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Weekly Discussion: Thank you for the extra pair of hands....

How do you thank parent helpers (if at all) should be thanked?Please select all that you feel apply.

  • Special mention in email/newsletter

  • Special mention at the end of the meeting

  • Card

  • Gift (bottle of wine, flowers, bath product)

  • I don't think its something that needs acknowledgement

  • Other

  • GG Recruitment leaflet ;)

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Veteran (100+ posts)
Some units rely on a parent rota to run and other might have parents or other family members* that can come along and help with specialist skills. Last year we had the latter, a parent came to be part of a round robin and teach some phrases in a language. One of the UHs was very concerned about giving the parent lots of recognition (wanted to get flowers etc) whereas I (the meanie!) saw no reasons to go beyond giving her a special thanks at the end of the meeting and when we sent our next email out we thanked her again and put a reminder that we welcomed anyone to share a skill etc and would pay/cover expenses if needed.

How do you thank "one off" parent helpers (if at all)? Do you think that there should be thanks? This obviously excludes any reimbursement for materials they may have purchased or if they run something with a set cost.

*Parent could equally be older sibling, grandparent etc


Veteran (100+ posts)

I am a little bit of a meanie. If a parent has come along just to be an extra pair of hands because we are short or they have come to lend a skill but they haven't majorly gone out of their way I don't see much need beyond getting the girls to say thank you and us "shouting out" to them on our email. Although they have made an effort to help and we aren't in it for the recognition, we the leaders do far much more each week with little thanks from our parents. If a parent had gone away on a residential, stepped in over several meetings or helped in an emergency I would make a bit more fuss.

I remember as a YL a bad taste being left in my mouth after a friend of the LiC came to run a session which she charged her usual rate for (over £100), which is fair enough as she had brought some expensive equipment that no doubt needs maintaining and she has to remain qualified to run the session. But she also got a big bunch of flowers, card, a bottle of wine and some chocolates, as well as a bit about how she came to run the session as she wished to spread the "love" of the skill. It just seemed a bit OTT and a great deal for LiCs friend who did this every two years or so for the unit.


Veteran (100+ posts)
A thank you at the end and probably one of our unit thank you cards if they actually came to teach something rather than a pair of hands. Wine/ chocs tend to be accompanied by a soaking wet tent!


Veteran (100+ posts)
We thank parent helpers at the end of the meeting “and thank you to Flossies Mum Sue for helping us today” as we’re all in the circle just before brownie bells, and also thank them as they leave.

We’ve had a couple of parents come in and run particular sessions, we pay expenses where relevant but don’t go overboard with flowers and stuff. Tbh they’re just lovely parents who have volunteered to share a skill with the girls, it’s not like we forced them into it!


Brownie Leader x 3
At the end of each term we tend to spend a few minutes asking the girls who has helped us this term and they make cards.


Regular (50+ posts)
We have a parent rota and thank parents with a loud "thank you" from all the girls at the end of the session. When I write our termly review which I send to all parents I thank them again collectively.
Occasionally a parent or friend has come in to run a session then we give them a box of chocolates £3 worth. They are usually surprised, but I think its worth giving them a little something for their time.


We rarely have parental involvement, but I think the most relevant factor is scale. So what length of time was the help given for? What expense (if any) was involved, directly or indirectly? How involved/onerous was it? Did it require significant preparation time beforehand/clearing up afterwards?
There can be a significant difference between an hour of being the 'extra adult for ratios' on a night at the park mainly spent sitting on the bench spectating or helping out here and there while the Leaders are doing the majority of the work - and preparing and delivering a first aid teaching session for an hour, with materials prepared in advance, equipment borrowed from stores which will have to be returned afterwards, etc.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
As others have said, so much depends on the level of the involvement. Saying thank you is always important to anyone that gives time to Guiding but it has to be proportionate so a parent rota a thank you at the end of the evening should be sufficient, parents that provide a van to transport gear to camp may well be worth a bottle or box of chocs to say thank you especially if it is saving the unit funds.


Veteran (100+ posts)
For parents, I speak to them personally during the meeting and say how much I appreciate their time. Then they get a thank you too whit too woo in the circle at the end.

Visiting speakers also get a too whit too woo before leaving then, the week after, I ask for a couple of volunteers to write a message in a card, which I post.

I think it's important to show the Brownies we should say thank you. But I only give presents on camp / holiday and even then they're just tokens.


Brownie-induced madness
We thank at the end of the meeting with an especial mention for those that share skills. (and yes, also speak to them privately if they have shared skills)


Veteran (100+ posts)
We had a couple of parents who stepped in at the last minute so that I didn't have to cancel (Rainbows). They received a thank you in circle at the end, and another on our closed Facebook page.

Another parent, a headteacher, had soft archery sets in her car. She allowed us to use them for Brownies and Guides (holiday meeting), and showed the girls how to do everything, along with a safety talk. She then spent the rest of the session with us, helping the girls when needed. She was also thanked in circle at the end. We thanked her on our FB page and put up a photo (that she had consented to). She's stepped in on odd occasions to help when needed - she lives some distance away, so stays in the foyer, and has even done her level 1 safeguarding (and is safeguarding lead at school).

If we buy flowers and chocolates, it takes money away from activities for the girls. t's one thing paying out of pocket expenses, but totally different if it's a parent rota or one off help.