A Bicknor Girl's Guide to America by Charlotte Butcher

‘Be Prepared!’ What was one of Bicknor’s first Brownies doing in Canada?

With Charlotte Butcher

Meeting of 11th October 2012

Charlotte gave an animated talk on her trip to Guide camp in Canada in 2011 at the age of 15. She brought along lots of goodies to show us, including the English contingent’s shirts with the logo she designed, Girl Guide cookies and a very unflattering hat! Plus pancakes, maple syrup and blueberries to have with our tea.

When 13 she was put forward by her Guide leader for a selection weekend (this was the first big challenge – armed with cake, posters, waterproofs, sleeping bag and size 8 wellies, all squeezed into a standard carrier bag they had to survive camping overnight). Despite being the youngest there she obviously impressed and the letter came through inviting her on the Canada trip. £2,000 then had to be raised to fund it. Jumble sales, a night with Dave Harvey, a grant from the Lucy Machen fund and even people turning up at the front door with their cheque books in hand achieved the sum.

This international event happens every 5 years. Charlotte’s group were with six other nations in British Columbia. They did lots of traditional Canadian activities: apple sauce making (for food banks), kayaking, a baseball match, bear-watching plus demonstrating national dances and volunteer work such as painting a holiday camp. In the second week they stayed with local families and Charlotte’s local accent caused some hilarity – they thought everyone from England should sound like upper-class nannies but Charlotte sounded as though she drove a tractor!

Cultural differences caused some confusion – she didn’t know what a flashlight (torch) or port-a-potty (loo) were. No-one seemed to drink tea, the Canadian girls drank hot water with maple syrup. Charlotte topped off the visit by starring on Canadian TV.