Working with young helpers
How to include Guides in your unit team as Rainbow and Brownie helpers
Making Guides part of your team brings valuable youth voice to meetings and planning
What are Rainbow and Brownie helpers?
Rainbow and Brownie helpers are Guides aged 10 to 14 who help out at Rainbow and Brownie units and are part of your unit team.
When should girls become helpers?
Girls should ideally wait for at least a year before they return to their former Brownie units to become a helper. This will give girls' younger Brownie friends time to adjust so they see, respect and listen to them as part of the unit team rather than as a peer. Only girls who are members of Guides can become helpers.
Benefits of including helpers on your team
- A chance to practice and develop leadership skills.
- Valuable experience of taking responsibility for, and working with, younger children.
- A way to fulfil clauses for badges and awards.
For your unit
- Helpers are great role models for younger girls.
- Get fresh ideas for meetings and activities by including helpers in planning.
- Helpers can encourage older Brownies to move on to Guides by sharing their experience and answering questions.
What should Rainbow and Brownie helpers do?
Rainbow and Brownie helpers form part of the leadership team. They should be given the chance to do a variety of tasks including:
- planning, running and evaluating activities and games
- working with individual girls and small groups
- taking part in planning activities and events.
How to support your Rainbow or Brownie helper
When you give helpers things to do, make sure you give them support to prepare for and carry out the task. Take time afterwards to talk through how it went.
Remember to give your helper:
- clear instructions on what you want her to do
- opportunities to ask questions
- time to plan
- constructive, helpful feedback if things do not go as planned.
Remember that your Rainbow or Brownie helper is still a child. While she needs to show commitment to her role, you should not expect her to take on the responsibility of an adult member of the leadership team.
Safeguarding Rainbow and Brownie helpers
Rainbow and Brownie helpers must not be left on their own with groups of girls without a leader nearby. They must be counted as children in the adult-to-child ratios when taking the unit away from the meeting place. It is your responsibility to safeguard helpers in line with the Girlguiding Safeguarding policy. You must also explain this policy to Helpers when they start their role - and give them an opportunity to ask questions.
A completed Information and consent for event/activity form is required for Rainbow and Brownie helpers for any activities away from the meeting place they take part in with your unit.
When a girl becomes a helper, you must get contact details for her parents or carers so that you can send her all relevant leadership team communications through them. You must not communicate directly with helpers under the age of 14 by phone, email, text, social media or other digital or electronic means.
How to find a helper for your unit
- Talk to local Guide leaders about any girls who would like to become helpers or ask your local commissioner to put you in touch.
- Approach former members of your unit through her parents or Guide leader to ask if she would be interested in the role.