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Information: Help & advice for complete newbie please!

Hi everyone. I responded to a post I saw online about being a local Brownie helper, which I thought sounded like a fun way to get out of the house and have a hobby that was also rewarding. I have NEVER been in the Guides, never been to a meeting, so my knowledge extends to me knowing it's a group of girls who get together and do stuff to earn badges. That's it. Anyway as you can imagine there's a lot to take in about the process and format of Brownies: all the songs, the 'promise', the book with the categories they have to work through, what they actually do at each meeting, etc. What I really need is Brownies for Dummies! Like a definitive guide to what it's all about, what is required of a helper, etc. The leader was talking about me having a few girls to myself to guide through the workbook, and is very keen for me to be a leader and plan meetings etc on my own, but as willing as I am I feel I need to research and know a lot more about what is expected of me and basically how the whole thing works! So if anyone can give any help or advice I'd really appreciate it! I just want to be armed with knowledge about the whole thing, as lovely as the leader is I don't want to bother her too much with lots of simple questions, I'd rather do a bit of homework myself and go in with a bit more understanding instead of hanging around not really knowing what to do x


Veteran (100+ posts)
Once your membership number comes through have a look at the on-line learning for the programme on GGUK. It's very useful.
Running the programme is just a matter of making sure that over every set period of time you cover all the essential elements: this doesn't need to be every meeting. We do it over ever 3 terms so anyone coming in for three terms (no matter whether they start in Sept, Jan or April) will cover the essentials.
Apart from that each unit runs according to what the girls want and what the Leader's skills are. That's why they are all so different.


Veteran (100+ posts)
It's worth having a look through the Guiding Twitter, it quickly gives an idea on not only is Guiding "about" but some good activity ideas!


Veteran (100+ posts)
The difficulty (and fun!) of guiding is that it can be almost anything!

A really good way of getting a handle on the diversity of approaches is to try and visit a few local units- just seeing the different eye of opening and closing meetings, the various tones of the units (some are strict, some are quite unstructured, some leaders encourage a very formal relationship between girls and leaders, others are very informal...), and the different types of activities they each do will probably give you a good feel for what type of unit/leader you want. :)


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member

First thing I'd recommend is to get hold of your Leadership Qualification (LQ) book. That guides you through the "things" that Girlguiding as an organisation wants you to know about before you officially become a leader. What you'll find is that it gives you references in our publications (hard copies & online) to read up on, and discuss, in respect of what our programme should cover. Once you understand that, everything else eventually falls into place.

There's loads of information on the Girlguiding website that is publicly available, along with specific info only available to official volunteers (which you can access after you've got your log-in details). One page you might find useful is the one called "What do girls in guiding do". You'll see the various areas we're supposed to cover at meetings. I'd agree with the point made above about covering it over a term / a year ..... you'll soon begin to see that certain parts of the programme may make more sense to do in summer / lighter nights, others line up with holidays / celebrations etc.
You can also access much of the "Guiding Manual" online without login details. That contains loads of information about the Promise, some of the things leaders need to always consider (e.g. health & safety, child protection), support from other leaders (e.g. your district - which is the "local" area - commissioner) as well as information about various activities which you can do.

Have you a got a mentor lined up? Please ask for one if not - she's another leader, separate to your own unit leader, who has volunteered to help new leaders like yourself. As well as commiting some time to help you with this, you should also be able to take advantage of the experience she has ........ you must appreciate that every unit runs slightly differently (still within the "confines" of any rules), so the way things are done in your unit is not the only way.