Submitted by Stacie Pecarski aka Brown Owl. The guiding year starts in late September (details below) and this is an example of the kinds of activities girls can participate in.
Thirty-four girls aged 5 to 17 from the Valley experienced camping in the Serengeti Bush Camp at the Toronto Zoo in June. Members of the 1st Barry’s Bay Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinder and Ranger Unit were intentionally locked in the Zoo overnight and got to run around at dawn with black light flashlights while the African animals kept a very close eye on them. (Above: camping in the Serengeti)
After an early wakeup call and bus trip, they arrived at the Toronto Zoo at 10 a.m. The girls had free time to roam the Zoo with their parent or guardian (shown at left) and they “enjoyed the splash pad,” said Olivia. A ride in the zoomobile was much appreciated because “Our feet hurt from walking all day,” said Bella. The Unit received a personalized guided tour of the African animals, met Tony (a 4500 pound rhino) and fed some carrots and apples to an eland. After supper, the girls participated in a black light scavenger hunt. They enjoyed s’mores and finally went to bed at 11 p.m. They were awakened to Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata from Disney’s Lion King and had breakfast with Tony the rhino, which Alexis said, “It was like a feast.” Their second day at the Zoo included another personal tour, a chance to touch a snake and learn about other African animals inside the exhibit. As the zoomobile took them back to the main gates, Jordyn said, “Sunday was the best day ever.” Cheyenne and Bella said a highlight was “spending time with just their moms.”
The 1st Barry’s Bay Sparks, Brownie, Guide, Pathfinder, Ranger unit acknowledges community support over the past few years, without which their trip would not have happened. Donations paid for the trip to the zoo (Musclow bus lines and driver, Doug) and cookie sales covered a small fee per girl/adult and the overnight zoo admission. Some supporters include the Barry’s Bay Legion Branch #406, the Ladies Auxiliary to Legion Branch #406 and the Combermere Craft Cabin. The Unit acknowledges our local businesses that allow us to sell our cookies each year like Barry’s Bay Metro, Yuills Valu-mart, St. Francis Memorial Hospital gift shop, and all of our parents and girls who take their cookie cases into their workplaces to sell as well as our girls for walking door to door, and all the people who buy our cookies!
The Unit also thanks the individuals in Barry’s Bay and the surrounding areas who donated money to our group for our trip and all individuals who donated craft supplies throughout the years. Thanks also to the people donating a gift of time to our girls like Maggie (craft hours), and Kim Shalla (Zumba), knitting ladies and many more.
The Unit’s first weekly meeting this fall is an Open House to meet the leaders on Monday September 30 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at St. John Bosco School. Click HERE to visit them on Facebook: 1st Barry’s Bay Spark/Brownie/Guide/Pathfinder/Ranger Unit.