Going on residentials
How to plan and run your own residential events
Going away with your unit is a great adventure for you and the girls
There are a host of organised residential activities you can attend with your unit without needing a Going Away With licence - but if you want to give your girls a more bespoke experience, why not run your own?
How to run your own residential
First, decide with your girls where and when you will do your residential. This could be indoors or outdoors, on a boat, in a yurt, close or far from home. Then complete the following.
Qualifications - to run your own residential event, someone in your event leadership team must hold, or be working towards, the relevant modules of the Girlguiding Going Away With scheme. Speak to your commissioner about completing the Scheme as early as possible.
You need to ensure you have a licence holder in a ratio of at least 1:50. Events with 100 or more participants in total are defined as large-scale events.
Residential Event Notification
Your commissioner will consult the relevant Adviser and confirm approval for your event.
For International events, you must first get permission to plan from your commissioner before you can submit the Residential Event Notification. Use an International residential permission to plan form (PDF).
Our division commissioner Karen is amazing and said she will do what it takes to make sure the trip goes ahead. - Paul, unit helper
Informing parents and carers
- You must gain permission from parents using the Information and Consent form.
- Parents of under 16s and participants over 16 must complete a Health information form.
- Parents must have the opportunity to meet the leaders prior to the event and have all plans explained to them.
- An emergency contact must be available to collect young members if necessary.
- A home contact must be in place for the event.
Event leadership team
It is important you have a supportive team of volunteers to help you run a residential event. You will need the following people.
License holder - responsible for planning the event, including appointing teams for catering, health and first aid.
First Aider - must have attended a suitable and valid first aid course such as 1st Response or a professional similar or higher level course . There must be at least one other adult present with first aid knowledge. If the first aider is male, a female must be present when a member is being treated. A female should deal with girls’ personal hygiene queries and needs.
Caterer - responsible for supplying food and equipment, and all food hygiene. Anyone over 18 who is familiar with food hygiene requirements can be a caterer. A qualification is not required for this role but those wishing to increase their knowledge can complete the Girlguiding Catering scheme.
You must also make sure:
- You have set up a home contact system.
- You have enough adults in your team to maintain section ratios as outlined below.
- All volunteers aged 18 or over who are staying overnight have completed the recruitment and vetting procedure.
- All non-member volunteers are assigned the role of residential occasional helper on GO and undertake a criminal records check. You can find out more about criminal records checks in our recruitment and vetting procedures.
- Young Leaders are supervised at all times by adult volunteers, as they are not included in ratios
- You take any families and children of volunteers at residential events into account.
There is no maximum number of adults at a residential, but make sure the number means girls have the opportunity to take responsibility and do some things for themselves.
The venue must be approved by the relevant host adviser. If the venue has not already been approved, notify the adviser in plenty of time for the venue to be inspected before you make firm plans. You should also follow these regulations:
- If Brownies or Rainbows are staying in a youth hostel or hotel, the sleeping, washing and toilet facilities must be self-contained, and girls must sleep in rooms close to those occupied by the leaders.
- If Brownies or Rainbows are camping, in case there's bad weather, the licence holder must make sure that there is solid shelter available or make prior arrangements with parents or guardians to take girls home.
- If Guides, Rangers and members of The Senior Section are camping, in case there's bad weather, the licence holder must make sure that there is alternative shelter available (this could be a solid shelter or temporary structure, such as a mess tent or marquee) or make prior arrangements with parents or guardians to take girls home.
- If adults share a sleeping area with under 18s, there must be at least two adults present.
- Lilos and sun loungers are not to be used as beds.
- If male volunteers or male children are present, there must be separate sleeping and bathroom facilities for them.
- If the venue is not normally used for overnight accommodation (for example a church or school hall), the local police and fire service need to be informed that the sleepover is taking place.
- If you're planning to use Home hospitality you must follow Girlguiding guidance.
- If you are using a caravan for a residential on a site that is a) not Girlguiding or Scout run and b) does not have a caravan licence, please contact [email protected] at least two months in advance of the planned event.
- If you are planning to use a tented village, please see our guidance.
For joint or multi-section residentials, at least one leader from all participating sections must be present, and the correct ratio for each section must be observed.
Rainbow residential events
- Maintain adult to child ratios of 1:4 (not including the Event Coordinator) with a maximum of 30 Rainbows. There must be at least three adults present at all times.
- Rainbow overnight events must not exceed 24 hours, including travel, from when care of the girls is transferred to the Leader.
- Rainbows must not travel abroad for overnight events.
- Rainbows may attend a sleepover with other Sections provided the total number of Rainbows does not exceed 30.
- All of the adults present should be known to the Rainbows, and all Rainbows must be accompanied by a Leader from their own unit.
- If the licence holder is not a Rainbow Leader, a Rainbow Leader should be involved in planning and be present at the event.
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends that no child under the age of six sleeps in the top bunk. Seek parental permission if younger girls will need to sleep in top bunks.
- The venue should be close enough for a parent to collect their child should the need arise.
Brownie residential events
- Maintain an adult to child ratio of 1:6, with at least three adults present, or two at the Commissioner's discretion.
- If going away without their own Leader, each Brownie must have met at least one member of the leadership team prior to the event.
- If Brownies are staying in separate buildings (such as chalets or static caravans), there must be at least two Leaders, helpers or Young Leaders present in each building.
- A maximum of four Brownies aged nine or over may visit a Guide residential, as long as four adults are present.
Guide residential events
Maintain an adult to child ratio of 1:12, with at least three adults present, or two at the Commissioner's discretion.
Senior Section residential events
- There is no required adult to child ratio for a Senior Section residential, but there must be at least two adults present, or one at the Commissioner's discretion.
- If over 18s and under 18s share sleeping areas, there must be at least two over 18s present.
- Where all members of a Senior Section trip are over 18, a Residential Event Notification form (REN) and home contact agreement aren’t essential for home and international events. Volunteers should still carry out effective and detailed planning in line with our risk assessment policy.