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Bring guiding into the holidays

29.02.20

Want to bring new girls into Girlguiding? Got a waiting list and not sure how to reduce it? Flexible guiding can help everyone to join in the fun & adventure.

Moira, Scottish Chief Commissioner, teamed up with her local secondary school for a camp with a difference. Here is what she learned.

What is flexible guiding and how does it work?

Girlguiding has so much to offer girls and young women but there are lots of reasons why girls might not come to regular unit meetings. That’s where flexible guiding comes in – running holiday sessions, taster days or school units can all be great ways of engaging new girls.

What did you do?

Our local secondary schools run a fun week at the end of term, where students can try all different activities they might not otherwise get to do – from adventurous activities to trips abroad. Running a camp during this week seemed like an ideal opportunity to introduce girls to Girlguiding, packing in some of the best bits of guiding into a short space of time.

How did you get girls to sign up?

We advertised the opportunity at school and had 7 girls sign-up. We also invited some existing members of our Senior Section so they could support the new girls and share what it’s like to be part of Girlguiding.

How did you get helpers?

One of the teachers signed up to help and we advertised to volunteers in our local area. Being flexible was the key here; two leaders stayed throughout the camp and another five helpers supported as and when they could. We encouraged volunteers who normally work with other sections to get involved so they could have a new experience too – one of the Brownie leaders who helped has already signed up to run the camp next year!

How did you come up with the programme?

For many of the girls this was the first time they’d ever been camping so pitching a tent or cooking on a fire were totally new. We knew we wanted to pack as much fun and adventure into our 3-day camp as possible so we included adventurous activities like water sports and geocaching as well as camp favourites like a campfire, a quiz and a silent disco.

How did you fund it?

We received funding from the Gannochy Trust which meant we could run an action-packed camp and keep the costs to the girls as low as possible.

What happens next?

We’ve already been invited to run another camp. The school are even sponsoring some spaces so girls will be able to attend for free. We’re hoping to build on our success and start a Rangers unit at the school to get even more girls involved.

What are your top 3 takeaways?

  1. Ask for help! For us the school was invaluable in helping us set up the camp, do all the relevant paperwork and suggest girls who could benefit the most from the experience.
  2. Keep it simple. You don’t need to spend loads of money or re-invent the programme – some of our best moments and memories from our camp were unplanned and totally free!
  3. Whether girls have been in guiding all their lives or have never even heard of the organisation, they all enjoy a space to be themselves and have fun – which is exactly what we can offer!
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