Thinking Day 2019

The Guides welcomed our sister Pathfinder and Ranger unit as guest this week to work on the 2019 WAGGGS Thinking Day challenge.  The Rangers ran most of the activities.  Because we have a large unit, I dislike the giant board game format as I find it leads to a lot of waiting for your teams turn.  So we set up one table with a large die.  Each patrol took turn rolling and headed off to different times based on the results.  Once they finished an activity the got a slip of paper with the leadership lesson from each card on it.   This system worked pretty well and most patrols finish at least 10 or the 12 activities we had available during the meeting time. One piece of feedback I did get was that we should have given the patrols the option to re-roll if the stations they were sent to were all full as that did lead to some waiting around.  It was nice to see the girls from 9 to 18 all working together.


Land Surveyor Challenge

The Land Surveyor Challenge is a joint project between the Ontario Council and Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (AOLS).  The goal of the challenge introduces girls to the science of Land Surveying and how it impacts us.

The challenge is divided up into four groups of activities:

  • What is Surveying?
  • How GPS Works
  • Measuring and Mapping
  • Finding Your Way

This challenge would be a great way to shake up/modernize Map and Compass work.

Challenge crests are purchases though Positive Identity.

Magnetic Pole

It is not uncommon during discussions of map and compass work to find yourself explaining the difference between magnetic north and true or geographic north.  I knew that the magnetic north pole moved over time but I did not know that it’s movement was accelerating to the point where scientists were having to update their models of the Earth’s magnetic field sooner then expected.    Currently, it seems the magnetic pole is now closer to the geographic pole then at any time during the history of Guiding.  For more details see: Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

Magnetic Pole

Ice and Snow Camp

I always pick a theme for camp because among the myriad of activities you could do at camp, I find a theme helps me (and/or the girls) focus on what to do at this particular camp.  I was recently discussing this with a fellow Guider and she was worried that themes sometimes take away from girls time to just enjoy nature.  So I thought I’d put together this simple theme to show how you can do both.

This theme would also work really well for multi-branch unit camps or multi-unit camps as many of the ideas and activities could easily be done by Sparks or Brownies.

If you wanted you could easily add in activities from the Polar Challenge as well.

Theme: Ice and Snow 

This outline is for an residential winter camp.

Program Connections:

  • Art Studio
  • My Physical Self
  • Science Lab

Opening and Closing

There is an often sited “fact” that the Inuit have 52 words for snow.  That idea has been largely discredited by modern linguists as to find 52 different words you have to count the same word in multiple dialects.  That said, both the Inuit and English speaking Canadians have a lot of words and phrases for ice and snow.

Put up a large blank sheet of paper at the beginning of camp and challenge the girls to write as many words for ice or snow as they know.  At the end of camp, count up how many words they came up with.  Did they get to 52?  You can check this list or this one if you need to extra words to fill out the list or to get the girls going.




  • snow snake
  • freeze tag
  • Coloured Ice Scavenger Hunt (From Winter 2019 Canadian Guider)


White Quilt

Too Much Winter

The Day The Snow Finally Came


A Snowy Day




Happy 30th Birthday Sparks!

The Spark program turns 30 in 2019.  To celebrate the national store is caring retro Spark uniform shirts (in youth and adult) as well as pins and crests that look like the retro shirt.  So far as I’m aware there are no plans for a challenge and the crests are just for fun, but you could easily invent a challenge for your unit.

  • Have girls who were Sparks tell those who weren’t what they remember about Sparks.  What did they like or didn’t like?
  • Look at other things that happened in your community 30 years ago.  What else has changed or stayed the same.
  • Invite someone who was a Spark or Spark Guider 30 years ago to come to your unit and talk about when Sparks where just “a program for 5 year olds”
  • Or perhaps do some bridging with a near by Sparks unit and have the older girls plan  a 30th Birthday party for them.

Either way, our youngest girls have something to celebrate, 30 years of promising to share and be a friend!

How to Identify Snowflakes

I got this idea from a blog post from Ontario Parks.

What you Need:

  1. A day when it is snowing
  2. magnifying glasses
  3. some snowflake charts (you might want to put them inside ziplock bags so they don’t get wet.)
  4. warm winter clothes

What to do:

    1. Before you start you might want to review this blog
      How Snowflakes Get Their Shape by . It answers many questions I would expect to come up in an activity like this and it is away nice to have the answers top of mind.
    2. Gently catch snowflakes or scoop up freshly fallen snow on the back of your mittens or a black piece of felt.
    3. Examine the snowflake and see where it fits in on the chart.
    4. Repeat until you’ve identified a number of different types of snowflakes
    5. Compare your results to others.