Holiday guiding

Want to involve girls on waiting lists? Try guiding in the school holidays - it’s a great way to give them a taste of what Girlguiding can offer

Make guiding more accessible in your area by running a unit in the school holidays

The thing I loved most about the holiday unit was the opportunity to work with young girls hoping to be Brownies and showing them how much fun guiding can be - Hannah, Young leader

In many counties, waiting lists sometimes mean that potential members may not be placed in a unit until they are nearly old enough to join the next section.

One way to ensure more girls are given the opportunity to be a part of guiding is by opening a holiday unit. Instead of running a weekly unit, a term’s worth of programme is condensed and run during one week of the school holidays. This could be in the summer, Christmas, Easter or even half term holidays.

Take a look at our guide to starting a new unit for advice on registering your unit.

How do I run holiday guiding?

Recruit volunteers - liaise with other volunteers in your area to see if they would like to be involved with the holiday unit. You could also reach out to students who are looking for a new responsibility during the holidays.

Why not check out Lead into guiding to see how a holiday unit could help you train new volunteers?

Plan your programme - make sure the programme you offer covers all elements of a standard programme and the Five Essentials. It's important that all participants experience the best that guiding can offer.

Invite girls - work with your local commissioner to invite girls from waiting lists. Don’t forget to make sure that there are enough adults to meet the correct ratios if the group is leaving the meeting place.

As you will be running a term's worth of activities, explain to parents what you have included in the programme and don't be afraid to charge subs to reflect this. Make sure you are able to cover the running costs of the programme.

Run your holiday unit - the programme structure is up to you, but below is an example of what a week of holiday guiding might look like. You may want to include an activity related to the Promise on each day, if girls will be making their Promises at the end of the week.

Day one:

9-10am Welcome, introductions, and icebreakers

10-11am Craft

11-11.15am Break - distribute section workbooks, such as the Rainbow Flip Book, or Becoming a Brownie

11.15am-12.15pm Split into three groups

  • Group one: Activity one
  • Group two: Activity two
  • Group three: Activity three

12.15-1.15pm Lunch 

1.15-2.15pm Split back into groups

  • Group one: Activity two
  • Group two: Activity three
  • Group three: Activity one

2.15-3.15pm Rotate activities

  • Group one: Activity three
  • Group two: Activity one
  • Group three: Activity two

3.15-3.30pm Break

3.30-4.30pm Games

4.30-5pm Pow wow

Day two:

9-9.30am Welcome and games

9.30-10.30am Group activity

10.30-11am Break (can do activities in workbooks)

11am-12pm Split into three groups

  • Group one: Activity one
  • Group Two: Activity two
  • Group Three: Activity three

12-1pm Rotate activities

  • Group one: Activity two
  • Group two: Activity three
  • Group three: Activity one

1-2pm Lunch

2-3pm Split back into groups and rotate activities

  • Group one: Activity three
  • Group two: Activity one
  • Group three: Activity two

3-4pm Craft followed by break

4-4.30pm Group activity

4.30-5pm Pow-wow

Day three:

9-9.30am Welcome and games

9.30-10.30am Group activity

10.30-10.45am Break

10.45-11.45am Split into three groups

  • Group one: Activity one
  • Group two: Activity two
  • Group three: Activity three

11.45am-12.45pm Rotate activities

  • Group one: Activity two
  • Group two: Activity three
  • Group three: Activity one

12.45-1.30pm Lunch

1.30-2.30pm Split back into groups and rotate activities

  • Group one: Activity three
  • Group two: Activity one
  • Group three: Activity two

2.30-4pm Park visit

4-4.30pm Break

4.30-5pm Prepare for Promise ceremony (girls to practise promise with a Young Leader)

5-6pm Parents arrive for Promise ceremony and girls to make their Promise

Next steps - while they wait for a space in a unit, why not let the girls remain registered to the holiday unit? Through this, they could attend local events, earn badges, and do other activities as independent Guides.

We had an incredible three days and could clearly see how our time and efforts had come together - Emily, Young Leader and student