Ask a Leader

A group of leaders share their advice by answering your questions

25 May 2021

With more of you meeting face-to-face or planning for when you will be, we know you may have questions about the best activities to run, how to combine online and in-person meetings, or how to engage girls who are returning to guiding.

So we asked a group of leaders to share their advice and ideas by answering some of the questions you’ve been asking.

If you have a question you’d like to put to another leader, send it to us by emailing [email protected] and it could feature in a future blog.

I’m thinking about running a combination of online and in-person meetings. Do you have any advice or tips on where to start and how to manage switching between the two?

Try planning a dual programme for Zoom and in-person meetings.

Find out from girls and parents what they want and need from your unit. You could find out about any access requirements and if they all have access to online guiding. Consider any changes you’ll need to make to meeting face-to-face to support them. This might help you better plan out the activities and support girls at home.

If you have girls who are unable to meet online, think about how you’ll make them feel included when they can’t meet you online. Could you send them activities to do at home? Check out the Adventures at Home hub for lots of great things to do or support them doing interest badges.

Top tip: use the programme plans to help you plan your meetings to make it easier to switch between online and in-person.

 

How can we re-engage girls who haven’t been involved in meetings this past year?

We’re starting back face-to-face and we invited girls who didn’t meet online to share their ideas ahead of our programme planning. They’ve used their voice and know exactly what activities they’ve got to look forward to upon their return!

Even if girls didn’t Zoom, make sure they’re invited to face-to-face meetings. Introduce everyone at the start of the first in-person meeting. 

Talk to them directly, either in-person, on the phone or over Zoom.

Let girls know what you have planned. They might not remember what it was like in your unit or feel anxious about not knowing, so it might help to show what’s happening.

Ask if she wants to bring a friend along.

Top tip: Check out welcoming new girls into your unit.

 

What tips would you give to leaders returning to guiding for the first time in a while?

Take it slowly, don’t try to do too much all at once.

Have some 5-10 minute game ideas ready to go if you have time to spare – it’s so much harder to think on your feet with the restrictions.

Go into your unit with an open mind that it might be different to before.

Don’t compare what you are doing with what you’ve seen other units do. The girls will appreciate whatever you can do.

Top tip: Use the adapting activities spreadsheets to find out how you can make your favourite unit meeting activities or skills builder work with social distancing.

 

As a leader, I’m feeling nervous about returning to face-to-face meetings. I also don’t want to let the girls down. Do you have any suggestions for how I can build my confidence to get back to face-to-face guiding?

It’s so important to ease back in at your own pace. If you do want to return but are nervous, perhaps invite girls to one special, ‘one off’ face-to-face meeting before you fully commit to return to weekly face-to-face. That way you can manage any pressure and expectations and have time to reflect on the meeting before deciding when, and how often, you want to meet again.

Visit another unit who has already returned to get some ideas and see how other units are managing.

You don’t have to go back face-to-face full time. You could do a mixture of virtual and face-to-face guiding until you’re ready to go back fully in person.

Remember you’re not alone – everyone will be feeling this deep down. Reach out to your leaders - help is available all around you.

 

What's the first thing you'll do when you meet your unit indoors again?

Enjoy being back together in person with each other, chat and catch up. Enjoy a screen break!

Smile – girls will be back with their friends, and it will be lovely to take that moment in together. 

I’ve got a huge pile of badges to award which my girls have earned over lockdown so we’re planning to have a socially distanced badge presentation ceremony. A litter picker has been purchased to hand everything out at a safe distance!

Send us your questions

If you have a question you’d like to put to another leader, send it to us by emailing [email protected] and it could feature in a future blog.