Can Brownies Plan and Cook?

At the end of last year I attended the Girl Engagement training session for Training week. I was left with lots of ideas I wished to put into action, so come start of January we opened up the New Year with a girls-own planning session. We got three big boards and wrote three themes down (Badges, Subject/topic ideas, and Activities). The girl’s responses were brilliant- they loved the fact that they were going to be part of the planning process. My aim was to take these ideas and see how I could work them into my goals for the rest of the Guiding year.

On every single board was cooking, and since we are doing the Key to Active Living, I thought this would be perfect. On the 21st January I brought in two children’s cookbooks (these are actually my daughters’ and have so many easy but healthy and interesting recipes in them). I gave them 15 minutes to look through them for healthy lunch ideas and to put tabs in on recipes they liked the look of. I was so impressed with the girls’ choices, they understood the idea of a healthy lunch and were discussing [what makes] particular meals healthy. We then went through each recipe they highlighted and voted on them. By the end we had all agreed to make Disney’s Bug Life Salad, Dora the Explorers Pirate Pizza Coins and Dora’s Backpack Trail Mix.

Now the girls had taken the lead in the unit by telling me they wanted to cook and exactly what they wanted to cook. With this in mind I then went shopping to get everything they had told me to get!

When I asked for help on our cooking day, me and Sunny Owl were joined by our District Ranger Alex and a Brownie Mom. Since we were cooking three items we set up three stations. I set everything up and washed all the vegetables before the session but I had my daughter’s special child safe plastic salad knife. The girls came in and helped prepare the surfaces while talking about germs, we then washed hands and spilt into three groups. We rotated around each station every 15 minutes. The girls worked as teams chopping vegetables and figuring out that they needed to share the ingredients and make sure there was enough for everyone else.

I was so impressed with them. They did everything themselves. They loved it. They were able to customize each recipe to what they wanted (to satisfy picky eaters). All the girls by the end of it were so excited that they had made their school lunch for the next day. They were all able to learn about healthy foods by actually planning a healthy meal and they were able to for the first time take the lead in cooking. They all discovered their potential in the kitchen!

The girls at the end even washed up all the dishes, cleaned the tables and swept the floor. What a perfect evening! A perfect Quebec Spin! Plus, a perfect way to start my new plans of getting the girls more engaged and involved with the planning!

Can 13 Brownies plan and cook together? Why, yes they can!

By Brown Owl, Jo Povall, 1st Northern Lights Brownies

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Winter skating, sledding and smiles!

On the 14th of January we braved the cold and went outside for “Parent and Brownie Winter Fun Night”. Both Brownies and parents earned badges! Our aim was to complete part of our Key to Active Living,  and earn the Swim! Skate! badge and the Winter is Great! badge. We decided that both parents and Brownies attending should earn a Winter Time fun patch, for dedication to their Brownie daughters, and being willing to brave the cold (-21°C)! We met at Parc Charbonneau, and after looking at the weather forecast I asked if people could bring Hot Chocolate to share!

Click on the photo to see a larger version. 

Each girl was given a sheet telling them to have fun, to go skating and tobogganing, plus they were given the task to help show an Owl, a parent or another Brownie a new thing. The girls had so much fun, both the Brownies and the parents were sledding and skating. They even got Brown Owl on the ice attempting to skate (though no camera wanted to take a picture of it!) The Brownies all had lots of fun and everyone went home really happy. It was a great night!

The Hot Chocolate in the Cabana was very welcome at the end of the night. Rosemere was brilliant at allowing us to use their floodlight Parc faculties and they even had a dedicated attendant on location. Each and every girl went home with a smile.

The girls took their sheets home to finish the badges by planning their perfect skate party and getting an adult to sign that they know how to store and look after their winter equipment.

By Jo Povall, Brown Owl with the 1st Northern Lights Brownies

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“Fall Fun” So Reads the Crest

Our recent-ish Bring-a-Friend Meeting was all about preparing for an afternoon hike at Mont-Bellevue Park in the centre of Sherbrooke. As the weather was getting colder, I thought it best we discuss appropriate winter clothes right away. So we did a couple of experiments looking at different fabrics when whet then discussed what to pack for an afternoon hike. Knowing what to wear and what to bring, the girls all headed home with an information sheet and invited friends also took a sweet swag bag!

And then Saturday arrived, cold, white and bright!

Fun photo op with the city in the background lit by the setting sun.

Fun photo op with the city in the background lit by the setting sun.

These girls are Guides (and second-year Brownies), so we let them be just that, our Guides! Maps, compasses, a few explanations and helping hands, and we soon set off in a bearing that all agreed on. After encountering obstacles and following a trail around a cliff,  we set our course for the cross at the top of Mont-Bellevue. The map was all the girls needed this time and we soon reached our destination as the sun was starting to set. We took a well-deserved break, and ate some curious trail mix (dried mango was a big hit with all but one, while plantain chips were surprising!) and prepared a hot drink.

Before setting off on our hike, we split up the group equipment so that no one person had to carry everything. Now, we brought it all together to make hot spiced cider. It was wonderful to have a hot drink on that freezing day! Since we stopped walking, some fingers and toes started cooling down; again, we were prepared and broke out the hand warmers!

Our bodies satisfied (there was a bathroom break, too), we headed back into the woods to find a shelter we had found earlier, adding branches to the structure, after reviewing the clove hitch and square lashing! We had time to add few branches before it was time to head back to the parking lot to meet the parents. We took one last photo of our additions to this shelter and made our way down the hill.

Cord + branches + skilled hands = shelter.

Cord + branches + skilled hands = shelter.

After returning all the group gear, the girls received a crest for participating in this afternoon hike. It read: Fall Fun. Perhaps Winter Fun would have been more appropriate… Either way, it was a great day in the great outdoors!





By Guest Blogger Esther Keller. This post is an abridged version of an entry originally shared on the 1st Lennoxville Guides Blog by Esther Keller. 

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Twirl – a Small Spin

Just as the journey of a thousand kilometres starts with a single step, sometimes an entire meeting grows from a single idea. Last summer I found a box of small spoons at the dollar store, and started piecing together a meeting focused on miniature or small things.

twirl-small-spinI often like to schedule a fun meeting or party at the beginning of the Guiding year. It emphasizes that Girl Guides is fun, provides an opportunity to get to know the girls that are new to the unit and this year was our inaugural Spin. With a theme, meeting date, and a box of plastic spoons as my arsenal, I set about planning a meeting.

Shortly after opening songs, we discussed all kinds of small things that we see, use or know of. Ideas included ladybugs, jewellery, LEGO, baby clothes, toy cars, microorganisms, cells, espresso cups and travel toiletries. Next, we ran some relay races and played a few games. The highlight of the meeting was bobbing for mini doughnuts.

A natural way to incorporate the spoons into twirl-small-spin2the meeting was to have a snack (I thought of applesauce but a Brownie requested ice cream, so girls had a choice). To finish off the meeting, we made some camp hat crafts which were small and fit the theme perfectly. We made clothespin airplanes, miniature ice cream cones and miniature cleaning brushes.

One of my favourite things about the Quebec Spin Challenge is that it can be incorporated into so many different meetings. It’s very flexible, so spin away.

The Spin: QCSpinner-fullimage_260

Red circle: Explore

Green circle: Unit

Brown circle: Blog it!

Pink circle: Entertainment


By Guest Blogger Jill Ainsworth. Jill is a Spark and Brownie Guider in Westmount. When she’s not in uniform, she’s pursuing a PhD in Biostatistics at McGill University.

We want to hear about what’s happening in your unit or district! Send your photos and stories to

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Kirkland Pathfinder Ayla is Québec’s first Discovery Girl!

It was the experience of a lifetime! Ayla Shanks, a member of the 1st Kirkland Pathfinders, was chosen to attend a leadership summit in California last August hosted by Discovery Girls magazine. It’s a publication aimed at tweens that covers issues that matter to young girls, promoting healthy self-esteem, community engagement and the development of leadership skills. Sound familiar? Indeed, Ayla quoted the Girl Guide promise in her application as it deeply reflects her values and aspirations.

One of four Canadian girls selected (amongst thousands of applicants from across North America!), Ayla is the first ‘Discovery Girl’ to hail from Quebec. The 36 participants took part in brainstorming activities and workshops, with the sessions to be featured in a number of upcoming issues in 2015 and 2016. Ayla and her contributions appear in the December/January issue, out now.

Click the image below to take a closer look!



Pathfinder Guider Pam Godfrey tells us Ayla’s a bubbly and friendly addition to their unit. (She’s been involved in Guiding since Brownies.) In the new year, she’ll be sharing her experiences with the group and talking about the Kindness Revolution – a Discovery Girls campaign to show girls how kindness has the power to change the world.

Ayla’s an avid writer and features her musings on her personal blog. She hopes one day to be a published author. In the meantime, she attends Royal West Academy secondary school as a first year student.

If you have a story you would like us to share, please send us an email at

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Another great day out with the Montreal Impact

Montreal Impact Soccer Day on Saturday, October 25 drew out over 300 members of Guiding and their families from across the city. Despite the changeable weather and the eventual downpour during the game, the opening ceremony was dry and almost sunny (as you can see from the pictures).

33 girls formed part of the Honour Row and helped to cheer the players on to the field. The crowd was loud and enthusiastic as the Impact drew to a 1:1 finish despite a short overtime.

Before the game the PR booth had some fierce competitors trying to conquer its bean bag toss game, and a steady stream of prizes, Guiding information and Impact crests were given out.

Thanks to Patricia Tellis, Shannon Jackson, Zinovia Samonas and Mary-May Hubert for their help during the afternoon!

By Guest Blogger Diane Oki. Diane is a Provincial Public Relations Co-Chair and a Guider with the 2nd Cedar Park Guide Unit in Pointe-Claire. If you would like to contribute to our blog, please send us an email at

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Celebrating Aboriginal traditions while exploring a ‘Key to My Community’

On October 27, as part of the Key to My Community the 2nd Northwood Brownies got a special visit from Karonhienhawe, a Mohawk woman from Kanehsatake. She taught the girls about the Mohawk community and the roles that women play in it.

The girls also got to listen to some traditional instruments, including the Mohawk Water Drum and learned about how it represents the circle of life. As well, the girls were able to learn some traditional dances and songs, their favorite being the duck dance!

At the end, girls were able to see some Mohawk clothing, including a pair of leather moccasins.

A big thank you to Karonhienhawe br_com_aboriginalas well as the Red Urban Project for helping the girls earn their Aboriginal People in Canada badge!

(See more photos on the Red Urban Project Facebook page!)

By Guest Blogger Laura Litvack. Laura is Deputy District Commissioner for Northshore District and a Guider with the 2nd Northwood Brownies and 1st Ste Genevieve Pathfinders. If you have some photos or stories to share about what you’re doing with your unit or district, please send us an email at

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