Involving families in adventures

Get support on how your family members can join guiding adventures and stay safe

When attending guiding events and adventures, we understand you might need to bring some family members with you.  

Events and residentials can often mean you’re away from family for an extended time or different hours than your usual unit meeting times. 

If you’re a parent or carer with personal commitments, we know how important it is that guiding offers a space for your family members so that you feel supported in volunteering with us. 

Here's how your family members can join adventures and stay safe so you don’t miss out on giving girls an amazing experience. 

Bring family members to residentials 

You should talk to your local commissioner and the appropriate residential adviser about bringing family members to residential events if you have family commitments at the time of your trip, like needing to care for a child. 

As a leader, you should check things like: 

  • The total number of family members. 
  • Their age and gender to make sure safeguarding is in place. This protects all children attending, whether they're inside or outside of guiding. 
  • That their costs are being covered by the volunteer. 
  • Whether they’ll need separate accommodation or extra facilities. 

If any children of volunteers are attending, you’ll need to check if the planned activities are suitable for their age. If they can’t join in, you’ll need to think about how they’ll be kept safe and supervised outside of any guiding activities. 

Check out our activity finder which gives age limit guidelines to each activity. 

Remember, the presence of a volunteer’s family members shouldn’t negatively impact the young members attending but makes it easier for volunteers to show up and give girls a great experience.  

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. 

Adult to child ratios

If children of volunteers attend activities or events outside of the unit meeting place, you’ll need another adult in addition to the ones already required by our recommended adult to child ratios. This extra adult should 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’d 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.  

Any new adults going with you should be assigned the role of district, division or county helper on GO and go through our recruitment and vetting process. If your residential is an international event, family members should also be on the permission to plan forms. 

Read more about adult to child ratios. 

Run family camps

If you’re looking to include families in unit adventures, you may want to run a family camp. This means that parents or carers can attend with their children which makes it great for Rainbows and Brownies. Offering the chance for parents or carers to come along could also mean you recruit new volunteers or parent helpers too so it’s a win-win! 

All family members or new volunteers aged 18 or over who are staying overnight at a residential event must’ve completed the recruitment and vetting process and be assigned the right role in GO. 

Include families in local unit activities 

Involving family members in adventure can happen at any time – not just for big events or residentials! Do you know if any parents, carers or family members of your unit are activity instructors? If someone has a certain skill they could bring to your local unit, they’re more than welcome to help out.  

Read more about involving parents and carers in guiding. 

Whether you’re going on a residential or planning a local unit adventure, you can take a look at our adventure finder for more inspiration and guidance.