New unit checklist
It might look like there’s a lot to do to set up a unit, but break down your tasks into sections and you'll get there in no time
Starting a new unit is an exciting challenge and a great way to get more girls involved in guiding.
Once you've established the need for a new unit, there are lots of practical things to think about before (and after) you hold your first unit meeting. It doesn't need to be overwhelming though. Use this checklist to help you work through it all step by step.
Maybe one step will take longer than we suggest, or you whizz through others.
Perhaps they work better for you in a different order. You might even have completed
some of them already, which is great.
And remember - you don’t need to do everything yourself. Get your unit team to help you, talk to your commissioner about what she can do and see if there are other volunteers in your area who can help.
Before you start
- Meet with your commissioner and go through everything there is to do. Ask questions and plan how you’re going to get to where you want to be.
- Review how and why the unit is needed in the local area. Think about day, location and time.
- Start planning how to recruit your volunteer team early. They can help you start the unit and share responsibilities and ideas.
12 or more weeks before first meeting
- Start looking for a meeting space
- Meet your buddy
- Decide on the day and time of your unit meeting
- Register the unit on GO with support from your commissioner
- Open a bank account (this can take some time)
- Confirm and book your meeting place
- Start your volunteer recruitment drive
- If you’re new to guiding, collect documents for your criminal record check and arrange a meeting with the ID verifier – an ongoing process as new volunteers join
- Provide your commissioner with contact details of two references
- With the commissioner, look at local learning and development opportunities for yourself and other potential volunteers, and book in training dates
Eight weeks to go
- Complete digital learning - if you need to - covering:
- A safe space
- Becoming a leader (section-specific)
- Programme overview (and additional programme e-learning)
- Read key policies
- Plan how to recruit girls
- If you’re doing the leadership development programme, start working with your mentor
Six weeks to go
- Check how your volunteer recruitment is going
- Plan your budget
- Plan your unit fundraising
- Book face-to-face training for all volunteers covering:
Four weeks to go
- Follow-up meeting with your commissioner
- Visit your buddy's unit
- Make sure you're all set up on GO and reply to enquiries from volunteers and girls
- If you’re new to guiding, or new to your role, make sure you understand the principles of data protection and how to put them in place
- Complete unit risk assessments. You'll need to continue doing these once you know the needs of the girls and activities.
- Look over your term plan. Start planning what you'll do in the first few meetings and what resources you need.
- Think about inclusion, what activities may need to be adapted and any care plan documents needed to meet girls’ needs.
- Email volunteers and parents giving key information about the unit
Two weeks to go
- Hold a welcome and planning meeting with your volunteer team
- Give roles and responsibilities to the team
- Order uniforms for volunteers and official resources
One week to go
- Check your programme planning for the first week and make sure you have backup ideas in case anything doesn't go to plan
- Talk to volunteers about learning and development opportunities
- Email parents a couple of days before the meeting to remind them
On the day of your first meeting
- Ask parents to complete all relevant forms (or these can be emailed to parents) including:
- Starting forms
- Consent for activities outside the meeting place
- Remember to thank your volunteers and have fun!
After your first meeting
- Confirm girls have joined on GO and add extra information from starting forms
- Talk about how everything went with volunteers and parents
- Meet with your buddy to discuss how things went
- And finally - celebrate, you've held your first meeting!