Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lifetime Friendships Around the World

My neighbour and best friend got me involved me in Girl Guides.  I was shy and would not do anything without Ally that involved Guides. We advanced up to Pathfinders together then she decided that she did not want to continue anymore. I made the decision to stay in Pathfinders, which was the best thing for me.  It took me a little while to come around and warm up to the others. However, by the end of the year I branched out and began to make lots of new friends; some of them being friendships that I will have for a lifetime.

Last summer, a group of Pathfinders and Rangers traveled to Ireland to attend Camp 101. We created many new friendships and made so many new memories to keep until the next time we see each other.  Many of the Rangers, even had the chance to reunite with our Irish friend Niamh that attended GM 2010.  We had an awesome time catching up and made many new memories. 

On the last day of camp, we packed up our tent and were getting ready to leave camp for our tour of Ireland.  6 of us stood at the edge of the road with our suitcases waving goodbye to many cars pulling out of the park.  One van stopped and two girls came out to give their last goodbyes.  In my mind I knew that it wasn’t our final goodbye, we were going to see each other again.  Shortly after our trip, I found out my guess was right. There was a message from our friend Lucy, letting us know that she was coming to Canada in the summer. In March, it was for sure that we were going to be able to see her. We were so excited!

When the day finally came, my friend Cassie and I picked her up at the airport in Toronto. We headed to show her Niagara Falls and stayed overnight.  The next day, we headed back to Windsor/Essex to show her around.  We enjoyed working our way around the area with stops at Costco, the mall, the waterfront, and our Girl Guide Camp: Camp Bryerswood. Throughout the short time she was here, she was able to see all the Rangers that she met in Ireland. Each evening, we gathered for a campfire to catch up on stories, create memories and of course sing campfire songs while making delicious s’mores.

Even though Lucy was only here with us for 5 days, all 6 Rangers were able to see her and make new memories.  We had the time of our lives during her visit and cannot wait for the next one hopefully in 2016. Saying goodbye was tough at the airport, but I know I will see her again in the near future. 

Over the past 10 years, of making friends in Guiding, I have made friends from all over the world. I love keeping in touch with them whether it is through sending care packages in the mail to my friend Hanna in Winnipeg, or chatting on Facebook to friends from Guiding Mosaic and Camp 101.  While making these lifelong friendships, I have learned that distance is not what counts when you are friends with somebody. What counts is the memories that you make, and what you make of the time you have with the friends you meet until you reunite with them again

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just the beginning of a new adventure

Two years ago, while I attending Guiding Mosaic 2010 in Guelph, Ontario, I met two Irish Girl Guides with whom I became very good friends.   Along with the 7 other Kanata Rangers, I built a strong friendship by the end of camp with Niamh and Laura.  Most of us were sure that we wanted to reunite with these girls again.  What we didn’t know then that, two years later, we would be on a plane heading to Ireland to see our friends and to attend Camp 101.

                Arriving at Camp 101 a day early was a little nerve-racking, but we were warmly welcomed by all of the staff.  After having difficulty pitching tents in the cold rainy weather, all of us were able to get a good night of sleep.  Opening day was a big day. 1400 girls from all over the world were arriving at camp and setting up their campsite for the next week.  Opening Ceremonies were awesome! Before the evening was kicked off with a performance by a boy band, the entire camp was introduced to the camp’s theme: “Together we can change the world.” Chief Commissioners, mayors, and the camp chiefs all made fabulous speeches.  

                Day activities for girls and staff were a blast! Most girls gave offsite team activities a shot, and I tried a Zip It! Some even tried their hand at Trangia Cooking and organizing a flash mob.  Visitors’ day was a very unique day at camp; over 2000 people came to visit the camp from all over Ireland. Guides were happy to see their parents.  Parents were happy to see how much fun their child was having.  Evening activities were very unique.  A continental ceili, a performance from Rory Malone, and a talent show taught us a lot about different cultures around the world. 

                Closing ceremonies arrived and were amazing. Nadine El Achy made a speech reflecting on the week’s past events along with the theme “changing the world.” She explained to all of us that no one is too small for the job of changing the world.  The smallest things that we could imagine could help make a difference in somebody’s life.  After her impactful speech, we stood together to sing the camp song “Together We Change the World.”  After this, we gathered around a campfire to sing our favourite camp songs. Then came the most exciting part: fireworks!

                I enjoyed every single minute of Camp 101 and learning how to change the world.  My favourite memories are the friendships I made and the friends with whom I was able to reunite.  There was nothing better than creating such strong friendships within only a week’s time.  I was even able to reunite with my friend Niamh from Guiding Mosaic 2010.  It certainly didn’t feel like it was two years since I last saw her, nor did it feel like there had been 4000 miles between us during this time.

                When camp was finished, I was sad that I had to leave, but I knew that the friends I made would be more than just memories.  I learned that if each of us picked one small thing to help someone, we would really be changing the world.  On the last day at camp, a huge group of friends gathered in front of our bus to say goodbye with lots of hugs.  As the bus rolled away, I had tears in my eyes.  However, the knowledge that I would eventually see all of those friends again made leaving much easier. Goodbyes can be hard, but everyone should remember that it is not the end.  This experience was the beginning of a new adventure that will last a lifetime. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lights! Camera! Action!

Smiles on girls faces, and on staff just didnt happen throughout the day, but also in the evening during special events.   The planning committee did a great job on organizing these great events.

Rory Malone came to visit us on Friday evening. Crowds of girls gathered around to cheer after every one of romantic love songs.  Then afterwards, Mama Mia sing a long was heard through the entire camp.

- taken by Katherina Wiese

On Friday night, the girls and staff gathered in the big marquis for a continental ceili. Beginning the evening with a competive girls team in Irish Dancing.  They were so cute and little. Next they had, the salsa, jazz, hip hop.  Any dance that you could think of, was available to learn.

Saturday night, the girls had many options on what they could do in the evening.  The ghostly shavnack hunt was a huge hit.  Girls began with a clue or a hint and had to find their food to have dessert.  Going through the tunnels and the Moylurg Tower, they found the supplies to make a s'more. 

The sensory tent, was a fun activity that you could take your shoes off.  Stepping and feeling different things throughout the tent was a unique experience.   The sensory walk took place on the tree top walk.  While blindfolded with a partner, the person blindfolded would have to listen or feel what was in front of them.  

Of course there was crafts in the main marquis as well. Which included, Fondue.  Who would turn down fondue? Certainly not me!! I saw the aftermath of the mess, it looked like it was enjoyed. 

Sunday Morning the entire camp participated in the Guides Own. A time to reflect and have inspiration on what has happened in the past and future for Guiding.

Sunday evening, each sub camp had auditions for Lough Key Got Talent. Even though not everybody made it to the finals, every one did a fabulous job.  

Monday evening, we were in for a real treat.  Each sub camp had a few acts.  Each and everyone of us enjoyed watching them.  In first place was a Indian dance.  They incorporated the Irish flag and an Irish Girl Guide in the center.

Every event, had a wonderful memory.  We learned something new everytime.  Special events like this are always my favourite at Internation events. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zip it!

Shoot through the trees, and enjoy the view of the ground.   Lots of girls had a blast trying what the Zip it courses had to offer.  At the beginning of the session, girls were given instructions and an initiation course on how to work their harnesses, then they were sent off to conquer the courses.  

Zip it offered 3-4 different courses.  They were labelled with different colours.  Blue being the course with a few good zips and the most challenging for most.  Mama Lynn and others stood on the ground encouraging the girls to finish, even if they were scared. 

In the evenings, staff had a chance to go and try to conquer these wonderful structures.  After I saw a couple of the bruises that some had, I opted not to do it. I already had a few from tripping of the post that was beside the tent. 

Zip It had a wonderful turn out, the staff team worked very well together. I heard nothing but good things from the girls that had a chance to do it. 

Good job Zip it team

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Who wants to play some Boda Borg?

Excitement, team work, and cheers! Who doesnt enjoy that? Every girl and most staff members gave a go at one of the activities Lough Key activity park had to offer: The Boda Borg. A unique challenge that originated in Sweden. It is a gym size room seperated with 47 different rooms and 15 quests. Rooms are labelled with a name and a colour. A green door meant the puzzles inside were mental. A red door meant the puzzles inside were physical and mental. A black door meant that the puzzles inside were physical and a bit tougher to complete. In teams of 3-5 people the girls took on one room of their choice at a time. The fun part: you never knew what you were going to walk into. Once the door closed you have 2 minutes to complete the challenge with no instructions. If a green light showed above the door, girls were able to move through the door leading to the next challenge. When you reached the end of the quest without any mistakes, you get to stamp your card to say its done. However, if you do something wrong, you must leave and start at the beginning of the quest again. So how many people have actually accomplished the whole Boda Borg? When we arrived we were told that only 23 teams have completed the entire thing. After camp 101, I believe the number has gone up to at least 26, maybe more. Our Canadian group attempted the Boda Borg, the day we arrived. We did well for a first try , but a lack of sleep due to jet lag did not help by any means. My team had fun doing the farm, when you had to warm up the chicken eggs As well, as crawling under lasers. The best, the Ropes quest! We never figured it out! Trying to lay on the ropes while climbing through them did not work out very well. The girls had a blast completing these challenges and quests. Everytime I asked a Guide this was one of their favourite activities.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Opening Ceremonies

The moment that we were all waiting for: Camp 101 to be offically open. Groups arrived earlier in the day to set up camp and meet new camping friends. Staff worked together to prepare for the ceremonies and set up the rest of camp, along with a couple of trainings. My first job at camp was sanitizing the water hose for water bottles. Yuck! But, I got to see the entire campsite.
After dinner, there was lots of press and photographers getting ready for the big event. Our Ranger group got our picture taken with two Irish girls. Guess what! The last day of camp, there was a souvenir portion in the newspaper, and our photo was in it.
Everybody filed it, and got ready for the big event. While getting everybody seated, a group of girls sang: I want to camp with you. This was the moment where it actually hit me. "OMG, its true, and not a dream. I'm in Ireland." When the ceremony began, each country brought down their flag. 12 countries attended Camp 101. Various speeches were presented by Chief Commisioners,the Roscommon Mayor, and of course the Camp Chief Maria Kindlay.
You can not forget the Irish dance! Dancers danced around the cauldron with 8 different coloured ribbons to represent each Global Action Theme. Afterwards, the crowd stood up to sing "together we can the world" our camp song for the week. It was amazing seeing everybody do the same actions at the same time.
Next up, a band named Cadence came on stage to play a few songs for us. We were all so excited, we ran up to the stage (even though we were told not to, we did anyway. While playing some amazing songs, everybody was jumping and cheering. Some of weren't even jumping, and we were bouncing up and down. I walked out in the middle of a song for only a minute. The next thing I know it, everybody is coming out of the marquis. The amount of pressure and bouncing on the floor, caused it to cave in and break in several spots. No one let it damper there night. Instead, we sat outside and listened to a few more songs while enjoying the beautiful sunset over the lake. The floor guys arrived to fix the floor, around the time everybody headed to bed. Hammering was heard across the camp til about 3am in the morning, but I think most of us slept through it.
The nights events were a great way to kick off, the great week that was ahead of us

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Adventures and Tales of the "Good" Ole Irish Weather

It’s for sure that all the international contingents have endured a lot of rain while they were in Ireland. During our visit, we had to expect at least one rain shower every day. Before anyone arrived at camp, the weather was so horrible that they had to move the campsites around three times before they found decent ground. Our group ended up at camp a day early in the down pouring rain. Of course we had to put up our tent up in it. (That never fails) It took six Canadian Rangers and three Irish to put up our tent. I didn’t think it would be rocket science until I realized that the fly had to go first. Then, the pods where you sleep connect from the inside of the fly and then a tarp goes on the group so the floor wouldn’t get soaked. With only 2 hours of sleep on the plane we never thought to put the tarp and pods inside the fly. Therefore they had a good soak before we realized they were sitting in the rain.
Overcast over the lake Due the incorporate weather and the lack of room in our tent three of decided to create a mountain of luggage after we tripled checked again absolutely everything in our suitcase was in a plastic bag. It gave us extra room to get in and out of the tent and we were able to throw a huge tarp over our bags to make sure puddles didn’t form on the outside of the suitcases. However, every time someone needed to get into their suitcase things got really messy. The weather got better throughout the week. It still rained of, but we got so used to it, none of us realized it.
Never went every where without a rain jacket. This was visitors day. It started off nice, then rainy and then COLD! Ireland just doesn’t get rain showers! We experienced sun showers a few times too. The sun would be shining with a few clouds and then all of the sudden it would just pour rain. The last day of camp, a few of us ran out in it and played on the equipment. Our bums got wet from sitting on the equipment.
Our group woke up to sun and not a cloud in the sky one morning after camp. A leader woke us up yelling; “FIRE DRILL, FIRE DRILL” to get us out of bed and made sure we all saw the beautiful weather. Somebody didn’t want to get out of bed, so they dragged her outside in her sleeping bag. A leader took out her pad of paper and asked everybody to give her a penny and an estimate on what time it would rain. Guess what everybody? It rained!
double rainbow Despite the daily rain forecasts everyone was still very happy and continued with the program. I and sure of lots of others can now say we are pro campers in the rain