Considering virtual guiding? Top tips from an independent guiding leader

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from guiding right now – we all need to take care of ourselves and our families first and foremost at the moment. However, if you’re thinking about going digital and taking your meetings online there’s a community of volunteers across Scotland keen to show their support in any way they can.

We’ll be bringing you a series of blogs on everything from getting to grips with virtual guiding to mental health tips from our amazing Peer Education team. But first up let’s hear it for independent guiding leader Clair who’s got a decade of experience on keeping guiding going from afar…

So many volunteers across Scotland are finding themselves facing the challenge of staying connected to their girls while meetings are suspended. Through independent guiding I’ve been able to support countless girls who are unable to make it to their local unit meetings, so here’s my top tips for getting started.

1. It’s a marathon not a sprint

Don’t overstretch yourself and start small – especially at the moment because everyone has a lot on their plate. Just as you wouldn’t try to deliver the programme in one night, don’t think you need to give the girls everything all at once. Now you’ve got the added obstacle of distance to contend with, give yourself a break and make peace with the fact that certain challenges may take longer than normal to complete and that’s okay.

2. Be flexible where you can

Once you remove your shared weekly space from the equation there’s a chance everyone won’t engage in quite the same way as before. You may need to approach things differently and offer flexibility wherever possible – for example, instead of meeting online every week you could make it every other week, or once a month. Try to touch base with parents when you can because it’s important to find a flow that works for them, for you, as well as your girls.

Make sure you only suggest activities that can be done at home easily, like junk modelling. This is where kids get creative by making mini sculptures with things like egg boxes, cereal boxes and shoe boxes – a great option for those who don’t have access to craft materials!

3. Ways to stay connected

There are lots of different ways to keep in touch with your unit during this time, from video calls to recorded videos posted on social media. Check out the guidance available on virtual guiding to find out what methods will work best for your unit and how to keep everyone safe online.

4. Heard about #AdventuresAtHome?

Girlguiding have launched Adventures at Home which means there’s an amazing selection of regularly updated free resources available online to help parents, carers, volunteers, units and girls of all ages have fun without leaving the front door. Let this be your one-stop shop for activity inspiration throughout the lockdown. Don’t forget about interest badges too!

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