Girl Guide Camp Blanket vs. Camp Poncho

Girl Guide Badges

Girl Guide Badges

In today’s post, we’re entering into some pretty turbulent waters, opening up a seriously contentious debate, if you will. No, I’m not talking about Chocolatey Mint vs. Chocolate and Vanilla Classic cookies. And I’m not talking about ‘Fire’s Burning’ vs. ‘Taps’ as best ever campfire closing (man, but that would be a good debate). No, I’m talking about what is the ULTIMATE crest storage device. Yes, it’s camp blank vs. camp poncho. Let the debate begin!

My daughter Ella is a super proud member of the 5th Kanata Sparks here in Ottawa. In her two years as a Spark, she’s had some amazing leaders who’ve organized week after week of fun activities. And in this time, Ella has amassed quite the collection of crests. She’s earned crests ranging from 2nd Year Spark, Crazy for Camping, Camp Woolsey 100 Steps Forward, Sing Ontario, Sing, Daughter of the World’s Best Mom, etc. (Okay, that last one I’m making up…)

Now, as the world’s best mom of the world’s cutest Spark, I’m trying to decide what to do with all the crests. Because, well, jamming them all into a ziplock bag labeled ‘ Sew these somewhere someday’  just isn’t cutting it anymore. And, it seems, I have two choices for crest storage device – camp blanket or camp poncho. Each has its merits.

Camp blank:

  • It’s very blanket-y (i.e. it keeps you warm)
  • Works both at camp and while cuddling on the sofa at home
  • Blankets will always be in style

Camp poncho:

  • It’s very poncho-ey (i.e. you can wear it around the campfire, while debating whether to sing ‘ Fire’s Burning’  or ‘Taps’)
  • Works both as a poncho and – with a quick unfolding – as a blanket
  • Ponchos will also always be in style – at Girl Guide camp

Hmm, so it seems I haven’t really solved my dilemma. Dear bloggy friends, please help me – which should I order on the – the camp blanket or the camp poncho?

By Mary, GGC staff

This entry was posted in Girls' Guides and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Girl Guide Camp Blanket vs. Camp Poncho

  1. jmd says:

    I vote blanket. To make her a poncho that would still fit in 10 years might be a bit overlarge for your cute little spark. If you start with a small blanket it’s easy to add squares to it (more like a quilt) overtime!

  2. kirstenh says:

    Both! I have a camp blanket with a hole in the middle. I use it as a blanket and as a poncho. Best of both worlds 🙂

  3. Heather Hall says:

    Blanket for sure!! its easier to add to as she grows and her collection grows.

  4. Cathy says:

    I vote for blanket, but my real reason for commenting…

    Fire’s Burning is best used as an opening for campfire! “…draw nearer…come sing and be merry!”
    My debate is do we always sing Fire’s Burning, because it’s so beautiful done in a round, or sing Tall Trees once in a while, to change things up? And then close with Taps.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I bought my lil’ brownie, a girl guide of canada poncho. She has used it at camp twice now, and she adores the fleecy comfy poncho

  6. Anonymous says:

    I also have a blanket with a hole in the middle so it does both. you always have to pack an extra blanket to go to camp so it is needed at every camp without taking extra stuff.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Well here is what I did. I bought a blanket and an “X” in the middle for the head. The “X” can be made bigger as she grows and it is still always a blanket. Plus from a safety perspective a blanket worn as a poncho is now shorter and little ones are less likely to trip over the ends.

  8. Breanne says:

    When I was a Brownie, I *had* to have a poncho like all of my friends, and it works great as either a poncho or a blanket and I loved it. Now, 25 years later, my poncho is on the small size, but about 10 years ago I needed to get a second blanket anyway, too many badges! It’s still a blanket, but I’ve sewn all the patches on with the intention to turn it into a poncho one day, but I can’t decide! My poncho now comes to Spark and Brownie camps for the girls who don’t have a camp blanket to take a turn wearing, they really get a kick out of getting to see all the patches Brown Owl got as a girl!

  9. birdena says:

    I have to go with poncho. When my daughter was in Brownies (now 2nd year Pathfinder) her leaders made all the girls awesome ponchos out of dark blue fleece. My daughter has a huge collection of badges and that is where they are all stored. Her Patherfinder leader (who has been in guides for many years) also has hers sewn on her poncho. I think she has even had to start sewing them on the inside.

  10. I have three camp blankets… but the one I keep nearest my heart and thus use most often (because it has my Brownie, Guide, Pathfinder and Scout badges) is a big blanket with a hole in the middle. It gets nearly equal use as a blanket and as a poncho. It is also big enough that my sashes were sewn on the blanket without removing the badges. So it has a striped look: brown, blue, green, red – with the camp and challenge crests from each level sewn between the sashes. It’s quite pretty. If my house were on fire and I could only save three things they would be my two cats and my camp blanket (with a hole in the middle)!

    Whatever you choose will be useful and cherished for years to come!

  11. corrine says:

    blanket can put soooooo many badges on it had mined for 5 years still going strong got it from the girl guide store and everyone at campfires always ask where i got all the badges

  12. Shannon says:

    My daughter went camping for the first time after only a month as a Spark. She got the most amazingly warm camp blanket, complete with her name and first camp crest sewn into it. I vote blanket. Who doesn’t want to curl up in their fuzzy warm camp blanket and see their accomplishments!

  13. link is broken in the post!

    Great topic, Mary!

  14. Treefrot says:

    Wow have you ever started a debate! We are having the same discussion in our unit…personally i just bought a blanket, but if you have tons of ‘STUFF’ – its nice to show it off at campfire!

  15. Both! If your daughter is starting as a Spark and already amassing a pile of sewables, Badges will go on the poncho and patches on the blanket. I have watched my sister the Guider and my neice the Ranger (former Spark) who does camps in the summer (some international and comes home with tons of swaps), struggle to find space on their blankets-come-ponchos.

  16. I suggest blanket. The good ol’ growing x in the centre works wonders. Also convienent when you are travelling, and can actually be used as a blanket when needed, written with experience from a nasty raining camp at Foxlease in England! My blanket saved me!

  17. I’m a blanket girl. There’s nothing worse than trying to curl up at night with a blanket in your sleeping bag, only to have it make you cold because it got damp sitting out at the fire. A camp blanket tucked in your sleeping bag to stay dry & warm that has LOTS of room for crests is the way to go; the fact that it can double up as a blanket on your couch/car/or where ever else you see fit, doesn’t hurt either.

  18. Christina says:

    The link at the end of the blog doesn’t take you to the Girl Guide store.

  19. NavyHawk says:

    I love the poncho. We actually made ours at a camp as a Ranger so it’s nice and long. I have all my sashes on it as well as crests that I get now. Yes, as leaders we order extra challenge crests because we do the challenges too and we love getting crests!

  20. Kim says:

    I had the same problem with my Spark. My solution keep it as a blanket for now. A poncho that fits now will be far to small later. But leave space in the centre to make it into a poncho later. Good luck!

  21. Leslie says:

    I have both. I made the poncho first and now am working on the blanket. But since she is so small, I would say start with a blanket that can be turned into a poncho later. Or you can do a poncho and add extra fabric around the edges when she gets older the same way you would do a quilt. You can even line the back of it later on with a nice fleece or flannel fabric to hide the seams and make it extra cozy.

  22. Kelly says:

    My daughter is a Brownie and loves her poncho. We have sewn her spark sash on it and have saved room for her Brownie and Guide sash. It also has all of my old Brownie badges on it and many other crests. She wears it in parades, at camp and just hanging out at home. I don’t think she would have used a blanket nearly as much.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I say poncho. As a leader, I prefer to see the girls wearing a poncho that they can still eat s’mores in around the campfire, vs. trying to work around a blanket, keeping it on etc. I find in my units, the girls with blankets never ‘wear’ them, they stay in their tents and don’t get shown off – the funnest part! of course, my girls wear their poncho’s to more than camp – any outdoor activity has them wearing them – quite often over their winter coat!

  24. Heather says:

    I vote for both. I have ponchos for my girls to put their fun crests on. They can then wear them to parades and campfires. I put their sashes from their Sparks and Brownies on their Blankets and once done all the levels they will have space to add more crests on the blanket too. The blankets are great for inside their sleeping bags.

  25. Katy says:

    Poncho all the way you can use it as a blanket and you can walk with it on

  26. Suzanne Anderson says:

    Poncho or blanket? OR VEST?! I have a third option, leave it to a guider to think out of the box, I made each spark a vest…and added their first crest as they grew out of it they could change and add those crests to a blanket or a poncho, they got lots of use fromthe vests, and I had one to match…theu loved seeing mine and as the years went by I got more and more crests, I now have an adult vest since after a while a fleece vest gets bally and the crest hide this, I have kept my Spark vest as is.

  27. Melanie says:

    Definitely a poncho, and a home made one out of good quality polar fleece with a nice big hood and pocket to store your song books, flashlight etc for campfire, trips to the outhouse … By the time the poncho is too small, she will have filled it with badges, sashes and crests and will need a new one anyway. A poncho makes a great blanket to go over, under or around a sleeping bag too. Anything with badges sewn to it gets too uncomfortable to have inside a sleeping bag.

  28. Holly says:

    We made camp blankets with our Guides this year, except in our neck of the woods “camp blanket” actually means a camp poncho – It’s a big square of fleece, with kangaroo pockets on the inside and on the outside, a hole in the middle with a hood! We used a pattern designed for older girls/adults, but all we did to accommodate our smallest girls (we have a few spark-sized guides!) was make the hood the normal size, but tack it in on either side (at the shoulders) so that it fit them now. Then as they get older (or maybe even by the end of the year – tis the time for growth spurts!), they can take the tacks out and it will still fit!

  29. Ma Name says:

    I think ponchos are great, but a blanket-turned-poncho is best.

  30. randomcam says:

    I am a second year pathfinder and I got my camp blanket in my first year of brownies. I am 13 and I can’t fall asleep without it! I take it everywhere too, from roadtrips to summer camp it’s always there. I have sewed my guide sash on it, and as you sew more badges on it, the blanket gets warmer and warmer =). I DEFFINETLY vote blanket!!!

  31. mandylanthier says:

    I know I’m late, but I’m a mom to a Spark and Brownie. As a Christmas present when my oldest was a Spark they were each given a Pink Poncho. (And she again got a blue one for Brownies)
    What my friends are doing who’s daughter goes up to Brownies this coming Sept. is they are sewing Blue onto the Pink one to make it larger and will continue to do that as they get older.
    Another friend is going to get Blue Poncho’s done and add Pink for “Sparks” then continue that way.

  32. Chelsey says:

    Totally Blanket with a hole in the middle. I have that, and it’s nice and warm for campfires AND for a second blanket when sleeping outside.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I’m a single Dad raising both my girls, since One was 2.5yrs old and the other 6.5 yrs old, Both are now in girl guides, one moving to Brownnies, one in Guides. And we are now making Camp Blankets, but I am getting each of them to mark and cut each of the squares of colors 9″X9″ and mark the sewing line. They are doing great, by the end of summer vacation, they will have both learned how to measure, cut and use a sewing machine, and made their blankets from scratch. They are only 6 and 10, but the time we spend doing this will be priceless.

  34. Anonymous says:

    T- shirt – I am currently in the same position and I have last year Jrs who just finished the bronze award – the sash front still has room for badges – but we have lots of fun patches that filled the back – I am opting for a GS tee they can wear the tee and the sash showing all the badges.

  35. cc says:

    no matter what you decided know this. If your daughter decides to continue through guiding she will amass a great deal of badges. you will go through or change where she keeps her badges over the years. first step pin badges to camp hat…. when full move badges to camp poncho/blanket… third step keep adding badges to hat…. when full move to blanket when blanket full add a new fleece attachment or sew entire poncho/blanket to larger blanket….. add badges to hat… etc. etc. I loved wearing my camp hat with all my pins and trades and badges and when it got two heavy (about three years) I moved the badges to a jean vest…. then added remaining to my poncho/blanket. I still add to my vest and to my poncho.. I get (as a leader) about 16-20 fun patches a year. it all depends on how many camps and challenges I get to go to or assist with.

  36. Emily says:

    I am in guides and i’m going to WS this summer and i got a camp blanket but I still love ponchos my sisters both has them so I wanted to be different {although i regret that choice because all my friends going have ponchos!}

  37. Pathfinders ROCKS! says:

    I’m in my first year of pathfinders and LOVE my poncho. My cousin made it when she was in girl guides. I sew all my crests & badges on it. I still have to sew my sash on it from last year. It is green (perfect for pathfinders) and has a hood with a drawstring and two big pockets (one isn’t sewn on yet). The pockets are so big, that I can spread my fingers out in them and still have room for my flashlight. It’s really warm when I sit around the campfire but I’ve only actually cuddled up with it once because it still has safety pins to hold the pocket to the poncho.I VOTE PONCHO!!!!!

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