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

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#81
To be honest can see that at all, I do think though that many people are jumping in to criticise it before they've even read through it all, done the e learning or even read it up that others are taking what they say as being how it is. This means there's a doom and gloom attitude spreading which gives the impression you gave above. I even read on FB one lady who isn't a leader at the moment saying she won't come back as she planned because of everything she has read on the site.
We introduced it to the Rainbows and Brownies last night, we got back very positive feedback, Rainbows are excited at getting badges, they don't see it as homework nor do the Brownies. We don't see it as not being trusted to run a programme. One of our Brownie leaders who works has a young family sees it as a way she can actually stay in Guiding now.
I'll try to explain the 'not being trusted' feeling a bit more.

Firstly: as a set of activities in itself, most of the new programme is absolutely fantastic. I think the interest badges are great (and not too much like homework!), and that at least some of our Guides will do them; that the skills builders are very good, generally not too much like school, and designed to develop and build on all of the skills we have traditionally aimed to encourage and teach. The structure of covering some aspects in unit meetings and also having to put a bit extra in at home is good; the idea of skills, activities and interest badges all linking up into bigger awards is coherent and well-thought-out. The themes are excellent and wide-ranging. I love the look of some of the UMAs - there's an excellent international Girlguiding one for Guides, for example. It all looks so appealing, too!

Secondly, as I've said in a previous post, we will give the programme a proper, honest, enthusiastic trial. One skills builder a term, and around five hours of UMAs; we will introduce interest badges, without doing any part of them in our meetings, and encourage the girls to do them; we will subsidise badge books. We will offer all the 36 unit meeting activities we have, with the exception of the punching one (on Tez's recommendation), the one we have done already, and possibly the one with painting plywood panels until the summer term, and facilitate whatever the girls choose. We will do it as it is written, or with only very minor tweaks, to adjust to individuals' particular needs. We will record it on GO.

This means that all or part of nine or ten of our meetings each term will be spent on the new programme, leaving one in which we will need to do some planning, and two 'free' evenings. In turn, that means that anything substantial we want to do (night hike, wide game, outing, invite a visitor, help out at a community event, have a Patrol organise an evening, run a fundraising evening, try country dancing, hold a joint event with the Brownies, mini-pioneering, try a WAGGGS activity, do a special Girlguiding extra such as the Future Girl challenge, do semaphore with glow-sticks...) will be limited to six a year.

All these things are, or have been, activities which you could have found on a Guide programme at any point within the last 50 years plus (except for the glow-sticks!). I would like to be trusted, as a Guide leader, have the option of substituting in activities like these, to type in 'Wide game' and '1 hour' into the Have Adventures section of GO, or 'Support community event' and '45 minutes' into the Take Action section.

Many of the UMAs include a 'take it further' box, or suggest skills which might be covered (or as Quack described, highlight skills the girls don't have!). I would like us to be trusted to be able to fill in 'Treasure Hunters - additional time' and '20 minutes'.

Finally, we could submit a favourite wide game to turn into a UMA. Perhaps it will make it through in six months to a year. But there are hundreds of wide games. If we are honestly keeping to the programme, as we will do, only that one will count, and not the others.

Fundamentally, every aspect of the official programme is now not only given to us as a topic or subtopic, but actually scripted, step-by-step and timed, for us and our girls. And this will not change by giving the programme a fair trial, because it is written into the very nature of the programme.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#82
I'll try to explain the 'not being trusted' feeling a bit more.

Firstly: as a set of activities in itself, most of the new programme is absolutely fantastic. I think the interest badges are great (and not too much like homework!), and that at least some of our Guides will do them; that the skills builders are very good, generally not too much like school, and designed to develop and build on all of the skills we have traditionally aimed to encourage and teach. The structure of covering some aspects in unit meetings and also having to put a bit extra in at home is good; the idea of skills, activities and interest badges all linking up into bigger awards is coherent and well-thought-out. The themes are excellent and wide-ranging. I love the look of some of the UMAs - there's an excellent international Girlguiding one for Guides, for example. It all looks so appealing, too!

Secondly, as I've said in a previous post, we will give the programme a proper, honest, enthusiastic trial. One skills builder a term, and around five hours of UMAs; we will introduce interest badges, without doing any part of them in our meetings, and encourage the girls to do them; we will subsidise badge books. We will offer all the 36 unit meeting activities we have, with the exception of the punching one (on Tez's recommendation), the one we have done already, and possibly the one with painting plywood panels until the summer term, and facilitate whatever the girls choose. We will do it as it is written, or with only very minor tweaks, to adjust to individuals' particular needs. We will record it on GO.

This means that all or part of nine or ten of our meetings each term will be spent on the new programme, leaving one in which we will need to do some planning, and two 'free' evenings. In turn, that means that anything substantial we want to do (night hike, wide game, outing, invite a visitor, help out at a community event, have a Patrol organise an evening, run a fundraising evening, try country dancing, hold a joint event with the Brownies, mini-pioneering, try a WAGGGS activity, do a special Girlguiding extra such as the Future Girl challenge, do semaphore with glow-sticks...) will be limited to six a year.

All these things are, or have been, activities which you could have found on a Guide programme at any point within the last 50 years plus (except for the glow-sticks!). I would like to be trusted, as a Guide leader, have the option of substituting in activities like these, to type in 'Wide game' and '1 hour' into the Have Adventures section of GO, or 'Support community event' and '45 minutes' into the Take Action section.

Many of the UMAs include a 'take it further' box, or suggest skills which might be covered (or as Quack described, highlight skills the girls don't have!). I would like us to be trusted to be able to fill in 'Treasure Hunters - additional time' and '20 minutes'.

Finally, we could submit a favourite wide game to turn into a UMA. Perhaps it will make it through in six months to a year. But there are hundreds of wide games. If we are honestly keeping to the programme, as we will do, only that one will count, and not the others.

Fundamentally, every aspect of the official programme is now not only given to us as a topic or subtopic, but actually scripted, step-by-step and timed, for us and our girls. And this will not change by giving the programme a fair trial, because it is written into the very nature of the programme.
No, at this stage it won't back. But if we feed back now, with "it'll never work" comments, they can be dismissed as "they're just speculating". If we can feed back and say "based on x months of practical usage, across various units and circumstances we have found . . ." there is a slightly better chance of getting a hearing. And they could then consider whether, for instance, a certain proportion of the UMA activity total could be drawn from unit's own ideas - that is the sort of refinement that could be built in if it were found necessary. But evidence will always carry more clout than speculation/assumption.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#83
I agree with Fenris, the new programme is so new, no one can say hand on heart, it won't work, the girls hate it. All we can say at the moment is that our experience suggests this isn't the best way or the way I would like it done. What we have to remember is that the process of developing the programme was led by a team of experienced leaders and has been tested along the way by real units. We do need to give it a chance and it will be monitored, new resources produced, they will be adapted in reprints when issues arise from the inital launch. It has been a massive process and not everyone will like it for many different reasons, but the real measure of success will be in three or four years time, how many girls we are retaining between transistions and how many new volunteers we are gaining and retaining. There will be existing leaders who hate it to such an extent they may not wish to continue but I really hope everyone will give it a fair crack of the whip.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#84
I do think that the new programme will work well in many ways (particularly for Brownies and Guides), especially as more UMAs are produced, and that many girls will enjoy it. I think that it will iron out many of the differences between units and it will provide greater consistency. I like many aspects of it very much and I think we were definitely in need of something different and more structured.

I also think that in three to four years' time we will have a set of girls who are used to picking activities from a card, rather than suggesting ideas and seeing them implemented or indeed organising them themselves (without the intermediate step of sending them off to HQ and buying them back in laminated form some months later). I suspect we will have Leaders who don't know where to start organising an activity from scratch, because they are used to following instructions, and they don't have as much opportunity to try for themselves or see other people in action - and this will apply particularly to those who experience the new programme as girls and then become Leaders.

I think we will have lost a great deal of the richness and variety of our programme, and of the notion of adjusting what we do in response to our girls' needs and interests - we won't think, oh, we'll teach that first, or we could extend it like this, because it will be right, tick, record on GO and move on to the next activity; we won't look at an idea on Pinterest and think "Our girls would LOVE this!", because we'll be used to choosing from what is available. I think we will lose opportunities for critical thinking, thinking for yourself, creativity and the ability to make things happen on a unit level and beyond, although there are obviously opportunities for being creative and effecting change in specific ways within the skills builders and UMAs.

And this will happen quite quickly. People will get into new habits, they will forget that other activities and ways of doing things existed, because they aren't in use, they will forget how to do things. There will be 72 skills builders and however many UMAs are available by that point, and that will be the programme. I think we'll give it a fair try, and then we'll just stop asking, because it will just tick over.

Does it matter? From a practical point of view, probably not: the girls will turn up and learn a range of skills in a structured and ideally enjoyable way, working in small groups and perhaps being able to choose the level or theme of their skills builder or contribute to the selection of UMAs. It will be very easy to ensure that all groups are offering the correct activities and it will be much more straightforward to plan, if not necessarily to resource.
 
#85
I think we will have lost a great deal of the richness and variety of our programme, and of the notion of adjusting what we do in response to our girls' needs and interests
The whole meeting isn't supposed to be spent doing the new programme though, there is room left for doing what we've always done. You can have meetings where you don't do the new programme but things as you always have, special crafts, outings, visitors etc so there we will always need to be able to plan meetings without 'cards'.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#86
But they are hours, and 4 hours essentially means 4 weeks (by the time you factor in registration, warm up game, and pow wow into the meeting) of these UMAs every term for a girl to have any hope of earning a Gold badge.
yes, they are hours - but so is the entire 1.5 hours per week, 12 weeks a term. During which we do activities. So there are 18 hours to play with… or so a parent might think. But only hours from the UMA cards count, which is why I think a name like Theme Activity Cards would be clearer.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#87
I think this is a potential danger for some people;

I think we will have lost a great deal of the richness and variety of our programme, and of the notion of adjusting what we do in response to our girls' needs and interests - we won't think, oh, we'll teach that first, or we could extend it like this, because it will be right, tick, record on GO and move on to the next activity; we won't look at an idea on Pinterest and think "Our girls would LOVE this!", because we'll be used to choosing from what is available. I think we will lose opportunities for critical thinking, thinking for yourself, creativity and the ability to make things happen on a unit level and beyond, although there are obviously opportunities for being creative and effecting change in specific ways within the skills builders and UMAs.
I agree with what Willow is saying. I love the themes themselves. I love how it runs through the sections. I like the skills builders, and hope they will grow so that there are more options in the future. I like the UMAs as girl led activities that will give great confidence to younger girls.

But I also don't want my girls to lose their creativity and leadership drives. I don't want activities that they run to only count as fun things. Why can't they develop an activity that will fulfil some of the UMA time and count towards a theme award?

And likewise for myself. We'll book at evening at our local outdoor centre. It's fantastic for identifying trees and plants, doing tracking, mini beast hunting, making shelters, building and lighting fires, and outdoor cooking. But if we want anything to count for Have Adventures, we have to follow a card. It's going to be First Aid in the field, since we've already done strike-a-light, and many of the other HA activities are actually just craft done outdoors at the moment.

I was hoping that some of our new badge system might align with the Australian Girl Guides, where they have "Create a Challenge" badges where the girls need to create their own challenges with badge topics. I think the UMAs are the perfect place to allow both leaders and girls (via their leaders) to create their own activity within a particular theme and input the details of the challenge and the time it covered into Go.

OR perhaps some "open" UMAs that are partly filled in with parts for leaders and girls to adapt what works for them, so the initial idea is set, but the details are for the unit to create - to a broadly defined standard. That would give a funnel to keep on track, provide independence and teamwork, and work within the common standard.

I'm really positive about how this could develop. But I'm going to be vocal about it because I WANT it to work, and I want it to help girls become the leaders, movers and shakers of the future. Not the card readers and followers of instruction.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#88
I do think that the new programme will work well in many ways (particularly for Brownies and Guides), especially as more UMAs are produced, and that many girls will enjoy it. I think that it will iron out many of the differences between units and it will provide greater consistency. I like many aspects of it very much and I think we were definitely in need of something different and more structured.

I also think that in three to four years' time we will have a set of girls who are used to picking activities from a card, rather than suggesting ideas and seeing them implemented or indeed organising them themselves (without the intermediate step of sending them off to HQ and buying them back in laminated form some months later). I suspect we will have Leaders who don't know where to start organising an activity from scratch, because they are used to following instructions, and they don't have as much opportunity to try for themselves or see other people in action - and this will apply particularly to those who experience the new programme as girls and then become Leaders.

I think we will have lost a great deal of the richness and variety of our programme, and of the notion of adjusting what we do in response to our girls' needs and interests - we won't think, oh, we'll teach that first, or we could extend it like this, because it will be right, tick, record on GO and move on to the next activity; we won't look at an idea on Pinterest and think "Our girls would LOVE this!", because we'll be used to choosing from what is available. I think we will lose opportunities for critical thinking, thinking for yourself, creativity and the ability to make things happen on a unit level and beyond, although there are obviously opportunities for being creative and effecting change in specific ways within the skills builders and UMAs.

And this will happen quite quickly. People will get into new habits, they will forget that other activities and ways of doing things existed, because they aren't in use, they will forget how to do things. There will be 72 skills builders and however many UMAs are available by that point, and that will be the programme. I think we'll give it a fair try, and then we'll just stop asking, because it will just tick over.

Does it matter? From a practical point of view, probably not: the girls will turn up and learn a range of skills in a structured and ideally enjoyable way, working in small groups and perhaps being able to choose the level or theme of their skills builder or contribute to the selection of UMAs. It will be very easy to ensure that all groups are offering the correct activities and it will be much more straightforward to plan, if not necessarily to resource.
I saw a statistic a while back, which stated that the average Leader in Guiding stays with a unit for less than 5 years. If that's so, then we need to consider possible reasons why, and I'd suggest one factor could be the dread of staring at a blank programme plan, filling in the few weeks required to do a roundabout, some Adventure clauses or a GFI, and then trying to think of things to fill the many remaining blank weeks. Where experienced Leaders have a back-catalogue of activities they have led before and could lead again, which haven't been done by any of the current girls in the unit, newer Leaders have to work with the girls to create or find original ideas for every blank space. Then plan them, work out equipment lists, work out instructions, risk assess etc. Currently, they have to do that for around 75% of meetings. Under the new programme, that will reduce to 40% of meetings, but it won't disappear. As for variety and richness - that is in the hands of the Leaders and girls in the future just as it is now. They can make their 'own choice' weeks exciting or dull, just as they wish.
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#89
I have just made a term plan and, because I don't yet know whether all the UMAs and SBs will take the time they actually say, I'm having to allocate 1 SB, or 45-60 mins worth of UMAs, to more or less every meeting apart from 3 this term. Almost none of them will then take the whole meeting and I have loads of activities (games/crafts/food/traditional) that I can use to fill up the gaps but I can guarantee none of them yet as if the UMAs that are supposed to last an hour run slightly over, that's our meeting.
So while yes, we will have lots of additional activities, we aren't going to be able to run another challenge badge alongside (which was my hope) unless I can fit it into one meeting (which I would rather not do).
We will have one themed/spare meeting, a Christmas outing, and a Promise party/bring a friend, for our other meetings, which are mainly stand-alone that I can't do anything else during the time. I suppose I could do a SB or UMA as a taster during the Promise party.
So while I agree there is lots of time, at the moment it doesn't look like useful time.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#90
Yes, the new programme is designed to take up around 60% of the time. But it is going to take up more than that in terms of usable activity time.

For example, with an hour and a half meeting, allowing time for registration, setting up, moving between tasks, working out instructions, clearing up, news, horseshoe etc, and aiming to fit in 1 SB and 4-5 hours of UMAs:

Meeting 1 - welcome back, intro to new programme, icebreaker UMA (10 minutes), choose SB, choose some UMAs, make suggestions for other meetings

Meeting 2 - skills builder activity (45 min) + UMA (20 min) + game

Meeting 3 - UMAs (1 hr 15 min)

Meeting 4 - SB activities (45 min + 30 min)

Meeting 5 - off-programme meeting: outing

Meeting 6 - UMAs (1 hr 15) + interest badge discussion

Meeting 7 - SB activities (30 min + 30 min) + UMA (10 min)

Meeting 8 - off-programme meeting

Meeting 9 - final SB activity (45 min) + UMA (30 min)

Meeting 10 - UMAs (1 hr 15 min)

Meeting 11 - SB catch-up night, plan celebration evening, interest badge review

Meeting 12 - off-programme meeting: Christmas party/Promise celebration/award badges

(this is written off the top of my head but based on the guidance given in the programme planning e-learning and timings from one of the Stage 4 SBs; it provides just over 4 and a half hours of UMAs)

It is very quick to plan! And the Leader and the girls would just need to choose one outing, one off-programme evening and some party activities.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#91
I saw a statistic a while back, which stated that the average Leader in Guiding stays with a unit for less than 5 years. If that's so, then we need to consider possible reasons why, and I'd suggest one factor could be the dread of staring at a blank programme plan, filling in the few weeks required to do a roundabout, some Adventure clauses or a GFI, and then trying to think of things to fill the many remaining blank weeks. Where experienced Leaders have a back-catalogue of activities they have led before and could lead again, which haven't been done by any of the current girls in the unit, newer Leaders have to work with the girls to create or find original ideas for every blank space. Then plan them, work out equipment lists, work out instructions, risk assess etc. Currently, they have to do that for around 75% of meetings. Under the new programme, that will reduce to 40% of meetings, but it won't disappear. As for variety and richness - that is in the hands of the Leaders and girls in the future just as it is now. They can make their 'own choice' weeks exciting or dull, just as they wish.
Oh yes, I totally agree with the dread of the blank plan!!

So:

Meeting 1 - welcome back, intro to new programme, icebreaker UMA (10 minutes), choose SB, choose some UMAs, make suggestions for other meetings

The girls choose Innovate (Express Myself); for the first time round, everyone is doing the same level and option

Meeting 2 - skills builder activity (45 min) + Know Myself: Promise activity (20 min)/unit choice on same theme + game

Meeting 3 - Know Myself: Wartime Guides UMA (modified and extended to 1 hr 15 minutes to allow time to teach everyone how to make tea and bandage properly)

Meeting 4 - SB activities (45 min + 30 min)

Meeting 5 - Have adventures: meet at nearby park for a wide game (1 hr 15)

Meeting 6 - Skills for my future activity (girls' choice - they decorate a shoe box as an ideal bedsitter, work out budget for furnishing, etc) (1 hr 15 min) + interest badge discussion

Meeting 7 - SB activities (30 min + 30 min) + introduce Take Action activity - identify and carry out a unit Good Turn in the community (10 min)

Meeting 8 - Be well: invite local karate instructor to visit (1 hour) + Know Myself: Promise & Law activities (15 min)

Meeting 9 - final SB activity (45 min) + plan Take Action activity (20 min) + game

Meeting 10 - Take Action: community good turn (1 hr 15)

Meeting 11 - SB catch-up night, plan celebration evening, interest badge review

Meeting 12 - off-programme meeting: Christmas party/Promise celebration/award badges

Same format; the girls are using the same materials and activities in some of the meetings; the cards are there in the event they are needed; but it has been tweaked a bit so it is personal to the girls. There is no 60%/40%; it is one, seamless, coherent programme. In fact, more time overall has been spent on the themes.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#92
Re: variety and richness - for Have Adventures, in the first two packs of UMAs, there were 4 cards on survival skills, and then in the next pack there were two cards on exploring nature. I would imagine (and hope) that as the new packs are released, they will continue to build on the topics within each theme - perhaps another two on exploring nature, then maybe four on wide games in packs 5&6, four on trails and tracking in 7&8, and so on.

But - there are far more than four types of trails and tracking we could do. So let's say penny hike, blindfold trail, traditional tracking signs and animal prints are chosen for the Guide UMAs. These will become the ones which will be used by most Leaders. Because they exist, and count for UMA hours, they will be chosen ahead of other ideas, such as your lamp-post trail - which might be really good (and indeed better than the others) for some Guides in certain areas. And because they are step-by-step instructions, and we are doing this properly and to a common standard, we can't just swap in the lamp-post trail instead.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#94
Yes, that's an option - and if there is something the girls really want to do, even though it's similar to a UMA which has already been chosen as part of the official programme, we could squeeze it in.

I am mindful of the need to balance the programme, and if we had already done one official tracks and trails activity, then we might not want to include an unofficial one as well, particularly as it means that something entirely different will be excluded. We'll have 2-4 meetings each term off-programme: in this time we will need to fit in visitors, outings, transition evenings, and any off-programme activity lasting more than about half an hour.

New Leaders will look at the cards, tick off the 'tracks and trails' bit with one or more of the activities given and then move on, unaware that there are loads of trails and treasure hunts out there - or that they could make one up following the interests of their Guides, or to reinforce a particular skill that they have learnt in a skills builder last term.

As each set of UMAs comes out, those four cards for that particular topic within a theme will become the de facto activities for that section, and the others will be lost. If you have already done something from the official programme within that section, there will be neither time nor need to do a similar but different activity.

On the other hand, we could have three options:
1) choose from the UMA cards given (for example, four wide games)
2) ...or this further list of activities (another six wide games given, of different types, with a brief outline of each, rather than full instructions)
3) ...or find or make up your own wide game, along similar lines.

I'm not against the UMAs at all: I think they look like a great resource for planning, for both new and more experienced leaders, and the girls, and it's always good to have new ideas! I also think the design and format will appeal to the girls, and the theming makes the structure of the programme and the need for balance really explicit.

With the skills builders prescribed (I love these, the clear development and progression, the shared nature, and the topics covered), it seems to make sense to have unit meeting activities with more flexibility, but still with a clear framework, structure and expectations, so that the cards are used as a springboard and example - there if needed, but equally a source of inspiration. This then also might inspire leaders to look up other activities and have confidence to adapt them or make up their own, or support the girls to do so, but knowing they have something to fall back on if required.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#95
With the skills builders prescribed (I love these, the clear development and progression, the shared nature, and the topics covered), it seems to make sense to have unit meeting activities with more flexibility, but still with a clear framework, structure and expectations, so that the cards are used as a springboard and example - there if needed, but equally a source of inspiration. This then also might inspire leaders to look up other activities and have confidence to adapt them or make up their own, or support the girls to do so, but knowing they have something to fall back on if required.
I really hope this is how it develops in the future. They will help and support those who need it, and inspire those who want to take it further and develop their own adaptations.
 
#96
I have to say so far I have been proved wrong we have done the first three skill builders for the stage 2 First Aid. The Brownies have absolutely loved it. All of them have taken part the acting out of the levels of responsiveness. The brownies took the examples and then carried out their own examples. I was so shocked at how even the shy brownies who barely say anything were taking full part and loving every second.
 

BigBlueCanoe

Beginner (10+ posts)
#97
I have to say so far I have been proved wrong we have done the first three skill builders for the stage 2 First Aid. The Brownies have absolutely loved it. All of them have taken part the acting out of the levels of responsiveness. The brownies took the examples and then carried out their own examples. I was so shocked at how even the shy brownies who barely say anything were taking full part and loving every second.
We did pretty much the very same session this evening Lafdugga. You're right it was pretty good. Mind you I think my lot might struggle with the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs session which is needed for the complete skills builder... Still I have promised them they could practice bandaging each other next week....
 
#98
We did the CPR on Wednesday using the lifeguard technique where the girls practice gently on each other this went off without a hitch. We did a walk through first with two volunteers and this was a success as the two youngest brownies are training to be lifeguards and they showed what they had learnt that week. It was brilliant. they then all went off in their pairs and we monitored them.

The hierarchy of needs went off well I even learnt and was made to think when i was told that certain things belonged in two or three levels as they applied to several situations. You do need more boxes than you think for the tower to work proper;y. Hope yours goes well.