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Last Tuesday we had a pretty chill meeting covering the badge requirements for the Team Together badge (Canadian program badges are changing next year so we’re using up some stock).

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6:30 – Arrival Activity – go directly to your circle corners and work together on a jigsaw puzzle that we’ve left for you. (Badge Requirement – Play two team building games 1/2). If you do this, go with puzzles of between 100-200 pieces.

A note on Time Management – We have had problems recently with over loading our meetings and not giving girls enough time to finish things. This is frustrating for us because we need them to rush (kids can’t be rushed), and it is frustrating for the girls because they want to have time to finish their project or activity. In this case we knew that the girls would not have time to finish their puzzle and we were very clear with them. “There is a puzzle in your corner for your circle group to work on – we know that you won’t finish it, and that’s totally OK. We will need you to work on what you can, and then, when we say clean up, we’ll need you to clean up”

Plan 6:50 (Actual 7:00 – we let them go with the puzzles, they were really into them) – begin Circle Inspections and clean up. Clean up and transition was easy peasy.

7:00 (actual – 7:10) – Brownie Ring

7:05 (actual 7:15) – Discussion – Name two camping activities that are better done in smaller groups (cooking, making a campfire); Name two camping activities that are better done in larger groups (games, cleanup). There was something else in there but I can’t remember.

7:10 (actual 7:25) – Play a second team building game (2/2). With Becky’s Giant Stick Figures activity as a starting point – we asked them to make a circle with their bodies while standing up (they were already standing in a circle), make a square, make a triangle, make a house shape (the house was a bit tougher but it got better after they took our advice and talked to each other). Then we moved to Giant Stick Figures – essentially, make a stick figure together, then have that figure do actions. They had fun. They did a pretty good job, but they needed to communicate more (and make a smaller head). It was fun for us to watch from the vantage point of the stage. Touch your belly button was the favourite!

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7:35 – Chuck the Chicken  because girls just gotta run!

7:45 Key to the Arts: Art by Hand – the girls had been asked to try to knit or sew or do needlework or do a craft. I loved hearing about each girl’s project. They did a great job.

  • Backup plan we didn’t need (I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough crafters) Becky’s Make New Verses and a campfire – to present their new verses.

7:55 Close 

 

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I got a note from a parent last night asking about an item that didn’t come back from camp. She was trying to do something special… but it backfired, unfortunately. le_a13031911_brown_sad_dog_puppy_toys_220x220

Mom: I sent daughter’s stuffy as a surprise and she didn’t know it was hers when you asked. Do you still have it?

Me: I left it there because it didn’t have a name and nobody recognized it. We thought it was left from a previous camper. I’ll contact the camp and see if I can retrieve it.

Lesson – Everything in the bag needs to have a name on it, and each girl needs to know what’s in their bag and where it is.

For more great Camp Packing Tips, check out this post from the 64th Guides

 

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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

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  • 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

Stories:

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.

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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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