Posts Tagged ‘camp’

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



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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.


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We’re planning a winter camp in February and this idea from www.cottagelife.com shows us what happens when you blow bubbles (a typical summer camp activity) in the winter. This experiment was done at -40 degrees (at that point it is so cold that both Celsius and Fahrenheit match up). We are hoping (please please please) for much warmer weather than that, but anything is possible in Ottawa in February. Snowy Owl is going to be angry with me for even suggesting that it might be -40 at camp.

Go to www.CottageLife.com to see what happens.

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This is a continuation on my series on SOAR 2014. See also SOAR 2014: Pre-Camp Adventures.

I’m back from Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous (SOAR) which was hosted by Girl Guides of British Columbia during that last couple of weeks in July. I went as Core Staff and had a terrific time. It was HARD. Really HARD work. With long hours, early rising times with limited breaks. But it was extremely rewarding to work together for a common Guiding goal.

Packing and equipment

Be Prepared is a heavy burden for someone who is packing for a camp like this…but BP needs to be balanced against what a person can reasonably carry.

The best advice I  got was to read the kit list early and to keep an eye out for things you can get second hand, on sale or as a loan. In this case, you’ll be in a tent for approximately 10 days and upgraded/quality pieces are going to make a difference in your happiness level at camp. The kit lists from the camp committee are pretty general – some explanation may be required. I’m not the expert…but these are my thoughts. rollacot

  • A sleeping cot. Being able to sleep high off the ground is a wonderful luxury.  A cot helps keep the tent tidy because you can tuck your gear underneath.
    I currently use a lightweight Roll-A-Cot. It is a little more expensive than others around.  It is light but solid.
    You can get a standard army cot like this Broadstone Cot from Canadian Tire – it is heavy and that’ll be tougher (but not impossible) to ship on an airplane.
  • Bedding –  When I packed for SOAR, Enderby was in a heat wave with temps in the 38C range. Based on that, I packed only my summer (+10C) sleeping bag. When I got to camp, the first night was quite warm but after that, overnights were in the 12C range and I wished I had a warmer bag.61SsZ-Z2ACL._SY450_ Next time I will take either a summer bag with a fleece liner OR a mid-range autumn bag. I will also bring a fitted twin sheet and a flat sheet to go on my cot. Any combination of the above should fit most summer weather situations.
  • Flashlights – Lisa and Sue recommend the Energizer 3 in 1 lamp. It has a flashlight, lantern, and low-light night light with an elasticized clip/hook to hang it on anything. The light runs on four AA batteries. All features are useful at camp and I’ve since bought one.
  • Tents  – this is a personal choice, but whatever you get, after making sure it is dry and all the rest, make sure you can stand up in it and that it has good air flow. A hot tent at night isn’t fun. And neither is ten days of crouching.
  • Raingear – The kit list always asks for rain boots and full rain coat and pants. Be prepared means bring rain gear. No question.
    Bring full rain gear because, while the forecast was for gorgeous weather for the whole week, we ended up evacuated indoors for six hours for a major wind and lightening storm that crushed tents and soaked bedding.
  • Shoes – there will be a lot of discussion about shoes and footwear before camp. Follow the instructions you are given. But be prepared for the camp committee to be very particular about what you may wear on your feet.  Most camps prefer/require you to wear sturdy closed toe shoes at all times. That means hiking/running shoes and closed toe sandals.  Keen type sandals are usually ok (thank heavens!).  Crocs, barefoot runners and flip flops are usually forbidden.  And water shoes are probably going to be required (hint: yellow label Keens are waterproof and make excellent water shoes).
    Why the concern for footwear? Foot and toe injuries make up the majority of visits to the infirmary and starting with good footwear is the best way to avoid that. Whatever shoes you bring, break them in at home – and change your footwear often at camp.  Blisters are not fun. And those are often the least of the injuries that can happen.

I’m happy to say that all of my stuff fit into a big rolling hockey bag and a longish gear bag.  Whew. 

2014-07-16 10.04.31

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Girl Guides – New Brunswick Council is hosting an all branches provincial camp this summer called Bridging Friends Forever (BFF).  Some people go to the beach or visit Paris on vacation … but lots of fantastic women (a lot of you, I expect) volunteer time and talent to pitch in at a summer camp as Guiders.    BFF Logo C borderlessSMIf you’ve got the time or inclination, there are lots of different ways to help out at a camp near you – even for a day or two.  It is so worth it.

I got hooked on Girl Guide camps two years ago when I went to the Nova Scotia Heritage 2011 Camp as a volunteer staffer.  Everything was new to me, but familiar too, because it was a Guiding event.  I was blown away by how much fun it was.   I left thinking “I have to do that again” and I’m now looking forward to helping out at BFF (I booked my flights to NB last week – so exciting!).

I realize that volunteering at a summer camp isn’t for everyone, but there is a way you can help without leaving home.  

The BFF Team is planning a Guinness World Record Attempt … they are going to try to make the World’s Largest Chain of Bracelets (their goal is 8,000) and Guiders and Girls across NB, PEI and Canada are working hard to make that happen.  At last count, they had around 3,000.

The instructions are simple… make friendship bracelets! Lots of them!  There are so many different patterns on the internet (here’s a good tutorial).
But follow these rules from the Guinness World Record people:

  • For the purposes of the record, a bracelet is defined as an “article of jewelry that is worn around the wrist”
  • The items in the chain must be of a size to be worn around the wrist only (no necklaces, ankle bracelets, etc.).
  • DON’T link the bracelets together before you send them in! The BFF team has to link them together during the actual record attempt at camp. (Thanks to BFF Program Director, Faith Cormier for the updated text!)

Mail them so that they arrive in New Brunswick before August 7, 2013

BFF 2103 Bracelets
c/o Girl Guides of Canada – NB Council
55 Rothesay Ave
Saint John, NB
E2J 2B2 (Canada)

Also, let the organizers know that you’re working on bracelets so they can add it to the tally on the website.   E-mail bff2013@rogers.com.

When they’re done, bracelets will be donated to the WAGGGS Friendship Bracelet Project.  Happy braiding!

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Mrs. January (a favourite Canadian Coupon site) often has frugal tips.  Today’s is about making Homemade Lip Balm.  This would be a neat STEM Caboosh activity… or Mother’s day gift… or activity at Camp.

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My Mom found Pinterest a little while ago and she’s obsessed.  But she’s also got good taste (hi Mom!).

For STEM Caboosh, this Slime from Tot Treasures would be fun.   It might be a fun activity for camp too!

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I attended a Guider training in January and it got me looking for resources for storytelling and drama.

Stories suitable for Brownies (especially at bedtime):

  • The trainer recommended The Storytelling Handbook: A Young People’s Collection of Unusual Tales and Helpful Hints on how to Tell Them by Anne Pellowski (1995).  I’ve taken it out of the library and it is definitely a good book.
  • Be on the lookout for the book Campfire Activities (1993 Girl Guides of Canada) if you can.  In there you’ll find Lee Piddle Thrigs (a delightful tounge twister that the trainer suggested) and a number of other wonderful other story and drama resources.  Sadly it is out of print, but ask around to see if someone has it, or look at yard sales.  I have it and use the legends frequently for bed time at camp.
  • “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde – this worked beautifully to put a group of Brownies to sleep.
  • Also Riki-tikki-tavi from The Jungle Books, Volume two by Rudyard Kipling is good (but long)
  • Campfire Stories for Brownies has online links to stories.
  • Ten Tall Tales for Brownies by Ailsa Brambleby is just that… ten stories that take about 10 minutes each to read.  I was gifted this wonderful volume by a former Guider and it is one of the best collections of short stories I’ve found.  If you see it in a yard sale, give the seller money.  Worth every penny.
  • I also have a small personal collection of Brownie Stories from around the world (they all seem to have some variation of Twist me and Turn me at the end so the girls will recognize the theme).
  • A note about camp: we always recommend that girls bring a book or two to camp, but we NEVER read their stories as bedtime ones.  If you read one, you will end up reading em all.  Of course, a bedtime story is a good transition activity. I like to bring something like a legend that isn’t scary, but that is unfamiliar to them.  We tell the girls that they may read their own book, listen to me, or go to sleep.   When my story ends, lights go out.

If I was planning a drama or storytelling meeting, here’s what it would look like:

6:30 Arrival Game

6:40 Brownie Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

7:00 Program – Introduce Drama (or storytelling as a theme).

Icebreaker Game – as a group

Break into smaller groups – Fortunately, Unfortunately

Read a Story, practice it together, figure out how to present it?  Memorize and dramatize?  Read in parts?

7:30 – Presentations.

7:45 – Campfire and Close.

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I’ve been stumbling again and found this from Martha Stewart!.   She says to combine one part dish soap with two parts metallic acrylic paint to make your own scratch-off cards – read the post for specific instructions. 

Her post is for a Save-the-date card for a wedding (which is a sweet idea), but this could be used at a Brownie Camp – one of the suggestions was for an advent calendar (which I think I might actually make for some kiddos in my life, now that I type it).  It would be a neat card – maybe Mother’s day?  I just think it is a simply neat idea.  Happy Labour Day weekend.

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This is a test of the remote blogging system. I hope to be able to send photos and updates back from camp. But my ability to do so depends on the reliability of service. But I will try.

Packing is on. Made difficult by my decision to fly. The be prepared attitude is constrained by what I can fit in my bag. And I like to have my stuff available. And Diet Pepsi. How the heck am I going to deal without it for 10 days? Can I smuggle it in? Oh boy.

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