Archive for the ‘Girl Guides’ Category

This past weekend I brought my Pathfinders canoe tripping in Algonquin Park. It was a wonderful weekend & like most weekends like this a big reminder of how much I love it.

The downside of the weekend was that I got our two smallest, weakest paddlers making it a much less relaxing paddle for me.

We lucked out with terrific weather. Very light wind, a lightening storm at night with no rain & warm, sunny days. Perfect.

The water was beautiful for swimming. There wasn't even that gasping moment of "oh my it's cold" when you first got in. Beautiful!

My one complaint about the weekend was my inability to sleep well. This is something that has been plaguing me lately when camping & something I don’t want to admit, but I just struggle to get comfortable outside of my comfortable bed full of pillows. Sigh. One day I’ll find a set up that works & does not require dragging 4 pillows into the back country.

The upside to not sleeping is well is I get to enjoy a beautiful, peaceful morning in Algonquin - something I'd normally sleep through!

We had our own special encounters with wildlife which is always special for the girls. We saw lots of birds, snakes, frogs & mosquitoes! And on our way out of the park a young black bear.

This mama loon was my favourite part of the weekend. We saw her on the way in & on our way out she was still patiently sitting on her nest, keeping her eggs warm. She was very unthreatened by us & seemed to just want a nap but it made me teary how good a mama she was taking care of her little ones. So much harder to gestate your babes in eggs than in your belly!

On our way out of the park we stopped at the Barron Canyon trail to show the girls what we were thinking of for next year. So beautiful! Luckily we made it there about 20 minutes before the busload of scouts so it was a peaceful little hike.

I admit I have not paddled the canyon myself yet & look forward to the scenic route.

And most exciting this was the inaugural trip for my paddle a good friend carved for me.

I spent a lot of time in my slooooow moving canoe admiring my paddle dipping through the water.


Read Full Post »

Last week while at Camp Ma-Kee-Wa we had an outtrip for the day to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons historical village. I must admit I always enjoy these types of places as I find it fascinating to get a better picture of how those went before us actually lived.

I liked that they actually had people making things, not just talking about it. This girl (playing a male) is making a bow.

The amount of work that our ancestors put into every day tasks is so incredible – something we have totally lost touch with. But at the same time they also seem to have had a lot less responsibilities. Not everyone had to cook their own meals, they ate communally a lot. There was not the same obsession with scrubbing everything to within an inch of it’s life that we have now. And quite frankly the small spaces & limited possessions really would have simplified life. All that simple hard work had to be good for the soul.

The fort has a man-made waterway, complete with locks. For the demonstration they canoe through it but the interpreter explained to us that they don't truly know why the waterway was there.

There is a certain beauty & peacefulness when walking through these places. Sometimes I feel I could easily move in tomorrow & be pretty content – although I would have a lot to learn.

This was the longhouse & with just one fire going it was pretty smokey - Diaperbutt really enjoyed "playing" with the sunbeam. It's a little hard to tell from the photo but there was a ton of stuff hanging to dry from the rafters.

The thing that I just couldn’t shake was how arrogant the Jesuits must have been. On one hand I can see that they must really have believed in what they were doing to travel so far & through such adversity but at the same time to think they could walk in save the savages from themselves is just something I cannot truly understand.

Diaperbutt did pretty well with the day despite the fact that he was still fighting hand, foot & mouth disease which overall made him a bear for the week. Shortly after lunch he crashed & had a hard earned nap, in fact he slept through 70 chattering excited girls coming & going by our bench.

When the water rushed in from the lock around the corner Diaperbutt thought it was pretty wonderful, exclaiming "Oh Geez!"

I think there is a lot we need to relearn from our past.

Read Full Post »

Ok – I’ve been away from here for a long time. Partly ’cause I’ve been at camp for the past 2 weeks & partly ’cause the outdoors have called with lovely weather for the weeks before that. I’m sorry – I will try to reform my ways.

So I just returned from Guiding Mosaic 2010 where I worked as the co-lead for waterfront.

There were many things (outside of my control I must add) that did not go well, but I really don’t want to dwell on those things.

There were many things that went fabulously as well.

I co-lead waterfront with my friend Bert & I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. We balanced each other beautifully & I don’t believe at any point we had a conflict. We were able to make decisions on behalf of one another without worry of upsetting each other or disagreement. I would work with her again in a heartbeat!

Bert takes a moment to go for a short paddle.

Our team was equally wonderfully. With 41 Guiders & Rangers working with us there was potential for some tough times as well as wonderful but it never really happened. We had no major conflicts between personalities & for the most part everyone worked hard to make the camp a success (at least as far as waterfront was concerned).

Thankfully many of our team came over prepared with equipment which really saved us when much of the supplies & equipment we ordered didn’t turn up (can I reiterate this was out of our control?!).

I was so excited before camp to meet the women I had been interviewing by phone & corresponding with via e-mail. They seemed so wonderful from a distance & I was not disappointed in person!

Somehow a request for red mesh tanks turned into cotton candy pink long-sleeved t's. Ah well - at least you could tell who was on our team.

From their upbeat attitudes despite the “glitches” in equipment & supply requisitioning & scheduling to their get ‘er done spirits I was impressed. I was especially touched when the kayaking & canoeing groups decided they could offer a fourth session time most days to give more people a chance to paddle & then offered an evening paddle for adults a couple nights.

Just a few of our boats out on the water.

Even when our beach was shutdown due to water quality the lifeguards cheerfully helped us relocate our free swims to another beach with better water.

Our waterfront was pretty but being in a somewhat protected bay full of geese & gulls & a heat wave meant our water quality was not ideal.

Even the fact that despite the heat & sunny days we had we didn’t lose any of our team to heat or sun related illness was a testament to the quality of these women. I was impressed everyone kept themselves hydrated & practiced good sun safety (don’t get me wrong we had some burns but nothing major), even our Ranger members who were trying to get themselves a good tan.

We got our share of heat but we also got our share of storms! This one had us literally holding down our waterfront "marquee" for fear it would fly off leaving us all even wetter!

One of the things I find most inspiring about Guiding is the women I meet. I think with most other groups of people under the same stresses & disorganization things would have ultimately fell apart. Instead everyone pulled together & worked hard to do whatever they could do to make it come together (even if that meant some covert acquiring of supplies!).

From improvising buoy lines with string (instead of rope) & empty detergent bottles to figuring out how to repair the antennae on the weather radio that got stepped on during a busy rush to get everything safely stowed before a quick upon us storm this group knew how to get things done!

I am really proud to be able to say the waterfront team did everything we could to provide a great program & give as many girls as possible the opportunity to enjoy the water. I don’t believe anyone could accuse us of being inflexible or hard to work with.

Right up to the last day when I made a long list of things to do to shutdown waterfront everyone chipped in. I didn’t even need to follow up on our shutdown to do list ’cause someone else took over the responsibility of crossing off everything that was done!

In the end I think we ended up having a pretty good time & I definitely made some new friends.

Now, how to get us altogether again so we can go tripping together?!

Read Full Post »

This weekend I went “camping” with my Girl Guides. Normally I try to make our winter camp weekends an outside all weekend event but I was not taking the lead on this one so most of our activities were planned for inside. Perhaps I should call it a winter event instead of winter camp.

But we did get outside for some snowshoeing (which really was kind of ridiculous as we only have about 6 inches of crusty snow on the ground with a very little sprinkling of fluffy stuff. The girls had a great time with it though & that is the whole point afterall.

They're not walking on top of the snow due to the snowshoes - regular boots would have accomplished the same.

Much to my delight the girls were very keen on being outside & we skipped a craft session in the afternoon to play sardines – my favourite wide game. It’s a variation on hide & seek where only one person hides. Everyone else looks for them & as each individual finds the hidden person they join them. Keep going until everyone has found the hidden individual. It’s better at night but the girls could not get enough of it in the afternoon.

Time in the forest is good for the spirit.

We agreed that after supper we would head back outside to play sardines a little longer (at this age the girls tend to want to play the SAME games over & over & over….). The plan was supposed to be no fire – but I overruled that decision & got one going. Diaperbutt was delighted with campfire singing – especially the action songs!

These weekend trips are one of the things I love best about Guiding. I much prefer a true camping trip but a weekend hanging out with the girls, joking with them, teaching them new skills & listening to their giggling is always revitalizing to the spirit.

Flashlights apparently are a fabulous toy!

And Diaperbutt thought the whole thing was just fabulous. Grumpy Bear came to get him after breakfast & dropped him off again after supper but while he was with us he was a pretty happy boy, afterall he had a room full of girls all doting on him!

Read Full Post »

I have been working out with a personal trainer again for about 8 weeks now. Before that I had been doing it on my own (less successfully than I would have liked) pretty much following along the same basic program I’d been doing while in Costa Rica. It was definitely time for a change.

This certainly has shaken things up & upped the intensity. I’m glad. I was kind of sick of going to the gym & not seeing results. My results with this are so far more internal & intangible than they are scale or clothing related – but that too will come, these things take time when you have a body that apparently loves being fat.

So for those that might be interested in what I’m up to here is what we did yesterday:

Warm-Up (this is generally the same from day to day with a few small variations):

On the mat: spinal twists, scorpions, straight leg lifts, spinal bridges, fire hydrants, bird dogs & scap push-ups

Standing up: Arm circles, four to the floor, 30 jumping jacks

Down the room & back: toy soldiers, butt kickers & lunges

Oddly, although the warm-up is the easiest part of the workout I dislike it the most.


Sequence A: Squats (I’ve listed my weights below) superset with 10 Field Goals (lay on your back with a stability ball between your feet, raise your feet & arms above you & pass the ball to your hands, stretch back out reaching ball to floor above your head & reverse – that’s one).

Set #1: Bar x 15 (bar = 45lbs)

Set #2: 95 x 15

Set #3: 115 x 12

Set #4: 135 x 10

Sequence B: Walking Lunges with 15lb dumbbells (down & back, approx. 10 per leg) superset with Overhead Push Press with barbell (45 lbs)

We did 4 sets of this although usually we would only do 3. I always find the 2nd set the hardest mentally so when Marc announced after the 2nd set we still had 2 more my workout partner & I both groaned – it was like having to do the 2nd set all over again!

Sequence C: 15 Kettlebell Swings, 15 Medicine Ball Slams (I LOVE these – so much fun!) & 15 Seated Rows x 50lbs for 3 sets

Finisher: 250m row, my time was 55.7 – not terribly great but I’m getting faster

I do try to add in some more cardio on the treadmill or bike after the workouts but Tuesdays is my Girl Guide meeting night & I had to get showered & out of there quickly.

Read Full Post »

2010 is the 100th anniversary of Guiding in Canada!! We will be celebrating with all sorts of activities with the biggest being Guiding Mosaic 2010. I am super excited to be attending this event as the Co-Lead for Waterfront with my good friend Bert!

I attended Canadian Mosaic ’99 in New Brunswick as a lifeguard & Guiding Mosaic ’06 as a patrol guider & part-time lifeguard. Both experiences were absolutely fabulous, memorable events.

Bert & I have been working on getting our team in place (of course we are still needing lifeguards!) & planning out the details of the waterfront, but really I’m most excited for when everyone arrives in Guelph next July.

Read Full Post »