Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#VirtualVacation: Camping in Canada

From camping in Canada to hiking in the Swiss Alps to fine dining in the Big Apple, GSCTX Girl Scouts are on the move this summer going on whirlwind ADVENTURES! Following along on their journey here on the Cookie Bites Blog and our other social media platforms! 

Arriving in Canada, ay
We arrived at Camp Woods in Alberta, Canada in the dark and had to walk so far to our campsite we thought we were going to get lost. We were assigned a buddy patrol from Alberta and they set-up our tents up for us which was really nice. The sleeping mats were helpful but didn't help enough from the rocky terrain. The first day of camp activities was a great way to start off the week. We started with Izzy Dolls, our service project for the week. Izzy dolls were crocheted dolls named after a Canadian solider whose mother made them. The Canadian soldier took the dolls when him on his travels and  gave the dolls to children who had been through war and disaster. They are still given out today to children who have experienced same types of tragedies. The dolls were also used to protect medicine while it is being shipped. Erin, didn't know how to crochet before attending camp and now she knows how to sew and crochet. Later that day we went voyager canoeing. Voyager canoes are really long canoes that can hold 10 to 12 men and all their belongings. These canoes were a used to ship furs and explore along the Canadian waterways during early Canadian settlements.  Even though we got really wet while canoeing, it was fun to learn about the early explorer culture. At opening ceremonies that evening we got to see all of the flags raised and Emma raised the American flag. In total there were thirteen Canadian provinces and territories and twelve countries represented. Each countries' national anthem was played while the flag was being raised.

It takes a village...
There were over 2,700 campers and we were divided into 13 villages and colors. All of the villages were named after the peaks and ridges of the Alberta Canadian Rockies. Our village was Grizzly Peak and the color of our bucket hats was Aggie maroon. Throughout the week there were challenges to compete for the village cup. Even though it was a competition with the other villages you still made friends. Mackenzie made many new international friends and got a new pen pal. None of us had been to Canada before and we really enjoyed our time in this melting pot of scouts.

Every evening we went back to our village and sang around the camp fire and played games with the other girls. Erin liked hearing different variations of songs and learning new ones. It was also very fun to see all of the other people and their cultures displayed at international marketplace. The international marketplace was in the commons area, a place where people could gather to play games, buy postcards and learn about Canada. We played card games a lot! When it was our turn to  display Scouting in the USA at the International, gave away, tattoos and stickers. We also traded SWAPs and patches with the guides who would visit our table.

Canadian Camp Life 
The rest of the week was packed with great program activities such as fencing, learning about Canadian culture and history, and assorted crafts. For our out trip we went to Calgary Heritage Park. During the morning, we spent time touring the historic houses of the park to wait out the rain. Such houses included the famous five Canadian women who fought for women's suffrage, and Peter Prince a major industrialist of the 1800's. Another feature of the park was Gasoline Alley which housed restored vintage cars from as early as 1890. In the afternoon when the rain let up, we went from shop to shop and bought souvenirs. The park was divided into different periods of time in Canadian history. Our favorite was the fur trade center. Ainsley learned that beaver skins were used for Abe Lincoln's hat and that hat makers used Mercury while making hats. The Mercury got into their bloodstream and made them crazy, which is where the term mad-hatters comes from.

It rained at least once a day.  We all decided we would rather be wet and cold than hot and sweaty. One day, when we were building rafts by the waterfront, it started to thunderstorm. We had to find shelter and wait until the storm passed. Some girls were scared and cold but we sang songs to get through it. Emma learned some new songs and loved feeling clueless about the ones being sung in French. The whole camp became so muddy they had to lay down wooden pallets for everyone to walk over because whenever you stepped in mud your foot got stuck. By the last day of camp everyone was calling it "mud"saic.

Saying Goodbye 
Kate was the only one who had never been out of the country before and loved that Guiding Mosaic was her first international trip. Closing ceremonies brought the week of camp to a close. A live band, video montage, presentation of the village cup and the last good-bye's to our new friends created wonderful memories for us to remember forever. The friends that we made will never be forgotten. Although we had to travel less than other Canadian groups who came there it was fun to be considered international. We are really glad we went on this trip. We wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet the friends that we did and can't wait to get in touch with them after camp. Overall we had an awesome time and would 110% do it again!

Our Guiding Mosaic adventure has given us experience to share with other girls who are looking to travel in the future. Here is our advice:

Emma - If you ever have a chance to go to an international camp, do it!
Mackenzie - Be prepared for weather, always!
Kate - Bring rain boots, you won't regret it.
Erin - Bring lots of SWAPs.
Ainsely - Make sure you are prepared for all types of weather.  

The Guiding Mosaic 5
Emma J., Mackenzie N., Kate H., Erin N., Ainsley E.

#VirtualVacation platforms 

 Twitter: @gsctxcouncil
Instagram: @GSCTX 
YouTube: Girl Scouts of Central Texas 

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