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Weekly Discussion: For whom the bell shaped badge tolls...

What do you think the new programme will mean for challenge badges? (Select all you think apply)

  • They will continue to be used by some units as an alternative to the actual programme

  • They will drop in popularity due to programme changes offering what made them popular

  • Units will move to using them for residentials or activity days but not for meetings

  • Existing well known challenges will continue to do well but newcomers will struggle

  • Badges that cover niche areas will do well but not some of the more generic ones

  • They will become popular as people pick up on now obsolete badges

  • Drop in popularity due to time restrictions alongside official programme

  • Other

  • No change


Results are only viewable after voting.

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
Challenge badges have often been debated (including on weekly discussion Weekly Discussion: “Challenge” Badges ) on their role alongside the outgoing programme; their usefulness, their role in the perception of badges and how participation should be recognised and what they represent to leaders in terms of planning and fundraising. But some are now asking, does the new programme with its preprepared cards, standardised way of running that fills the term and different badge structure mean that challenge badges are now a thing of the past? Or do they still have a role to play? What will this mean for units that rely on them for income or have girls used to a pile of badges a term simply for showing up to meetings?
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
Personally:

I think the appetite for them will continue but in a different way. Lots of leaders like badges, and some are very pretty. Often there is the added bonus of supporting a good cause or a fellow member/s of Guiding. The new programme doesn't allow for as much off page activities time wise if you want your girls to actually achieve badges and the programme.With only a camping badge I think they will become very popular for residentials, but I think they will drop in use for usual/weekly meetings.

I have never been fond of doing them too often, especially with younger girls because it can become to become a bit disconnected- you end up with a theme for a term or month of one theme making it a bit too disconnected from the programme or boring for the girls with no interest in the area of focus. When we have done them it has tended to be to support a local member/charity or an official national or region one. I also don't think they push girls enough as more often than not they are a sample of activities related to a topic or are very generic (do a word search etc) rather than being a personal challenge in the same way interest badges or skills builders are.

For lots of leaders things like UMA cards will be the answer that challenge badges offered and they will be happy to shift across. I think some leaders though will continue as before, running back to back fun badges with only vague nods to the actual official programme.
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#3
I was thinking about this the other day, and I think/suspect someone will make some unofficial badges which try to replicate badges like Hostess/Cook/Brownie Holiday etc as that's a void that people can already see where something is missing.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#4
I think they will die a death - and I would be delighted if they did. For every carefully thought through, imaginative, challenging one, there are a dozen that are the results of five minutes' internet search slapped down on a page. The want of quality control, and tailoring activities to age groups, is glaring in far too many.
 

turnip

Veteran (100+ posts)
#5
I think they will drop in popularity due to the time having to be spent on the new program.

Although 40% is still “free” time, that will quickly fill up with a welcome back meeting, Christmas party, promise party, local trip out of the meeting place, visiting old people’s home.

I think challenge badges will still be great for residentials though. But they won’t be the automatic go to fund raising activity that they seem to have become.

We’ve done some great challenges. Girl Guiding Welshpool have some really beautiful badges with some great activities. Obviously it’s down to leaders to choose ones which work for their units and which sufficiently challenge the girls. We’ve also done a couple of regional challenges.

I’ve also seen a lot where a quick google wouldve come up with the same activities so it’s not really worth it.
 

Tawnyowl51

Veteran (100+ posts)
#6
Kerstee I think you are right, the interest badges that are disappearing will be replaced by similar but unofficial badges as people realise that some leaders want to hang on to the old programme, even though they probably wanted to hang onto the old programme last time.

While everyone is getting used to the new programme I think challenge badges will perhaps not be so prevalent, but once everyone is up and running, they will emerge again.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#7
I suspect Kerstee is right too but I really hope she isn't. We all managed perfectly well to have a good well balanced programme before Challenge badges came along and I'm sure we will with the new programme. As others say the discussion is now how will we fit it all in rather than what else will we do and I think units will spot what's missing in their own programme or what bits the girls have enjoyed and want to continue and explore further without a 'challenge' to focus on.
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#8
I suspect Kerstee is right too but I really hope she isn't. .
I hope i'm not right too! My plan is next year, if I can get hold of Hostess and Brownie Holiday badges etc for those events, then i'll give them out. If not, that's the end of them!
 

JMW1

Guide Leader
GuiderPlus
#9
I have used a couple of really good ones for residentials. I see them as helpful in saving me reinventing the wheel for wide games etc at camp but I wouldn't use them as a substitute for core programme
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#10
I think people have used these to fill various gaps, and will continue to do so, but the gaps will be different.

With the old programme, the resources for the Guide programme were limited: the challenge badges gave an alternative to GFIs. Some of them also provided materials that weren't available amongst the official resources - for example, there was very little music, so we used Fenris's challenge badge.

They also meant that the girls actually got a badge, before GFI badges existed!

Whilst they were not all to the same standard, the best challenge badges are/were very good indeed, and tend to have more 'doing' and less 'discussion' than some of the official resources.

They gave a good focus and a ready-made programme - or at least the skeleton of one - for a holiday or camp.

Now, we have plenty of activities on a broad range of themes in the form of the skills builders, which will also lead to a badge for the girls who complete all five parts.

My guess is that challenge badges will still be used as something different for camps and holidays, in the same way we've always had the option of having a theme, but significantly less in unit meetings - because that gap will be filled by the new programme.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
Kerstee I think you are right, the interest badges that are disappearing will be replaced by similar but unofficial badges as people realise that some leaders want to hang on to the old programme, even though they probably wanted to hang onto the old programme last time.

While everyone is getting used to the new programme I think challenge badges will perhaps not be so prevalent, but once everyone is up and running, they will emerge again.
Looking at it from another point of view - it's not necessarily wanting to retain the old programme, but perhaps one aspect of it which has been tried and tested. The Camp SBs are good, and will indeed help our members to develop skills for going away; they are different to the holiday badge, which sets out the structure of the holiday and the routines and skills in the context of the event.
 

Kochanski

Veteran (100+ posts)
#12
Can I interest anyone in 26 Brownie holiday advanced badges? They are the result of a smeg up at the depot and at the time I said not to worry about it as we'd use them over time - then for various reasons we didn't. Will sell or trade. PM me.
 

Squirrel-Nutkin

The Wicked Witch of the West (15,000+ posts)
#13
I was thinking about this the other day, and I think/suspect someone will make some unofficial badges which try to replicate badges like Hostess/Cook/Brownie Holiday etc as that's a void that people can already see where something is missing.
this is a possibility, but creators would have to be careful to not infrige copyright, but I think as units switch over to the new programme the unofficial badges will totally drop in sales and GG could ban them from being worn on uniform, plus if units have just bought a load of new resources they won't have much spare unit money for a while
 

CrystalQueen

Beginner (10+ posts)
#14
we only ever used them for residentials, and I would agree that there were some great ones, really well thought out, but a lot of terrible ones as well!
 

NosilaC

Regular (50+ posts)
#15
We've used them quite a lot, both for residentials (leading to some very memorable Brownie Holidays & sleepovers) and to complement the official programme (many tied in very well with the You, Community, World themes). Have never felt constrained to stick to the exact guidelines/activities in the challenge packs though - we've used what we found useful, adapted where needed and added in extra activities where these appealed to the Brownies. As a leadership team, we agreed that it's important that the girls know what they've done to earn the badge and can look at this with pride - and I'm impressed by how many 'oh yes, that's what we did when we earned our … badge' conversations I hear between the Brownies when they're looking at each others uniforms, sashes, etc.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#16
I think for residential they will become more popular, as a lot of units currently use interest badges as a theme, or so a badge can be awarded at the end (for example, all girls go home with the Camper badge, or the Cooks badge). The new programme has nothing like that - you either must complete an entire SB to get a badge, or a 'fun' badge is awarded. If you do a SB, the programme could be quite "samey" and not a balanced programme over the whole camp. I'm not sure how that would be assessed if you were doing your GAW - maybe it will be discouraged to do an event mainly using one theme.

My feelings are that with the new programme, there really isn't the time or purpose for unofficial challenge badges in meetings anymore. But I would still buy a nice badge if someone I knew was fundraising for something, or for camps, so while I don't think they will disappear completely, I think it will definitely be harder to sell them.
 

NosilaC

Regular (50+ posts)
#17
I think for residential they will become more popular, as a lot of units currently use interest badges as a theme, or so a badge can be awarded at the end (for example, all girls go home with the Camper badge, or the Cooks badge). The new programme has nothing like that - you either must complete an entire SB to get a badge, or a 'fun' badge is awarded.
I'm thinking of offering the Brownies the opportunity to do the Camp SB at next year's Brownie Holiday, if they want to choose a theme such as I'm a Survivor, Bare Necessities, Swallows & Amazons, etc - where I can work the SB activities into the Holiday programme, but still leave time for other activities that relate to the theme but not the SB itself (aiming for a combination of 'fun' and 'skills building'!). Will mean that they get 2 badges - both the Holiday theme challenge badge (which leaders also get) and the SB, so would just need to budget for this. Not sure this would work for all SBs - though the Innovate SB could tie in well with the Messy Challenge and other STEM related challenges (such as Clever Cogs), so will continue to think this one through...
 

Squirrel-Nutkin

The Wicked Witch of the West (15,000+ posts)
#18
Some of the 'have adventures' might lend themselves to a camp holiday too, but using a load for camp won't leave many for meetings (until more are produced)
 

NosilaC

Regular (50+ posts)
#19
Some of the 'have adventures' might lend themselves to a camp holiday too, but using a load for camp won't leave many for meetings (until more are produced)
True - but only really thinking of doing the Camp SB this way - and certainly not two SBs from the same Theme. Our meeting place doesn't really lend itself to the Camp SB (not enough room to put up tents, or to light fires safely) so realistically Brownie Holiday is going to be the best place for us to do that SB. Will certainly be keeping the Explore SB to do in meetings though, otherwise Brownies who don't choose to come on Holiday wouldn't get the opportunity to complete the Have Adventures Theme Award. Similarly, our Rainbow leader and I were thinking of possibly doing a joint Fun Day based on the Innovate SB - but would then keep the Communicate SB to do in meetings.
 

Squirrel-Nutkin

The Wicked Witch of the West (15,000+ posts)
#20
actually, with level 2 SB being same for rainbows and brownies, does allow for some 'joint' events actually doing the same things [that might help transitions too]