The Guides of March: Provincial Guide Camp Rocked!

For certain literary buffs, the Ides of March (March 15) is an unlucky date. Taking its name from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in Act 1, Scene 2, a soothsayer prophesizes to Caesar to “beware the ides of March,” which indeed turned out unlucky for Caesar, being assassinated by his closest friend Brutus on that very day in the ultimate betrayal of trust and friendship.

Indeed, many in Québec were cursing the Ides of March this year as we were besieged by an impressive snowfall just days before, making it seem that spring would never come. Everyone except for those going to the Provincial Guide Camp, that is! The Ides of March turned out to be a LUCKY day for us with the most perfect weather scenario one could hope for in a winter camp for 75 Guide-aged girls: tons of snow to romp and play in, with Saturday’s mildness of spring temperatures to keep us warm and cozy outside all day participating in the many exciting activities planned.

The camp was planned around a First Nations theme, with all activities (and even the menu!) being based on Canadian aboriginal traditions. What a wealth of inspiration for the girls!

After arriving at the Centre de plein air l’Estacade in Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-noix on Friday evening, the girls started off by making nametags in Inuktitut, being assigned tribes based on arctic animals and making group totem poles with their animals. The girls bunked down that night with an enthusiasm and excitement that was palpable! A long-time Guider once told me that Guiders “get paid in giggles in the bunks at camp at night”. How true that is!

Saturday was a busy day for the girls, with a round robin of activities, including fire making, Inuit games, “finding balance”, trail making and soap carving, amongst other snowy fun. Some of the girls commented that it was their first time making a fire or using a knife! What great experiences for them! Menu items included Birdseed and Raven Patties (egg sandwiches), Nuktuk Caribou Steaks (hamburgers), and Sliced Seal or Minced Hare (lasagna), amongst other snacks and goodies that got the girls whispering amongst themselves whether it was “real caribou” or not!

Saturday evening included birthday cake for Deputy Provincial Camping Adviser Patricia Tellis followed by a memorable Campfire. We sang Fire’s Burning in Inuktitut, girls performed several skits, and we even ate “fish” (Goldfish crackers) to represent the Inuit birthday tradition of eating the fish that the chief has caught earlier in the day. Also part of the tradition is to dance around a fire and sing but, much to Patricia’s relief, we didn’t force her to do that!

Sunday featured bitter cold wintry weather, which hardly dampened the round robin of activities included making travois, bannock and inukshuks. During free time at camp, the girls had 12 Aboriginal-related challenges they could work on, inspired from the book Share in the Celebration – Learning and Activity Guide published by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (available in both French and English). Closing included the story of the origins of National Aboriginal Day, also from this book.

At camp, the girls received the Québec Provincial Guide Winter “Kona” Camp crest and Deputy Provincial Commissioner Elaine Keeble’s crest. They also earned the “Girls Go North” Challenge from GGC-NWT Council and the NEW “Québec, c’est la fête” program crest – ooooh jealous?

The girls had an amazing time at this very first ever Guide-aged winter camp. Special thanks go out to the organizing committee, under the expert leadership of Provincial Camping Adviser (and camp quartermaster) Angie Kruller, assisted by an enthusiastic team of Guiders from Lennoxville, Pincourt, St-Lazare, Des Montérégiennes, Lakeshore, Northshore, Argenteuil, and Lachine-St-Lawrence Districts. For many girls it was their first camp experience – one that they will surely cherish for years to come!

By Guest Bloggers Emily Koehler-Lemaire and Patricia Tellis . Emily is a Guider with the 2nd Mount Bruno Guides. Patricia is Deputy Provincial Camping Adviser and a Guider with the 82nd Montreal Guiding Unit. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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NDG Girl Guides have a rockin’ good time

“Hurry!”,” hurry hard”, “real hard”, “sweep”, “brush”, “whoa”! Not the average sounds of a Guiding unit meeting. As you might have guessed that’s curling talk but it’s not just curling, it’s Olympic curling, at least floor style.

IMG_7586-1000 The Olympic season has just wrapped up and the NDG units (Monklands District) wanted to join in on the fun and the spirit of the Games. Two women from Rocks and Rings came to visit along with VIP guest Allison Ross, skip of the Québec Ladies Championship provincial team who was on-hand to help and encourage all the participants.

IMG_7552-1000Two mats resembling the curling sheets that we normally see at each end of the ice were laid down on the floor, complete with rings known as the ‘house’ (or ‘home’ as one girl called it!) and the ‘button’ in the centre. The girls were split into two groups and while one group started off by learning about stone weight and throwing, the other group learned how to brush and sweep, later switching. The rules and strategies of the game were explained and then two ends were played, skipped by Allison Ross.

IMG_7591Large cue cards were used to teach the girls how to tally up the scores and in case anybody is wondering, it was learned that the read stones or rocks weigh around 42 pounds a-piece, so for the exercise, mock rocks on roller-blade type wheels were used, often with great accuracy. A team, it was explained, is made up of four people, a skip who calls the game, the lead, a second and a third. A spare sits on the bench but is there in case of an emergency.

Allison, who is based at Glenmore Curling Club in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, showed her ‘Scotties’ jacket, gold medal and diamond studded necklace won in provincial competition. At the end each girl member was presented with an official Capital One Rocks and Rings certificate which Alison autographed. IMG_7594-1000The girls had a wonderful and ‘rocking’ time. Some even expressed an interest in a real on-ice lesson at a local club or with Alison, which we will try to arrange for next fall.

The floor curling, normally presented in schools by Capital One Rocks and Rings, is a program dedicated to teaching the sport of curling to young people. More information can be found on their website: Capital One Rocks and Rings – www.rocksandrings.com or on their Facebook page.

By Guest Blogger Alexandra Dalgleish. Alexandra is a Guider with the 115th Montreal Brownie Unit. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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Thinking Day Around the World

To celebrate World Thinking Day 2014, the 1st Montreal Sparks and 9th Montreal Brownies took a pretend trip to the World Centres.

Thinking Day is one of my favourite days of the year. I’m always looking for an excuse to talk about Girl Guides and what a wonderful organization it is. Every year I want to find some fantastic way to share this special day with the girls in my Girl Guide unit. This year, we went on an adventure to the four World Centres.

We started off the evening with a participation story to remind the girls about the four World Centres. Then we distributed our Thinking Day passports and started off. Before leaving or entering each country, girls had to stop at the passport office (a table with the globe on it) and receive a sticker to put on the appropriate page. Once everyone was seated on the “plane” (some chair set up in rows), our amazing captain introduced each country from the flight deck.

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After landing and going through the passport office, the girls were welcomed by an ambassador who provided information about each of the World Centres. Then we played a game or did a craft from that country. We even visited Africa to talk about the fifth World Centre pilot project.

After all of that travel, girls shared which World Centre they would like to visit and had the option to write a travel journal in one page of their passport. The meeting ended with  badge distribution (this was our third spin in the Québec Spin challenge) and our flight attendant handed out pink mints to all of the girls.

Guiding is more than just what happens in an hour and a half on Tuesday nights. This year we have worked hard to incorporate activities and games from all over the world. Other ways we have included the international theme have been the Zoe’s Trek Around the World challenge (all six of them), a party for UN Day, and our Olympic themed sleepover.

By Guest Blogger Jill Ainsworth. Jill has been a Girl Guide leader for over 10 years and currently works with Sparks and Brownies in Westmount. When she’s not in uniform, she is pursuing a PhD in Biostatistics at McGill University. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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More district winter camp stories from Monklands and Northshore

Olympic-themed camps have been quite popular this year! We’ve already read about Valois-Dorval’s winter camp adventures, now here are two more district stories to share – from Monklands and Northshore. ______________________________________________________

Passing the Torch: Monklands District Winter Camp

Monklands District decided to join in the Olympic fun with a camp of its own at Centre Notre-Dame-de-Fatima. 47 girls, from Sparks to Pathfinders, and 9 leaders celebrated with great mild weather and lots of snow.

The weekend began with our opening ceremony where we used the Olympic torch generously passed on from the Valois-Dorval camp the previous weekend to metaphorically light the first flashlight in a circle. From there the flame was passed along from girl to girl.

We continued the ceremony in the daylight once the girls had been divided into five countries. We raised the flag and talked about what the Olympic motto: “Faster, Higher, Stronger” meant in the context of our camp and how as Guides we always try to do our best.

Throughout the day the girls got to participate in both luge and snowshoeing biathlon – snowshoeing and snowball throwing – events, decorated flags made from old tent fabric, created salt-dough art and got stage-ready for our evening talent show. Some of the Guides also earned their campfire leader badge for planning our evening campfire. We were lucky enough to have it outside and they kept us nice and toasty warm with lots of action songs.

The inspiration for the weekend was provided by the Guides as they read bedtime stories to the Sparks and Brownies. Whether this will encourage them to become future Olympians or future Girl Guides, nobody knows.

The next day involved packing –which should perhaps be an Olympic event – an epic (or so the girls called it) return trip to the luge hill, Guide’s Own and a closing ceremony where we were serenaded with each country’s cheer.

In the spirit of both the Olympics and Guiding, the Olympic torch was passed along to the Montreal West Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, who were planning their Olympic camp.

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Thank you to blogger Lizzie Knowles – a Guider with the 85th Montreal Guides – for sharing this blog entry from her personal blog: ‘Liz’s Guiding Year’.

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The Sparks and Brownies from Northshore District went to “Maison du Ruisseau” for the weekend of February 14-16 for an Olympic-themed winter camp.  The girls were split into four groups (Mexico, Italy, South Africa, China & Australia for the Guiders). They all had coloured neck warmers with Olympic rings (craft), Olympic flame (craft) to wear during the weekend.

All girls won GOLD medals at the closing ceremonies. Outdoor activities included a hike with snow shoes, Olympic games, capture the flag, and making snow sculptures.  Indoors we played Olympic bingo and made Olympic rings & torches to garnish their neck warmers. Each girl also had an Olympic coloring activity and autograph books to fill in their free time. Meals were based on the four countries represented.

Thank you to Annie Ajemian, Guider with the 2nd Northwood Brownies for sending in the story and thank you to Deputy District Commissioner Laura Litvack for sharing the photos. 

If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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Two Stars and a bunch of Girl Guides!

Girl Guides from around Montreal and their families got into the Olympic spirit by cheering on the city’s women’s hockey team – the Montreal Stars – against Brampton last February 9 at Concordia’s Loyola Campus in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Despite 7 members of the Montreal Stars being away at the Sochi Olympics, we were treated to an impressive show of team work, athletic ability and confidence as the Stars won the game 5-0.

Caitlyne, a Spark, though it was fun to watch girls play hockey for once. “I like the hockey game so much I wanted to see another game on Monday!” said Frida, another Spark.

It sure was an inspiring afternoon! Thanks to guest blogger Rachel Bachmann for sending this in. Rachel is a Guider and PR Adviser for Monklands District. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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1st Kirkland Pathfinders have a new look!

Our unit is a busy place and the girls are very good at wearing their uniform when it is needed. But at our regular unit meetings they can wear any GUIDING top they have.

At one point it was decided that we wanted a unit t-shirt.We had a contest for a design and then we made iron-on decals that could be ironed on the shirt.

kirkland-pathfinders-shirt-logo

Each girl did her own ironing. On the back we have the Guiding year with all the signatures for this year. On the sleeve each girl sewed our unit patch. The plan is each year to give the new girls a shirt and to update the shirt each year with the Guiding year on the back .

We think they all look great!

kirkland-pathfinders

What do you think? Thanks to guest blogger Angie Kruller for sending this in. Angie is a Pathfinder Guider with the 1st Kirkland Pathfindfers and Provincial Camping Adviser. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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Why I Do What I Do

As volunteers we tend to wear many hats. For myself personally I proudly wear 2 hats within the Girl Guide world; Brownie Guider and District Commissioner. At times it seems as though those 2 titles alone do not represent the number of hours or the amount of effort I put in but is it worth it? ALWAYS. As I sometimes have to remind those close to me – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. Because after all – it is as a volunteer! I choose to do this. I want to be involved. By definition the word volunteer means:

“a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking” or “a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.”

I was once asked by a parent of one of the girls “Do you do this for pay? Or this is all volunteer?” I smiled big and happily answered, “It’s all volunteer.” I take it as a compliment that someone thinks I am being compensated for my efforts; it must mean I’m doing a good job or in the very least my effort is being recognized.

In fact, at GGC I am not just a volunteer; I’m a member. I’m invested in what I do and my values and beliefs align with those of GGC. In any type of environment, volunteer or otherwise, isn’t it just better that way? To be invested? Isn’t it the case that the employees in any given workplace who put in the most hours, the most effort and the most TLC into what they do are the ones who really truly care about what they do? They’re the employees you can count on; they are the ones who are invested. I know I am not alone. Many of the women in this province and across the country hold many titles and they do it because they like it (or at least that’s how it should be).

My secret: I AM being compensated, almost every week actually! One of the main reasons I volunteer with GGC is for the hope that I can make some sort of difference in a girl’s life. If by talking about things like bullying and the value of friendship at a meeting results in a girl being confident enough to choose the “right” kind of friends later in life, or prevents her from becoming a bully herself – I’ve done what I came to do. If by talking about International Guiding and the fact that we are a part of something bigger sparks an interest in travel because “I learned that there must be so much more out there.” – I’ve done my job. If through cookie sales you learn how to give a good sales pitch and it brings you out of your shell because you are the shyest kid around (this one was me by the way) – then I’m compensated.

I really can’t feel more proud or satisfied with what I do as a volunteer as when I see smiling, happy girls who are challenging themselves and enjoying it at every turn.

If any of this sounds enticing to you I encourage you to get involved. Does it automatically mean that you will have to put in countless hours planning meetings or events? No, you’re the volunteer remember, you can choose the amount of effort or time you want to give. That’s what’s great about Guiding, if you want to be involved there is room for you wherever you fit in. Whether you are interested in working with girls on a weekly basis (Guider), are good with money matters (treasurer), have some time to commit to spreading the good word about Guiding (PR) or can chaperone an event – there is room for you. Whatever you can bring to the table is of benefit to us.

To let you in on a not-so-great long time Girl Guide secret – we need help! It may look as though we have everything under control and sometimes that leads to the impression that we don’t need help – but we do. Many hands make light work; and the best part? The “work” is fun. I promise that it will be one of the most rewarding things you do in your day to day life.

By Guest Blogger Sara Ogilvie. Sara is a Guider with the 2nd Lachute Brownies and the District Commissioner for Argenteuil District. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at communications@guidesquebec.ca.

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