Soaping a Pot

Soaping a pot is a technique used to make washing pots after cooking over an open fire easier.  If your girls are new to the technique it is important to go over it carefully with them.  I’ve seen many rushed Guiders giving instructions that were misinterpreted by the girls.  This often results in soapy stew and is not recommend.

How to soap a pot: 

  1. Turn the pot over so the bottom of the pot faces upwards.
  2. Squirt a little liquid dish soap on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Uses your hand or a dish rag to spread the soap all over the bottom of the pot and up the sides of the pot but not in the pot.
  4. Cook over an open fire.  The outside of the pot will turn black.
  5. When it is time to do the dishes, you will find the black rinses easily off the pot.  Unsoaped pots require a lot of scrubbing to remove the black.


Tin Foil Dinners

I do not have fond memories of tin foil dinners from when I was a girl.  When we made them when I was a Guide the chicken was either so raw I’m surprised we didn’t all come down with food poisoning or the whole meal was so burnt that everything tasted like tin foil.  I recently returned to the idea of foil dinners but now I use pre-cooked protein for much better results.


  • pre-cooked protein such as chicken breast, sausage or vegetarian patty
  • white and/or sweet potatoes
  • vegetables such as corn, carrots, zucchini, onions, celery etc.
  • butter or vegetable oil
  • heavy duty tin foil


  1. Clean and chop the potatoes and vegetables.  You want to make sure all the pieces are a pretty consistent size and not too thick or large.
  2. Mean while, build a fire and form a bed of hot coals
  3. Give each girl a piece of foil and let her build her own dinner.  This way everyone ends up with what they like.
  4. Wrap the dinner like a package with the shinny side of the foil on the inside.
  5. Wrap in a second layer of foil to ensure all the good stuff stays inside the package
  6. Lay on coals to cook, turning occasionally.
  7. Cook for approximately 20 min, open and enjoy

Buddy Burners

Traditionally I’ve always used tuna cans, but at a recent camp we tried small  individual serving cat food cans.  The Guider who collected them feeds her cat the food twice a day so the cans were easy for her to collect and used less wax then tuna cans.  It is easier to make buddy burners on a different day then when you want to use them.


  • Small flat cans
  • corrugated cardboard
  • a wick or birthday candle
  • paraffin wax or old candles to melt down


  1. cut the cardboard so it is in long strips the same width as the height of the cans.
  2. Tightly wind the cardboard around a wick or birthday candle until it will fill the can tightly.  It may help to play with the cardboard some so it will be flexible enough to roll.  You want to fill most of the can with cardboard otherwise it will take A LOT of paraffin to finish the burners.
  3. Melt the wax in a double boiler.  It is often wise to use a can as the inside boiler otherwise clean up can be tricky.
  4. Fill the cans to the top with wax and allow to cool thoroughly.

Buddy burners can be used under a tin can stove or in a park bbq for some quick heat.  I recommend bringing an old flat pot lid or large can top to snuff out the burners when you are done.  Also pack some oven mitts.  Do not under estimate how hot the cans can get.  Be sure they are completely cool again before packing them away on a hike.


Sam eased the pack on his shoulders, and went over anxiously in his mind all the things that he had stowed in it, wondering if he had forgotten anything: his chief treasure, his cooking gear; and the little box of salt that he always carried and refilled when he could; […] flint and tinder; woollen hose; linen; various small belongings of his master’s that Frodo had forgotten and Sam had stowed to bring them out in triumph when they were called for. He went through them all.

“Rope!” he muttered. “No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: ‘Sam, what about a bit of rope? You’ll want it, if you haven’t got it.’ Well, I’ll want it. I can’t get it now.”

– JRR Tolkin, Fellowship of the Ring

A Very Magical Camp

A Residential Camp for Guides

Theme: Harry Potter and other magical stories

Guide Program: This camp should complete the Chemistry badge and/or the Camp Out badge.

Patrols: Start your camp with a sorting ceremony to divide your girls into Houses.  You can use the traditional four houses from the Harry Potter books, the North American school houses, or make up your own.

You could give each house a chance to design a house banner based on their house colour and an animal they pick.


We did the classes as a round robin o activities with 4 stations 20 – 30 minutes at each.  

  1. Care and Handling of Magical CreaturesElephant Toothpaste (Hippogryph Beak Scrub) and Dancing Raisins (Dancing Sewer Grubs) 
  2. TransfigurationChromatography butterflies and colour changing potion
  3. Defense Against the Dark ArtsExploding Apples 
  4. Potions – Goop and Methos in Diet Coke 

Note: Making slime with borax or laundry starch would fit the theme of these classes too but I can’t recommend it after the Health Canada’s warning about making crafts with Borax.




Magic in Our Friendship
The Gift of Happiness

“We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power within ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better…”
– J.K. Rowling

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
– Nora Roberts

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Outdoor Activities

Hike to Hagrid’s or do a night hike though the forbidden forest depending on your camp site

Hold a scavenger hunt where the items to find are all made up things from the Harry Potter universe such as

  • Doxy Eggs
  • Fluxweed
  • Shrivelfig
  • Bezoar
  • Veela Hair

Let the girls imagination determine when they find something


There are lots of ways to incorporate Harry Potter themed food into your camp, here are a few:

  • Polyjuice Potion: Sprite with lemon or lime sherbet
  • Butter Beer: Vanilla Cream Soda and butterscotch ice cream
  • Chocolate Frogs
  • Calderon Cakes
  • Pumpkin Pasties



Magic Penny

When I was young I thought the stars were made for wishing on
And every hole deep in a tree might hide a leprechaun
Old houses all had secret rooms, if one could find the key
I do believe in magic, I believe.

Magic is the sun that makes a rainbow out of rain
And magic keeps the dream alive to try and try again
Magic is the love that stays when good friends have to leave
I do believe in magic, I believe.

Growing up the grown-ups said someday I’d wake to find
That magic’s just a childhood dream I’d have to leave behind
Like clothes that would no longer fit and toys that I’d ignore
I’d not believe in magic anymore.

When I grew up I learned again, that much to my surprise
Magic did not fade away, it took a new disguise
A child, a friend, a smile, a song, the courage to stand tall
I do believe in magic, after all.

Last Chorus:
Magic is the sun that makes a rainbow out of rain
And magic keeps the dream alive to try and try again
Magic is the love that stays when good friends have to leave
I do believe in magic, yes I do believe in magic,
Love is the greatest magic, after all.


Camp Awards

It is often good fun to hand out awards to your campers at the end of a camp.  This is a little easier to do at a smaller camp or a longer (ie week long) camp when it is a little easier to observe all the girls.  Although it is a good idea to have a list of award ideas before you go to camp, it is best to stay flexible.  For example, I once saw a girl awarded a “night nurse” award for following a roommate who was sleep walking around the building to make sure she didn’t trip over something.  Awards can be themed to your camp or more generic.  If you look online it is easy to find candy bar themed awards but I would stick to certificates or small hat crafts as awards.  The trick is to catch the girls being good.  When possible you want to recognize each girl for something she did that was exceptional, which can be harder for the quiet girls that exist in each unit.

Here are some ideas:

  • Tidy camper
  • Positive camper
  • Accident magnet (for the most bumps and bruises)
  • Loudest laugh
  • Busy Beaver
  • Book Worm
  • Peacemaker
  • Early Bird
  • Night Owl
  • Persistent Award  (for the girl who was homesick but stayed at camp anyways)
  • etc.