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You may have already seen Brownie Camping: Edible Campfire from two years ago.  I think that edible campfire is a valuable activity that should remain on our agendas but we’ve all had girls in our units with food allergies, intolerances, and religious restrictions – and we know that as role models, we should offer healthier “fun” food.  Candy and cheezies aren’t the only way… the time has come for an update.

Why Edible Campfire?  You may have answered “because it is tradition!” or “it is so much fun!” and both are right.  But edible campfire is also a great way to teach a real-world lesson safely (no matches involved).  Using food, we demonstrate how to set a real fire correctly, laying the groundwork for when the girls are old enough to do it themselves.  For me, I didn’t actually “get” how to start a fire until tinder was equated to the broken up hickory sticks we ate the night before.  It is silly, but marshmallows as stones; pretzels as kindling; hickory sticks as tinder …etc. made more sense to me.  And it was fun!

Updated Edible Campfire (with healthier options and notes on some alternatives for restrictive diets)

Text from Snowy Owl Christine’s bag of tricks – Thanks to Guiders Claudia, Jen and Christine for their input and expertise.

IMPORTANT: Always discuss your menu and plans with the parents of kids with restrictions to make sure that you’ve got food that is appropriate for their child. They are your best advocates and will be happy to hear from you.

Edible Campfire - Putting in the Kindling

Edible Campfire – Putting in the Kindling

  1. When we make a campfire, we need a clear area free of dried grass and sticks.
    Supplies: plate, paper plate, or dinner napkin
  2. And we like to use an established fire pit.  Make a fire pit ring with:
    Original Instructions:  Skittles, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, or chocolate rocks.
    Healthier: use dried fruit (ripped up apricots would do and should be gluten free too – check to make sure they’re packaged in a peanut free factory if applicable).
    Gluten Free – check the package to confirm, but marshmallows should be gluten free.
    Halal – marshmallows are not appropriate for a child who eats a Halal diet.  But you can buy suitable alternatives – in this case, have the child rip up a few to make rocks.
  3. Do we have the right safety equipment on hand?
    Supplies: cup of water (bucket) and a table fork or spoon (shovel).
  4. Pull back your hair, and make sure you’re not wearing anything that could hang into the fire.  (Find more about fire safety here too).
  5. A good campfire needs kindling – small sticks that will light easily but keep burning for a while.  Build an A frame or other structure.
    Original instructions: Hickory Sticks or small pretzels
    Healthier: whole dried banana chips (should be gluten free and possibly peanut free too) or fresh carrot sticks (matchstick cut).
    Gluten free: Glutino Pretzels (these are expensive!).
  6. Next we need a fire starter (crumpled up paper) – something that will keep burning long enough to catch the tinder on fire.
    Original instructions: Raisins (which should also be gluten free and are healthier)– sprinkle over the fire
  7. And then we need tinder – pieces of wood that are smaller than kindling will catch fire easilyBreak up and sprinkle over fire:
    Original instructions: Hickory Sticks
    Healthier and Gluten Free: Dried bananas would work.
  8. Now we can strike our match  (light imaginary match – be sure to strike it away from your body) to light the fire starter.
  9. Watch the fire start!
    Original Instruction: Place Red candies like Gummy Bears or Swedish berries over the fire
    Healthier: Dried cranberries would be perfect
    Gluten free: Spark Guider Claudia has Celiac and suggests that Swedish Berries, Fuzzy Peaches, Gummy Bears (generally any Manyards brand candies) are fine.  Many also appear to be peanut free (always read the label and check with the parent).
    Don’t use Licorice Nibs though…licorice has wheat.
  10. Now that the fire is going, you want to carefully add larger logs in a log cabin pattern or similar.
    Original Instruction: Breadsticks or bigger Pretzels make good logs
    Healthier and Gluten Free: try strips of dried apple or fresh carrot sticks cut up like logs (or baby carrots cut in half or quarters so they won’t roll around).
  11. Once the fire has been burning for a bit, you get coals – the best conditions for cooking food and roasting marshmallows. 
    Original instruction: Place another redish candy – Hot lips, or Fuzzy Peach and watch the fire burn.
    Other options: Use a different gluten free candy, or dried fruit (apricots or dried strawberries would be nice) from point 9 above.

Now your fire is done.  In our case, this is the last activity before Camp Close – parents are usually arriving.  Girls are instructed to pick up the four corners of the napkin and put the whole thing in a plastic zip bag for the trip home.  It is usually a good photo op for parents and the girls have a snack.

Camp on!

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Brownies participated in a Guiding Campfire tonight.  There were events planned on Parliament Hill and at a local mall.  Since parking downtown is tough anyway and because you can always predict the temperature and weather inside, we went with the mall campfire – and it was great!

Here’s what we sang:

Thank you to Guider Judith and her team for a great campfire.

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The best laid plans sure can get messed up by the unpredictable. Last Tuesday we made the decision to cancel our meeting due to a storm that had schools closed. It turned out not to be as bad as they thought, but if the freezing rain had hit between 6 and 8:30, we would have been responsible for 21 families out on the road, plus us!

The meeting we cancelled was pretty neat.  I had a whole post already written about it – we’ve rescheduled it so you’ll see that next week when our special guests (Highland Dancers – I’m so excited!) have agreed to try again. 

This week’s meeting covers Key to the Arts: Marvelous Masks and Canada Sings. We’ll practice our Folk Story Skits too.

6:30 Arrival Game – Game from Canada

6:40 Inspections

6:50 Brownie Ring

7:00 Program: Talk about making masks – why do people wear masks? Have you ever made your own?

Talk about Carnival Masks in Venice Italy. Carnival is a time when people celebrate the coming of spring by dressing in costumes, having parades, and going to parties and dances. One of the most important things about carnival is to wear a mask.

  1. Cut out a shape for your own carnival mask – see templates http://www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/printables/masquerademask.html
  2. Tape a straw to one side of the mask
  3. Add a nose if you like
  4. Use markers and decorations to create a special mask.

Supplies: Pencils, rulers, cardstock (we’re actually using cereal boxes – we have no peanut allergies so this is OK), scissors, tape, plastic straw (or dowel rod or popsicle sticks), glue, decorations: feathers, glitter, stars, yarn, beads, sequins…

7:30 water break – and maybe a running game. Maybe Snowball Fight?

7:40 Practice our skits for the Parent Night.

7:50 Canada Campfire. What is a folk song?
Definition: (from http://folkmusic.about.com/od/glossary/g/folksong.htm) The term, “folk song,” covers a vast array of musical styles, but is most commonly used to refer to a narrative song that uses traditional melodies to speak on a particular topic. Often, topical folk songs address social and political issues such as work, war, and popular opinion. Many folk songs have been around so long that nobody is entirely sure who their composers were. Often these songs are passed down within a community, and they evolve over time to address the issues of the day.

What Canadian folk songs do you know? Here’s a list.

Our Canadian Campfire: Fire’s Burning, Land of the Silver Birch, The Buzzard Song (Newfoundland Hymn), I’se the B’y and Edelweiss (yes, from Switzerland, but we’re working on it and I’d hate to lose momentum).

Next week I’ll tell you about our Key to the Arts: All about Dance.

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We’re trucking along with STEM and tonight is all about communication (well, mostly).

6:30 arrival – Game is Quiet.  Update: the game sounded cool, but I misunderstood and wasnt’ able to communcate it clearly.  This devolved into Line Tag.

6:40 Inspection

6:50 Circle

7:00 Program.

Talk about different ways we communicate.  Technology – phone, computer, e-mail, texting; Talking – singing, speaking, shouting, language, sign language; Body language – frowning, smiling, standing confidently, vs being shy; Writing – newspapers, letters, mail; Ancient languages – things we don’t use anymore. Codes – have you ever had a secret code with your friends?

Because of the advancements in technology, sometimes something that was revolutionary in its day, is taken over by something that is newer and fresher.  Have you ever heard of Morse Code?   

Morse code is an alphabetic code of long and short sounds, originally transmitted by telegraph.  What is a telegraph you ask?  A telegraph was a communications system in which information was transmitted over a wire through a series of electrical current pulses.  These were used before telephones, almost 200 years ago.  Because the telegraph lines couldn’t carry voices, but could carry electrical pulses, morse code was possible. 

As I said, morse code is a code composed of long and short sounds.  The long sounds are called dashes, while the short sounds are dots.  Varying lengths of silence indicate spaces between words.   It was fairly simple, if you knew the code. 

Do you want to try it?

7:10 Morse Code Relay.  Snowy Owl made this up a couple of years ago. 
Supplies: Morse Code Key, Morse Code Words (this sample has 3, 7, & 8 letter words that you need to cut up into sections – be careful not to drop them, and keep each word separate.  You’ll have enough for three rounds); a pencil for each team.
Objective: Teamwork, deciphering a code
Instructions: Each girl gets a Morse Code Key.  Each group has a marker or pencil.

  • Round 1 – Three letter words.  The words are placed across the gym from three teams.  A girl runs to get the peice of the word, she runs back and the group has to decipher the letter.  Repeat until all the letters are deciphered.  Then unscramble the word.
  • Round 2 – Seven letter words – Repeat as round 1
  • Round 3 – Eight letter words – that may be actually two words.  Repeat as round 1. 

REVIEW after actual play last night – Awesome!  The girls had a little trouble with unscrambling… but they worked together and got it.  We asked if they wanted to go to round 3 or do something else and they were very excited to keep going.  Only thing is to remember to tell girls which side is up on the little cards. 

7:25 Morse Code Bracelets. 

Supplies – beads (we like Pony beads for dots and Two Pearler Beads for dashes), Gimp (I had lots so I gave them almost a metre last night), markers/pencils and Morse Code Key
Note – when I use wooden beads, I usually spend some time in advance testing the holes with a thin knitting needle.  A good job when I’m watching TV.  I’ve used Pony beads for dots and two pearler beads together for dashes, if you can’t find appropriate sized beads.  I recommend using beads that will take gimp – it is a big pain to have to thread needles (20! yeesh!).  Not to mention the horror of seed beads. 

Girls will need to figure out their name using a morse code key.  Each circle has a plate of dots and a plate of dashes.  They can assemble their bracelets in circle or in individual groups. 
What to tell them: You will be stringing your name on gimp.  Tie a knot about a hands length in – something that will stop your first bead.  String the beads letter by letter – putting a knot between each letter – when you’re done, tie both ends together (I’d like to say a reef knot works, but it does not work well on Gimp.  Just tie the ends together in an overhand knot and cut off the long end).  Here’s mine with C-A-R-A in Morse Code.  =)

Campfire if there’s time… (and there wasn’t).

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