How I helped girls moving up to Rangers
Lucy, unit leader at 1st Fakenham Rangers, shows us three simple and fun ways to help support girls moving up
When Lucy realised her Rangers unit was losing numbers, she took a pro-active approach in helping girls moving up from local Guides units
I took on the role of unit leader unexpectedly when the then long-standing unit leader stood down. This leader had been a real driving force and had been instrumental in setting up the Ranger group and was well regarded by all in the group. As the assistant leader also left at this point, a young leader, who had just turned 18, volunteered to be my assistant and we took the group forward together.
We had moved to a new location and no longer shared a meeting space with our feeder Guide group. Combined with the fact that neither of us had links with the Guide group, it’s members or leaders, we soon noticed that girls were no longer coming and joining the unit.
The reduction in numbers began to threaten the financial viability of the unit and the enjoyment of unit members. We needed too tackle this, so we held a unit meeting with both leaders and members and created a plan to help support girls that would be moving up to our Ranger unit.
We tried these three things and they really made a difference.
1. Taster nights
Firstly, we decided that we would offer three ‘taster nights’ per year. These would be organised by the members of the unit, showing their favourite activities and introducing the Ranger programme. This allowed the Rangers themselves to be involved in supporting other girls in moving up.
On the taster evenings, Guides would be picked up from their usual meeting place and walked to the Rangers meeting place. We agree with the Guide leader that this would be that evenings planned activity for all girls who were due to leave Guides in the next 6 months, and this helped with attendance.
This all led to my ‘mountain top moment’ since joining Guiding as a volunteer!
We organised the date of the first taster session and agreed that the young leader and I would collect the Guides from their meeting. When I brought the girls into the room, I asked the Rangers what they needed me to do. I got told 'nothing' and that everything was ready to go.
I spent the whole meeting watching, taking part in activities and speaking to individual girls. Reflecting on this later, we realised that the Ranger unit had become fully girl-led and that they were selling their own unit and activities because they enjoyed being there and felt real benefit from belonging to the group.
2. A friendly face
Our Ranger meetings are fortnightly, so we decided that on the alternate weeks I would join Guide group as an assistant leader. We wanted girls to have a friendly face to move up with.
3. Publicise your unit
We created introduction and welcome leaflets and sent them our to other local Guide units. This helped us reach members who didn't want to go to the ‘usual’ Ranger units in their area.
And it worked
50% of the girls who visited at our first taster evening have now joined our unit, and more are due to arrive once they leave Guides.
Our unit is now stable, and the girls are full of ideas for how they can recruit more members and how they can get more involved in community activities.
My number one piece of advice for any leaders looking to improve the moving up experience - keep giving your girls a great guiding experience! Get them involved in planning for the next term and find out what would make them feel supported if they’re moving up sections.
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