Laughter, smiles and tears were all part of Canadian Mosaic '99: Footprints in Time in Manitoba. This was one of four international Girl Guide camps that happened in Canada this past July. The others were in the Yukon, Alberta and New Brunswick.
Our patrol of seven girls (ages 11-15) and two guiders attended the Manitoba event from July 9-19 at St. Malo Provincial Park, 50 km south of Winnipeg. Preparations began well over a year ago with the application as a patrol and continued with various fundraising activities and meetings.
We arrived July 9 and faced our first challenge of setting up our gear on our 11 x 11 metre site after sunset. Four tents and a kitchen shelter were to be our home for the next 10 days.
The next morning, flags from each of the provinces, territories and countries present were raised. Delegates from South Africa, United States, India, Mexico and England attended.
Sunday, July 11 was the first day of program activity. Our patrol along with 17 other patrols were on out trips. Some of us went to Winnipeg and saw the legislative building and went on a boat cruise of the Red River. Others went to a museum and then onto a water slide park.
But it wasn't all happy. Tragedy struck when, during an outing to St. Andrew's Airport, three guiders and their pilot were killed in a plane crash. The sorrow of this event was felt throughout the camp but especially by the girls and guiders who knew the girls.
Battling the storm
Throughout the next several days, we participated in many different program activities. There was kayaking, swimming and canoeing. There was archery and fencing. There was singing and dancing. There was carving, painting and beading.
Our weather was mostly sunny with the occasional evening shower – except on July 15. Rain started before we got up and it intensified into a full scale storm. Everywhere shelters were being blown down. Poles were bent and broken and pegs scattered. Roads and sites became rivers and lakes.
Due to the severity of the storm, our entire village of more than 400 people was first evacuated to our marquee tent. (Thankfully our site suffered relatively little damage.) Since another severe storm was expected for later in the day, the whole camp of more than 1,100 participants was evacuated to the nearby town of St. Malo.
The camp took over the church, school and arena. Later we were told that a tornado had touched down just south of us. Overall, many of the girls found the entire evacuation process just another adventure that they could tell their friends.
Canadian Mosaic'99 provided us with the opportunity to make new friends, gain new experiences, test our camping skills but most of all to have fun in the sisterhood of guiding.
The patrol from Central Division at our site. Back row: Angela Darwin, Sarah Patterson, Kate MacLean, Madeline Lee, Pat Patterson, Sarah Conn. Front row: Jennifer Neve, Jody Raymond, Angie Vaillancourt.