Families on residentials

What you need to do if volunteers need to bring their children to a trip

Volunteers' family members can attend residential events and other Girlguiding activities if they need to.

This should be at the discretion of a local commissioner and the appropriate residential adviser. They’ll consider the total number of family members, the age and gender of any children, and the effect they could have on the event. The presence of a volunteer’s family members shouldn’t negatively impact on the young members attending the event.

Include the volunteer’s family members attending on the risk assessment, including any extra things too consider. For example, a volunteer’s child, especially if they’re a different age, taking part in the same activities as young members.

Family members should complete the same forms as other attendees, including the information and consent form and health information form. They should also be included on the residential event notification form. If they’re taking part in an international event, they should also be on the permission to plan forms.  

Adult family members

All family members and volunteers aged 18 or over, who are staying overnight at a residential event, must have completed the recruitment and vetting process. New volunteers should be assigned the role of district, division or county helper on GO and go through our recruitment and vetting process.  

Child family members

If children of volunteers attend activities or events outside the unit meeting place, you’ll need another adult in addition to that required by the adult to child ratios who can be assigned to supervise the extra children.

For example, if you have 10 Brownies going on a trip, according to the section ratio of 1:8 you would need 2 adult volunteers. If you then have 2 non-member children, you need another adult for them.

If there are several children of different ages present, the adult to child ratio for the youngest applies. If a volunteer's child is also a member of the unit, this doesn’t affect your ratio.

Use the adventure for girls finder to check the required ratio for your activity and check the residential guidance if you’re going away overnight.

We know that the increased ratio requirement may cause problems if extra adults aren’t available to help. But this ratio exists for both safety and safeguarding reasons. 

As well as to the changes in ratio, these are things to think about when including children of volunteers:

  • Children of volunteers who are aged between 10 and 14 can’t be present at the activity or event in a helping capacity unless they’re a Rainbow or Brownie helper.
  • If a volunteer’s child is attending, their costs should be covered by the volunteer. Young members shouldn’t cover the costs of other children.
  • Anyone who attends a Girlguiding event or residential is covered by our insurance, as long as they follow the event’s risk assessment and all relevant Girlguiding policies and procedures.
  • Both the age and gender of the child will make a difference to how they become part of the Girlguiding family while at the event:
    • Think about if you’ll need to provide separate accommodation, washing or toileting facilities.
    • Will they be able to join in with the programme and what happens during any unsuitable activities? For example, the axe-throwing session you have safely planned for a group of Guides won’t be suitable for a 6-year-old, so you’ll need to ensure they are supervised and do not join in. Equally the woodland treasure hunt you’ve created for your Rainbows might lead to a bored and don’t forget to check the adventure for girls finder for age restrictions, which apply to everyone.
    • Think about how you’ll manage behaviour and relationships between the volunteer’s family members and the young members, including managing any pre-existing relationships from outside of Girlguiding. Remember that any additional children are coming into a safe space for our girls and young women. A young member should always feel able to raise a concern about the family member of a volunteer.
    • Parents or carers and young members should be aware of all those attending before the event and have a chance to raise any concerns.

If children of volunteers, aged under 18, are attending unit meetings think about this information too. And think about whether you’ll need any extra adults needed and how this’ll effect the unit capacity.

Family camps

Sometimes you may want to run a family camp, when young members attend with their family members. You should, follow the same guidance as you would for any other residential. Also remember that:

  • All family members and volunteers aged 18 or over who are staying overnight at a residential event must’ve completed the recruitment and vetting process.
  • New volunteers should be assigned the role of district, division or county helper on GO and go through our recruitment and vetting process. Find out more in our recruitment and vetting procedures.