Combining sections and units
Flexible solutions for when you've got too many or too few girls, or not enough help
Make your unit more flexible and open
Splitting our unit into two was much easier to do than starting a brand new unit. - Emma, Rainbow Leader from Cardiff
Combining sections or units in different ways can solve a number of problems.
- If the number of girls in your unit has fallen, it will boost moral and keep girls engaged.
- If you don't have enough Leaders, volunteers can share responsibility over different weeks. Read more about flexible volunteering.
- If your unit has a long waiting list, working with a unit who has too few members will solve both problems!
There are a number of ways you can work together with other sections and units, depending on your situation.
Ways to work with other sections and units
Combine units - combining two units in the same area is a great way to pool resources and keep girls involved. If you can't think of a unit you could join up with, speak to your Commissioner.
Combine sections - combining Rainbows and Brownies, or Brownies and Guides, can solve the problem of reduced numbers. For girls, it makes moving up a section seamless. But it's important to make sure the programme and activities are appropriate for everyone in the unit. If there's a wide age range, you might need to adapt activities.
Remember that adult to girl ratios are only compulsory when outside the meeting place.
Overlap meetings - run Rainbow, Brownie or Guide meetings in the same venue, on the same night, and overlap them by 15 minutes. You could share volunteers with different skills, and it gives section Leaders a chance to exchange ideas.
Run two units at once - if you have the space, you could run two units at the same time, perhaps at opposite ends of the room. Girls from different sections can do games together and then separate for their programme activities. Meeting this way has lots of advantages as you rent one space, and could have just one set of accounts too. It also helps parents who have daughter in more than one section, and makes moving up a section really easy for girls.
Split a large unit in two - this creates more spaces for girls wanting to join. You could run them one after the other in the same venue, which means if volunteers want to help with both, it's only taking up one evening. Share parts of your programme to save planning and preparation time, but make sure that you're following what the girls from each unit have asked to do.
Maureen Sinclair-Banks, 13th Hackney Rainbows and Brownies
We run the 13th Hackney Rainbows and Brownies together and it‘s worked really well especially in terms of peer support. The Rainbows really look up to the older girls and see them as role models and the Brownies enjoy working with the younger girls and supporting them. Running the two units together also means we can share resources and volunteers.