Oct 2, 2014

Posted by in My Life's Quirks | 2 Comments

My Life’s Quirks – Camping With the Girl Guides – an Update


Back in June of 2011, I posted a special Vlog edition of My Life’s Quirks. The topic: my first camping experience with the Girl Guide Sparks. I remember that trip vividly. The rain, the awkwardness, the Canada Goose poop…everywhere… *shudders* What I had actually forgotten about that time was how nervous I was and how I wanted out. In that post, I talk about how I am NOT an outdoors person. At all.
Re-visiting that post reminded me how much things can change. Let’s see how I feel about camping and outdoor adventures today, a little over three years later.

Starting last Christmas, I started asking for gift cards as gifts to specific stores so that I could purchase proper camping gear and clothing. This year we purchased a massive tent and kitchen shelter and I got warm socks, a new raincoat and rain pants. I also got a new sleeping bag (as did my daughter) and we all purchased new camp sleeping mats. Jason received a camp stove as a gift for father’s day and we purchased all the items needed when cooking outdoors, either on his new stove or over a fire. We wanted to use these things to camp as a family but also to camp with the Girl Guides or Scouts (now that Jason and my son are with the Beavers).

You see, in that video from 2011, I was just a lowly mom helping out at camp. The following year, I was asked to help out in the Sparks unit (for girls aged 5 and 6) and agreed but with the stipulation that I had no time to actually plan anything or do anything other than show up. The year after that, my daughter moved on the Brownies and the leader went too as her daughter was also moving up to Brownies. And what did I do? I decided to run the Sparks unit. Yup. I went from “I have no time to do anything” to “I can be in charge and plan ALL the meetings and activities”. *heads desk* Luckily, that year I only had 2 Sparks in my unit. The next year (as in last year), I kept being in charge because I realized that I truly enjoyed it and loved the age group and the program the Sparks follow. Last year I had 10 Sparks. And this year, I have 13. I still love it but the more girls I have, the more time it uses up so this year already, after only three meetings, I am feeling swamped. But I would not give it up for anything.

A very important part of Girl Guides, no matter the age of the girls, is camping. Teaching skills and taking part in activities girls most probably would not have the opportunity to try otherwise. I love bringing my Sparks to camp. I love seeing their faces when they see the night sky full of stars – something not many see from home thanks to the lights. I love taking them on hikes and showing them the different trees and having them touch and feel nature. I love doing hat crafts and helping them earn badges while continuing with Girl Guide traditions. It’s fun and it’s stuff these little girls will remember.

My going from ‘I hate camping and outdoors’ to ‘I don’t mind it and I actually think it’s pretty darn cool’ started when I went to Guider Camp Training, a weekend training session put on by Girl Guides for the ladies who volunteer, last October. I learned SO MUCH that weekend! Many different outdoor cooking methods, planning camps and activities, starting a fire (that I’m still working on) and much more. That course gave me the confidence to go with my Sparks and put on a camp that they would think was super awesome. And seeing how fun it was, I wanted my family to have that too. I wanted Jason, my kids and I to have that experience together as a family. And we did this summer for the first time and they were two of the best weekends we’ve ever had as a family.

So basically, I am COMPLETELY different when it comes to my views on camping than I was three years ago. I went from someone who tried to save face in front of my daughter while, at the same time, begging Jason not to leave me at the camp to someone who wants to go out there and show what I know to the girls and to my own kids. I even went to another training session a couple of weeks ago and learned to canoe, geocache, identify trees, hike using all five of my senses and archery! I even climbed a tiny bit of a high ropes course – an amazing feat seeing how I am quite afraid of falling from high places!

I still don’t like bugs and I still hate severe weather if I’m outside, but the rain isn’t as much of a bother and the bugs, well I use LOTS of heavy duty strength bug spray and call it a day.

I was cry-laughing while watching the video in my original post because, if you told ‘that’ Julie three years ago that she would be IN CHARGE of the Sparks and that she would not only plan camps but go with the girls and KNOW WHAT SHE WAS DOING (for the most part), she would laugh in your face. But it really goes to show how much a person, if you stay open to certain things, can grow in a short period of time.

And come out better for it.

Camping with the Girl Guides – an update. Just another one of my life’s quirks.


That’s me, climbing the high ropes ‘playground’ at Doe Lake Girl Guide camp two weekends ago.  So hard!  But so rewarding.  I made it up the two long boards then called it done.  🙂


  1. Lisa Robinson says:

    Wow! Julie, I am so proud of you! You sure hid it well. I always thought you we’re game for anything that was thrown your way, lol.And to think that you are now a Kick-ass Girl Guide Leader.

  2. What a wonderful post, so lovely to hear such positive experiences of being a leader. I was a leader for 12 years before moving country, having 3 kids and a job that involved working up to 3 nights a week got in the way. I wonder if it will come full circle for me at some point. I’ve just taken on the waiting list for the scout group my husband is a leader at (who I met on an international jamboree). Thin end of the wedge again I am thinking 🙂 Guiding and Scouting had a major long lasting impact on my life, just think what wonderful things you are doing for those little sparks (called Rainbows here in the UK).

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