There’s a Place for You in Engineering!

This lovely crest has been developed by Engineers Canada as part of their Engaging Girls program.  Their website reads:

Engineers Canada has developed and released a Girl Guides crest, to be presented to Girl Guides who complete engineering-related activities under the supervision of a professional engineer or an engineer-in-training. These activities—such as those that present an understanding of how vehicles work, the concept of simple machines, how lipstick is made, to name just a few—expose young girls to the engineering that can be found in everyday life and give them an understanding of how the world around them works.

Anyone interested in using the crest can contact Engineers Canada to confirm conditions of use and order required quantities.

If you have an engineer coming into your meeting to do a presentation to the girls, you may want to inquire about the crest.  Contact information in on the Engaging Girls page.


Mad Libs

Mad Libs are a series of word game books where blanks in a story are filled in with a category of words to make a silly story.  There are many pads of stories available some of which might fit with Guiding themes.  The can be a fun way to start a conversation or something to throw into your kit in case of rain at camp.

The Brownie Meeting Ideas blog suggests using them as a fun way to discuss camp rules before camp. has a couple of free printable ones on Camping and Cookie selling.  Or you can invent your own.  It might be fun for a Pathfinder group to write some for a Guide unit to play.

Review: Ontario Science Center Sleepover

Where: Ontario Science Center

What: Sleepover

When: Spring 2015

What was Included: We arrived just as the Science Center was closing to the public.   We had an evening of activities including the normal Science Center exhibits plus activity centers set up around the room. Then there was a dance party and the girls slept.

Booking:  Booking was easy but we had to pay the full price at the time of booking.  They can take several hundred girls each sleepover so there isn’t too much worry they will sell out before you can arrange your places.

Program:  The Science Center has a different theme each year.  The year we were there it was Physics.  Between the exhibits and the activity stations the girls finished their Physics badge.

Food: In the evening each girl was give a pizza slice snack.  In the morning there was a box breakfast with fruit, yogurt, cold cereal, milk and juice.  Some of our girls felt the portion sizes were small.  Be sure to eat dinner before arrival as the snack is just a snack.   There was a tea and coffee station all night for the adults.

Accommodations:  Each unit was assigned a sleeping location.  We slept in and among the exhibits.  It can be a long way down the escalators to your sleeping location so it is important to make sure each girl can carry her own belongings.  You will definitely want some sort of sleeping mat as you are on the floor.

Impressions:  The Science Center has been running these big sleepovers for years and have it down to fine art.  Even for my Guides though it was a very late night.  The dance party ends at midnight but the lights in our sleeping room weren’t turned off until 1 am.  They also didn’t give us enough crests for the leaders which seemed cheep, especially since the leaders pay the same entrance fee as the girls.

Stone Soup

There are lots of versions of the story of Stone Soup. In each one a traveler comes to a village where no one is willing to share because they don’t have enough. The stranger starts to boil a pot of water and puts a stone (or other inedible object) in the pot. He or she tells each villager who comes by that they are making stone soup but it would be ever so much better with just a little bit of carrots/onions/herbs/etc. Each villager is convinced to contribute the “one thing” the soup is missing.  In the end the stranger has a big pot of soup to share with the village.

A Guider I used to work with used this story to make a pot of collaborative soup each year.  She’d read the story to the girls one week and tell them that at their next meeting (or sometimes it would be at winter camp) she’d be providing the soup pot and a clean stone.  She’d ask each girl to bring something for the soup (vegetables, bullion, herbs etc. ).  Whatever arrived at the next meeting was chopped up and put in the soup pot. Everyone would enjoy a mug of soup at the end of the meeting.  Be aware of allergies or other dietary restrictions.

Hold a Backwards Meeting

If you want to shake up your weekly meeting routine a little, hold your meeting backwards.

Start by singing taps and then go though a campfire backwards finishing with a campfire opening.

Then run your program

Finish with horseshoe and patrol corners.

You can invite your girls to wear their uniforms backwards as well.

Would you Rather

Would you Rather is discussion game.  Depending on the questions you use it can be an ice breaker or a way to do some planning.  It makes a great patrol activity.  Print out 4 or 5 questions.  Have the patrol leader read out each question and give each girl a chance to give her reason reasons.  If you are doing it as a planning activity you may want the patrol to report back at the end.

Ice Breaker Questions

  • Would you rather be a great student or a star athlete?
  • Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?
  • Would you rather give up your 5 favorite foods for the rest of your life or only be allowed to eat those 5 foods?
  • Would you rather live in Narnia or go to Hogwarts?
  • Would you rather jump into a pool of marshmallows or a pool of jello?
  • Would you rather be a pencil or a rubber band?

Planning Questions

  • Would you rather learn about Chemistry or Physics?
  • Would you rather make a craft or play a game?
  • Would you rather volunteer time at the food bank or cleaning up a park?
  • Would you rather hike though a forest or along a shoreline?
  • Would you rather try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing?
  • Would you rather bake a cake in a box oven or cook dinner over the fire?


Preferential Voting

preferential voting


A system of voting in which the voter ranks candidates in order of preference.

We should, when ever possible, engage the girls in the decision and planning process.  Many badges and challenges ask the girls to help plan. In large units, this can be an unwieldy process.  No matter what sort of discussion you hold, final decisions often come down to a vote.  If you are deciding between two options (are we going to the zoo or the aquarium)  then a show of hands is likely sufficient but if there are many options you might want to try a preferential ballot.

We used this with camp themes this year.  The Guiders  identified 5 badges that most of the girls did not have and would make good camp themes (weather, water, naturalist, ecology and forestry).  I outlined for the girls what each option might mean in terms of the type of activities and gave them a few minutes to ask questions.  Then we distributed ballots with the five options listed.  Instead of checking off their favourite option as would be traditional with a secret ballot, the girls  numberd each option with a 1 next to their favourite and a 5 next to their least favorite.

Counting the ballots is a pretty straight forward proposition.  First you sort all the ballots by their first choice.  Assuming none of the choices has more then 50% of the ballots you take the least favorite and sort it by it’s second choice.  Keep doing this until one choice has more then 50% of the votes.