 balls of yarn and 24 newbie knitters. Have a headache yet?

Take a big breath and I’ll tell you how we did it. Because it went pretty well.

Prepare one kit per Brownie in advance (we needed 24).

  • Yarn – Bernat Chunky big 400g balls x 8 ($10 each). In a variety of colours divided into 48 66g balls (get a kitchen scale). We actually did 48 80g balls but it was too much.
  • Pop bottles to cast on to in advance.
  • Large Zip Bags

Cast on ten double stranded stitches (see video) onto your arm and transfer those stitches to a pop bottle — grip the spout and slide the stitches from the arm to the bottle. Put the bottle and two balls into the big zip bag. Repeat 23 more times.

Suggestion – do the ball rolling and casting on during a leader planning meeting. Also, ask the girls to bring a plastic mixing bowl or container so that you don’t have 48 balls of yarn rolling everywhere.


Invite lots of helpers. You’re looking for knitters or people who have had a chance to try arm knitting. Share the how-to video and encourage them to watch it as many times as they need to. We had eight helpful adults in the room and we needed every last one of them.

Knitting meeting day

Plan a very active arrival game to work out any wiggles – once knitting begins there is not a lot of moving around possible (also send girls to the washroom if they need to). We did Chuck the Chicken (so fun!).

Do your regular opening (but do it as quickly as possible).

Demonstrate the craft and talk about program in one half of the gym. While the girls are occupied, lay out the kits on the floor in a ring.


After the demonstration, invite girls to get a kit and let the knitting begin.


  1. Transfer stitches from the pop bottle — grip the spout with your left hand and slip the stitches from the bottle, over your hand, and onto your left arm.  Repeat.
  2. Note the sort tail of yarn, and the tail that is attached to the balls. Ignore the short tail and only use the yarn attached to the balls (working yarn). 2017-01-31-19-26-02
  3. Your left arm should be full of stitches. With your left hand, grab the working yarn. With your right hand, pick up the first stitch from your left arm and slip it over your left hand. Let this yarn drop (you still have a loop of yarn gripped in your left hand).
  4. Transfer the loop of yarn in your left hand over your right hand and onto your right arm. This is your first stitch. Repeat 9 more times. At this point, it I often exclaim “you’re a Knitter!!!” They like the praise, and it is true! 
  5. Once your right arm is full of stitches you’ll repeat the process but in reverse. With your right hand, grab the working yarn. With your left hand, pick up the first stitch from your right arm and slip it over your right hand. Let this yarn drop (you still have a loop of yarn gripped in your right hand).
  6. Transfer the loop of yarn in your right hand over your left hand and onto your left arm.

Repeat rows 3 – 6 until your project is long enough to wrap around your neck twice, or until your working yarn is about two of your wingspans.2017-01-31-19-25-04

Casting off. Check out the video (minute mark 2:15)

  1. Knit two stitches as before. (When casting off you’ll have no more than two stitches on the arm that you’re knitting to.)
  2. Pull the stitch closest to your elbow over the other stitch and over your hand. Drop this stitch and knit another stitch as before.
  3. Knit one more stitch.
  4. Repeat 2 & 3 until you have knit and cast off all but the last stitch.
  5. Cut the yarn (leave a long tail) and thread it through the loop. Pull the loop off your arm and let it drop.
  6. You’re done knitting.

Using the long tail, sew the two ends together to make a cowl.  Weave in any ends. Repeat 23 more times.

We were about 5 minutes over time so we did a quick closing and we sent our new knitters home with their projects. It was fun.

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Brownie Dance Party

Every now and then Brownies want to dance. This requires a kid suitable dance playlist on a player (usually a phone) and a speaker that is powerful enough to be heard over 24 laughing Brownies.

Finding a speaker –  if you do a Brownie Dance Party, make sure you have, borrow or buy a speaker that can be heard.

  • I bought one recently (Giant Tiger $45) for my own use (I’m willing to let the unit borrow it) and it happily can be heard over our noisy giggly goofy girls. If you are in the market for a speaker, this is what I got.
    Polaroid Bluetooth Wireless Speaker at Giant Tiger for $45.
  • I also considered the Sony Portable Bluetooth ($129 at Walmart).  I saw it for around $80 on sale but even this was more than I was willing to pay. I have heard the Sony speaker in action and it would do the job very well.

What to play – I defer to the Brownies Meet Facebook group for songs to play that the kids should like that probably won’t drive you crazy:

  • Pharrell Williams – Happy from Despicable Me 2 (this is MY favourite)
  • Great Big Sea – When I’m Up
  • Please don’t stop the music – Rhiana
  • Pink – Just like Fire (Alice through the looking glass)
  • Katy Perry – Firework
  • TobyMac – Lights Shine Bright
  • Taylor Swift – Shake it off
  • Shakira – Try everything
  • Justin Timberlake – Can’t stop the feeling
  • Check out The Best Music for a Kids Dance Party! Heck Ya! for more ideas

Dance on!

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