Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catching up! Brownie activities

Catching up!

Catching up on some of the activities around here is something long overdue for our family and friends back home to see and read about.

I am SO behind and I apologize for it. Frankly, I’d rather be on a road trip with the finer weather, and summer cresting in on the horizon, but I’ll be attempting to catch up on the past weeks here during the next few days.

Brownie activities...

Brownie Advancement Evening!
Flying up to Girl Guides

Our youngest daughter has enjoyed a month’s worth of final activities to close her years as a “Brownie” (Girl Guides of Canada), in what proved to be a terrific experience for both of us. I volunteered often for a myriad of things, meeting all the mothers and their daughters along the way. What fun we have all had together! Next week, we will celebrate the end of our time in this unit, just the mothers that is. As for the girls, they participated in their final badge testing, enjoyed several field trips, embraced a Canadian soldier project for three local young men who went off to represent Canada in Afghanistan, attended their last outdoor camp, and of course, all were present at their Girl Guide advancement ceremonies.

The two cakes present were actually cupcakes. So fun!

Advancement girls...some of them

Our group of girls were blessed with fabulous leaders, and Martha Stewart type crafts to take home. Truly, it was a unique bunch, and more than 3/4 of the 28 girls were of the Catholic faith, which trickled into their activities nicely. It was fun last year for each little girl to bring photos of her First Holy Communion celebrations with their family, all congratulating each one together. Memories have become truly rich and in abundance within this group.

Due to the dates they fell on, the Advancement ceremonies came before the final camp weekend. There were other groups at the ceremonies such as; Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides, Path Finders and Rangers, many girls acknowledged and advancing up to another level. Two girls were awarded their “Canada Cord”, the most prestigious and highest of all awards for a young lady to acquire in the Girl Guide world (see information on Canada Girl Guides of Canada here) .

Celebrating with her pals

Our daughter was thrilled to realize she will be able attend Girl Guides next year, a big gal’s group with even more challenges, more badges to earn and even more camping.

Survivor Camp

Outwit, Outplay & Outlast

Survivor Camp Participant

The last camp for our group this year was “Survivor” themed where we were encouraged to outwit, outplay and outlast the opponent team.

Camp is officially in progress as we sang
"O Canada" after the flag raising.

Two teams were present; Team Omaha and Team Potawatomi. Everyone had to wear Survivor camp t-shirts; leaders wore blue, mothers wore orange, and the girls wore either green or yellow depending on the team they were assigned to.

Checking the scoreboards for each team's progress,
and banking their earned money during the day.

The girls were also given matching scarves to wear on their heads, and they were so cute! All of these items were the direct results of the type of hands-on mothers all participating fully in this group of girls’ fun the past two years. I highly commended each leader and each mother while I was at camp, because they made the group what it became, the most incredible Brownie group in this area. The only thing I teased the leaders about was the fact the mother’s t-shirts were labelled in a brown bag and stapled closed, making us look like we wore our shirts to bed the night before. (kidding)

Camp Survivor dollars were earned during
team challenges, and by performing good deeds and
special acts of kindness during the camp experience.

Both teams competed in several group challenges, gaining points and earning survival cash along the way. Though I haven’t been a regular viewer of the TV reality show, I learned much at this camp about the way the Survivor competitions worked, especially things like gathering “Tree mail”, “Fireside chats”, “Challenges”, “Tiki (Idol) trophy challenge wins”, and much more. The camp was so well organized, it was such a pleasure to attend, help out and get my own assigned duties complete so I could witness the continued fun the girls were involved in.

Everyone's shirts were signed by all campers present

Tribes had to paint their faces for one challenge war

The only downer was the first (worst) summer storm which happened to roll in for the girls the first evening with severe lightning and thunder directly overhead. This type of weather is hardly conducive to young girls sleeping in tents! We weren’t able to attend that first night, thankfully we enjoyed our own beds instead, but when we arrived at the camp the next morning, all attendees were quite shaken up and oh...so tired. It had apparently been quite a night!

When we arrived at the camp, the weather was sunny and warm. The day looked incredibly promising for everything. The unexpected did occur however, when more stormy skies showed up, complete with a ferocious wind resulting in the pins for the tarps on four tents popping off and flapping in the the pelting rainstorm accompanying the wind. Tents were soaking wet inside, and buckets were used shortly after the storm passed to rid the water gathering in them. Our fire pit was under water as well.

Even though some of the girls were visibly upset, shaking and crying from the scary storm, there were a few mothers wiping their brow from the sweat gathering there, and it wasn’t just from the heat in the main cabin either. Along with the storm, large hail balls crashed to the ground, and funnel clouds were nearby. Thank goodness a tornado never touched down on us while at camp, but the possibility could have been there as one did touch down further up eastward. SCARY!

"Survivor" themed music summoned all to the firepit

Gatherings around the firepit were fun, when tree mail was read aloud for future challenges and teams began to strategize when huddled together.

Walking sticks were awarded and were they ever cool! One mother spent six hours sanding them all down, and shells were hanging from braided cording, those she used a drillbit on to pass the cord through to secure them there. Golly, *I* wanted one too! :-0

Walking sticks were awarded (and helpful), one mother
sanded them all down for six hours beforehand.

Some of the challenges were so fun; mothers found themselves wanting to participate as well. Some were;

Hiking as a team (we went on many hikes!) in a line formation, all tied together and out hiking to find 50 flags hidden in the bush. One wrong move and all the girls would fall over, along with the leader at the front of the pack. They faired very well, and Team Omaha (our daughter’s group) won this challenge. The other team missed three flags.

Finding all 50 flags wasn't easy as the color blended in with the forest. Tied together, one wrong move would send many spilling over.

The gross food contest is best described as gross....for some. Each team chose four participants among themselves. They were individually blind folded and competed with the opposite team’s chosen four. The food presented to them was described in gross ways before set down before them, and a timer kept track of how long it took to have a wide open and completely empty mouth.

The girls were told they would be eating
dried up worms here for this challenge below;

Fourth group of four gross food challenges, they had it easy

They all had the option to spit it out in the bucket nearby, though the girls knew they would lose points for their team if they didn’t complete the challenge at hand. Fun names were concocted to describe each serving to the competitors, but as we stifled our giggles, it really would sound gross to the girls with their blindfolds on.

Team Omaha

The food auction was quite appealing to the teams, as the girls really got into the act pooling their survivor money with one another in teams, trying to outbid their opponents. They didn’t know what they were bidding on which was really funny, which added much to the auction frenzy. At the same time the girls were squealing with their auctioning bidding in progress, more thunder and lightning were beginning to rear their ugly head in the skies above, and as described above, this was the tornado weather we were all concerned about.

Deep thinkers wondering about the next
food auction up on the block

The obstacle course was inspiring for the girls to all come together and work as a team, cheering each individual girl on as they ran, skipped, jumped, weaved, and worked their way to the finish line.

Obstacle course rules are being explained

The tug of war happened the night before we arrived, and Team Omaha took the Tiki.

There were six challenges altogether, I could only remember five here (see, I must catch up more frequently...smile) At the end of the day, Team Potawatomi won with more accrued points than Team Omaha. But what fun they all had!

Tents were continually drying out from pelting rains

Camping has never really been my thing. My husband claims his family camped in his childhood and hated it to the point of not wishing to repeat it with our own family. I was not raised in a camping family, and had no knowledge, nor desire of getting started with many young children at home. Truthfully, I have been known to tease the mothers at our camping trips. I tell them I can hardly believe people do “THIS” for fun, as we assembled all bleary eyed, with make-up smeared eyes, hoping the coffee is already brewing and wondering if we ever actually slept the night before with all the noise from people talking all night long in their tents. Some of our own children have married and become campers, and someday maybe we will but only if we buy a luxury trailer first...wink. That will be the requirement for my hubby to come along with us in the end.

Bargain shopping with earned dollars

The end of the day was exciting for the girls. They were able to use the Survivor dollars earned during the camp, or at least the ones safe from losing dollars for unfit behavior or attitudes deemed unnecessary. They also spent much during their food auction, or when losing several memory game challenges. The remainder dollar amounts could be used to shop at this table, and shopping is one thing a girl can do well, right? Large bags were provided, some donated from a nearby store, and off they went in groups to find bargains with their cash!

Off to Girl Guides!