This is a brand new challenge from Ontario developed for units who want to discuss democracy along side the current Federal Election. The details of the challenge can be found here. Basically the units have to finish the appropriate Voices to Vote 2019 Instant Meeting (Sparks and Brownies | Guides | Pathfinders and Rangers) and then complete a few other activities with your unit using democracy to plan your year.
What: This is a tour of Queen’s Park designed especially for Guide and Scout groups. It is a 90-minute program consists of three segments: A visit to the Legislative Chamber; an exploration of the Legislative Building through a scavenger hunt; and a participatory mock debate. I was unable to attend with my unit but the feedback from the other Guiders and the girls was very positive.
When: The tour is offered several times a year. For the rest of 2019 the dates are: April 6th (10:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm), May 4th (1:30 pm to 3:00 pm), October 26th (10:30 am to 12:00 pm), November 16th (10:30 am to 12:00 pm). Large groups may request week day dates (during the day).
Booking: Booking was really straight forward. You can call 416-325-0061, or email email@example.com. You do have to provide a detailed list of attendees two weeks in advance (for security) so this isn’t a great last minute activity.
For more information see: https://www.ola.org/en/visit-learn/programs/scouts-guides
Canadashistory.ca recently posted a story and short history about the uniquely Canadian game of Crokinole.
Crokinole is a truly Canadian game: It borrows a bit from both the traditional British game squails and a game called carrom that’s popular in places like India and Sri Lanka.
Although not as popular as it once was if you have access to a Crokinole set, it might make a fun addition to a Canadian heritage night.
If you need to learn or review the rules, this video may help.
Or if the opportunity is available to you, take it outside and try Crokicurl, the combination of Crokinole and Curling.
This February my Guide unit returned to Fort York for our second sleepover. They run a great program and I can not recommend it enough.
Where: Fort York, Toronto
What: Sleepover Program
When: Winter 2019
What was Included: A full Saturday of program (starting at 10 am) and use of a two story barrack building for our sleepover. They included a period appropriate dinner, before bed hot chocolate and breakfast. We brought our own lunches and snacks.
Booking: The booking process is very easy but this is a popular program that fills up quickly. If you want to book this sleep over it is not a bad idea to be contacting them now for 2020. They can only accommodate one group per weekend.
After the initial booking I contacted them a month before hand with the exact number of girls, dietary restrictions and our workshop selections. We paid at the fort when we arrived.
Program: The workshops they offer fit in well with Canadian Connections. They have a wide selection of workshops you can take. Some might be more relevant to a school group but there were lots that were relevant to our program. We learned about the history of the fort, baked in a historic kitchen, played instruments and learned how they were used at the fort, learned about the different approaches to war of the British soldiers and their First Nations allies, handled some archaeological finds, learned a period dance, learned period songs and played some period games. I was even more impressed with the facilitators this time around. They really engaged the girls and were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and patient.
There is an hour of free time for the girls before dinner. We bought a casual craft for them to do and the girls enjoyed that. The fort program ended at 8pm so we had an hour long campfire program before the girls settled into bed for the night. Breakfast isn’t served until 8:30 so the girls all had a decent time to sleep.
Food: The food the fort provided was really good. The dinner consisted of a beef (or vegetarian) stew, bread, rice and carrots. The cookies the girls baked in the Officers Kitchen were provided for dessert. There was plenty of everything no one left hungry. For breakfast the girls had a choose between cold cereal or oatmeal.
Accommodations: There were bunks on both floors of the barrack building. (18 upstairs, 16 downstairs) There are also three large tables with benches on the main floor. The bunks were sturdy and included a thin matrices. The lighting cupboard was unlocked this time so we had more control over our own lights. Around 8:30pm, the overnight guard came by and went over fire alarm practicals with the girls. There are lanterns on a dimmer switch throughout the building but it gets quite dark upstairs. I brought some glow sticks to scatter around and that was well received by the girls.
The bathrooms are in a different building then the sleeping quarters, maybe 50 m from one door to another. This is a tad inconvenient but understandable in a 200 year old building.
The main floor was quite chilly. We ended up moving a few matrices upstairs so all the girls could sleep on one floor. Some of the Guiders downstairs were quite cold. It is worth adding and extra blanket to your kit list.
Coffee and Tea are available for purchase in the fort store but only during the hours the fort is open. We brought a kettle with us this time and were happy we did so.
Crests: We were able to buy the girls a lovely crest at the fort store. We had a choice of two designs.
For more information: email the fort at firstname.lastname@example.org
As the winter sets in and the nights get longer it might be a good time to learn a few words of Inuktut (one of two indigenous official languages in Nunavut) The website the glossary on tusaalanga.ca includes a large selection of words including handy sound clips so you can hear how they sound. There is also a drop down for different dialects so you can hear how the same word sounds in different parts of Nunavut.
I found that site though a blog post entitled 15 Inuktitut Words to Know Before Visiting Iqaluit. Unfortunately it is an older post and the links to the pronunciation glossary are broken but it might still be a good place to start to pick a few words.
To take it further, tussaalanga.ca also has information on Syllabics the writing system used with Inuktitut. It works a little differently then the phonic alphabet English speakers are used to (not that English is a particularly phonic language). But each symbol represents a pair of a constant and vowel sound.
Quebec is a province recognized internationally for some of it’s festivals. Québec, c’est la fête challenge encourages girls to attend these festivals or reproduce aspects of Quebec’s festivals such as Sugar Shack, Ceinture Fléchée or People Sledding.
There are four different versions of this crest available with different colour borders so it can be repeated by different branches of Guiding Crests can be ordered from the Quebec Provincial Office.
2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday and the Canada 150 challenge is designed to help celebrate. The challenge is in the form of an instant meeting with activities around a theme of holding a birthday party for Canada. I’m sure this is one that almost every unit will try and make time for this year.