FAQ

About SOAR About Smithers About Camping
About Finances About Prerequisites About Patrols
About Programming About Patrol Guiders
About Core Staff

About SOAR

What is SOAR?

The Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous, SOAR for short, is a week-long provincial ‘back to basics’ outdoor camp sponsored by the BC Council of Girl Guides of Canada, for girls between the ages of 11 and 18. (Note: girls may be 10 at the time of camp, if their birthday is between August and December 2006).

In 2014, the seventh SOAR was held in Enderby. They have been located around the province (Prince George, Sooke, Trail, Merritt, Parksville, Aggasiz) in order to give girls an opportunity to see various parts of BC.

SOAR 2017 will be held in Smithers, in Northern BC.

When is SOAR?

July 22-29, 2017. It is expected that all Camp Participants – girls and Patrol Guiders – will arrive with their Patrols, and be there for the entire duration of the camp, and will participate fully for the entire camp. Parents/Guardians are not permitted to take their daughter/ward off-site during the camp, unless this is for a family emergency. Any such request must be approved by the Camp Responsible Guiders. Patrol Guiders, given their responsibility towards the youth members in their Patrol, are bound by these same rules and must remain on site for the entire duration of camp, unless this is for a family emergency. Any such request must be approved by the Camp Responsible Guiders, and a suitable replacement must be found.

What birth years will Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers be for SOAR 2017?

Girls born in 2005 or 2006 will be Guides at SOAR 2017.

Girls born in 2002, 2003 or 2004 will be Pathfinders at SOAR 2017.

Girls born in 1999, 2000 or 2001 will be Rangers at SOAR 2017.

How many participants attend SOAR?

A total of 2,000 girls and leaders from BC, other provinces and other countries (Ireland, Ivory Coast, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom and the United States) attended in 2011. Most groups came as a complete patrol of eight girls and two leaders. There were 200 volunteer core staff who spent more than a year making preparations for this camp.

In 2017, as many as 2500 participants may attend.

Where were past SOARs held?

See History & Facts.

Is there a Tour Day?

Yes. Tour days are held usually on the Wednesday of camp from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Visitors are able to tour the site and see SOAR in action. Visitors are not able to visit specific participants, as they are actively involved in the program.

How do we apply?

BC Guiders who want to bring a patrol to SOAR 2017 must apply by September 15th, 2016 (deadline passed). They will be notified by October 1st if their patrol will be able to participate, and will receive additional information for registering girls.

International and Inter-provincial invitations will be sent by the National office of Girl Guides of Canada, which will include a link to register.

Guiders who wish to be Core staff can apply on an ongoing basis, until March 2017.

All registration is done online.

How do girls apply?

Girls generally apply through their patrol Guider, often their unit Guider. If your unit is not going to SOAR or you don’t have a patrol to apply through, please contact your area liaison. She will try to place you with a patrol in your area.

Who organizes this kind of event?

Volunteer Guiders organize. The steering committee meets for two years prior to the event. It is a huge undertaking – especially considering most of these women hold full-time jobs, as well.


About Smithers

See Camp Location.

How far is it to downtown Smithers from the campsite?

It is over 3 km from the fairgrounds to downtown Smithers. Google estimates this to be a 40 minute walk along the Yellowhead highway. You will not be popping into town on foot from camp! As the town is quite a distance from camp, we will not have a parade at this SOAR.

What do residents of Smithers call themselves?

Residents of Smithers are called Smithereens. [Source: Wikipedia]


About Camping

What will a typical day at camp look like?

  • 7:00-8:30 AM: Breakfast at your patrol site; make your bagged lunch to take with you.
  • 8:00-9:00 AM: If your program is offsite, you will need to meet your bus. This includes day trip travel.
  • 9:45-11:45 AM: Morning program sessions.
  • 11:45 AM -1:15 PM: Lunch. Could be on the go between program activities. Often there is lunchtime entertainment (Karaoke) at a stage area. If your afternoon activity is offsite, you will need to meet your bus.
  • 1:30-3:45 PM: Afternoon program sessions.
  • 4:30-6:30 PM: Supper, prepared and eaten at your patrol site.
  • 7:30 PM: Evening activities typically begin. Campfire, international/interprovincial performances, dance night, etc. A schedule will be provided at camp.
  • 11:00 PM: Site curfew – lights out!

Are there special camp activity highlights?

  • Saturday – Opening Ceremonies
  • Sunday – International Night
  • Monday – Outdoor Movie (optional)
  • Tuesday – Smithers Musical Showcase
  • Wednesday – Campfire
  • Thursday – free
  • Friday – Fox Fest and Closing Ceremonies

How do meals work at SOAR?

SOAR is a “back to basics” camp and patrols do their own cooking. We are trying a new process this year, where Guiders will “shop” for the food for their patrols. No, this does NOT mean that you need to bring money to pay for food! This means that you will take the food that your patrol needs from the “Quartermaster’s Store” but no more than you need.

See “No More Food Bins” post.

How large a space will we have for our patrol campsite?

Patrols should expect to be assigned to a 25′ x 25′ patrol site. Sites may include small trees, heavy brush and uneven surfaces that you associate with forested areas.

It is up to your patrol to decide the size of your equipment. Many of you already own your tents and shelters so you just need to make sure that they fit in your allotted space.  At your pre-camps, make sure you set up your site within these dimensions.

Given the size of the camp group, what security and safety measures are taken?

The camp is patrolled 24 hours per day and has a 24-hour staffed First Aid Station.

Are there flush toilets and showers for campers?

There are no flush toilets available for campers. Portable toilets will be available in each sub-camp and activity area.

There are no running water showers for campers. There will be a wash tent available on each sub-camp (Bring a solar shower).

Can Portable Campfires be used at SOAR?

There are to be no open fires at SOAR. Portable campfires / fire bowls / fire pits are not permitted.


About Finances

How much will it cost to attend SOAR?

  • Patrols of 8 girls and 2 Guiders:
    • BC patrols $3809.52 + GST = $4000
    • Out of province patrols $4761.90 + GST = $5000 – see the payment schedule for full details.
  • ½ Ranger Patrols (4 girls, 1 Guider), divide costs above by 2
  • Core Staff:
    • BC core staff – paid for by BC Council
    • Out of province core staff $238.09 + GST = $250

See the payment schedule.

What’s included in the Registration Fee?

Note: travel costs to and from Smithers are not included in the registration fee. This is an additional cost that your Patrol will need to budget for.

The registration fee covers: food, on-site program activities, off-site program activities (including travel to off-site program activities during the week of camp), campsite, all-camp t-shirt, camp hat and a camp crest.

What additional costs do I need to budget for?

Adult and Girl Members are responsible for transportation costs to and from Smithers, additional accommodations (if required), insurance, all camping equipment, and personal expenses.

When fundraising to attend SOAR, what are the guidelines I need to follow?

Members must apply to their Area for permission to fund raise before undertaking any fundraising efforts other than selling cookies. The FR.1 form can be found in MemberZone at the following link: https://www.girlguides.ca/web/MZ/Admin/Fundraising/MZ/Admin/Fundraising.aspx. Fundraising Guideline for BC can be found on the BC website.

An SG.8 is not required for BC patrols, as per the SG.8 Travel Preauthorization – BC Patrols post.

Members from other provinces must check with their provincial office for all fundraising questions.

If I need to cancel, will I be entitled to a refund?

No refunds after June 1, 2017, and no refunds for individual participants. Replacements are welcome until June 15, 2017.  Program changes will be accommodated if possible.

What if I need an ambulance while at camp?

On the required health form for both Guiders and girls, it states the following:

H.1 – Personal Health Form – Girl Members
Every care and attention will be given to the health and comfort of the participant.
“I hereby authorize a Girl Guides of Canada representative to: share information and provide first aid and/or secure such medical advice and services (e.g., contacting EMS/ambulance) as may be deemed necessary for the health and safety of myself or my daughter/ward during activities. I agree to accept financial responsibility in excess of the benefits allowed by my provincial/territorial health plan or the Girl Guides of Canada insurance plan.”

H.2 – Personal Health Forms for Adults
N. B. Every care and attention will be given to the health and comfort of the participant.
“I hereby authorize a GGC representative to provide first aid and/or secure such medical advice and services (e.g., contacting EMS/ambulance) as may be deemed necessary for my health and safety. I agree to accept financial responsibility in excess of the benefits allowed by my provincial/territorial health plan and the Girl Guides of Canada insurance plan.”

SOAR 2017 will have qualified medical professionals on site. However, in the event that a Guider or participant requires an ambulance while attending SOAR, these costs will be borne by the patient or her family. While an ambulance will not be called without due cause, the final judgement will be that of the medical staff at SOAR. A further explanation of these charges from BC Emergency Health Services, can be found here: http://www.bcehs.ca/about/billing/fees.


About Prerequisites

What is the minimum age for a girl to attend SOAR?

Girls must have been born in 2006 or earlier to attend SOAR 2017.  This means that the youngest girls at SOAR must be turning 11 in 2017. Some girls may still be 10 at the time of camp, if their birthday is between August and December 2006.

Are there any prerequisites or camping experience necessary to attend SOAR?

Guiders and all girls must be registered in Girl Guides and have four nights tenting (need not be consecutive), at Girl Guide/Scout camps, by July 1, 2017.

Do patrol Guiders need to be members of Girl Guides?

Canadian Guiders and all girls must be registered in Girl Guides. From outside of Canada, all participants must be registered members of a WAGGGS Member organization.

All Guiders must have completed Police Record Checks and current Safe Guide Training.

Do I need to complete a swim test to attend SOAR?

Anyone (girl and adult) who wants to take part in the water activities swimming program must successfully complete the swim test. For more information on swim tests , see Safe Guide page 98.

Swim Tests (for swimming and boating) should be entered into iMIS before program selection, but no later than March 1, 2017. Use the Swim and Boat test verification forms from MemberZone to submit to iMIS. Anyone who does not complete these tests will not be allowed in the water.

Do I need to complete both a swim test and a boating test?

Any girl or adult that passes their swim test does not have to do a boating swim test.

Swim Tests (for swimming and boating) should be entered into iMIS before program selection, but no later than March 1, 2017. Use the Swim and Boat test verification forms from MemberZone to submit to iMIS. Anyone who does not complete these tests will not be allowed in the water.


About Patrols

What is a Patrol?

A patrol is a group of Guides and/or Pathfinders or Rangers attending SOAR. Normally, patrol Guiders will pre-register members of their units of Guides/Pathfinders or Rangers to attend SOAR together, as a patrol.

How many people are in a Patrol?

Guide/Pathfinder patrols are made up of 8 girls and 2 Guiders. Ranger full patrols are made up of 8 girls and 2 Guiders; Ranger half-patrols are made up of 4 girls and 1 Guider.

I don’t have a Patrol to register with. Can I still register to attend SOAR?

Please contact your Area Liaison to indicate your interest in SOAR. The Area Liaisons will support the placement of individual girls into patrols.

Will Patrols be responsible for bringing their own gear?

Yes. Patrols are responsible for bringing their own tenting equipment and personal gear. Requirements will be posted on the SOAR website and will be communicated to patrols that register to attend.

How are Ranger Patrols different from Guide/Pathfinder Patrols?

Rangers may attend as a half patrol (4 girls plus 1 Guider) or a full patrol (8 girls plus 1 Guider). Rangers will participate in a 3 day out trip program, not available to Guides or Pathfinders.  Rangers will be physically separated into their own sub-camp area, away from Guides/Pathfinders on site.

Can Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers be mixed to form one Patrol?

Guides and Pathfinders can be mixed, but Rangers can not be mixed with any other branch. The Ranger sub-camp will be separate from the Guide/Pathfinder sub-camps. Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers can prepare for SOAR at pre-camps together, and they may travel together.


About Programming

What types of activities do the girls take part in?

The program consists of traditional camp-type activities such as cooking, campfire sing-alongs and crafts. The girls may sign up to try out activities in each of the program areas-Active Recreation, Crafts, Environment, Fine Arts, Service, Science and Technology and Waterfront – and go on day trips to tour the local area. See the Program Information page for the most up-to-date program information.

In 2014, all girls had the opportunity to choose several of these activities:

  • Active Recreation:  Amazing Race, Mountain Hiking, Lakeside Nature Walk, Roller Derby, Skateboarding, Fly Fishing, Horseback Riding, Hip Hop, Archery, Cycle Touring, Zumba/Yoga, Riflery
  • Crafts: Wire, Stone & Beads, Gem Tree, Glass Etching, Mosaics, Leathercraft, Beach Bags
  • Environment: You’re Never Powerless, Habitat: Where it’s at, Bee-lieve it or Not, Weather Wizards, Dairy Divas, Leave No Trace, Smoke in the Air, Ecosystem Celebrations
  • Fine Arts: Painting, Shadow Theatre, Drumming, Belly Dancing, Drama, Photography, Puppets, Mural Painting, Face Painting, Culinary Arts
  • Service: Comfort Bears, Dog Toys, WAGGGS/Education kits, Activity Aid for Seniors, Painting, Resource Centre, Shuswap Trail, Pruning, Okanagan Gleaners, Sanitary Kits/Skirts
  • Science: Chemistry, Tree Talkers, Brain Boosters, Science Centre, Forensics, Waterways, Robotics
  • Water Activity: Scuba, Paddleboard, Kayaking, Canoeing, Waterslide, Lake Swim/Raft Building, River Float, Snorkeling, Beach Break
  • Day trips: Ranch, Ghost Town, City

Each girl’s personal program selection choice will be entered online, within each program area, by order of preference. A personalized camp schedule will be distributed to each girl upon arrival at camp. Patrols will all have the same program area at the same time, but each girl within a patrol could have a different program activity based on her program selection and assignment.

How can Transitioning Members participate in SOAR?

Transitioning members (TMBRs) are members who have completed Rangers, but are not of the age of majority in their province. TMBRs who are 18 by July 22, 2016 (born in 1998) can apply to attend as Core Staff. Transitioning Members (TMBR) will be required to get signed parental permission before attending camp.

A TMBR will be treated as an adult member and will be screened in the same manner as other Core Staff applicants and will follow the Core Staff application process. TMBRs will be required to complete a PRC through Back Check and have it entered on their iMIS profile by June 30, 2017.

Is there programming available for adults at SOAR?

SOAR is a girl-focused camp and as such, adult program is not offered. Patrol Guiders assigned to help at program stations are expected to supervise and ensure the safety of the girls in the activity. In some instances, it may be possible or necessary for Guiders to try or participate in the activity, but Guiders should not be expecting to participate.


About Patrol Guiders

What level of First Aid training do Patrol Guiders need and when does it need to be recorded in iMIS?

See First Aid Qualifications for Patrol Guiders.

First aid qualifications must be recorded in iIMS by May 31, 2017.

How does one Guider replace another Guider in a patrol?

Please contact us – the replacement Guider will need to go through the application and screening process.

My PRC will expire before or during SOAR. When does it need to be renewed?

If your PRC (Police Record Checks) expires before or during SOAR (before July 29, 2017), then it must be completed and recorded in iMIS by May 31, 2017. Any Guiders who do not have a current PRC in iMIS by May 31 will require a replacement Guider to take their place in their patrol.


About Core Staff

How do I apply to come as Core Staff?

Please see the Core Staff Applications page.

Can Core Staff job share?

Job sharing is not possible at SOAR.

Is travel provided to camp for Core Staff?

Travel will be arranged and provided for BC Guiders attending SOAR as Core Staff. Core Staff from outside of BC are responsible for their own travel arrangement and expenses.


How can parents find out more about Girl Guides?

The toll-free number for Girl Guides is 1-800-565-8111. You can also visit our BC website, www.bc-girlguides.org or our national site, www.girlguides.ca