By Shannon Jackson
This year, with seven Sparks instead of three, I was looking forward to having enough girls to do a more complicated activity, like baking. Unfortunately, while I enjoy baking, and respect those Guiders who can pull off a baking night (my mentor as a Junior Leader was definitely one), it will be a long time before I schedule another night in the kitchen.
I remember taking a grade 12 Food and Nutrition course in high school. One of my favourite days was when we made stained glass cookies (shortbread with crushed candy baked into the cut-out middle)—I decided to recreate these cookies with the girls. The girls seemed thrilled at the prospect of eating cookies, but no one seemed to know what came after washing their hands. So, I gave one of the “friends”, a girl who was actually Brownies age, the recipe to read. I realized something important after the first sentence: she couldn’t read my handwriting! She stumbled through the recipe with the help of the other leader, but this was lesson number one: always type the recipe out!
Next, I divided the girls into pairs and gave each pair a task. It was great watching the girls accomplish “simple” baking chores on their own. The group tasked with measuring ¾ cups of sugar decided to transfer the sugar to the measuring cup using their fingers (they washed them, at least!); I asked two girls to slice the tablespoon of butter into smaller pieces, but they had chopped up the entire pound of butter before I could finish giving out tasks. Other things, like separating egg yolks, became nearly impossible. Lesson number two: check the kitchen for necessary equipment before you start, otherwise your girls will separate yolks from whites using ice cream scoops. This particular kitchen had everything but spoons.
We finally got everything into the big mixing bowl, and the girls took turns mixing with the potato masher. Next, I had hoped to be able to let the girls smash their own candies, but as I tried hitting them with a hammer, I realized they were way too hard. The hammer wasn’t even enough to chip them, so, we switched ideas. One mother smartly pointed out that bags would likely break before the candies did if we attempted to stomp on them in bags, so I got the girls into a spread out line, and I told them to try and break the candies by hitting them on the ground. Unfortunately, this mother’s predictions came true, and in no time we had pieces of candy spread around the room. Lesson number three: always buy suckers if you plan on breaking the candies, not “Light ‘n Tasty” drops.
In the end though, all the girls said they had a good time! They all went home with a ball of cookie dough and two (or so) crushed candies to bake with their parents, since we ran out of time. Next time, we’ll stick to something simple.
About our Guest Blogger: Shannon Jackson is a Sparks leader in Lennoxville as well as their PR Adviser. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.