Here’s some support for planning your meeting!
Keep it fun: Girls are still receiving school work, so offering activities that are more fun than overtly educational, using the Guiding method, will motivate girls to engage more and enjoy themselves.
What to do in the meeting: You could work on a Unit Meeting Activity or Skills Builder deciding as a group on the theme that you were planning to work on this term and beyond. Make sure you check that the group activities in the UMA or Skills Builder can be adapted to be done at home by girls easily.
The programme allows for 40% of your own activity ideas so keep your eyes peeled for our very own selection of bespoke Girlguiding Scotland challenges and activities (that can be done at home) coming soon which will be added regularly to the Guiding At Hame Hub.
- Certain activities may work better by sharing materials ahead of time with girls’ parents, for example you could email them craft instructions before your meeting.
- To make online meetings more familiar, why not sing your starting song and end song all together?
- You can also check out Girlguiding’s #AdventuresAtHome offer, where downloadable UMAs and Skills Builders suitable for each age group are being launched every week
Activities involving others: Some Skills Builders activities require interacting and getting creative with others, so in this case girls could involve siblings or adults at home in the fun. This could be welcome distraction for some families.
Including everyone: Have a think about what can be done for girls who might not be able to take part online so meetings are inclusive for all and no one feels left out. You could email parents with the materials or instructions so they can too can get stuck into guiding activities at home and feel included. Perhaps you could text girls’ parents with info to pass to their girls, or put your activity instructions on a closed Facebook group if you have one of these set up for your unit.
Equipment needed: Before your online meeting, tell girls what equipment they’ll need for the activities you’ve got planned. Do the girls need scissors or sticky tape? Some paper and a dark pen would be enough for many Skills Builders. Look at the activities and think about whether or not all girls are likely to find the items they need to take part in their home. Some items can easily be substituted. For example, pieces of paper cut from an A4 sheet or a notebook can be used instead of post-it notes, flipchart paper and A3 sheets, plus felt pens can be used instead of paints.
Meeting length: Give the parents notice of when the meeting will start and how long it will last. We suggest running an initial meeting lasting 20-30 minutes to help you decided how much time you’re likely to need in the future. Shorter may be better, long meetings with many participants can make girls restless and be hard on the leader too. Be realistic, end before you’re all weary.
Involving parents: For Rainbows and Brownies, a parent needs to be in the room with them during the virtual meeting. For Guides and Rangers, a parent needs to be nearby. Speak to parents about their role in meetings ahead of time and invite them and any siblings to join.
Other things to think about…
Virtual meetings represent a shift in your normal approach, so here are some other key considerations to help you get off to a flying start at your first meeting!
- Think about how you’ll manage the girls in the meeting, especially if you’re doing a video call so everyone has the chance to contribute. Agree a system with the girls on how they’ll catch your attention on camera when they want to say something.
- Consider the environment girls are in, especially if you’re running games or activities. Is there furniture, pets, ornaments, etc. that might get in the way? Are messy crafts likely to cause any damage?
- Think about how you’ll run the activities. Do they need to be broken down into small steps so that everyone can take part?
- Agree ahead of time with your leadership team how you’ll run the meeting. For example, who’s leading which activity or craft? Some programmes, like Zoom, also give you the option of splitting into smaller groups.
Adapting Skills Builders to work in online meetings
There are few different ways that you can adapt Skills Builders to be suitable for online unit meetings, and for girls to work on at home without their unit. Here are some examples from other volunteers to get you started…
Know myself: Reflect – Stage 3
Voicing our values – This is an activity where groups work together to create a song celebrating Girlguiding values. There are a number of ways this could be adapted, for example, girls can write down their own thoughts during the meeting and feedback onscreen, one at a time, while the leader takes a note of their suggestions. The leader then holds up a written summary of what the girls said on camera or via screen share for everyone to see. Then everyone works together, guided by the leader, to create a song to a well-known tune for them all to sing.
Know myself: Reflect – Stage 3
Magical Mythical Me – This activity asks girls to draw a create in stages. To adapt this for an online meeting, the leader could draw her own mythical creature in 4 sections on the folded paper (as suggested on the Skills Builder) then reveal each part explaining why she chose that animal to finally reveal the whole creature. For example, ‘I chose this animal because it’s colourful and curious!’ etc. Girls can then take part in a discussion about animals and their traits to give them inspiration when it comes to creating their own drawing. The traits can be written down by a leader and then displayed on camera, or screen shared with the group. Girls should then draw their own mythical beast and feedback after on why they chose it, the same way their leader did.
These Skills Builders challenges can be both be done by a girl who isn’t part of a unit meeting, if a parent, carer or older sibling takes on the role of the leader!