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Weekly Discussion: Out of my Box

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
This one comes from anon suggestion, from a lady who feels that she has been type cast in her Guiding role. She is an assistant leader with Rainbows. She’s been in Guiding for less than ten years and while she gets on with other members of the district doesn’t quite feel “in the club”. She is interested in taking on a role within the district or division, or offering to organise/run something but isn’t sure how to do it as most ladies have a “set role” and Rainbow leaders generally aren’t encouraged to take on more.

What advice would you give her?
And:
How can we avoid pigeon holing ourselves and others, and what tips do you have on being “brave” by saying you’d like to do something different?
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
Not useful advice if you are a very shy person but sometimes it can be a case of just putting it out there. “I would like to organise X but would need at least one other unit/person to help”. If there is a particular person who normally does something you’re interested in approach her directly, would she like help or appreciate someone else taking a turn?

In my experience very few people are actually genuinely territorial about roles that don’t require a specific qualification/training. More often than not it’s just that people have gotten in the habit or it’s assumed that they will want to do it.

Most areas are crying out for someone to take on certain advisor roles, and depending on the size of your area some roles can be doubled up. So even if you have a someone who seems like they couldn’t be anymore perfect and feel you couldn’t add anything, she still might be happy to have some help- and not everyone wants to/can do a role forever.
A few other points on why not to get intimidated:
  • Professional (or other) experience doesn’t always translate into a Guiding context
  • Some volunteer to do something totally different to their work/expertise
  • Some might not want to have a role that could bring their job or another hobby into disrepute. This is often because of concern that when they give advice does the asker fully understand that it’s being given in their Guiding and not their professional role (I know of a nurse who prefers not to be FA for this reason).

Some areas are genuinely cliquey and others it’s just that they are good friends through spending years in bonding situations and either aren’t used to newcomers or don’t want to seem pushy.

A good DC should be able to balance and encourage her volunteers, rather than shoot you down for daring to offer to lead the summer campfire sing a long because it’s been June’s “thing” since 1977…
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#3
All Badgemad's advice is right. I think you have to start small and showcase your talents...for instance maybe run a day out for your Rainbows and invite a neighbouring unit to join you to 'share the cost of the coach' so maybe a day to the zoo or a theme park.

If there is a District or Division event happening,express an interest in seeing how it is run...

Look wider...there are often County or Region events looking for leaders to volunteer. Trainings which are there for people to gain new skills and qualifications which are more specialist such as walking etc, so look on your County and Region websites for things. These are not section specific so having a particular skill may open more doors...

Communication though is the key ideal, talking to the District and Division teams and asking where you could help is necessary. I'd love it if more people stood up and said what they'd like to get involved in rather than shrinking into their seats when you ask for volunteers for this, that and the other...

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Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#4
For people like your Rainbow leader, I would recommend getting to know others in the wider local Guiding community, by attending large scale events with her Rainbows and adult events such as County Day/trainings. She could also look for opportunities to volunteer - for example, if there is a Guide or Brownie camp or event being organised, then offering to help with this would raise her profile as someone who wants to be involved.

More generally - ensure that opportunities are communicated to all. Know your team and Leaders - who has the capacity to take on an event, who would like to help on an ad hoc basis, who is actually doing all she can by attending Unit meetings - and, crucially, be aware that this isn't fixed and notice when it changes.
 

chopperchick

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#5
Agree for a shy person it might be difficult to "put yourself out there" - but if its what you want, you might have to just bit the bullet. Doesn't have to be standing up in a busy meeting and declaring all the millions of things you'd like to do - but maybe making a DC aware you'd like to do something new / different. Or befriending someone who is seen as a traditional organiser, and ask to get involved. Start with one event, and build up - have a plan; think of it almost like career-progression!

A lot of people just have "set roles" because they join up once, then never find a replacement so are guilt-tripped into staying on ;-)
Or yes, it's because they like that subject, are particularly keen campers / first aiders / crafters etc But people who are genuinely enthusiastic about camping or crafting or whatever should welcome the opportunity to encourage someone new.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#6
Does her District have District meetings, and if so, is there a 'car park' time at the end of the meeting - ie people chatting as they leave the building and stroll towards their cars. If so, that might be the ideal time to have a quick word with the Commissioner. Or she could send an email, or a text message - allows the opportunity to choose words, and to send privately, rather than speak face-to-face. Or she could mention to the Rainbow Leader, and ask the Rainbow Leader to mention it to DC on her behalf, or at District meeting.

Though most Leaders may seem to have a set role - it isn't always clear from the outside whether that's because it's a job they want, or a job they ended up with - and even so, a switch around every so often means new people with new ideas in each post . . .