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Question? Do you have a set Badge placement on Uniform?


I enjoyed reading your post Fenris. I am a new ish leader and one of the reasons I joined a forum was to exchange chat and opinion.

Moving on from the 'small' decision making required for placing badges - how does decision making happen in your unit for the bigger things, for example what you'll be doing each week? And does it take ages!!:)

Do you as a Leader have a say in what happens? Either from a practical point of view or monetary point of view , or simply from a time required to plan or carry out the activity?

Do you make suggestions or highlight activities you've seen or come across that you think the girls would like to hear about?

As a Leader I do my very best to facilitate - to enable to girls to do what they choose, but at the end of the day I work , have 2 young children and all the usual responsibilities that go with running a home ( like lots of other people !) For my own sanity and to provide the girls with the absolute best possible guiding experience I have to have some input into what we do.

Does girl- led mean 100% of the decisions are made by the girls?

(Apologies All - this is a bit o/t from badge positions but thought I'd carry on with the decision making theme. Will start a new thread if more appropriate. Thanks)
I have a partial say. For the Brownie programme the girl-led ratio is 25%/75%. The Brownies choose what topic each week (we give them a chart with spaces for each week, and a set of slips with topics - always more slips than there are spaces, so they have to do some choosing and aren't just 'arranging the deckchairs'). Topics would be things like Science, Outdoor, Challenge, Surprise, Music, Dance, Sport, Skill, Adventure Book Work, Outing, Sixer-Led Night, etc. There would be one copy of some topics, more than one of others. The Brownies discuss and agree which topic should go in which space, and attach the slips with blu-tack. They often have a lot of discussion over what to include and exclude, and also where to put it - they might decide that they want a party to be at the end of term, or round about bonfire night, for instance, but as there is only one 'party' slip, they know they can't have a party for both. As Leaders we then take their suggestions and work with them. For instance, for next week they have chosen craft. So I can choose what sort of craft it should be, but it will be a craft that we do, hence the input is girl-led, but as Leaders we can work achieve a balanced programme.

Programme planning is one of several activities we do on the first week of term - it never takes longer than 20 minutes all-in.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We work the opposite way round to Fenris's unit (we're Guides, but our Brownie unit do something similar to us) - we get the girls to suggest lots of activities they'd like to do, then we roughly group them into categories to help keep the programme balanced and get the girls to vote on which activities they prefer. The leaders add in a few essentials and allocate activities to weeks based on what the kids have chosen - this helps us work around known constraints e.g. making sure we don't schedule the exciting but messy craft on the night where we don't have kitchen access, have half the leaders missing and lots of girls will be late due to an open evening at school!

There's no one correct way to get the girls involved in decision making- as long as they're getting a say then go with whatever works for your unit!
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Brownie Guider
I start the term with a sheet with questions like "What new skills do you want to learn?" and the Sixes put down all their ideas. I then look at them to see what common things stand out for me. This time, a number of them said things to do with animals, so we are doing the Friends to Animals badge this term. This meant that last meeting I had voting slips for the girls to choose the clauses they wanted to do.

There was also decorating cupcakes, which might be a Mothering Sunday activity.


Brown Owl (x2)
I don't believe that suggestions and general guidance takes the decision making away from girls. It doesn't matter whether it's where to sew a badge or how best to cut out the lion's body from a piece of felt. Sometimes your support and suggestion help them build better ideas. As long as you make sure they know they are free to make their own choice even after you've answered them.

Some girls want to seek clarity or opinion, or are simply unsure of how they should do something, or want to do it in the best way. That's their prerogative and as a Leader I will happily give them support and guidance and freedom to choose their own path within that.

Our pow wows are different each term. Sometimes they give me flat lists of things they want to do - which usually include baking, craft, heartsease, swimming, football, and then invariably also "have an evening of throwing cream pies at Brown Owl", which I read out to the unit and then say "NO!". I do try and include one of the more outlandish suggestions that they put down, just to surprise them. However I often find that they list the best things we've done from the previous term most often, and we don't want to be too repetitive.

Other terms I give them slips of activities to put in order of preference, or give them forms to fill in for their favourite things to bake, games to play, badges to do, skills to learn.

I also add my suggestion of what we might do that term, which is often then expanded by the sixes into ways we could do it.

Last term they used the Senior Section Mission Spectacular decider to choose activities for the term, which I then developed for them.

Most terms my eldest brownies will plan an evening to run, and that is part of their Brownies Go-For-It. And of course their are enrolments to include too.
then invariably also "have an evening of throwing cream pies at Brown Owl", which I read out to the unit and then say "NO!".
Oh gosh why ever would you say no to that LOL! :D

I think guidance and suggestions are what we are there for as much as anything. Helping teach decision making ( and learning to accept when choices are made that you didn't choose but the majority did) is one of the things we should be doing not making the decisions as such, especially when it's something the girls can decide for themselves. Sometimes we have to decide because of circumstances beyond our control perhaps because of lack of money, lack of space and such like, it's always useful to explain to the girls why they can't do something. Something as simple as where badges go is an easy thing to let the girls do, suggestions and ideas which still leave a choice are good but the decisions should be made by the girls without a chart to show where they go.