Guides, Pathfinders rally in Barwick

Girl Guides and Pathfinders from across the La Verendrye Division came together as their annual year-end rally, dubbed “Ticks and Tornados,” took to the field at Sturgeon Creek School in Barwick over the weekend.
And meeting new friends was a priority, with 110 participants plus leaders sharing a campsite for the two nights.
“They enjoyed the camaraderie,” noted Sandi Tibbs, chairperson for the rally and director of camping for the La Verendrye Division.
“They were not shy,” added Tami Forbes, an Emo Guide and Brownie leader, noting the girls quickly became friends.
“My favourite part was meeting new friends,” enthused Fort Frances Guide Simone Desjardins.
“Hanging around with my friends. That was my favourite part,” echoed Devlin Guide Sami Manty.
One of the highlights of the weekend was jingle dancing inside the school gym with instructors Edna Bombay and Denise Bluebird, with Nick Bruyere, B.J. Wilson, John Grozelle, and Jason Tate keeping the beat on the drum.
After that session, the drummers signed autographs for about 20 minutes. Fort Frances Guide Natalie Desjardins said she was amazed at how much work and how long it took them to learn to drum.
“And the women were popular for pictures,” Forbes added.
For the Pathfinders, Tibbs felt the horseback riding at the home of Helen Cates was a hit. She noted that was one of the reasons many of them came to this year’s rally.
Other activities included nature walks with Bev Rinke, compass and map training with Judy Kaufman, drama with Mary Elder, horseback riding with Helen Cates, archery with Dave Berry, and a weather craft with Pam Hawley.
“They earned different sections on badges,” explained Darlene Desjardins, guide-in-charge of the First Fort Frances Girl Guides, adding instructors for the courses volunteered their time to help out.
“I liked going through the bush. I just like being in the forest. You can find some really neat stuff,” said Kim Pacarenuk of Watten Township.
“I learned some names of some of the flowers in the bush,” agreed Manty, with Simone Desjardins adding they saw a Lady Slipper.
Then on Saturday night, each Guide and Pathfinder group threw a decorated log on the bonfire held next door at Bob and Bonnie Steele’s home.
The only complaint–“too much traffic,” Pacarenuk said, noting it kept her awake.
The weekend only had one slight mishap but it didn’t involve the youngsters. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, strong winds knocked over the leaders’ tent so they were up reinforcing their shelter, as well as the other tents so they didn’t blow over.
But overall, everything went well and leaders were pleased with the rally, which is held in this area every seven years.
“Just seeing the girls’ faces when they experienced something like this [was the highlight],” Desjardins noted, adding she was pleased when the girls talked about what they would be doing in Guides this fall.
Forbes agreed, noting the rally not only gave the girls a chance to go camping together but to see how large the Girl Guide and Pathfinder movement is.
“We’re hoping that they’ll have a better understanding of culture,” Tibbs added, noting that tied into the whole theme of the weekend.