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Weekly Discussion: Do we give our time to Guiding or spend time Guiding?


Veteran (100+ posts)
This one comes from a suggestion sent to me; thank you for the idea!

Guiding seem especially keen at the moment to thank us for the time that we spend Guiding. It’s become popular for counties and regions to send emails, cards and maybe even gifts to their members to thank them for their efforts.

But in attempts to recognise our volunteer membership are we at risk of making Guiding seem like too much of a burden?

Although not all Guiding is sunshine and roses (glitches on Go, chasing forms, last weeks best of friends are now deadly enemies....) , on the whole we volunteer because we enjoy it/the results it produces.

What do you all think?
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Veteran (100+ posts)
know I received lots of automatic emails when it was volunteer week, from all levels. It was nice to get a thank you, but after a while it started to feel a little (for want of a better phrase) impersonal (?).

On a whole I agree that I volunteer because I want to, I can’t imagine my life without Guiding in some form. But there are some aspects of Guiding that are less desirable and I do appreciate being given recognition. I’m sure each of us can think of at least one role, activity or event we took on more out of practicality, loyalty, guilt or desperation than genuine desire to do it. But it’s just having someone occasionally recognise it and say “thank you for doing *specific thing/s* that can make you keep going through the times when you want to chuck the towel in.

I think CHQ are trying to help with retention of volunteers by regularly thanking everyone no matter how “small” their role is. We can say all help is equal, and it’s out of choice- but some really do go above and beyond for Guiding. It might be a labour of love but some are deserving of more than a generic email. But then there are only so many “big thanks” that can be given (awards/certificates) by higher up. I think what’s important is that at a local level we make sure that we are thankful for each other’s work and that we don’t take people for granted.


Hard to word this in a way that won't sound off but - I don't like 'tangible thanks'. The cost of them will have come out of the money we've worked hard to raise in the first place (it's probably a comparatively minor expense, but it still seems illogical that money is used on giving presents to ourselves, rather that to provide educational experiences for all of the members (youth and adult ideally).

I suppose it also crosses the 'good turn' line. We don't volunteer to be rewarded, we volunteer because we believe in the educational charity and it's aims. One of the key premises is that we do good turns for other people, neither seeking nor wanting to be thanked for it, but for the fun and pleasure of the giving. So getting rewards for it can feel out-of-place.

So happy to receive a written note of thanks, a phone call, etc. Small gestures that show a bit of thought. But ideally, no tangible gifts or pre-printed cards.


Brownie Leader
Staff member
I am the opposite to Fenris, to an extent.

I personally think that volunteers need to be appreciated at local levels. Not for every little thing, but perhaps annually by putting on a BBQ or buying a drink or a box of chocolates at Christmas. You can give a token gesture without it crippling your finances - and remember, if the adults all walk because they feel unappreciated, there is no cause to spend the money on. It's all about everything being in proportion.

More regularly, you can say thank you verbally, cards can be made etc. Lots thank yous cost nothing.

People won't necessarily remember what was said, but they remember how they felt. There's a lot we can do to make sure everyone feels appreciated, without extravagant gifts every term.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
It is hard to strike the right balance. In my general experience there are roughly two sorts of leaders, the dyed in the wool, Guiding is written through me like a stick of rock, leader who will do their utmost to do whatever is asked of them ( within reason) often will take on the unsung roles, admin, hq management, they are the ones running events, staying behind to clean up, lending an extra hand at residential.

Then there are those who have volunteered to get their daughters into Brownies, or think it looks good on the CV etc - they run units, go to events, may be on a task and finish committee but are not the ones who instigate things or clear up afterwards. Some may migrate to the first group and 'get' the message but some not.

I think the amount of thanks we get is aimed at the second group. The first don't need it, as Fenris says, it is the personal thank you for what you are giving that counts, or the smile from the girls at an event or listening to them telling their friends about camp a year later that is the true thanks. That is because we believe in the cause...the time we commit is as much for our enjoyment in many ways as theirs. What is nice is the recognition from parents and the wider community for what we as a group commit, such as GG Merseyside being made Freeman of the City of Liverpool, that is immense and fantastic pat on the back for all the volunteers, past and present.

But we all need to be appreciated and if an email ( which costs nothing but a volunteers time) makes some feel their contribution is valued then it is a worthwhile task.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I do this because it is what I do. I mean, what do people who aren't volunteers **DO** with their lives????? I don't do it for thanks, but if I get any, the thanks from girls / parents is what really counts for me.

Having said that, at our county recognition night recently, every volunteer was given a pot plant. The plants had all been donated by a garden centre. Local Brownies painted the pots and planted them up. So no expense and most leaders seemed very happy with their gift.


SGP Enthusiast
I do this because it is what I do. I mean, what do people who aren't volunteers **DO** with their lives????? I don't do it for thanks, but if I get any, the thanks from girls / parents is what really counts for me.
I'm inbetween Scout troops at the minute so have been doing nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday nights and i'm so bored!! Thankfully starting at my new troop after Christmas :)


Regular (50+ posts)
I do this because it is what I do. I mean, what do people who aren't volunteers **DO** with their lives????? I don't do it for thanks, but if I get any, the thanks from girls / parents is what really counts for me.
Agree with this completely, thanks from girls and their parents are the best kind of thankyous.

And if I didn’t volunteer for Girlguiding I would probably find myself volunteering somewhere else. I’d find a lot more free space in my house and shed though!


Veteran (100+ posts)
The best thanks is from the kids- when they say things like “I can’t wait for next year!”.

But thanks from your co-leaders are lovely- there is something so nice about knowing the efforts behind the scenes are seen by someone, and that they appreciate it.

External recognition isn’t necessary, but can be great. I nominated a co-leader for a local citizenship award last year, and i’m not sure who was more pleased when she won! Realistically, what is that? It’s a certificate and a picture with the mayor... but it shows that someone notices and values the efforts you give, and that can give heart on the days it feels like too much.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I have a couple of of Guide's who always thank me at the end of each meeting and each week it still takes me by surprise!

It's no more than a quick 'Thank you' on their way out the door but especially if i'm tired or its been a hectic meeting it's so lovely .