Including all faiths at residential events

Ways to make sure all girls of all faiths are included at sleepovers, camps and other residential events

Planning is key to including all faiths at residentials

Some additional considerations may be needed to ensure that members from all religious and cultural backgrounds are able to attend and fully participate in residential opportunities.

As you plan for your time away, spend time thinking about any traditions in your unit and how these can be adjusted to include everyone who will be there.

Try not to make assumptions

Remember that young people are often exploring their own beliefs, ethics and boundaries - they may not share their parents’ beliefs or ethics or be choosing to observe religious practices.

To find out what religious practices girls observe, ask them. Then work together with them and their parents to accommodate them.

Mixed-gender residential events

It may be appropriate to inform parents if there will be boys or men staying on the same site. Make sure that all members are told in advance of the residential event so that they can make an informed decision about attending.

Religious observance

Some members may need to observe religious practices while away on a residential event.

Consider having a quiet space available for contemplation that could double as a space for prayer or meditation, if needed.

Some members may request to attend a religious service while away on residential events. At some larger or international events this may be available on site.

If this is not available, discuss with the member other ways that they can meet this need.

  • If the service involves travelling off site, is this possible while maintaining adult to child ratios for the event? Check our guidance on transport if a volunteer is transporting a young member to a service.
  • For a weekend residential, would they be able to attend an alternative service, such as an evening service, after the residential event has finished?
  • Would it be reasonable for a parent to collect a young member to take them to a religious service?

Catering

When catering for a residential event, consider religious dietary requirements. Make sure that there are options for all girls.

Saying grace

It may be traditional to say, or sing, grace before a meal at a residential event. Consider how this might make members who are from a different faith - or have no faith - feel.

If you'd like to say something before a meal, try to think of a statement that doesn't make reference to any particular god or faith. For example, 'let's all take a moment to show gratitude for this food and to remember how fortunate we are to have this meal'.

Individual members may wish to say grace privately before meals.

Songs

Some songs may have faith-based lyrics. Consider how these might make members who are from a different faith - or have no faith - feel. Would it be possible to change the words to songs?

Other songs may no longer be appropriate; they may make members of the unit feel uncomfortable because of lyrical content. Consider whether it is still appropriate to sing these songs.

Get advice on inclusion

Contact the Inclusion team at Girlguiding HQ for more information about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.