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Leader “life hacks”

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
What’s one simple tip or idea you’d like to pass onto others? Something to do with organisation, admin or general use for running a unit.

I feel inspired after seeing a meeting hall last night that the leaders keep a box at the drop off point asking for “recycling donations” where parents can put old clothes, bottles etc. As long as you have the room to store it this could be easier than collecting up materials between leaders/sending a request home.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#2
I always advise new leaders to have a 'meeting in a bag' - ie all you need to run a meeting at short notice, it could be newspaper dressing up, straw models, etc but to cover those nights when your original plans don't work for whatever reason or if you have to step up to run someone elses meeting..
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
Google Docs can be really helpful, especially if you have a larger team/ if everyone in the team has access to gmail-even if you don’t have a Google account you can still view. For those who don’t know it’s a live document similar to word but you can invite people to view and edit.
I think there might be something similar for outlook?

So you could upload a blank table for the term then get everyone to fill in their availability, put in ideas, or add comments. Everyone then has access to the most recent version.

If you have a unit email account you could also use it to store templates for things like new starter “welcome” emails and Promise ceremony scripts.
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#4
Have a box of things in the cupboard that you might need 'to hand' for general admin

We have a grab box of pens, rubber bands, stapler/staples, pencils, pencil sharpener, blu tak...
 

Kochanski

Veteran (100+ posts)
#5
Have a stand by activity for pack holiday that may never be used but is there in case you need it.

My mum took pegs, crepe paper streamers and lengths of string to make twirlers every holiday for over 20 years! She never needed them, but they were there - the best travelled pegs in the north of England!
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#6
A rainy day folder for camp. It contains plastic pockets with 24 copies of each activity. There are camping-themed puzzles, quizzes, worksheets, games, activity ideas - which are strictly reserved for use at camp only, so they are fresh ideas. Any equipment needed such as playing cards, pencils etc are also contained in the zip folder.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#7
Minimise your admin. Yes, some things like accounts and Go are essential. But why keep a register? Why keep badge records or a progress sheet for Brownie Adventure badges? I mean, if you like doing it then go nuts, but don't feel you have to do any of those things at all!
So for example, say in a meeting we celebrate 2 winter festivals from other cultures. So at the end of the meeting, girls are told that this covers one clause from the Seasons badge and is also a World activity, and can bring their badge book and Adventure book to be completed (me or a YL ticks the clause in the badge book and writes "Hanukkah and Ephiphany, Dec 2017"). Some of the older girls do this themselves. Once they've completed a whole badge or an adventure wedge, they bring their book to me and I give a badge. If on a night they forgot their books, they won't be reminded to sign those bits off again so it's up to them.
So anyway, my top tip is give the girls responsibility!
 

Epona

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
Keep a full copy of every session that you run; ideally a summary booklet with notes of what worked and what didn't, and a bigger folder with a copy of all the printouts, examples and descriptions that you used on the night. When the girls circle back to something that their older counterparts did some years back, the source material is to hand.
 

Ech18

Veteran (100+ posts)
#9
If an activity worked really well I tidy it up and put it in a wallet with the theme in the front in my Guide box. Great for the unexpected meetings!

Also when i’m wandering around the sales in January I will buy nice sparkly ribbon etc. (The expensive £5 stuff which is just gold or silver) for my personal craft box. I always put the receipt in the box so if we need something nice for Guides I can just take it instead of having to find something online that I already have!
 

chopperchick

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#10
Remember to learn from both the official sources (e.g. Guiding publications) and from the experience of others ........... but learn to distinguish the difference. Make sure you know WHY someone does something - if it's in an official publication, then probably fair to say you need to do it too. If it's not, then work out for yourself whether you can benefit from doing it too.
 

Burghilly

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
Not sure these are hacks as such but they can come in handy...

Never underestimate the time -filling capacity of a few camp songs. A Songs folder in the supply cupboard is handy but other than that you don't need anything. You can burn off energy with crazy action songs, pass the time with long songs with loads of verses, use quiet songs for rounding off a busy evening. Teaching new songs can sometime take a while so if you really have a gap to fill you could go for that option.


OR - with my Guides I sometime collect random items from round the hut, put them in a bag then the girls have to 'draw' an item from the bag and make up a story featuring the item. Last time we did this it was hilarious. You can adjust the time they have to make up the story accordingly.