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Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Every year we try to fit in a Brownies Splash meeting – this is a past program idea from GGC Ontario Council that I think deserves a lot more attention that it gets.

Go Swimming!  It is Easy!  If you go to a supervised pool it is a GREEN level event (as of May 2011 – make sure you check for yourself when you go).  Don’t be afraid to take your girls swimming.  I know Safe Guide has a reputation for being all about paperwork – but swimming in a public pool with lifeguards is so much easier to arrange than you’d expect. DO IT!

The full program is quite intensive (they give you three full meetings to do) and we don’t have the time available in our schedule.  So, as there is no challenge/crest associated with it, we just cherry pick the best ideas from the three meetings and what ends up is a modified version of Part 2 – Swim to Survive.

Pre-event prep (these are my notes that compliment the Spash program’s more comprehensive prep notes)

  • Find a pool – we’re lucky because our local pool has a supervised public swim during our meeting time in May.
  • Advise the pool that you’re coming.  You may qualify for a group rate, and the pool may need to staff correctly.
  • Ask permission from pool staff – the pool may have rules about unqualified swim teachers teaching swim skills in their pool.  ASK.  (e.g. Tuck and Roll into the pool isn’t usually allowed in public swim, but we got permission.)
  • Advise Parents – Our big thing (aside from Permision forms, of course) is that public swim in our local pool is only 60 minutes and our meetings are 90 minutes.  It is very important that girls arrive dressed to swim so that we can take full advantage of the timing.
  • Prepare the Girls: Talk about rules in the pool during the meeting before the swim meeting.  In our case, the pool requires life jackets for girls who can’t pass a swim test.  No running on the pool deck.  Swim with a buddy.  Stay near an adult. etc.
  • Prepare the Guiders: Make sure you’ve got enough Guiders for supervision.  Someone is to be with the girls at all times – if that means that we wait for a bit in the change room until we’re ready to leave as a group, that’s what it means.

Meeting Plan

  • Arrive dressed and ready to go at 6:30 sharp.  Girls check in and into the shower for doors open at 6:30.
  • Girl Swim Test: Who is doing a swim test?  Those girls go with lifeguards and a Guider.
  • Life Jackets (provided by the facility) for the rest – and into the pool.
  • 6:40 ish – Brownie opening in the pool.  (This is FUN!)
  • 6:45 ish – break into three groups for skills challenges.  (Guiders lead each group – we made arrangements for a lifeguard to help with the tuck and roll one).
    1. Tuck and Roll into the pool.
    2. Treading water and HELP Position
    3. 50 M swim and then putting a life jacket on in the water (tougher than you’d think).
  • 7:15 ish – free swim.
  • 7:25 – Brownie closing (in the pool – again, this is fun).  Try Grand Howl too!
  • 7:30 – Whistle blows and then we have 30 minutes to get changed.  (Most years we go outside for the last 10 minutes after everyone is dressed, but May 17 was cold and rainy so we stretched out the getting our hair dry thing).

Even without a crest, this is a great program.   The girls have fun.  They get to show off their skills or learn some new ones.    And it is an easy one for the adults.

P.S. Hasn’t Safe Guide really got their act together in Ontario? =)

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As I said in my previous post, we’re taking advantage of the Ottawa Girl Guide Archives to provide our meeting tomorrow night.  But there are lots of other neat (and often free) things available to book.

  • Police Station Tours – The Ottawa Police Service offers evening tours of their facility for kids 8 years of age and over, but they’ve modified the program for us (Canadian Brownies are 7 – 8 years old) and have allowed us to book a tour.   We’re looking forward to it.
  • Loblaws offers cooking schools for kids – it is a bit expensive ($10 – $12 per girl) but still pretty neat – and great for one of the Key to Active Living components.
  • Thursday night seems to be the night that galleries and museums are open in the evening.  (Sadly, we meet on Tuesday so have never done this).  Admission to the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada is free on Thursday nights from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Or, if you visit a special exhibition, you also get access to the permanent collection.
  • Ottawa pools offer a great group rate (around $2 per participant) – and, as they provide the lifejackets and lifeguards, this is a yellow level event (as of Feb 2011).  You still need to provide ratio of 1:5 but it is pretty neat.  We did some of the Brownie Splash program two years ago. 
  • Food Bank visits are great to reinforce the “lend a hand” spirit.  
    Bring as many adults as possible to make this work well. 
    Wear closed toe shoes and grubby clothes.  Girls and adults will likely be sorting food – this is dusty work.
    Book early.  Seasonal visits (Thanksgiving and Christmas especially) are tough to get…but they always need help so go in the “off-season”.

That’s all I can think of… does anyone else have suggestions (for Ottawa, or wherever you are).

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