A Brownie Revel is not an ice cream bar! A Brownie Revel is a mini Scout Jamboree, where Brownies (ages 7-8) and Sparks (ages 5-6) from within their Division (in this case, the Yellowhead Division) get together to have fun and meet Brownies from other towns. Each Revel follows a similar format – the opening, games and crafts, lunch, more games and crafts, and the closing. Some have themes, some don’t.
From 1982 to 1997 there were a series of Revels held in the North Thompson Valley, and hosted in turns by each of the different groups active at the time. There probably were Revels prior to this, and may have been some afterwards, but the information available for this article only covered 1982 to 1997.
Many ladies stepped forward to help with the Barriere Brownies program. Leslie Stirling became involved with Brownies as a Tawny Owl around 1979, with Sylvia Chivers being the Brown Owl at the time, having taken over from Micki Andrews who had moved up to Guides.
“We were the 2nd Barriere Brownies,” said Stirling, “I remember that Anna Edwards was the Brown Owl of the 1st Barriere Brownies at the time. At some point Sylvia moved on to Guides and I became the Brown Owl.”
By 1983, Stirling had become the District Commissioner, a position she held until 1986. Barb Smith was the Division Commissioner about the same time.
Stirling tells that she had not been a Brownie or Guide as a child.
“I was a CGIT (Canadian Girl in Training) with the United Church,” said Stirling, “On a personal note, Guiding made me the person I am today. I was quite shy when we moved to Barriere in 1977. Guiding opened me to a whole new world. It brought me out of my shell, and made me comfortable with public speaking and playing a leadership role. Over my years in Guiding I met some wonderful people whom I still count among my friends.”
Stirling said over the years she had been involved with organizing and taking part in many Revels.
Sorting through the Barriere Brownies and Guides archives proved to be an interesting trip into the history of these groups.
The first Revel mentioned in the archives was held on Saturday, May 29, 1982, at Barriere Elementary. The day of fun started at 10 a.m. with everyone in a large circle singing songs including O’ Canada. This was followed by games, a short hike and some crafts, and then a break for lunch. After lunch there were races and then everyone wound down by singing songs again before closing the event. It was well attended not only by 1st, 2nd and 3rd Barriere Brownie groups (yes, three groups in Barriere), but also Brownies from 1st and 2nd Clearwater groups, 1st Vavenby, Blue River, and Rayleigh. A total of 105 girls and 24 leaders attended the event. The Journal newspaper had a nice cover article and more inside with pictures about the event in their Wednesday, June 2, 1982, edition.
On May 28, 1983, it was Clearwater’s turn to host a Revel, which they did at Clearwater Secondary. The theme this time was “Indians”, with games and other activities to suit the theme.
The May 26, 1984, Revel was hosted by Blue River, and then the May 25, 1985, Revel was hosted by Little Fort, who also had a group by this time.
The May 31, 1986, Revel was hosted by Valemount, and was held at the ball diamond in that town. There were 75 Brownies there, along with their leaders. Brownies came from Valemount, Barriere, Clearwater, Little Fort, Vavenby and Blue River, arriving by bus, car, and train (although the train was about two hours late). There was a great write up, with pictures, in the June 10, 1986, edition of the Valemount Sentinel.
Disney World was the theme for the May 1987 Revel that was hosted by Vavenby. Nearly 90 Brownies attended, from Barriere, Clearwater, Little Fort, Vavenby, Blue River, and Valemount.
The archives do not show what happened in 1988, or any records about a Revel happening during that year.
The next one noted is the Revel of May 13, 1989, which was hosted by Clearwater at Dutch Lake Elementary. There were only four active packs by that time – one each in Barriere, Clearwater, Vavenby, and Blue River. About 40 Brownies attended the Revel.
The 1990 Brownie Revel may have skipped a year again (as there is no mention of one in the archives), with the next one taking place in Clearwater on Apr. 27, 1991. The theme for that one was “Winter Games”.
Barriere hosted another Revel on Apr. 25, 1992, at the Barriere Ridge Elementary. Brownies from Clearwater and Valemount were invited, but were unable to attend due to conflicting activities.
The archives show no Revel indicated for 1993. The next Revel was hosted by Clearwater on May 14, 1994, and took place at Clearwater Secondary School with a theme of “Science”. By the end of that year, Barriere once again had two Brownie groups.
On May 6, 1995, it was again Barriere’s turn to host the Revel.
Finally, the last Revel that is mentioned in the archives took place on May 31, 1997, and was hosted by Clearwater.
All the archive paperwork, along with the newspaper clippings and some other interesting bits and pieces, have been donated to the North Thompson Museum in Barriere where they will eventually be put on display.
*Editor’s note: At this time there is no active Spark, Brownie, or Guide group in the Barriere area. However, Valemount, Clearwater, and Westsyde continue to facilitate Sparks, Brownies and Guides within their communities. Find out more about the Guiding movement by going to: www.girlguides.ca