Getting started with holiday guiding

Reduce your waiting lists and attract more volunteers with holiday guiding!


Are you looking for ways to reduce waiting lists, attract new volunteers and put a spin on traditional weekly guiding? Then holiday guiding would be perfect for you!

One of our brilliant volunteers Helen Welsh has plenty of experience running holiday units and had a chat to our development worker Emily to tell us more!


What is holiday guiding?

Holiday guiding is just like regular guiding…but in the holidays! Units will meet over the holidays and do skills builders, unit meeting activities (UMAs), games and take trips, just like you would in a weekly unit. Holiday units are not typically residentials, girls will be dropped off and picked up at the beginning and end of each day. How many days you run depends on what age group you’re running the unit for. For Rainbows you might do 3-5 mornings, for Brownies maybe 2-3 full days, and for Guides and Rangers 3 full days.

“My favourite things in holiday Brownies are doing the low ropes, making new and kind friends, getting to know the leaders and going grass-sledging”.


Why consider a holiday unit?

Holiday units are great for areas with long waiting lists and where volunteers don’t have availability for traditional weekly evening meetings. Holiday guiding is perfect for recruiting volunteers who work during term time but have the holidays off, student volunteers returning home for the holidays, and getting parents on the waiting list involved in running the unit.

Getting girls off waiting lists and into a holiday unit gives them the chance to become a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide or Ranger that they might not have had otherwise. They can make their promise, complete skills builders, UMAs, earn interest badges, and embed themselves into guiding culture with our songs and games!

Holiday units can be flexible to the time of year, in the summer you might choose an outdoor venue like a park, campsite, or outdoor activity centre. Over the winter break maybe an indoor venue like a hall, or a function room and include a trip to the panto.

“Carys has had a fabulous time at holiday Brownies. She says she has enjoyed everything and was very excited to be making her promise. Thank you all.”

Running a holiday unit

Holiday units would be set up on GO like any other unit, but instead of meeting frequency as “weekly” it can be recorded as “holidays”. As the unit is on GO, with the girls recorded as members, they then can continue working towards interest badges throughout the year. As members they can also be invited to local and county events in between holidays, while the unit wouldn’t be meeting, and get involved with guiding at Scottish level.

To get girls involved, contact girls on the waiting list from district/division or county level with the holiday unit offer. Parents might not be expecting this, so you can explain that girls will become part of the unit, take part in the same programme, earn badges, and have lots of fun just like any other unit, but during the holidays. Holiday units collect subs just like any other unit, contributing to the cost of annual subscriptions, activities, and resources, trips out and other unit costs. Maybe offer a parents evening to give them more information about how a holiday unit runs and what to expect!

When creating a programme, think of holiday guiding like multiple unit meetings, so for a morning of Rainbows in the holiday it could look like 3 unit meetings at once. If you did a whole day for Brownies/Guides it might look like 5 unit meetings in one day, with time for lunch and outdoor time if the weather permits. The holiday unit can also include trips, and non-programme activities like a trip to the cinema or to a panto.

“What a great idea. Eliza has wanted to be a Brownie since she was 6…. She sometimes lacked confidence and this week has helped with this. She has loved meeting and making new friends.”


If this sounds like something that you would like to try, support is available from a development worker to talk through ideas, create a plan, source venue, support advertising for leaders, and get funding in place if necessary. Please get in touch with Emily here.