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What happens to your unit during the holidays?

I'm about to become guider in charge of a small guide unit in London where I go to uni. The assistant leader is also a uni student. This means that during the holidays there will be no-one to run the unit. The last thing I want is to lose the girls interest by being away for 3 months.
This will hopefully only be an issue for the 4 weeks or so between me ending uni and them ending school. Do you think I should ask a nearby leader from a different unit to come and run meetings for a few weeks or just have a really long summer holiday for the girls? - I'll be back in time for starting again in September.
Anyone else in a similar situation?


Veteran (100+ posts)
Not in a similar position sorry. We only hold meetings during school term time so we have the long summer holiday, Christmas and Easter holidays.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
Not a uni guider - but why not discuss with the girls & parents now and see what they think. There's no set rules about when & how often to meet really - some units carry on through holidays, others don't. If you're the only two leaders, then the unit has to work around your availability. I wouldn't suggest the other local leader as an option without seeing if she would be up for that first (sorry if you've already checked!). However, if she was - you could suggest that as an option as long as parents volunteered to be the 2nd adult?


Brownie Guider
they could go and join another unit if you fel the need. or you could mayeb set them a challenge to arrange between themselves to do on a weekend rather than on a normal meeting night. eg research something or visit somewhere.

could they join another units camp or something keep them interested in guiding.


Rainbow and Guide Guider, Co-DC
When I was a student, I did get other Leaders from the District to come and run my last few meetings of the summer term for me, but I did have a regular parent helper at the time so she was a familiar face every week.
However I think it is perfectly acceptable to have a longer holiday if that's what the Leaders at the time can manage. No unit guarantees that there will be a certain amount of meetings each year.


We only meet during school term time. Could the Guides hold Patrol meetings? Could local Trefoil Guild members run a couple of meetings? Would some of the other Guiders run a couple of meetings for you - you could offer to help them out with staffing for trips etc in return.


Veteran (100+ posts)
when i was student we used to just run guide during the uni term. Personaly dont think this effected out numbers at all. As we never lost girls form year to year even with taking 3 months off ever summer and a month a Christmass. Easter was the only time that we stuck to the School holidays and that is simply because it was easier.


Brownie GIC
Not in a similar situation either, but my instinct is to say wrap up the term when you need to wrap up the term, unless you think you would have a lot of volunteer help. We actually break up end of June/very start of July because there are so many school events in the last three weeks, so we tend to have nearly two clear months break as a consequence.


Rainbow and Guide Guider, Co-DC
Oh, just remembered, as a student I used to run Rainbow meetings during school half terms (as I didn't have the week off uni) so that kind of made up for not having as many meetings at the end of the summer term. We'd usually have about 50% attendance during half term week which meant we did things like cooking.


Veteran (100+ posts)
yup i ran beavers whilst at uni with 3 other students - we finished early for summer and other hols as we werent there - but did do haslf term, though usually something fun as tuen out wasnt as good.

good luck


Brownie Leader
Staff member
I'm currently working this out for my unit (although we are tiny at present), I finish end of june and will not be back until October...so there's a couple of weeks between me going home for summer and schools breaking up, and then 4-5 weeks in september...we're planning to go through half terms, trial to see it'll work, but at the moment I don't know...summer is the only holiday I don't have any leeway, because my accomodation (halls this year and next) has to be vacated first week in July, and I can't move back in until October, so it is a bit of a pain where guiding is concerned!!

At the moment, I think having 3months might be my best solution, but I think every unit is different...there's still plenty of time to work it out though :) it seems like a long time, but they'd more than likely be off doing things for 6-7 weeks of the time anyway...but it is tricky :/


Regular (50+ posts)
I do Guiding in the same district as browniebeth and a lot of the units are in this position. In my experience, the units either:

1) Run to university terms exactly. In our case this usually means three ten week terms (continuing through school half term). Mostly this works well, occasionally girls are lost over the long breaks and sometimes they do enquire about other units - its rare though.
2) Run short school terms/long university terms in collusion with either 1) another section meeting in the same location 2) the same section in a different location.

In the second case these are either arranged informally through the Guiders themselves (for example, my Brownie unit will often run joint Rainbow/Brownie meetings for a few weeks after the students who normally do that Rainbow unit have gone home), or through district (via email, or pleas at a district meeting). As others have said, it helps the girls if at least one face is familiar though.

Whatever you do, if may be worth chatting it through with your DC - particularly if you settle on something that is unusual for your unit or your area. Sometimes parents will go seeking their own alternatives :)


Veteran (100+ posts)
In our district, three of the four units are run by uni students. One is run by postgrads, so that's not really a problem, and these postgrads (plus another leader) run the other unit in the same section when the undergrads are away/in exams...so this is normally all of September, a week at Christmas, a couple at Easter, up to three in May/June to exams and all of July. The undergrads plan the programme and the other leaders just turn up and run it. The Guide unit runs only during university terms, but in half term as well. Parents and children are all aware of this when they join, and know it's this way or no way!


Rainbow Leader and Ranger
I'm one of said units in Saff's district and we run to university term times. We also run in half term though we usually only have about half turn up.


Brownie-induced madness
I'm in another district with some student units - two have GiC that are undergrads and although both have an AG or a UH that is not a student, neither of those are really willing to take over entirely.

One runs 3 10 week terms, with no half term. The other one's GiC (and I think a couple of the AGs too) are BEd students so are around for a bit longer. I think that one runs slightly short school terms. Neither of them call on other units. The uni term one is very close to my unit and I have thought of welcoming their girls to my unit for a couple of meetings but both I and my DC are a bit wary of this - when you don't know what's happening with a unit when the leader graduates, it can unsettle parents/girls if they are at a different unit for a few meetings, what is happening, is the unit closing, are we all going to have to move over there permanently - and their unit would add at least 50% to the size of ours.

I know about students who live on campus and aren't allowed to be in their rooms outside uni terms but others live out but would be in their student houses on their own for 3 or 4 weeks at some point just to do meetings - no fun at all!


Mum-Guider-Teacher-general dogsbody!
didn't run Guides whilst a student, but I have taken time out while having my children. I've had 2 extended Christmas breaks and an extended summer one beacuse of this!

I've never lost any girls because of it - although obviously they did know the reasn for the long breaks!
One thing I did do is have "email challenges" that they could sign up to. I'd create a page based on badge or GFI activites, email it round and wait for them to email back to say they'd done some of them!
We had an "email news bulletin" that went round to.

I sent a note out about it before leaving for my maternity breaks and asked if the girls wanted to take part and also for the correct (preferably parents) email - this was in the days before GO! :)

It worked really well and I would consider it again if I was ever in a postition to have to take an extended break!


Brownie Leader and Ranger Assistant
I ran a unit solely with parent helpers in my second year. I just ran to my term dates, plus an extra week (we met on mondays, so I just stayed for a weekend after term finished). I think that summer, the girls went to another unit for a week with the parent helpers and did a mini olympics thing. But basically, you need to do what works for you. If you can't run to school term dates (coz you have to move out of halls or something), then just end term at your dates. As long as the parents are fully aware that you are students and have different term dates, it should be fine. Most of them are so busy at school in the summer term that it doesn't matter!


Veteran (100+ posts)
Our unit always finishes at the end June/ start of July and doesn't go back until mid September and we have nothing to do with Uni at all.

There tends to be lots of trips/residentials/disco's etc at the end of term so hardly any girls came and in September they were settling into new classes and tired.

This system has always worked well for us though some units go right up to the last day of term - as much as I love Brownies I enjoy the break and we all (leaders and Brownies) go back refreshed and full of enthusiasm.


Beginner (10+ posts)
I run a guide unit where im a student and 2 other leaders are students.
What I have done this year is created a challenge booklet where they have to complete at least 15/80 challenges over the summer to get a badge that im designing and if they do all 80 there is an extra badge (just a Guides do it best badge)...This hopefully keeps them interested. some of mine were keen to design their own badge whilst over the summer, I said they can then see if it works when we go back end of september.
Occassionally to make up for missing weeks in the summer we have a meeting in half term week, however we dont always get many turn up for that.
PM me if you want to look at it or anything it took us a while to think of 80 so it could help if anyone likes the idea..

Hope its going well.


Beginner (10+ posts)
p.s. I am starting to look for new leaders already as I only have one year left at university and am yet to know where im going to be working but know I will lose the two AG that are students and the other AG is not interested in running it and doesnt always show.
so I am loooking for students and other people to bring them into the unit this academic year to get them and the girls to get to know each other and for a smooth hand over hopefully...
It will make parents less worried and as Fox says other leaders and the DC wont have to worry about it.

(I am one of the students that Fox talks about)