Holding meetings at different times

Changing the times of your meetings can open up guiding to new young members

Give more girls the opportunity to join your unit by changing when you meet

Opening a Saturday unit has taken girls off Cheltenham’s waiting list and given them the opportunity to experience guiding. The girls are from all over ... they did not know each other beforehand but are getting on really well together. And we're offering an opportunity for experienced Leaders to continue or return to guiding when they can’t manage regular mid-week commitmentsKaren McFarlane, Growing Guiding Coordinator, Girlguiding Gloucestershire

Have you tried to recruit more members but found that your numbers haven't grown? Perhaps your meeting time is creating a barrier. Although there are sometimes reasons why meetings are at certain times - for example, the availability of your meeting place - if you're not constrained by practicalities, it might be time to try something new.

Find better meeting times for your unit

Do your research - check if your meeting clashes with something, such as another local youth group or club. Try changing timings for a term to see if more girls join you.

Get an early start - hold your unit meetings before school, like a breakfast club. Perhaps you could hold them at school so girls just arrive an hour earlier than usual.

Post-school fun - if you use a school venue, how about meeting immediately after classes as part of their extra-curricular opportunities?

Try weekends - girls are far more relaxed and much less tired at weekends. Units can earn a badge in a day. Often more volunteers are available if you meet at weekends too.

Go fortnightly or monthly - try meeting less often and for longer. You could try a monthly meeting of three or even six hours at a time. Longer meetings allow you to include a wider variety of activities in your programme.

If you meet fortnightly, why not alternate with a different activity? For example, if you have a local sports group, arts or drama club that could run sessions suitable for your unit, how about teaming up and offering the girls an opportunity to do something different together in their non-guiding weeks?

Meeting less frequently often suits members of Rangers who have busier calendars than younger girls.