National Guiding Mosaic coming to Sylvan Lake in 2016

Girl Guides from across Canada will converge at Camp Woods on Sylvan Lake next summer.

Girl Guides from across Canada will converge at Camp Woods on Sylvan Lake next summer after the site was selected to host the Girl Guides of Canada’s nine-day 2016 Guiding Mosaic camping trip.

Camp Woods, located about 10 kilometres west of the Sylvan Lake townsite, hosted a similar event in 2013, when Scouts Canada held its 12th Canadian Scout Jamboree.

It was chosen to host the July 2016 Guiding Mosaic due to its ability to accommodate campers by the thousands (the Canadian Scout Jamboree hosted in excess of 6,500) and for its wide array of activity offerings and amenities.

“A couple different locations were proposed, and the senior team visited and decided based on looking at Camp Woods that it had what we were looking for in a national camp,” said Mosaic communications lead Deborah Suddard. “We’re taking advantage of what they have on site.”

With the trip marking the first major camping excursion for many of its attendees, organizers are taking a proactive approach to ensuring campers’ comfort.

In doing so, they’ve begun to spread the event’s presence on social media in a bid to acquaint Girl Guides from all over Canada and the world before they even arrive in Sylvan Lake.

“We’re getting the girls in touch with each other to build relationships before we even get to the camp,” said Suddard. “This is often the first time the girls will be camping somewhere bigger, and they are nervous and anxious.”

But the camp won’t be too far away from home for some of its attendees.

Guides from Sylvan Lake and Eckville will be among those participating, with fundraising for many of them already well underway.

And while the camping experience will last just over a week, the memories will much, much longer, Suddard assures.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to expand beyond what regular camping would be,” she said. “There’s a whole lot of excitement and curiosity.”

Over 2,000 Girl Guides, leaders and crew members are expected to attend the event, which runs July 9 to 17, 2016.