Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Be Prepared, Not Scared

This week we completed the Be Prepared, Not Scared Challenge Crest.  Available from the Alberta Region here.  

We have always enjoyed doing Challenge Crests with our Sparks.  First, because we like the skills it teaches, and secondly, because our kids love showing them off when we go to camps.  Nothing like a proud five year old with a sash full of completed challenges.  I always enjoyed earning badges when I was in Brownies, and since six year olds are (now) Sparks and not Brownies, they enjoy earning some too!

Our town is close enough to Slave Lake that we were one of the towns to handle people who were fleeing the Great Slave Lake Wildfire of 2011.  Though most of our Sparks were wee babes or toddlers during this, it gives us a starting point.  I checked out a book about the Slave Lake Fire from my library.  It's a local publication, but it has great pictures to use while talking about the dangers of a wildfire.  If anyone else is looking for it, it's  The Sky was on Fire: Slave Lake's Story of Disaster, Exodus and New Beginnings.  It's well worth the read.  I ended up putting post-it notes on pages that I thought the girls would find interesting, including the RCMP flagging down traffic and helping deal with the exodus, as well as pictures of our town housing some of the refugees.

There is a wonderful quote by Mr Rogers that I shared with the group.  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” It's a good quote to use in this kind of badgework.  The goal isn't to scare the girls, it's to prove to them how they can be prepared in a disaster, and be the helpers Mr Rogers was talking about.

So to complete the badge, you have to complete two activities in two sections, learn and do.

So we started with that wonderful Mr. Rogers quote, and the emphasis placed on being helpers.  Then we went around in a circle, and each girl got to share what she has done in an emergency to help her family/parents/friends.

Then we went through the book I'd borrowed.  The kids were pretty sober through that.  Then we talked about the big Calgary flood that happened just a few years ago.  I brought a few articles and pictures I'd printed from the online newspapers.  Then we talked about ways that we could help in an emergency.  Emerald and I gave big ideas, and then we asked each girl to contribute another way she could help.

Then I laid out kraft paper.  I had the girls draw two pictures, one on each piece of craft paper (as a mural).  One is the disaster, what they were thinking of, flood, fire, insects, danger etc.  The other was a way THEY could help out in that kind of situation.  From filling sandbags to getting water ready for firefighters.

Then we talked about ways that we could be prepared for an emergency at home.  I felt it was best to be specific about this one, so we talked about housefires.  How do we react?  How do we keep ourselves safe?  Who will come and help us too?  Then we played a game of it.  We practised climbing out a window by climbing on a chair, lowering ourselves over the edge and dropping down.  Then we practised going through a house filled with smoke by crawling, remembering where the door is, and getting out.  We crawled over to the door of the meeting room, checked the door for heat, and then went in and out.  Then we asked about firemen.  Do we hide in closets from firemen?  No!  We keep calm, keep close to the ground, and get to the fireman when he comes into the room so he can help us.  Even if he looks scary.

Then we played a few rounds of hide and seek.

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