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Discussion in 'Girlguiding North East England' started by HGarnett17, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. HGarnett17

    HGarnett17 Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    Our unit has halved in a week. At the beginning of term we had 8 new brownies move to guides and they are all very young. None of our old guides turned up so we sent round an email to see but had no reply. By this week the unit had halved (down to 4 girls) so we rung round to find out what was going on. None of the old girls are coming back and the new ones are struggling as they are so young. We had a ratio of one to one last night and are desperate to up the numbers in the unit!

    We are trying lots to boost numbers but the girls just don't seem to want to stay! what should we do to boost the numbers???

    Help Please!!!
     
  2. Dionysia

    Dionysia Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Can't help with the older guides, but what about selling it to the new ones, as a older Brownie uni, come in brownie uniform - until they are settled & then work on trying to recruit older ones.

    This way they are not struggling, as there are no older ones. If they didn't do the More Adventures & the Brownie go for it, do those for a few terms to ease them in gently.
     
  3. HGarnett17

    HGarnett17 Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    I will try this with them thanks!
     
  4. shackademus

    shackademus Veteran (100+ posts)

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    for the younger ones could you possibly meet half and hour earlier?
    could you meet for just an hour this half term, then hour and quarter then hour and half.
    were they all in the same unit, can you speak to their leader and find out why guides is so different
     
  5. ker-stee

    ker-stee SGP Enthusiast GuiderPlus

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    Is it worth maybe trying to find out why the older girls haven't come back? Has something been said to them at school? Do they feel they were being challenged etc? Not necessarily to get them back, however it may be something to help the unit in the future.
     
  6. fenris

    fenris fenris GuiderPlus

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    Don't know how many 'old Guides' you had but if it was a small number did they have concerns about being swamped by a big influx of 10-year-olds and worry that the programme would have to be tailored accordingly? Do you have any attractive outings scheduled? Does your programme have a wide variety or might you have become 'stuck in a rut' lately? How much preparation did the Brownies do before transition - did they get to work on the Brownies GFI or did they walk into the Guide meeting with little idea of what it would be like?

    The first step to solving the two problems - the Old Guides who have vanished, and the dwindling number of recruits - is to discover the causes.
     
  7. chopperchick

    chopperchick Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Practical questions about those who left - do you know why? Is it something obvious, that's going to affect others e.g. a clash of times. Did the new ones feel out of their depth, did the older ones feel left out? Probably none of the above ..... but you know what we mean, if you don't know why, its difficult to work out if anything needs changed or just doing to keep & recruit more.
    Sometimes, it just happens ....... but is more obvious in a smaller unit.

    If the girls you're left with are all new (recently moved up from Guides), then they'll probably need to settle in and feel involved before you can start getting them to do "bring a friend nights". But that's an idea for the future.
    Do you normally just recruit from one Brownie unit? Would there be others locally that you could recruit from? Perhaps linking in with the unit and doing some prep with them, via the Brownie GFI?

    Can you advertise locally? Think of places where both children would see the adverts, but also parents (e.g. workplaces, gyms)
     
  8. FPG

    FPG Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I think your first step, as others have said, needs to be to try and establish why girls aren't staying - and then how you can address that (either fully or partially). If there are reasons why you can't keep girls, then you're going to be 'wasting' your energies trying to boost numbers if those girls in turn don't stay. It's a lot easier to retain than recruit as they say.

    What's your future Brownie intake looking like? Are you expecting girls to regularly be coming up from a Brownie unit over the next year? (Or is that part of the problem, that all the girls are being held onto until the end of a year and then sent up en masse, so that there's so many of them it's overwhelming?) If so, maybe another way to look at it while you settle your new girls is to make the most of the things you can do with fewer girls. In my old unit we had a period where we were very small for a while so we took the chance to do things we couldn't otherwise have done, trying different things, enjoying the opportunity to get to know the girls better than we might have with a bigger unit, etc.
     
  9. HGarnett17

    HGarnett17 Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    most of the girls used the excuse that they had too much home work or want to spend more time with their friends at home playing out in the street.
     
  10. Sunny2nd

    Sunny2nd Guide and Ranger Leader GuiderPlus

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    Maybe you could pm your term plan to one or more of us and we could compare with our own and let you know how it compares. I'm happy to share mine with you so that you can get an idea of what other guide units do.
     
  11. Boris

    Boris Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    We had 8 new Guides start this term taking numbers up to 26:

    Term Plan:
    Week 1 planning night - getting to know you - building spaghetti towers (organised by Leaders/YLs)
    Week 2 outside toasting marshmallows over a fire in tin can. (dark for half the evening) organised by YLs)

    We are now at Week 3:
    Week 3 something to do with parachutes? - organised by BP girls
    Then a few weeks of GFIs and filler activities organised by YL / BPs (they've suggested mini cakes cooked over T lights, cooking somores over T lights, and mini cakes).
    Spooky party (just before half term)

    Suggestions for post Half Term:
    10p night - organsed by BP girls
    Trip to the cinema
    Couple of weeks to finish off GFIs
    Fashion night (organised by BPs)
    Trip to the Pizza Hut

    Hope this gives you a few idea
     
  12. Sunny2nd

    Sunny2nd Guide and Ranger Leader GuiderPlus

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    Ours is as follows but may get minor mods as required if something comes up. Also includes ad hoc games etc depending on time:
    (planning was done at end of last term)

    Week 1: Sort Patrols & (GFI wk1) GFI Taster / choose GFI from 3 taster sessions (this counts as week 1)
    Week 2: GFI 2
    Week 3: Local Hike (with chips)
    Kayaking (extra activity on a sat)
    Week 4: GFI 3 / If time look at Interest Badges and talk to girls ready to start BP
    Week 5: GFI 4 / Interest Badges and/or BP
    Week 6: GFI 5 / Interest Badge and/or BP
    Week 7: Challenge Badge (one from here tbd by girls)
    HALF TERM - Sleepover (Tents tbc)
    Week 8: Guy Fawkes bonfire & Sausage Sizzle
    Week 9: Swimming @ local outdoor pool (pool is heated and is a favourite with our girls)
    Week 10: Loom Bands (someone coming in to run this)
    Week 11: Challenge Badge (TBD)
    Week 12: Challenge Badge (TBD)
    Week 13: Practise Bag Packing & Chall Badge
    Bag Packing Morning (TBC)
    Week 14: Ice Skating
    Christmas Sleepover (Indoor tbc)

    Have 2 sleepovers down - at our hall but might only be one depending on take-up, and one might be quite short.
     
  13. Elzie

    Elzie Veteran (100+ posts)

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    What is a 10p night?

    Years ago when I was starting out as a Guide Guider, I had a terrible time with low numbers and bad behaviour from girls. Loads of 'going to the toilet' and not wanting to do anything. I was really demoralised and hated going to Guides. A Guider from another unit came in to help and was very straightforward with me and said that the programme was boring (it was, we hadn't had chance to plan it and we were making it up on the night) and also that the girls weren't involved enough in planning the programme. She came in and talked to every girl, wrote down ideas and starting sorting out the programme. In a way I felt terrible, but actually 20 years later I'm still a leader, with 32 extremely keen girls and 14 year olds that don't want to leave. I guess we all learn the hard way.

    Is there anyone locally who you'd trust to come in and visit you and talk to the girls and give you some feedback. It might not be enjoyable but it a year down the line you'll be transformed.
     
  14. Boris

    Boris Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    lots of different games all costing 10p. Planned week 1 and takes place week 2

    Off the top of my head some of the games are: guess the number of sweets in a jar, name the teddy, tombola type games, pin the tail on a donkey, throwing balls in buckets, pegging socks on a washing line etc etc.

    Some of the games have instant prizes, others like guessing the name of the teddy there is just one prize. All prizes are small, like a couple of sweets (as if they need any more sweets !)

    Any game will do really but you do need lots of them.

    The girls also serve refreshments.

    Girls usually bring in 2 to 3 pounds each. Girls can bring a friend and parents pop in towards the end of the meeting.

    Girls usually raise around £60 - £100. All money is donated to a charity chosen by the girls.
     
  15. Sunny2nd

    Sunny2nd Guide and Ranger Leader GuiderPlus

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    What a brilliant idea!
     
  16. HGarnett17

    HGarnett17 Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    we have a varied program that the girls have helped to organise which this term is still in the process of being planned!! we haven't had enough girls to get many ideas!!

    We have been looking into new go for its and picking some of the interest badges that are interesting and fun!!

    We take the girls on trips but last term the sleepover we organised was not taken up by the girls despite them all asking for one once we had planned it none of the girls brought the forms back so we had to cancel.

    The girls like ice skating which we try to do when the ice rink comes in February. We also took them Kayaking which was a great success but it is quite far and some of the girls do not have much money so we like to try and subsidise trips, also the parents had to drive making it less appealing for them as it was hard to find.
     
  17. ann

    ann Veteran (100+ posts)

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    My guides hate the official GFIs, haven't got to the bottom of it but they are quite happy to work in their patrols on some of the unofficial challenges that are around at the moment and as long as they do the planning , organisation etc we count them as GFIs.

    If you have got only a few younger girls can you choose and help them run one of the fun challenge badges to break them into guides. Are they used to working in sixes at brownies?

    Keep it light and fun to start with and pick activities they will enjoy, food, going out of the meeting place or?
     
  18. TIGGER 66

    TIGGER 66 Regular (50+ posts)

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    Heres one to put the cat among the pigeons does anyone think the area you take Guides in helps or hinders your unit as in your location whats in your area eg outdoor centres activities etc ? Do you think how well off the girls are makes a difference ?
     
  19. TIGGER 66

    TIGGER 66 Regular (50+ posts)

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    Sorry should have phrased that better I meant in relation to what you can offer on your programme on a weekly basis we all go the extra mile literally for camps / holidays
     
  20. HGarnett17

    HGarnett17 Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    that is a good point! we have a very varied intake and quite often there are a number of girls in the area struggling to pay subs so we try to subsidise most of the trips!!
     

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