Flexible guiding is a great way to make sure everyone can join in the fun and adventure of guiding, regardless of their circumstances. Former County Commissioner, Helen Welsh shares her experiences and top tips for making it work.
We opened a Rainbows unit meeting on Saturday morning – it’s in the centre of town so parents are able to drop the girls off then go shopping or get a coffee. They meet every two weeks for two hours so the girls get the same amount of time as they would in a weekly unit. This helped when some of our great Leaders just weren’t able to volunteer early on weekday evenings.
Some Leaders have started back-to-back Rainbows meetings. It takes time to plan a high quality one hour session, so a pair of leaders could run the programme for one unit and then repeat it straight after. There’s no extra planning, they bulk buy resources and have at least one joint event per term, such as a party or a picnic. It also gives helpers a choice of early or late shift.
We have been running sessions and events in the school holidays to give girls on the waiting list a taste of guiding. This involves running a unit during Easter or Christmas, and condensing the programme into three days to give girls some brilliant experiences.
You might be surprised at how much you can achieve in a holiday session – in our experience girls are still able to make their promise and earn their first badge in this time. Leaders try to continue to support the girls afterwards until they find a space in a unit.