Hold a bring a friend event
How to invite new girls and volunteers into your unit to experience Girlguiding for the first time
Bring more friends into guiding by holding a bring a friend night.
A bring a friend night is when every girl in your unit is encouraged to bring a friend to the unit meeting. It could be a friend from school or another club. Or it could be an adult in their life, like a family member, who isn't already part of Girlguiding.
It's a great way to introduce new girls and potential volunteers to Girlguiding. And it involves girls and new volunteers who might not have thought of joining us before.
How to hold a bring a friend event
Here are some tips for how your unit can host an amazing bring a friend night:
Get girls to invite their friends
- Set the date of the bring a friend event in advance so girls have time to invite their friends and help plan the meeting.
- Ask every girl to invite a friend who isn’t already a member to the meeting or event. Let them know this can be an adult in their lives too.
- Girls could make special personalised invitations during a unit meeting.
- Remember that you will need to get consent forms from parents of visiting girls, so it may be a good idea to send these out with invitations.
- Share these guidelines with visitors to your unit meetings. They cover the basics of keeping a meeting safe.
Read our recruitment resources. They explain how you can encourage and involve parents and other adults in guiding.
On the event invitation you could welcome parents and adults to say hello before and after the meeting. And let them know they can get in touch with any questions. Give out your contact details on any recruitment resources too.
This is a great opportunity for girls to plan and run the event. Here’s some inspiration for supporting your unit to plan the event:
- Play some simple games such as pass the ball and, as each girl catches it, they say an idea. Or, in groups, girls create mind maps, vision boards or drawings of the perfect welcome evening and, as a unit, you pick all the best ideas from each group.
- The event could be themed around a festival or celebration, linked to a badge to show what girls do, or involve something they can take away to remind them of the fun they had. Ask your young members if they like any of these ideas.
- The unit could be split into planning groups: decoration, activities, welcome, goodbye. Each group is responsible for planning that part of the evening. Remember to give some time to setting up the event, such as resources and decorations.
- Encourage girls to think about what would be helpful and fun for new members to experience, such as a warm welcome, getting to know each other, and the history of guiding. Look through your unit’s unit meeting activity and skills builder cards. And check out the free activities and activity ideas in the guiding magazine.
Below are some suggested programme activities to get you started. Remember that new adults can play the games and take part in the activities too.
- Rainbows: Memory mates – Get to know your Rainbow friends a little better while scoring some points in this icebreaker! Download Memory mates.
- Brownies: Buddy bingo – Get to know all your fellow Brownies better in this tricky ice breaker. Download Buddy bingo.
- Guides: Hello my fabulous friend - Keep a straight face in this fun icebreaker to get to know everyone in your unit. Download Hello my fabulous friend.
- Rangers: Think and throw - Test your memory and coordination while getting to know your guiding friends in this quick-paced icebreaker. Download Think and throw.
The bring a friend event
Remind your unit who is doing what and what the running of the evening looks like.
Give a warm welcome. This could include introducing all the leaders and helpers and telling your guests a bit about what a unit meeting involves.
Mention any ground rules, including introducing the venue and what to do if there is a problem and what the plans are for the evening. And make sure all adult guests know they can’t be alone with any of the girls at any time. The only exception is if the adult has accompanied a girl to the unit meeting.
- As a leadership team, make sure every adult gets to speak to at least 1 of you.
- Create a safe space somewhere in your unit where any new girls or adults can take a quiet moment away from the meeting if they need to.
- Signpost your new friends to explore more about guiding at home. For girls, direct them to Girlguiding’s activity videos for Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers, and register their interest. For adults you could signpost them to explore ways of volunteering at Girlguiding and register their interest.
- Collect parent and carer and potential volunteers’ details with a contact form. Remember to be clear about why you're asking.
After the event
Share how you all think the event went with your unit. Here are some questions you could ask. You could make this into a game such as tag: when a girl is tagged, stop and get them to call out their thoughts on one of the questions below:
- What were your favourite parts?
- What you could you do to make it even better next time?
- What did parents, girls and adults say about the evening?
- What questions did they ask?
- Was it at a suitable time?
- How can you get more friends along to the next one?
Be sure to take note of any useful feedback for planning your next event.
Follow up any conversations with parents and adults with a quick phone call or email the week following the event.