Who’s in charge of the unit programme?

The new term is nearly upon us (indeed, we started tonight!), and I’m very excited. I love planning new and exciting things for the Brownies to do, but as always I have a dilemma.

Who sets the direction? Source: Clive Perrin (CC-BY-SA) Via Wikimedia

I have so many ideas which would be really amazing activities. They would be fun and educational and build teamwork and help the girls to explore their personalities and develop as people. It would be brilliant. The other leaders in my unit have a similarly long list of interesting things, not to mention all of the amazing resources that are available from Guiding.

But.

Girlguiding, as many of you will already know, is very big on developing life skills. Leadership, planning, and the like. The phrase that I’m sure some of you have already realised I am heading towards is this: Girl Led Guiding.

It’s important for the girls to have a hand in planning the programme. For Brownies this usually means suggesting activities, perhaps picking a badge that they want to work on this term. For the older girls they might help to plan activities – at Guides they work on Go For Its in their patrols, planning things and carrying out those plans with only minimal help, and Senior Section have been known to run the entire programme themselves.

Every time we come to plan the term, I have to remind myself not to do it all myself. Yes, I can guide decisions, and point out that a trip to, say, Walt Disney World in Florida is not practical as an evening activity in an hour and a half. But the Brownies (and other Leaders!) have opinions and I need to listen to them and not just impose my own ideas.

It’s very hard. But it’s also very rewarding, seeing them slowly realise that they are, if not in charge, at least respected, consulted, and listened to. Watching as the older ones slowly start to give suggestions not just of what to do but also how to achieve it.

How do you create balance between Girl Led Guiding and practicality? How much do your girls help to plan the programme?

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2 thoughts on “Who’s in charge of the unit programme?

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  1. We give our girls free reign to pick anything, discuss what is and what isn’t feasible, ask them how they would achieve some of the more grey-area answers, and then take away their ideas to come up with a plan.

    Each term we tend to generate ideas in a different way. Sometimes we’ll give them a piece of paper in their sixes, sometimes we do a round of hots-and-nots (favourite thing this term, least favourite thing this term, and something we haven’t done that they’d have liked to have done), sometimes we give them each a sheet of paper and tell them they can write whatever they like in secret and nobody will know who said what. That’s quite fun, because the girls who are shy and don’t want to be judged fir saying something uncool will often come up with the most amazing ideas but be too afraid to share them out loud.

    We did have have one quiet conversation with a girl after we asked them to note down things they liked doing and wanted to do more of, and she wrote “pain” and drew a picture of what looked like someone being stabbed with a knife. Luckily, it turned out to be “paint”, but it highlighted the risk of complete anonymity!

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