Too many nine-year-olds

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I have a lot of nine-year-olds.  Specifically, a lot of almost-ten-year-olds, who are on their last term at Brownies.

I have more of them than there are Sixes, meaning that if we leave things as they are, some of the girls won’t get to be a Sixer.  If some of them were immature, annoying, bad attenders, or otherwise unsuitable, that wouldn’t be a problem, but as it is all of them would make good leaders.

So what to do?

I talked to them about it tonight.  I gave them five choices:

1. Remain in your current arrangement.  Three girls won’t get to be Sixer.

2. Swap roles at half term.  Three Sixers would be demoted, to allow their friends a chance to try it out.

3. Job share.  In this option, each pair of Sixer/Seconder would have to agree between themselves how to share the role.  I would probably insist that they wrote it down, to prevent later arguments.

4. Two girls have been a Sixer for a term already, and are already ten.  I could promote them to General Assistant (for example, ask them to help the Adventure group complete tasks, or supervise the clearing up).  Their two Seconders would be promoted to Sixer, leaving one girl who would never be Sixer.  That girl would be Patrol Leader of the Go For It! group.

5. Come up with your own plan, that everyone is happy with.

The discussion, as you can imagine, was quite heated.

Option 1 was universally unpopular.  So was option 5.

Option 4 was the most debated, partially I think just to clarify what it meant.  The older girls seemed mildly interested in the concept, but only mildly.  The younger girls thought it would be confusing.  Particularly, the girl who would have to move Six said it would be

weird, like saying goodbye to a house that you’ve lived in all your life,

and nobody wanted to be a Patrol Leader.

Option 2, swapping roles at half term, wasn’t popular either.  Interestingly, it was the girls who would be Sixer second that thought it wouldn’t be fair, not those who would need to be demoted.

And so we have settled on Job Share.  Some of the girls wanted to switch each week, and some are going to work as a team to complete the role together.  But as of tonight, I have eight Sixers.

In the end, no matter what the outcome was, all of the girls were happy with the decision, because they made it.



3 thoughts on “Too many nine-year-olds

  1. Interesting – you didn’t just want to explain that no matter how unfair, sometimes the numbers etc are against you so not everyone gets a chance? Is it “a thing” in your unit that everyone gets to become a sixer eventually?

    In my Juniors (equivalent to Brownies), most will (if they stick around long enough) get to be a seconder or a patrol leader, but not guaranteed. The Seniors (Guides equivalent) are much more brutal – theirs is voted on, and no expectation at all that everyone will get a chance!

    1. The “life is unfair” conversation was part of explaining option 1; it was met with universal hatred and a decision that *life* might not be fair, but *Brownies* should be.

      I would rather do it this way and avoid the rest of the term being filled with complaints and open rebellion!

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