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Weekly Discussion: Student Volunteers

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
It’s the time of year that lots of students will be going back home for about a month or so, and perhaps they will return again only at Easter and then sometime between May and July for the summer. They might have found a new unit to help with at uni or they might have been focusing on settling in or studying.

Its been discussed before (Question? - Volunteer Welcome Event)how to recruit and support student volunteers when you are the unit at uni- but what about if you are the home unit?

Many no longer automatically move out of the family home or area when graduating, and I know of many recent grads with the ALQ but they lost touch with their home unit after they went to uni.

What are your tips and stories for retaining and supporting student leaders when you are the home unit?
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
One of the things, as obvious as it might sound, is to invite student leaders back during the uni holidays, especially during the summer. It might not get taken up but it shows that they are still welcome.

You can also keep them involved in what’s going on back at home by still forwarding them emails and opportunities.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#3
And students at college, who often have 13-week terms - how do you fit their terms in and keep them connected when they may be revising against continuous assessments?
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#4
I've heard of one successful scheme where students run a week of "Holiday Brownies", where girls who are on the waiting list or who can't make it to regular Brownies do a years's worth of programme in a week. So the county commissioner or someone like that does the booking of the venue and the forms etc, and students run the week itself in the summer holidays.
 

chopperchick

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#5
Both parties (unit leaders, home & unit - and the students) need to be honest about availability.
It's not a problem if someone is only available "half the year", or every second week, or will need all of December off ........ as long as everyone else is aware, and plans around it. Going back to the "flexible guiding" conversations - everyone can contribute "something", it doesn't always have to fit the pattern that's been in place for the last 50 years or anyone else's pattern.

From another thread about "hacks", use online documents / calendars to ensure everyone is aware of what's happening etc
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#6
I think a lot depends on whether you are a year-round unit, or whether you follow school terms. If you meet year-round, then there can be student availability through the summer, enabling you to have the support and ratios for an active outdoor programme. If, however, you meet term-time then it may be that the times the students are at home are the times when there are no regular unit meetings running, and there may not be any camps/holidays either. In those cases there is lots of scope for touch being lost without it being anyone's fault. A lot also depends on the individuals - do they rush to book gatherings of the group as soon as the holidays start - or have they naturally grown apart and made new friends? It can also be difficult if some of the group have gone off to university, but others have stayed locally and started work - they can then find they have quite different outlooks and life experiences, even after only a term or two.
 

browniebeth

Brownie Leader
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#7
When I was a student, term never finished before home Brownies finished for Christmas, but I usually managed to make the first meeting in January before I went back. I was always given an activity to run that meeting and welcomed back into the fold.

Similarly in July I'd usually make it for the end of term BBQ, and the first 3 or 4 meetings in September....and that would be it for the whole year, but I always felt like it was worth my while turning up.

Student volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. As someone who ran a unit while a student, with a team of students I can say some are worth their weight in gold, and others are not. But you have to go into it hoping that they're the former not the latter. Set up a 2 way communication from the off, what you expect from them, and what they can expect in return. No student is ever the same, so don't assume the worst after a couple of dodgy experiences :)
 

Ech18

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
I agree with badgemaid from personal experience it would have been lovely to be sent the communications etc. As I had no desire to run a unit while at uni.

I did ring up the DC when I ended up back home for a year rather unexpectedly and I ended up running my friends Guide unit while she went to do a 1 year course so that worked for everyone!

As my sister is a Unit Helper in the Division it was a bit easier to keep in touch but even taking them out for coffee over the holidays just keeps you in touch if they do come back after uni or are having a break to do their finals.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#9
When I was a student, term never finished before home Brownies finished for Christmas, but I usually managed to make the first meeting in January before I went back. I was always given an activity to run that meeting and welcomed back into the fold.

Similarly in July I'd usually make it for the end of term BBQ, and the first 3 or 4 meetings in September....and that would be it for the whole year, but I always felt like it was worth my while turning up.

Student volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. As someone who ran a unit while a student, with a team of students I can say some are worth their weight in gold, and others are not. But you have to go into it hoping that they're the former not the latter. Set up a 2 way communication from the off, what you expect from them, and what they can expect in return. No student is ever the same, so don't assume the worst after a couple of dodgy experiences :)
Hereabouts, our summer term ends at end of June, so often around the same time Uni is breaking up anyway. On the other hand, we start back in mid-August, but our student leaders aren't back until into September, so some of the 'home' students can help to provide cover for the first few weeks until the 'away' students arrive for autumn term.