Why giving girls a little bit of freedom in the great outdoors is a recipe for awesome

Think Sparks are too little to cook their own meal or set off on an adventure? Think again. As this Guider writes, when girls get outdoors and have the chance to discover just what they can do on their own, they’ll show you they’re pretty unstoppable.

As a Girl Guide volunteer who’s been lucky enough to work with girls of every age, it always amazes me when I hear other Guiders (or parents) say “Oh, if you’re working with Sparks you probably can’t do {insert uber fun, cool or challenging activity}. They are just toooooo little!”

WHAT? Sure, I can’t take my Sparks white water rafting but can a Spark go canoeing for the day? YOU BET SHE CAN! And, this small adventure may give her the confidence to try out for a new school team or to tackle some rapids when she’s a Pathfinder or Ranger.

When our group of awesomely capable Sparks recently visited a local Girl Guide camp for  an afternoon of adventure, they proved once again just how awesomely capable they truly are. We started off roasting hot dogs on an open fire. Each girl had their own roasting stick and safely cooked their own lunch like the mini culinary pros that they are. Shocking, right? When their hot dog was roasted to perfection, the girls got busy getting their own buns and toppings. (Yes, some did have a bit too much ketchup on them, but that’s what napkins are for!) Then we had s’mores for dessert – because obviously.

Girls cooking at campfire

 

Next it was off to the shore of Lake Okanagan to have some land training for our canoeing fun. We donned our life jackets and into the canoes we went. Each girl got to paddle along the shore of the lake proving they’re ready to go anywhere.

Girls canoeing at camp

Once back on shore, the girls got to work on a craft that involved some pretty intricate knot tying. A few friends had said to me, “Oh, I bet you’ll end up having to finish all those crafts. Five and six-year olds can’t tie knots let alone their own shoes.”  Well, doubters back off – the girls persisted and all of them completed their own distinctively styled flip flops.

Girls doing flip flop craft

So before dismissing a fun activity as too challenging for younger girls, think again. By encouraging age-appropriate levels of independence and freedom, girls can discover just how brightly they can shine on their own and succeed at whatever path they choose. And that’s what’s so awesome about Guiding – it gives girls a sense of fearlessness and independence they can’t get anywhere else.

Guest post by Claire Sokoloski, a Sparks Guider in West Kelowna, B.C. She has been lucky enough to work in all the branches of Guiding as well as travelling numerous times with older girls. Currently Claire is also the Monashee Area Program Adviser.

 

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