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Don't do as I do, do as I say?

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#1
As Leaders, we regularly encourage our girls to embrace change. We ask them to move section, to move Six or Patrol, to try new and varied activities, to stretch themselves. We encourage them to take part in outings and residential events, both locally and further afield. To learn new skills, and achieve things they never thought they could.

But a new programme has been launched. And outwith Scotland (where they've been running it for two or three weeks), only a handful of Leaders have actually run the programmes with their units in unit meetings. Yet fora are full of "It'll never work", "We'll ignore the guidance and break the rules", "Our girls will never do interest badges at home" "we'll quit Guiding rather than try to introduce it". "we can't do half the activities at our meeting place" "I haven't read it through but I think it'll fail" and many such comments. 90% + of them being speculation.

So what about us and that Guide Law "a Guide faces challenge . . ." Should we Leaders declare a six month period where any criticisms of the programme ought to start "I have used the programme each week for a minimum of a month, and based on that real-life experience, we have found . . ." not "I know without trying it that . . ."?
 

kingfisherblue

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
We had planning meetings last night for Rainbows and Brownies. One of the Rainbow leaders is quite negative, but willing to give the new programme a try. We're introducing it slowly over the next couple of terms.

For Brownies, however, all three leaders are quite excited about it. We ran out of time, so have only planned until October half term. So far, we are including three SBs from two different themes - after all, there is nothing to say that we have to do one theme SB per half term. We have loosely linked two with World Mental Health Day, both relatively short and we're doing them in the same night. Another is loosely linked with British Food Fortnight.

We intend to continue as before, putting in the activities that we want to do based around anything topical - we don't celebrate every festival, but we do consider special days and decide whether we want to make any links with them during the programme. To be honest, schools often celebrate festivals, and we don't want to duplicate stuff.

The cards are durable and clear - I've taken a photo of each SB card that we are using, and sent it to the relevant leaders.

We still have to add in some UMAs, which is where the girls will be contributing this half term. We're starting with Promise activities and a pow wow. We're also intending to try a few new games and sing some new songs, to add to the ones that we already know.

I don't know how it will work yet, but I have high hopes. I'm a leader with almost twenty years experience, but there is always more to learn, and more ideas to try. This programme is giving us all a range of activities that we may not have considered before.

Leaders should embrace the change, challenge themselves to discover new ideas, and move with the times. Yes, there will be blips, but there were blips in the old programme as well.

Oh, and if the girls don't do any interest badges at home, that's their choice. I will encourage them, but at the end of the day, it's up to them.
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
I think that although change can be hard, as much as there should be time to give it a chance, people should be allowed a small initial grumble. We had little tidbits of information and rumours for a year then the new programme announced AND the changes for Go (recording etc) AND changes to recruitment policy, all of this shortly following on from adjusting to GDPR. Everyone is in reality mainly getting on with it but wants to pipe up along the way.

There hasn’t been as much backlash as there was with the promise change or the Guide uniform. I haven’t heard a peep about the new Ranger one other than confusion about what YLs are to wear.

Those that I have seen who are planning to leave are mainly those who were on the fence about continuing anyway or would have been retiring if the age limit was still in place. It was a change that nudged them rather than being out of nowhere.
 

turnip

Veteran (100+ posts)
#4
I’ve mostly seem positive reactions, or positive with specific concerns. I’ve only seen a few people say they’re not even going to try and do it as it’s intended.

I think the most concerns I’ve seen are Rainbow leaders as they will inevitably find it harder to cram everything in as girls are there for maximum 2 years, often more like 18 months. That’s a skills builder every term, no repeating themes, and assuming girls are there for the full 2 years. Whereas Brownies have six themes to cover in three years, so even if it’s more like 2 and a half, it feels more manageable. Although the older sections have more hours of UMAs to get in, their meetings also tend to be longer anyway and they spend longer in each section. So mostly the comments are “this sounds great but how do I fit everything in to an hour long meeting and with girls who are only in the unit for 12-18 months due to waiting lists?”

Change is hard for everyone, especially when it’s thrust upon us. I know there’s been extensive consultation, but they obviously can’t consult everyone and can’t act on every single piece of feedback especially since many will be contradictory.

It’s fine to struggle with change. But we need to be positive to the girls and their parents, and at least give it a good go at running it the way it’s intended before we try adjusting it to suit.

And remember that getting every girl to the section Gold award is not the goal! We should offer the required activities, but plenty of girls will miss crucial weeks or not bother with interest badges, so will miss out on badges. And really that’s ok. They’re still getting something out of being in Guiding and enjoying a fun and balanced program (hopefully!)
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#5
I think it is still too early to judge. From talking to people I get a different impression to on here. I think formal trainings to dispel rumours and actually starting to run the programme with the girls input will improve matters.
I think it is important to remember that people that post on forums and social media in general may be a little more settled in their thoughts than a lot of leaders. Not every leader is that wrapped up in Guiding, when all is balanced out I don't think there are that many willing to against the grain, they are just unsure, maybe unaware of the support.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#6
This is the only Guiding forum I use, and I would describe the vast majority of the responses seen here as "interested, engaged and constructively positive".

We are very much looking forward to trying out the new programme, and seeing how it works in practice.

As Badgemad says, this is one of the most positive responses to a change I have seen! I haven't heard a SINGLE leader here or in real life moan about the actual fact of having a new programme - and given the responses to the changes I have seen from the Promise in 1994/5 onwards, that is absolutely unreal!

What I have seen here are largely informed comments from committed leaders who are worried about making the programme work for their girls and offering them as many opportunities as possible - because they DO want to make it work and they are not just quietly going to ignore it. I have also seen (and contributed) concerns about the change in nature of the official programme, in taking away the chance of girls to choose their own challenges to contribute to this. This is a comment about the structure of the new programme, and the philosophy behind it. As such, it is not dependent on trying out the programme in the unit. By contrast, I have all sorts of reservations about buying, borrowing, storing and transporting the equipment needed, but am not airing these until we have seen how it works in practice.

This is a massive change and people will have queries and concerns. Yes, some of these will evaporate as they try out the programme. If we can have questions answered and practical suggestions made here, to help this process, great!

Going back to our expectations of the girls at the beginning of your post, Fenris - absolutely! We know that change can be hard for the girls, so we listen to their worries, we acknowledge that change can be difficult, we give them space to ask questions, we give them information about the practical aspects, we reassure them that it's ok to have concerns, we give them encouragement and support and cheer them on as they go... I think we've been quite good at all that here, too ;) - you've definitely helped on a couple of practical points for me, thank you!
 
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mogs79

Veteran (100+ posts)
#7
The only concern I have is the amount of time that it may take on go keeping all the details up to date with how many hours of each topic each child has done. Even if you keep a tally and do it termly or half termly it's could be quite time consuming. (Two hours a week my eye!) I freely admit, I despise Go and find it a tremendous waste of an opportunity for a decently designed, functional management system so am a little bit prejudiced!
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#8
I think that although change can be hard, as much as there should be time to give it a chance, people should be allowed a small initial grumble. We had little tidbits of information and rumours for a year then the new programme announced AND the changes for Go (recording etc) AND changes to recruitment policy, all of this shortly following on from adjusting to GDPR. Everyone is in reality mainly getting on with it but wants to pipe up along the way.

There hasn’t been as much backlash as there was with the promise change or the Guide uniform. I haven’t heard a peep about the new Ranger one other than confusion about what YLs are to wear.

Those that I have seen who are planning to leave are mainly those who were on the fence about continuing anyway or would have been retiring if the age limit was still in place. It was a change that nudged them rather than being out of nowhere.
A small, large or even enormous grumble based on experience? Absolutely. 100%. Would back to the hilt. But speculation/scaremongering? No.
 

helenfelen

Veteran (100+ posts)
#9
most of the leaders i know are positive however we have a couple of units in the district who are dead set against it and believe that the girls won't bother to do badges at home so it's just setting them up for failure, they don't like the new activities as they feel they are simple but have not looked at them or done any trainings, these are the same leaders who never ran the current program and often never attend district or division events or offer any holidays and they are now talking of quitting and walking away as it was pointed out that if they don't bother or just change it to suit them that it would disadvantage girls moving up the sections. it's sad when people won't even give it a chance. i think once the dust has settled and a lot of units have tried it and fed any teething issues back to hq and also we get more UMA's based on the feedback that it will be much better. i admit i was excited but apprehensive and also pretty daunted about planning and putting it into practice but have done the elearnings and sat down with my team and am feeling good about it and haven't we all been asking for years for a system where we could log what we have done & promises etc? well now we have it and people are just whinging about the extra admin. you can't win either way but just as the other changes were eventually accepted and even lauded so will this be. it's not the first time we've had massive change and i'm sure it won't be the last. tbh HQ have given us what we have been asking for for years; interest badges for rainbows, badge books, stage badges, more awards, easy meeting prep, idea's on a plate, logging system, a joined up program through the sections.
 

helenfelen

Veteran (100+ posts)
#10
following on from the many grumbles that girls just won't do badges at home i personally think more girls than ever will now do them. for years many haven't been given or told about actual physical badge books as it was all online so really it depended on their parents finding the info for them and often times many just forgot they were there and as many leaders did badges in the unit there was no incentive to do them at home and these same leaders rarely mentioned that they could and should have been doing them at home. How many girls when faced with an actual book that they can easily see the requirements and have signed off will not be excited? and the badges are easier to to fulfill with sorter syllabi and a more engaging layout. until we give them a chance we just don't know what our girls are capable of and if a leader is enthusiastic and actively encourages them to do badges then i expect they will be pleasantly surprised!
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
Firstly, as I said on the main thread, I think this forum has generally been really positive about the new programme. But even if it hadn't been, I feel that this should be a safe space where people can air concerns or highlight issues without being 'told off' for not trying properly, or being told that they are too negative.

I have raised some concerns, so I now feel like I need to prove that I have the experience to back them up:
1) the concern of the admin being too onerous. As we trialled 3 activities since January that have made it into the UMAs with no change, I went back and updated the girls' records. It was time consuming, especially as the drop down list of activities was not subset at all so quite long, and not in a logical order. I was only adding 3 activities, but it took a while as I had to work out who was missing that night. I can imagine that doing it once a term would be a task I come to dread. I actually don't keep a register of who is present at each meeting, so that is another bit of admin I will have to do or delegate going forwards.
2) the concern of running skills builders without leaving them incomplete. As they are the only official badges girls can earn in the unit, my girls will be keen to earn them! But during our planning meeting, I found it difficult to plan a catch up session for them. We have decided to wait and see what catching up is needed and then plan that meeting the week before. However, in my experience, planning meeting to meeting feels chaotic to me and often puts pressure on me in term time.
3) concerns around the 18-30 offer. In my experience as a member of this age range, I feel it has been forgotten again. Nothing new has been proposed, options have actively been taken away, and it still doesn't work as a section because some awards are still only for 18-26. I'm a member of this age range and I don't feel like any of the options are exciting, and I don't feel like there's a lot of support from GG nationally. I'm still waiting for some decent communication around it if I'm honest.

Anyway, in conclusion, we shouldn't be blanket negative about the programme, although I haven't seen many who are. We should offer the choice of all the UMAs and skills builders to girls, even if we think they're rubbish, because the girls might surprise us. However, although term may not have started for much of the country, planning and administration has, and that experience should be taken into account as well.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#12
Firstly, as I said on the main thread, I think this forum has generally been really positive about the new programme. But even if it hadn't been, I feel that this should be a safe space where people can air concerns or highlight issues without being 'told off' for not trying properly, or being told that they are too negative.

I have raised some concerns, so I now feel like I need to prove that I have the experience to back them up:
1) the concern of the admin being too onerous. As we trialled 3 activities since January that have made it into the UMAs with no change, I went back and updated the girls' records. It was time consuming, especially as the drop down list of activities was not subset at all so quite long, and not in a logical order. I was only adding 3 activities, but it took a while as I had to work out who was missing that night. I can imagine that doing it once a term would be a task I come to dread. I actually don't keep a register of who is present at each meeting, so that is another bit of admin I will have to do or delegate going forwards.
2) the concern of running skills builders without leaving them incomplete. As they are the only official badges girls can earn in the unit, my girls will be keen to earn them! But during our planning meeting, I found it difficult to plan a catch up session for them. We have decided to wait and see what catching up is needed and then plan that meeting the week before. However, in my experience, planning meeting to meeting feels chaotic to me and often puts pressure on me in term time.
3) concerns around the 18-30 offer. In my experience as a member of this age range, I feel it has been forgotten again. Nothing new has been proposed, options have actively been taken away, and it still doesn't work as a section because some awards are still only for 18-26. I'm a member of this age range and I don't feel like any of the options are exciting, and I don't feel like there's a lot of support from GG nationally. I'm still waiting for some decent communication around it if I'm honest.

Anyway, in conclusion, we shouldn't be blanket negative about the programme, although I haven't seen many who are. We should offer the choice of all the UMAs and skills builders to girls, even if we think they're rubbish, because the girls might surprise us. However, although term may not have started for much of the country, planning and administration has, and that experience should be taken into account as well.
Regarding attendance, we keep a register for fire safety reasons - in Brownies the Sixers complete it, in Guides each girl signs in on arrival. It is unusual for a unit not to take some form of register, if only for fire evacuation reasons.
 
#13
The only problem I have and I really want to do some of these skill builders and UMAs is with the UMA activities. If a girl who has learning difficulties and limited reading skills has tried her best on say a drawing activity but instead of taking the 20 minutes allotted time has spent an hour on it. How can i allocate that hour as I know there are activities she cant do and would like to give her credit for what she did.
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#14
I am looking forward to implementing it in the unit. If a girl said she hated a food, but had never tried it - we would encourage her to do so (And i'd tell her you can't hate something if you've never tried it). The programme is exactly the same - how can you hate something you've never tried?
 

caroline68

Regular (50+ posts)
#15
As a rainbow leader and being in the facebook group, there does seem to be a lot of negativity, but it is mostly about how earth is the new programme going to fit in to 2 years or less, and there is a lot of focus on all girls getting the gold challenge, (or being able to if they want). I have posted there we need to stop worrying and just give it a try. I am coming up to our 3rd anniversary of being a leader and also existence of our unit. In that time we have run activities and songs and games that most have enjoyed but occasionally 1 or 2 haven't. I can't see at present how that will change. We have 10 new girls joining 11 exisiting and noone due to leave at Christmas so its a bit of a no brainer to get started on the new programme now. I have done all the elearning modules and encouraged the team to do so also. We have had our planning meeting, and the only difference has been for this term only, we have decided what we will do. We have based this on what we think will be easy in our meeting place, but also fun, and have chosen the camp SB. We have done this to aid us as we get to grips with the new programme, but the girls can choose the SB we do next term. (there are plenty of other ways to give them choices.) We always did one roundabout each term and see this as similar. We have no idea what we will do about any girls who miss a session. If/when it happens we can decide then, and it will depend on how long the actiivty was, obviously it will easier to reapeat a shorter one than one that takes the entire session!
We have 4 girls to give the first anniversay badge to and have bought badge books for the existing 11, (they already have R4R, so don't need the new handbook), the new programme will be introduced during rainbow chat, I will show them badge and book, but not give them out until the end, so they are not a distraction for the rest of the meeting!! The new ones will get them when they decide to stay and have paid subs and admin fee.
One change I will make is to give out badges at the end of each half term in a named money bag to hopefully make it less obvious if a girl doesn't get a badge. Our 40% of our own time will be challenge badges which we have always done and means the girls will carry on receiving some badges. They wear them with pride on their polos.
We meet on Thurdsays so Friday mornings has been my admin time, certaininly in the 1st 3 weeks of term collecting subs, and then dealing with any I/C forms etc so that will be my recording on GO time. I expect this to take a while to start with, but expect it will become quicker with time as we get used to it and by doing it the next day will probably remember who was absent without needing to check a register.
Overall, I like the new programme, I like the consistent themes and love the membership badges. My main reservation is not giving out a badge to some girls, but life is full of disappointments and I will deal with each individual as necessary, but they are only 5 and 6, but it is also good I think to start as you mean to go on, and they will learn this is how it works. I do not want poorly girls turning up though!
With regard to badges, it is totally up to the girls and their parents, but they can still record SB in them and when they have their 3 hrs of UMAs. If we do this with them in our meetings, we can point out if they need to do an interest badge and that they will then get 2 badges!
I love that Pot of Gold is staying, they all get that regardless, and its a lovely way to celebrate all the fun they have had and send them off to Brownies with our love and good wishes to continue their journey!
Long post, sorry, just wanted to share my optimism!
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#16
The only problem I have and I really want to do some of these skill builders and UMAs is with the UMA activities. If a girl who has learning difficulties and limited reading skills has tried her best on say a drawing activity but instead of taking the 20 minutes allotted time has spent an hour on it. How can i allocate that hour as I know there are activities she cant do and would like to give her credit for what she did.
You can't, the system will only record 20 minutes. But equally, if she tackles an hour-long activity in your meeting, and gives it her best shot, you can credit her with an hour, even if she doesn't complete all parts of it in that time - because she will still have done that activity.
 

maz

Veteran (100+ posts)
#17
Brownies first night back last night. They loved the new books. I've decided as mine love stickers we would put stickers onto the UMA part. They did the sock puppet activity before the summer, so I decided that counts.
Last night they did moving postcards. They had a ball. Working in small groups. I got a timer as I think we really needed it....or the girls would have spend the night acting out the postcard.
We will have some who won't get help at home to complete badges. But I will try n help them where I can.
 
#18
As a rainbow leader and being in the facebook group, there does seem to be a lot of negativity, b

There certainly is! so much so that I'm not going on that site for a bit, everything is wrong, the new programme won't work, people are stressing badly, it's not suitable for Rainbows, it's rubbish, it's too much work, giving up Guiding etc etc. It made me quite despondent from reading it, I've tried answering but many don't want to see it as anything other than bad.
Negativity to that extent is infectious, people reading it who haven't looked at the programme yet will be set up to think it will all be a disaster, some people seem to actually be making themselves ill with worry.
I've said it's probably not as hard as you imagine, you can download the sheet to fill in the details of the night and then input it into Go when you want even just once a month. I also said we can all work together, iron out the wrinkles as we find them, there's always people who can explain things well and we can do this but no we were told to stop saying 'cheer up' no one did) and we were patronising and dismissive..... I felt totally washed out by it all, it was not a nice feeling.
QUOTE="caroline68, post: 1179047, member: 30001"]Long post, sorry, just wanted to share my optimism![/QUOTE]

Thank you, please don't be sorry, you've cheered me up no end. :)
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#19
There certainly is! so much so that I'm not going on that site for a bit, everything is wrong, the new programme won't work, people are stressing badly, it's not suitable for Rainbows, it's rubbish, it's too much work, giving up Guiding etc etc. It made me quite despondent from reading it, I've tried answering but many don't want to see it as anything other than bad.
Negativity to that extent is infectious, people reading it who haven't looked at the programme yet will be set up to think it will all be a disaster, some people seem to actually be making themselves ill with worry.
I've said it's probably not as hard as you imagine, you can download the sheet to fill in the details of the night and then input it into Go when you want even just once a month. I also said we can all work together, iron out the wrinkles as we find them, there's always people who can explain things well and we can do this but no we were told to stop saying 'cheer up' no one did) and we were patronising and dismissive..... I felt totally washed out by it all, it was not a nice feeling.
QUOTE="caroline68, post: 1179047, member: 30001"]Long post, sorry, just wanted to share my optimism!
Thank you, please don't be sorry, you've cheered me up no end. :)[/QUOTE]

That does sound really draining - and were we having that sort of discussion here, I'd definitely be stepping away for a bit. As you say, that sort of generalised negativity is contagious.

I suspect Rainbows are going to find the programme more of a change than Brownies and Guides. They have traditionally had a very unstructured programme, in terms of official content. They have also not had badges or a structure for progression (and the associated admin and recording).

The new programme requirements are going to impact disproportionately on Rainbows, both because of the length of meetings and because of the age range.

If Rainbows spend 2 years and an average of an hour a week in meetings, Brownies 3 yrs and 1.25 hrs, and Guides 4 yrs and 1.5 hours, and the Rainbow programme is designed so that Rainbows do 6 skills builders and 18 hours of UMAs, the equivalent of that would be:

  • Brownies doing 9 skills builders (based on years alone) and 33.75 hours of UMAs (based on years and meeting lengths)
  • Guides 12 SBs and 54 hours of UMAs.
Now, I'm a Guide leader. The new programme as it stands looks great, and just about right! But if I were told that the programme was designed so that all Guides should have the opportunity to do 12 skills builders and 54 hours of UMAs, which is essentially the equivalent of what Rainbow leaders are being asked to do, I would find that daunting.

So - we have to keep a cool head, try it out as it is given to us and enthusiastically, and feed back politely, honestly and constructively.
 

caroline68

Regular (50+ posts)
#20
Thank you, please don't be sorry, you've cheered me up no end. :)[/QUOTE]

Thank you!
Admin on the FB group are not allowing certain subjects now, so maybe it will stop!
Go for it, let's prove them all wrong!