Posts Tagged ‘Ditty Bag’

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.



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Brownies and Sparks are going camping in a couple of weeks and we had our camp prep meeting last night.  This one is a particular favourite of mine – mostly because it means we’re going CAMPING!  =)

Here’s what happened…

6:30 Arrival.  The girls suggested Evolution. I had never heard about it before but it was cute, funny, and apparently fun.  The girls enjoyed it.  I bet we see this again.

6:40 Brownie Circle Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

6:55 Program

Part 1 – In small groups – Brainstorm what we want to Do and what we want to EAT.
In Circle groups, a Guider with a big piece of paper and a marker will brainstorm with the girls to get them thinking about what they’ll be doing at camp.  The thing is, we’ve kind of already got an idea too… the Guider needs to nudge the discussion a bit so that things on your plan show up.

Part 2 – As a Group – Go through the Kit List (DropBox).  Guider to bring a mostly packed bag and some samples of different waterproofing.

  • It is important that all your stuff is waterproofed – it is a walk from the parking lot to our building.  We may not be able to get in right away.  And we may need to pile our stuff outside to wait until parents pick up. You’ll be happier if your stuff is dry.
    • Option 1 Dry Bags.
    • Option 2 – a tarped Bedroll (note – this is clunky and a bit much for Brownie Camp – but it’ll keep your stuff dry).
    • Option 3 – Put your stuff in a plastic bag inside a duffel bag or sleeping bag bag.  No Garbage Bags on the outside!  Black Garbage Bags may get thrown out.
  • What is a Ditty Bag and what goes in it?
  • Talk about Sleeping Buddies – You can bring a friend to sleep with (doll or teddy bear) but we recommend that you bring your second best buddy.  I tell the girls that I have a Raggedy Anne Doll that I would be really sad if she got lost, or ripped or dirty.  So I bring Sheep instead.  Sheep is a bit banged up already anyway and, while I would be sad if he got lost, it wouldn’t be as bad as losing Raggedy Anne.
  • Then answer questions.

Ditty Bag Relay (Bottom of the post)

7:40 – Make a Camp Hat Bedroll Craft (piece of plastic garbage bag with fun foam, and felt to make up the bits of a bedroll – use a small “ouchless” hair elastic to put it all together)

7:50 – Campfire.  We taught the Twelve Days of Guide Camp (a favourite camp song).  I usually have them shout “Drop that Snake!”  Quite funny.

Then close.  A fun meeting.  =)

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A ditty bag is generally a bag or stuff sack that carries personal items such as toiletries (Wikipedia).   In the context of Girl Guides, it is a fabric bag with the camper’s name on it that holds the camper’s marked dishes and cutlery at camp.

About the Bag:

A good ditty bag is breathable fabric or mesh, has a string or loop to hang it with, and is identified with the camper’s name on it!

The bags themselves are usually made from fabric (never plastic) so that when you wash dishes, you put the wet dishes back in the bag so that they can air dry.

Note – we use the three-pan dish washing method and one of the pans has a bit of bleach in it.  We’re always careful, but don’t send a ditty bag made of a fabric you’re really attached to.  Fading is almost guaranteed and bleach marks happen from time to time.

  • Commercially available ditty bags usually look like the mesh laundry bags you put your delicates in. This one from North Water looks right.   Canadian Tire offers a set of three.  The big thing to look for is a bag with a string that is breathable.   Add a piece of duct tape folded double on the string with the camper’s name and you’re good.
  • Other things that work – a small cloth re-usable grocery bag will do.  A small laundry bag (as long as it has a string) is good.
  • OR, you can make one by sewing a tea towel together like this (the pattern mentions pack cloth, but a tea towel works beautifully).  OR follow this tutorial for market bags which are essentially the same (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Six things (and only six things) go in – and they must all be identified with the person’s name.
HINT – Use nail polish, a permanent marker, electrical tape, … something unique to you.  When we camp, six things go into the bag…

  • Plastic or metal (1) plate, (2) bowl, and (3) cup
  • Metal (4) spoon, (5) fork, and (6) table knife.

Introducing Ditty Bags during a Camping Meeting

Here is a meeting plan from a couple of weeks ago where we introduced Ditty Bags.  We use the Ditty Bag Relay at least once a year.

Ditty Bag Relay

You need one set of the following per team: marked plastic/metal plate, bowl, and mug with marked cutlery and a marked cloth ditty bag, PLUS a few ringer items to stump them… plastic bag, a small toy, a comb, an empty medicine bottle, and a Glass bowl or mug, and maybe some UNMARKED cutlery and plastic dishes.

Step 1 – talk about what you should take camping.  I usually mention that it is ok to bring a stuffed toy for bedtime, plus any medication you bring should be in a plastic bag with your name on it and instructions, then go through the ditty bag stuff.

Step 2 – split the group into the same number of teams as you have sets.  Teams are on one side of the gym, and the ditty bag stuff is on the other side.

The race is a basic relay race.  Girls must run, one-at-a time to the ditty bag stuff and must select the items that should go into the ditty bag.  They sit down when they think they got it right – and a Guider will inspect it.

And that’s it.  Happy Camping!

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We’ve got a camp booked and are launching into Key to Camping.  We need to be careful that not all the girls are going camping – but they’re still going to get a lot out of the skills learned from K2C.

Here’s our meeting plan for tonight.

6:30 arrival – Camp word search

6:40 Circle inspections

6:45 Brownie Ring

6:55 Program.  Camping Know How. 

Announce that we’re going camping!  Review Brown Owl’s packed bag and go over what you need at camp.  Girls will get a copy of a Kit List

7:05 Ditty Bag Relay – a proper ditty bag includes

  • Cloth or net bag (no plastic – dishes drip dry in the bag)
  • Marked spoon, fork, and knife, plus a marked bowl, plate and cup.

This is a game I think we made up.  We have three complete ditty bags with a few ringer items (ceramic bowl, a fork that isn’t marked with the owner’s name, an empty pill bottle (medicine is to be turned in to the medicine guider at camp), a toy, etc.  The girls run back and forth making up a ditty bag.  First group finished and approved wins.

7:15 Camp Planning round robin.

In three groups we circulate three topics.  Girls must brainstorm on

  • What do you want to eat
  • What do you want to do
  • What do you want to bring

7:35 We have a tent set-up demonstration (Guiders bringing in their own tents – from storage – so hopefully my tent isn’t too funky)

7:45 Campfire – What are your favourite campfire songs.  Also propose Sing Ontario Sing!

Permission form handouts.

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