Tools to help you generate informative and thought-provoking discussions in your local area
Guiding Conversations is a series of tools to facilitate discussions at district or division meetings
Each conversation focuses on a specific topic relevant to guiding, whether its managing challenging behaviour or offering a varied programme to girls.
As a commissioner, you can lead the conversation or support your leaders to do so. Your aim should be to develop practical solutions to issues in your area, so you can ensure all girls get the same, great guiding experience.
Top tips for using Guiding Conversations
- Pick a topic that you or leaders in your area want to discuss from the list below and add it to your next meeting agenda. You might want to share the resource with your leaders before or simply introduce the topic during the meeting.
- Encourage everyone to participate and try to keep conversations positive.
- Try to think about actual examples to bring the conversations to life and come up with practical actions and possible solutions to issues raised in the discussion.
- Use any negative feedback in a constructive, practical way to arrive at solutions.
- Ensure these actions are acted upon - you could incorporate them into your meeting notes, or assign someone to monitor the actions separately.
- Use the resource to keep the conversation focused and try to keep to the allocated time so your meeting isn't swallowed up by the topic.
- Keep the conversation going by sharing resources and information relevant to the topic with your team after the meeting.
Watch our video to see an example of how to run a Guiding Conversation
Leader 1: Um...what I've got tonight for us to look at is something called Guiding Conversations. I've got it off the Girlguiding website and just wondered if anybody's come across it before?
Leader 2: Yeah, I have, I just glanced it but it looked really good. It looked really interesting.
Leader 1: Oh, okay, no one else heard of it? Okay, um, yeah it's called Guiding Conversations and basically it's a resource for Leaders to use at District meetings. So hence we're using it tonight. And this one we're going to have a look at is called Adventures for All.
[Screen showing: Guiding Conversations can be found on the Girlguiding website and are designed to be used to start discussions about guiding topics at District/Division meetings.
You can help the girls in your area to get the most out of guiding by supporting their Leaders, and Guiding Conversations will show you how.]
Leader 1: So, I can give you a copy of the website.
[Hands out printout. Everybody reads.]
[Screen showing: Once you have downloaded a conversation, you may wish to forward it to Leaders in your District/Division before a meeting.]
Leader 1: I'm just thinking we might start off by looking at the questions on the back of the sheet. Um...is everybody happy to start by looking at the questions?
Okay, well, the first question is: what adventurous activities and opportunities do we offer in our units already?
Leader 3: I don't know if you'd call this an adventure activity really, but we just had an evening in somebody's back garden. It was fireworks night. We just sort of went out and we did a treasure hunt and then we had some hot chocolate and then we had a game with torches. Didn't cost anything so wouldn't really say it was an adventure.
[Screen showing: Don’t be put off of the conversation leads to answers you were not expecting – use the feedback constructively!
You could invite other members at the meeting to propose ideas/solutions. Keep the conversation positive.]
Leader 1: Oh, thanks very much for that example. That was really interesting and I think it opens up the discussions about what is our adventure. I mean, what do people feel?
Leader 4: I thought it was going to be something a bit more extreme, like a abseiling or climbing.
Leader 3: Well, we had to be out of the meeting place because there was another event going on in the hall, so we'd asked the Brownies what they'd like to do and they thoroughly enjoyed it. So to me and to the Brownies they thought that was a great adventure.
Leader 1: Has that changed your opinion at all that about what an adventure might involve?
Leader 4: Yes, well, I guess I didn't realise that you could do it much more economically.
Leader 3: I wouldn't mind doing something a bit more adventurous with them. Don't know if I've got the confidence really.
Leader 5: Well, in my groups we've done zip-wiring and climbing. It's very easy, not that hard at all.
Leader 6: I'd love to do that with my Guides. Maybe we should join the units together.
Leader 5: Yeah, that sounds good.
Leader 1: Ok, so the way forward then is perhaps for you two to arrange a meeting to discuss the practicalities of how you can organise the event and discuss costs etc.
Cassie, as a new leader in guiding, I just wondered whether you'd had an experience of leading an adventure?
Leader 2: When I was a Brownie we did a trip to the moon in our meeting place and I thought we could try that with them. We line them all up...we could line them all up in chairs and switch the lights on and off as if they're taking off in a rocket.
Leader 1: That sounds really fantastic. Thanks for sharing that with us.
[Screen showing: The questions within each conversation aim to stipulate approximately 20 minutes of discussion on a topic.
It helps to keep to this time of possible, so that it doesn’t feel as if the meeting has been taken over by the topic.]
Leader 1: If you'd like to make a note of what things need to be followed up and perhaps keep in touch with one another and then we can see how things progress.
And then we can move on to the next item on the agenda.
[Screen showing: Each conversation includes an action plan. Use this to record actions to be taken and who has agreed to do them. The plan could be included in the meeting notes.]
Leader 1: Right, I think we'll bring this part of the meeting to a close now and thanks for all your contributions. I feel it's been really quite worthwhile and we've shared quite a few ideas.
[Screen showing: Make Guiding Conversations work for you and your local area by:
- Thinking about actual, local examples to make the conversations about each topic come to life
- Encouraging everyone at the meeting to offer their ideas and make sure all contributions are valued
- Trying to keep the conversations positive – there will be some topics which Leaders are more interested in than others
Anyone can lead a conversation – it does not need to be a Commissioner.
Why not invite a Leader in the District/Division to lead one at your next meeting?]
Download our Guiding Conversations
GDPR - talking about the new data protection legislation and how if affects how we handle information.
Getting ready for the new programme - talking about programme changes and what to expect from the new programme.
Being our Best - support leaders to understand Being our Best, Girlguiding's five-year plan, and how they fit in to it.
A warm welcome - encourage leaders to consider how their units can provide a warm welcome to new members.
Giving girls a voice in local guiding - are your girls really in the lead? Find out what's happening in your area to get girls involved.
A Safe Space - what does it mean to provide a safe space for our members? Help leaders think about the potential obstacles and challenges facing girls and volunteers.
Behaviour - every leader will face challenging behaviour from girls in their unit at some time. Explore the hurdles they face and help them to develop skills to respond effectively.
Offering adventure for all - get leaders talking about how easily adventure can happen in their units.
Keeping girls safe from violence - this conversation is focused on how abuse and violence touch the lives of many girls, and what our volunteers can do to support those at risk.
Room for just one more? - growing guiding is vital to our success. Discuss with your leaders how each unit can increase their membership.