Retaining current girls
Keep your girls coming back and moving up sections
Helping girls stay in guiding means your unit can continue offering amazing opportunities for girls.
Here are some simple things you can do to encourage girls to come back after the holidays, move through sections and stay in guiding for longer.
Plan a girl-led programme
Ask girls what kind of activities they’d like to do so you can plan a programme that excites them. Try and do this a term ahead so you can get kickstarted with your planning and preparation for the next term. Think about:
- What’s the one big event or activity you’ll do with your girls? Maybe you’ll take them to a national or regional event, or you’ll organise an adventurous activity away from your unit meeting place, like climbing or den building?
- What 3 ‘everyday adventures’ will you do? These could encourage girls to try something new in your normal unit meetings – like a food tasting session, a homemade science experiment or stargazing on an autumn evening.
- What new badges or activities are you going to do?
Let girls and parents or carers know what you’re planning to do in advance or week-to-week. They've told us they love hearing what your local unit gets up to. It’s a great way to help them understand the value of Girlguiding and the opportunities for their child and it’ll increase their chances of coming back after the holidays and moving up sections.
Help girls to move section
Keep reading for 5 ways fun and helpful ideas to encourage girls to move up sections.
- Share stories about what happens in other sections like activities or trips to get them excited about the future of guiding.
- Invite girls from the section below to join your unit at age-appropriate events. Remember to think about our adult to child ratios so everyone is kept safe. There are lots of ways you could have multi-section fun! You could take part in local events together or host sharing sessions to learn about each other's section.
- Organise section meetings on the same evening. Girls and parents or carers might find this fits their schedule better so they can continue to be a part of guiding.
- Involve young leaders and Rainbow or Brownie helpers in your unit so younger girls are surrounded by role models who can share more guiding experiences.
- Encourage girls to complete their Section Gold awards. The Girlguiding programme is designed so that girls have consistent activities and themes running through the sections. The final part of each Section Gold award focuses on their next steps in guiding by encouraging them to visit a unit in the section above or talk to an older girl about their experiences.
Don’t forget to communicate about the available places in your area too. You can update your unit's GO record to include the maximum number of young members your unit team is happy to take. This doesn't limit the number of members you can have but will help your local area to spot gaps and start to fill them.
- To add this information on GO.
- Click on ‘My units’.
- Click on ‘View units’ on the action tab.
- Change the number under ‘Total unit capacity’.
- Click submit.
This information can then be run off in a report by commissioners and shared at district or division meetings.
Consider different unit model
Here are some ideas:
- Combine units to pool your resources together and keep girls involved. Speak to your local commissioner if this is something you’d like to do.
- Combine sections together. This could be Rainbows and Brownies or Brownies and Guides. This will solve the problem of reduced numbers and give girls a seamless section transition when the time comes! Remember to make sure the programme activities are appropriate for all ages. You can adapt them if needed.
- Share a venue with other units or sections so you can rent 1 space and share the admin load, such as a joint risk assessment. It also means girls are familiar with their meeting place when they move up a section.
- Run multiple sections on the same night in the same venue. You could even overlap the meetings and give leaders a chance to support each other with their different skillsets.
- Split a large unit into 2. This creates more spaces for girls wanting to join and you can share parts of your programme.
- Get creative about where your unit meets. It could be in a community venue, supermarket, workplace or even rotating venues to reach more girls.
Hold unit meetings at different times
Have you ever thought about changing your unit meeting time to make it available to more girls?
- You could hold unit meetings before school like a breakfast club.
- If you use a school venue, you could hold meetings immediately after class as an extra-curricular activity.
- Try holding meetings at the weekend when girls are relaxed and less tired. They can earn a badge in a day!
- Hold meetings fortnightly or monthly. They could be between 3-6 hours long to allow girls to complete a range of activities. Meeting less frequently often suits Rangers who have busier schedules than younger girls.
- Try guiding in the school holidays. This could be across a week in half-term or in the summer holidays.
If you’re holding meetings fortnightly, monthly or throughout the holidays, you’ll be condensing a term’s worth of activities. Don’t be afraid to charge subs that reflect this.