How we consulted members on The Senior Section transformation

Who we asked, what they said, and how we came to our decisions on the future of The Senior Section

08 February 2017

You’ve helped to shape our plans for The Senior Section

Since we announced the changes to The Senior Section, some members have been in touch to support our plan. But others have asked some important questions about how we came to our decision and who we consulted.

Since 2014, we’ve been talking to members about how we can make sure The Senior Section delivers what young women need and want. Girls involved in guiding day in, day out, are best placed to tell us how The Senior Section can provide something today’s young women can get excited about.

What could we do to ensure that more of our Guides want to continue their journey with us by joining The Senior Section? Does The Senior Section as it is provide the challenge and stretch that young women are looking for? How can we show both current Girlguiding members and potential new recruits that The Senior Section has something brilliant to offer? 

Who did we speak to?

We started speaking to our members about their thoughts on The Senior Section back in 2014 as part of our work on the ‘Being our best’ strategy.

For 14 to 25 year olds, we:

  • surveyed over 1,300 members using an online questionnaire
  • held 12 focus groups across the UK, with a total of 186 members taking part.

For 10 to 14 year olds, we:

  • asked 2,870 Guides what they thought of The Senior Section
  • held a further 12 focus groups for 106 Guides across the UK.

What did we find?

Our findings made it clear that we could enhance what Girlguiding offers to young women in this age group. The recommendations from this were:

  • to split The Senior Section age group and create two distinct groups – one for 14 to 18 year olds and one for 18 to 25 year olds – so that we can tailor what we deliver for each age group
  • to offer a unit-based structured programme for 14 to 18 year olds, so that they can continue developing skills through activities and badges like the other sections
  • to offer flexible opportunities for 18 to 25 year olds that are non-unit based and more adaptable to the busy lives of young women
  • to work with young members to develop and shape these new offers.

After reviewing these recommendations with volunteer teams and members of staff, we took them to a weekend session attended by Senior Section Leaders, coordinators and young members, as well as other senior volunteers and staff. At this weekend, the group agreed with these ideas, so they were taken forward to be finalised.                 

How was the final decision made?

These recommendations were discussed further throughout 2015 and into 2016, when a decision was taken by our governance boards, again after involving volunteer teams and staff.

It was also decided that this project was to become part of the overall changes to our programme. By continuing to make Girlguiding the best it can be, we’ll remain a beloved girls’ organisation, retain the girls we have for longer, and be able to bring the benefits and opportunities guiding provides to an even wider audience.

What next?

In the coming months, we’ll be working with a new Assistant Lead Volunteer (to be announced soon) and other members to help us start to shape these plans. We’ll have more detail about how it will work and other practicalities by early 2018.

Our aspiration is that we’ll be empowering young women (aged between 18 and 25) by giving them more freedom and flexibility to shape their own guiding experience.

They will be able to take part in awards and experiences for themselves and if they want to, they can choose to stay involved with unit life by taking on one of our unit leadership roles. No matter what they decide, we’ll keep making sure that they’re helped throughout their guiding journey, by offering a consistent level of support. And of course we’re sure they’ll also want to arrange their own fun meet ups with their guiding friends.

We’ll keep updating the web hub with the latest information and ways for you to get involved – keep an eye out for emails and updates on social media too.

Keep in the loop

Remember to keep checking the our journey web hub and ensure you contact details are up to date on GO so you see all the latest updates on the new programme.