Planning and recording for your unit
Tools to help you plan a varied and challenging programme for your unit each term
Make sure girls in your unit try things from all 6 of our programme themes, work towards skills builders and awards, and experiment with different activity topics by using these tools.
Designed specially to help you work with your girls and leadership team to plan and keep track of your unit programme, these templates can be printed out and used at home or in your meetings. There's also some useful guidance on the basics of planning your programme and how to get started.
Guidance notes for leaders
If you’re starting your leadership development programme, your training should give you a good understanding of the programme for your section. For additional information, you can check out our guidance notes for leaders.
By visiting other units in your area you'll be able to see the kinds of activities that are fun and appropriate for girls.
Using our programme
We’ve built our programme around 6 themes that offer girls a broad range of experiences. One theme might include activities to build confidence, another will take girls on a muddy adventure or teach them how to fix a plug.
The programme themes are:
- Know myself.
- Express myself.
- Be well.
- Have adventures.
- Take action.
- Skills for my future.
When a girl does any activity, badge or award as part of the programme she’ll be contributing to her journey in one of these themes. The themes stay the same through every section of guiding.
By planning activities across different themes, you can make sure you’re offering girls a balanced and varied programme.
Our programme includes things you can do with girls in meetings and what they can do independently at home. But you can mix and match additional activities, the things you love to do as a unit, with activities from the programme to give girls an exciting and varied experience. And you can always adapt programme activities to make them work for your unit.
Thinking about the 5 essentials
There are 5 key ideas that tie together everything we do in guiding. You should always think about these 5 essentials when planning and running activities, as well as in your relationships with girls and adults in Girlguiding. They are:
- Working together in small groups.
- Encouraging self-government and decision making.
- A balanced and varied programme which is girl-led.
- Caring for the individual.
- Sharing a commitment to a common standard.
They apply to all young members – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers – as well as adult volunteers.
Our educational framework
We offer activities that help girls to develop across 6 areas: emotionally, intellectually, morally, physically, socially and spiritually.
We call this our educational framework and you can use it to help you plan a balanced programme that supports girls’ overall development.
Planning your first term
Talk to your buddy or another volunteer you’ve met through guiding about how they plan what they do and what their termly plan looks like. How do they get ideas from girls? How do they include badges, unit meeting activities, themed events and trips? How do they link with local units?
As well as learning from experience, there are plenty of other places to find ideas for things to do with girls.
- Find ideas in Girlguiding magazine, our digital magazine.
- Use the programme planners below to plan out how a whole term might look.
- Get involved in some programme training, either face-to-face or online, via our learning platform. We have modules on all areas of the programme including a programme planning module.
- Browse through our activity finder and badge finder
- Prepare a variety of unit meeting activities and skills builders and ask the girls what they want to do!
Here are some handy example programme planners to help you get started. They have space for 13 weeks of activities (an entire term) and there’s a separate one for each section. Feel free to delete the activities in there and add your own or edit to fit your unit's plans.
Girlguiding is over 100 years old, but we’ve changed to keep up with the needs of today’s girls. If you were involved in guiding as a girl, you might find some traditions you remember – and that others have disappeared.
It’s great to celebrate our history, but don’t worry that you’ll ‘get guiding wrong’. For example, if you’d like to be called ‘Brown Owl’ then please go ahead. If not, that’s absolutely fine with us.
How you choose to run your unit is up to you, as long as it’s inclusive, age-appropriate, follows the Girlguiding programme and covers the 5 essentials.
You can add information about the badges and activities that girls do to their GO record. It’s a way to help you see how they’re progressing towards awards – and creates a lasting record for girls of their guiding achievements.
If you haven't used the recording tools before, simply sign into GO to get started. You can also find help files there to guide you through the process step by step.
Why keep a record in GO?
Adding details of unit meeting activities, skills builders and interest badges girls have done to the programme section of GO will help you offer a varied programme, which doesn’t repeat what girls have done before, and best supports them to achieve theme and section Gold awards.
With programme elements crossing sections from Rainbows to Rangers, keeping a record will help you support girls to build on their interests and achievements. It will also help other leaders to do the same when your girls transition up a section or need to transfer to a new unit.
And when girls do gain badges or achieve awards you'll know exactly what you need to order in.
Weekly record sheet
We know that many of you don’t have access to GO in your unit meetings, so the downloadable planner and weekly record sheet have been designed to help you collect the info you need for inputting the next time you log into GO.
Use this print out alongside the programme section in GO to keep track of what your girls do each meeting. If you can't get online at your meeting place, this sheet is great to fill out in your meetings, so you can update GO at a convenient time.
This template has been designed to work alongside and reference your term plan. We’ve used a Brownie unit as an example of how this can be used, so do modify or delete this to work for your unit.
Other tips for planning good guiding
There's no one way to do good guiding. But there are some universal things to consider to ensure that you're offering a range of experiences to girls and that we provide them with consistent support throughout their Girlguiding journey.
Use this checklist, and the more detailed pages linked to below, to help plan and prepare for girls’ experiences in guiding.
- Make it girl-led.
- Refresh your skills through face-to-face and online training.
- Give girls a safe space to have fun.
- Complete risk assessments for activities and events.
- Go away on a residential.
- Incorporate adventurous activities.
- Talk to girls about any programme awards they’d like to achieve.
- Tell girls about national events and opportunities, like becoming a peer educator.
Top tip - plan meetings and activities that are appropriate to the age and ability of your unit. Every girl should be able to access the opportunities available and also feel sufficiently challenged and engaged.