Helping girls stay in guiding for longer
Keep your girls coming back after the holidays by planning your terms in advance – and telling girls and their parents what’s coming up
Simple things you can do to keep girls for longer
Do you find that you lose girls after the long summer break? Do you wish them ‘happy holidays’ – only for them to disappear next term?
If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone! Losing one or two girls might not feel like a big difference to your individual unit, but this is happening in lots of units across the UK: it’s having a big impact on the number of girls staying in guiding and benefiting from the amazing opportunities we offer.
The longer girls stay the more they benefit from guiding – our research shows that girls benefit most if they stay for three years, or longer.
By thinking and planning ahead for the next term, you can tell your girls – and their parents - about the exciting and adventurous things that you’ve got coming up to make sure they don’t miss out.
Plan your programme
We know you’ll already have lots of great ideas bubbling away for next term already – so why not think about how you’ll spread them out throughout the term to keep girls interested.
Try thinking about your following terms’ activities using these three questions:
- What’s the one big event or activity you’ll do with your girls? Maybe you’ll take them to a national/regional event, or you’ll organise an adventurous activity away from your unit meeting place, like climbing or den building?
- What three ‘everyday adventures’ will you do? These could be things that are a little bit special and encourage our young members to try something new but that you can do in your normal unit meetings – like a food tasting session, a homemade science experiment or stargazing on an autumn evening.
- What badges or activities are you going to do that are completely new to your unit?
Find out what your girls want
Now’s a great time to ask your girls what they’d like to do next term – and by asking early you’ll have enough time to plan that into next term’s programme.
If girls know their suggestions are planned into the next term’s activities, they’re more likely to come back.
Make sure your meetings are girl-led
Make sure your meetings are girl-led
Tell their parents the plan
When your girls join guiding their parents get a welcome booklet giving them all the information they need to know – but you’ll need to keep them updated about what’s happening from week to week and term to term.
Parents have told us that they love hearing about the adventures their daughter has in Girlguiding, so it’s a good idea to tell parents at the end of every term what’s happening in the following term. This will keep parents – and their daughter(s) - keen and can help them understand the value of staying in guiding for longer.
To make it easier for you to this at the end of term, we’ve made a couple of letter templates based on great examples of parent and girl letters that groups say work really well for them.
You can adapt/edit for your group and send to all your parents to get them – and the girls, of course! – excited about what the next term has in store, whether they're staying with your unit or moving on to their next big guiding adventure.
Help your girls move up
When girls move up to a different section it can be really daunting – and this can mean that girls don’t always stay with guiding once they’ve made the move.
By thinking about how you can support girls moving out of your unit, and those new girls joining, you can ease some of the pressure and help girls stay in guiding.
This could be anything from getting to know the local Leaders of groups your girls could join, to arranging for girls and Leaders from the section above to come and visit your group to talk about the next step in guiding, to running a joint activity or events with other groups in your area.
Encouraging girls to think about their next steps is built into our programme. Do this by looking at the last pages of their Section handbook and talking to girls about the exciting things they can look forward to.