by Alana Noel, a.ka. Autumn the Brown Owl
Snow, snow, snow, where did you go? That was the question I kept asking myself in the weeks prior to camp. Our weather has been temperamental and as Guiders, we needed to adapt our camp plan accordingly. Finally, the day came, after the melting snow, then rain, then freezing cold, repeat, it was a tundra-like feel outside. I thought to myself, it will be okay, since we are doing the cross Canada challenge : Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon.
I must begin by telling you that the 1st Lennoxville District is a multi-level unit comprised of 2 sparks, 12 brownies, 8 guides and one pathfinder along with 9 leaders. Planning a multi-leveled camp can be a bit daunting especially when you are trying to complete a challenge crest. Our pre camp meeting was a round-robin of interactive activities with stations about bedrolls, packing for winter camp and the importance of layering, signs and prevention of hypothermia and frostbite. A badge earning experience!
Our usual campsite is not too far away from Sherbrooke, it is on the Lake Lovering Scout Reserve just outside Magog. We enjoy going to this site because with its main lodge and 3 heated cabins that sleep 6 in each in addition to many tenting sites in the wooded vicinity.
Friday Feb 3, 2012: Just gotta camp!
Camp officially opened with a presentation by the Guide leaders of Igliacks (sp?) or snow goggles and how they were used to prevent snow blindness. The girls then made their own pair of snow goggles with cardboard templates, wood coloured tacky paper, yarn and stickers. The girls were advised to listen carefully to all of our teaching moments because on Sunday we were playing a game of jeopardy. Afterward the girls were placed in 3 patrols for camp. These patrols were not only for doing camp duties, but for team challenges as well. We named the patrols after each territory. This was followed by camp meeting of rules and expectations, snack and of course an indoor campfire themed ‘’the north’’ and surprisingly, no pranks were pulled by anyone an even the leaders were asleep by midnight, for those who know the 1st Lennoxville District, you will know that was a first!
Saturday: a glorious day
Although Mother Nature did not produce an abundance of snow to make our quinzhee this year, she did bless us with sunshine all day and a high of -10o Celcius. Great weather for playing outside.
Another bump we had for the day was that our dog-sled presenter was not able to attend due to an injury to one of his dogs had by slipping on ice during practice the day before.
The morning activities consisted of learning about birds in the area, making suet bird feeders to hang outside, building snow inushuks and snow lanterns, playing a snow-storm game, a friendly competition of snow-snake and just being silly in the snow.
During lunch the girls learned about the Yukon gold rush and had to mine ‘’gold’’ for dessert. This was a team effort to see who can mine the most chocolate chips with a fork from a cookie! Even the leaders team who was named the Canadian government, mined too. Who would have thought there were so many chocolate chips in a cookie?
The afternoon was for the respective units to work on program and presentations at campfire. The Sparks learned about the animals of the north, Brownies made Bannock, Guides prepared campfire songs and a skit about northern lights and Pathfinders made soap carvings to tell the legend on how the raven turned black. Later in the afternoon, girls again had time to play outside, hang Jell-O on the Jell-O tree and have fun.
Saturday Campfire: a winter scene to remember.
From the lodge to the campfire pit, the leaders made ‘’northern lights lamps’’ from coffee tins with pierced hole, led lights, and colored cellophane and they led the way so beautifully. Also, we lit the tea lights in the snow lanterns in the fields and were absolutely gorgeous. And of course, we put some mystic campfire to have colored flames. It was an amazing outdoor campfire moment especially with the clear night sky full of stars.
We ended our evening with the movie Balto and popcorn. Again, another night all asleep early and no pranking.
Sunday: relaxed and zen
After breakfast, we had some storytelling and presentations then a friendly game of jeopardy.
We did a 5 senses nature walk in the forest to skull-rock (a huge boulder in the woods with a tree growing out of the top of the rock), spotted and identified animal tracks, listened to the wind, felt the grainy snow and had a moment of peace by everyone being quiet and still and listen to the sound of the woods. That was so revitalizing. The leaders also looked at possible satellite camp spots for our summer adventure camp.
Alas, all good things do come to an end and we ended our winter camp with another campfire filling our hearts with warmth and laughter along with a treat bag including a challenge crest and snow camp crest.
This camp was my first experience as a winter camp planner and a great learning experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the guiders who participated for their hard work and congratulate them for a successful camp. 1st Lennoxville District ROCKS!
For more info about the 1st Lennoxville Guiding district, email: GGCLennoxville1@hotmail.com
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