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Question? Volunteer Welcome Event


Beginner (10+ posts)
Hi all

I'm trying out a 'new to us' idea by running a welcome event for our new student volunteers this year to introduce them to guiding, help them find the right section for them and help them understand their role better so they can feel 'more useful' from the off. Its in the planning stages and I wondered if anyone had any thoughts as to what they think they would expect from the event, if they were a new volunteer attending one?

What topics would you expect to be covered?

What do you wish you had been told as a new volunteer?



Veteran (100+ posts)
If it is particularly for Students, get across the message that if they are busy or have an essay due that its okay for them to miss a night.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Warning long post!

The evening sounds like a great idea and I wish we had one when I was a student leader. I would cover a few points about the local area and what
•what guiding is, mission statement for GG
•who is who role wise locally
•what is your local structure (do you still have districts) what county are you apart of
•how many units of each section do you have
•any exciting events coming up or annual events
•brief disruption of roles in guiding
•summary of each section
•an honest description of commitment and leadership qualification
•"myth busting" of anything that might put people off (don't have to do ALQ to help, don't have to be Christian/CofE)

Also invite along anyone who is currently a student leader to talk and mingle. Have some details to take away both for Join Us and a person to answer any questions.

Some points you might find useful.

From being a student guider:

1) Meeting a few people from local Guiding and being made to feel welcome to the local guiding community. I was lucky with my unit and area that I was in but I have heard of people feeling like they were treated as very temporary or like they were wholly inexperienced when they had been running their own unit before leaving home. They may choose to do post grad at the same uni or stay in the area to work- try to avoid developing a culture of that student volunteers are a three year extra pair of hands not worth investing in. I've been told of a division where parent helpers who "aren't sure" about becoming a leader are given a uniform and encouraged to do an over night licence where as students are told to pay for their own uniforms and are off doing any extra qualifications all because it was seen as that another county would "ultimately benefit from what our county has financed". Not very sisterly.

2) Leadership isn't the only option in Guiding. I had a friend who didn't want to get directly involved with young members but was happy to help with accounts. A busy medical student who did the ALQ before coming to uni might not be able to commit to a unit but is happy to be on call for residentials and for emergency cover. Is there a tec savvy person happy to help leaders master GO! ? Look for volunteers for guiding not just leaders.

3) What would they like to do and where.
Take into consideration what their experience is and what they want to do. If you are young, inexperienced , or new to guiding it may seem very difficult to speak against the confident guider who tells you that the Rainbows on the other side of town desperately needs a leader and you'll do-when you have no way of getting there, it will be a rush after lectures and you actually wanted to help out with TSS as a unit helper.
Have the option of trying out different units before settling if possible. Its hard to know what commitments are going to be like when first starting at uni or what age group of unit style you'll like. How many times have we seen on here a disheartened new volunteer encouraged not to leave guiding and to try a new unit? At uni there are 101 societies offering fun chances, why struggle it out volunteering when the cocktail society meets at the same time as the unit?

4)Consider what the local set up is like and if it needs tweaking to be student friendly.
Are all the trainings during Uni holidays when they aren't there, are units offering to reimburse bus fees for that out of town unit, are they on the email lists, added to the Facebook group, invited to county events?
University terms vary from school ones, as does assessment period. If you were to have any student leader units would they appreciate having someone else cover the weeks when they are doing exams, someone to cover at the last min if their dissertation is proving too much.

From being in Student Scout and Guides:

1)If you have a Student Scout and Guide Club locally get in touch with them if you haven't already. They might have resources you can use for how to balance student life and leadership.
2) Some clubs have a volunteer rep, invite them along to the evening.
They might be able to get you visits from students who are part of societies etc ( quiddich teams, STEM activities, first aid, knitting, dancing) who are willing to come and run a night for free or low cost. One society came and ran a night for a fraction of one local business quoted.

3) Something I noticed was that the local scouting had seemingly a very good package for student leaders.
They had a first meeting then clear training pipeline with small catch up evenings planned. It seemed to get the students through and leading rather than in guiding where it appeared a bit more piecemeal, with some not getting qualified throughout the whole of their degree. I not sure if that's standard for scouting or just where I was though.
4) Know or have on hand Guidings policy for male, transgender and non binary volunteers. Saves any awkwardness and being prepared with a positive response is more welcoming.

Also, don't forget about mature students!


Also - not all students are at University. Students at FE colleges are often an ideal source of help which is almost always overlooked in the rush to recruit Uni students. They often live locally so can be available year-round and have a variety of practical skills.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
Consider transport issues, units don't always meet in strong student areas and may not be on bus routes that link up to student areas. What alternatives are there ...'joining together to help with transport', Student 'hit' squads running meetings at units based on themes eg Science badges, communications.

Are there any peer educators there...