Camp Skills Challenges

New from the BC Camping Department is a series of Camp Skills challenges for every branch (and a special one for Trex). Each challenge includes challenges around being a no trace camper, the camp experience, camp cooking and staying overnight.  They all look great!  This could be a great way to introduce basic camp skills to the younger girls or challenge the older girls to up their game.

Happy Trails Challenge

 The Happy Trails Challenge is a new three part challenge from Ontario Girl Guides.

This challenge was designed by Mona J., a 3rd-year Guide in the 2nd Ontario Lone Unit, as part of her Design Your Own Badge project. Mona’s challenge was inspired by the Bruce Trail, a hiking trail going 900 km along the length of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario.
Mona encourages every girl taking this challenge to find a trail in her community to have fun and explore nature. The Happy Trails crest will be available for purchase online mid-February.
There are places to hike and experience the natural environment pretty much everywhere in Canada! You may discover some of the remarkable hiking routes that cover our country and challenge yourself to explore somewhere new.

The theme of the Chipmunk section is “Get outside and move around!” This part of the challenge is all about learning how to hike safely and have fun.

The theme of the Earthworm section is “Love the earth and get dirty!”. The activities in this part all touch on the rocks and soil, learning about geography, and protecting the environment when you hike.

The final section is the Monarch Butterfly and the theme is “Appreciate the natural beauty of our environment!”. This part of the challenge is all about observing the plants, animals and changes in the seasons.

Challenge patches can be bought though Positive Identity.

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.

Forest Bathing

This is an interesting article on the Japanese practice of Forest Bathing.

Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and promoted topiary as therapy. … Just be with trees. No hiking, no counting steps on a Fitbit. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone in Guiding that being outdoors in nature is good for Mental Health.  But this piece can serve as a good reminder that we don’t always need to be so goal driven when we are in nature.  I’ve given my Guides time to just be with trees while we were on hikes.  Just wonder among the trees.  Smell the forest.  Feel the bark.  Some of the girls really enjoyed it, some didn’t really know what to do.

Pre-camp survey

Before each camp I like to run a survey for the girls who are attending.  My current edition has five questions:

Name 3 girls who you would like to share a tent/room with

Name 3 songs you’d like to sing at campfire

What are you excited to do at camp?

What worries you about going to camp?

What should we know about feeding you at camp? (Are you vegetarian?  Are there foods you don’t eat?)

The first question helps me organize the sleeping arrangements.  I try to make sure all the girls get at least one friend in their tent/room.

The second gives the girls an opportunity to help plan campfire.

The third and forth question give me some incite into how the girls are feeling about camp.

And the fifth questions captures a lot of don’t liked foods that won’t show up on the health forms because they aren’t allergic to them.