flashback friday – before zombies were cool

feel free to join in for flashback fridays, and share an old memory of your own!

When I was growing up, I was far too cool to do something so bourgeois as join the Brownies or Girl Guides.  I liked to tread along the edges of society, never really conforming to what was expected of me.  I wasn’t going to be a Girl Guide in their pretty blue dresses with all their life-skill badges, that brainwashing wasn’t for me.  No, I was an independant…I was a Canadian Girl in Training.

it’s totally a real thing!

CGiT was a program created/run by the United Church, and I think our chapter had 5 members*.  We would meet in the church basement every Tuesday night for Jesus-approved fun like calligraphy and dodge ball.

*We were one of the bigger groups in the province.

Where that other organization for girls had things like craft and bake sales to raise money, we at CGiT liked to roll a little differently…we held an annual Wake-a-thon.  We would collect pledges from family and friends and then we would have, essentially, an extended slumber party in the church where we helped each other stay awake for 36 hours straight**.

**Which was great practice for when I turned 18 and shut down the bars every night before getting a cab home, brushing my teeth, changing my clothes and heading to work at 5am

I couldn’t wait for the Wake-a-thon to roll around.  I loved packing my overnight, trying to anticipate what I would need most in the coming hours (Cheezies) and the little things that might help me stay awake (Skittles).  We always had so much fun and our leaders made sure those 36 hours were filled with enough planned activity to keep everyone’s eyes open***.

***Except that one year we played hide and seek in the church…sleeping girls were found in closets and under pews weeks later.  Bad idea.

We always went on a trip to the late-night bowling alley, which was fun except we were like babies being lulled into a sleepy state by the motion of the car and until the fountain pop kicked in, the first few frames were filled with gutter balls.  There was always some sort of talent show or lip-syncing competition that we would have to practice for and put on for each other.  And a Wake-a-thon just wasn’t complete without the stimulation of waxing the pews****.  Which I always hated because it was such a tedious and boring task, but now I understand that the intent was to hop us up on furniture polish.

****Not a euphamism

My favourite thing, by far, was the obstacle course (this was also used as an initiation, of sorts, for the newbies to the group).  The group leaders would set up an “obstacle course” on the floor of glasses of water, fresh tomatoes and raw eggs and give us one minute to memorize the course before being herded into another room.  We would then be led, one at a time and blindfolded, away from the group to walk through the course alone.  It was stressful – your sleep-deprived mind is trying to remember where the next egg is, shuffling your feet ever slightly forward to avoid knocking over a water-glass or trample a tomato.  And of course, every time you raised your foot to take a step there would gasps of horror from the spectators.

Invariably, when you were finally told you were through and removed the blindfold to the cheers and laughter, you looked down to see you had just stumbled through an obstacle course of air.  They had removed everything before you were led out*****.

*****The Leaders weren’t crazy, they weren’t about to let a gaggle of dozy girls break water glasses, crush eggs and squish tomatoes on the floor or a church

At the end those sleepless 36 hours, we were dead girls walking, barely remembering our names or what the heck we even stayed up for.  All I wanted to do was curl up in bed, pull the covers over my face and sleep for the next 36 hours – but my Mom (being the twisted soul she was) would decide that we absolutely needed to stop for groceries on the way home and she would make me shuffle through the supermarket like a zombie looking for the “brains” aisle.

Good, old-fashioned psychological torture…that’s just  how the Church rolls.


What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed awake?  What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to raise money?  What is your favourite song to lip-sync to?

9 thoughts on “flashback friday – before zombies were cool

  1. You have me too beat on the crazy. I was a rather straight-laced child. The fundraising thing that shocks me now is that when I was a cheerleader, I washed cars in very, very short shorts. Egads. What was my mother thinking?

  2. I was a Brownie and my mother was troop leader. Being Little Miss Perfect, I wanted to attain as many badges as possible. One badge terrified me: the cookie badge. Although I was a perfectionist, I was very shy (still am, to a degree) and I couldn’t abide going door-to-door to sell cookies. I thought it was rude to interpret people’s time at home, and what if they didn’t buy them? I got all flustered with the forms and the money, but my mother “forced” me to do it to help me overcome the shyness.

    And then my mother gave up, bought 75 boxes, and sold them herself whenever we’d run errands (but she made me wear the Brownies uniform). She sold them in 1 1/2 days – but then again, she was an accomplished Tupperware representative.

    Your CGIT uniforms are way cuter!

    1. I was glad we never had to sell cookies…although my family had a notorious sweet tooth, so I might not have even had to look outside the gene pool!

  3. So, what you’re saying is you were the original Bella? That is awesome. I am not sure, though, how walking blind-folded through a supposedly booby-trapped room full of eggs and attending midnight bowl is supposed to train you to be a Canadian Girl. I do get that the church used free labor for waxing the pews (which, if it is not a euphamism now, it ABSOLUTELY should be. “Hey Todd, what did you do this weekend?” “I waxed those pews.” Hardy-har-har-slapping each other on the back). But I guess the biggest question I have is did you, as a CGiT, get to sell (and eat) massive amounts of cookies? Because the Caramel Delights is the ONLY reason to wear a badge.

    And the only story I have to compare is when I was in high school, we formed a team for the Relay for Life – which is walking around a high school track for like 12 hours, or until someone passes out from exhaustion and has to be rushed to the ER. I stayed up all night long and then drive to McDonald’s to get lunch and then hit the garage with my car as I was pulling in. So, I guess the lesson here is if you choose to sleep deprive your child, make sure they do not have a driver’s license.

    1. I hate to say this, but CGiT had NO cookies *hangs head in shame*
      Now that you mention it, that really was some pretty shoddy training…its a wonder I turned out as amazing as I did!

  4. I wasn’t a Brownie or Guide either, although I did go to the Guides once and vowed never again after all they did was play dodgy games and not award any badges. I would liked to have been a sea scout.

  5. Hilarious.

    In college we had something called Dance Marathon, where people pledge while you stay awake and STAND UP for 36 hrs straight.

    There is no amount of money in the world that would make me want to do that. Is it bad that I would just write my check and relax for the weekend while everyone massaged their aching feet with tennis balls? Didn’t think so.

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