Get with the programme

Watch the fifth and final episode in our series looking at the life of a guiding unit. Find out how girls of all ages are leading activities.

It's not all cooking and camping: follow the adventures of a guiding unit


Voiceover: In July 2018 the Girlguiding programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do, was given the biggest overhaul we've ever seen so now we're going to see how two different units are getting to grips with the new programme, what life is like for girls and leaders at the heart of guiding and how they make it work for every girl.

[Girls applaud]

Guide [to group of rainbows]: If we shout 'port' you're going to run to that wall, that side there.


Volunteer [to camera]: We have a group of Guides who come and help with the Rainbows and then they stay for Brownies and then they actually take part in Guides. And if we didn't have them to be honest it would be quite difficult. Because they're increasingly acting like young leaders.


Guide [to camera]: I remember when I first started it it was a bit intimidating. I didn't really help out with anyone or lead anything before. But I think now, I mean, I'm kind of into it. I Iike helping out with the girls. It's a fun thing to do and it makes them enjoy the session more, because there's more time given to them and it's easier for the session to run.


Volunteer [voice over]: So with the Rainbows we did an activity called Slippery slopes.

Volunteer [to rainbows, holding a doll]: So her name is Olivia and Olivia would like you to build her a slide.

Rainbow [to camera]: We're making them on tables and we're using different materials.

Different rainbow [to camera: We need more tin foil that's what we need. Two minutes! We have two minutes!

Volunteer [to rainbows]: One, two...

[They slide the doll down a slide]


Volunteer [to Brownies]: These girls are going to be in charge tonight, and they're going to tell you what to do.

Brownie [to a group of Brownies]: You're going to make a tower. And we're going to need to make the foundation - which is the bottom of it - the bottom of it is going to need to be strong so it holds the rest up.

Different Brownie [to camera]: You take the fruit and you stack them up and make it as tall you as you can.


Brownie [to camera]: It felt really fun I really liked it. I was a bit nervous at first but I really liked it in the end. Because it wasn't just Sophie and the Brownie leaders telling them stuff. They can have a different perspective.


Volunteer [to Guides]: Think about how you'll reach the far corners from the hole at the top. Maybe the tool will be bent or made from something flexible.

Guide [to camera]: Inside will be various, like, buttons. Whoever gets the most by the end of the game wins the game.

Different Guide [to camera]: And we can use this hole to look through so that we can, like, see where we're going.


Guide [to camera]: It was weird to kind of teach them, but it was kind of nice because it made us feel kind of like we were older and a bit more experienced.


Guide [playing game]: Yay!


Volunteer [to camera]: I think it's nice for the girls to take charge especially when they get a bit older. It sort of keeps them engaged and it can help them to think about how to handle tricky situations and it can maybe make them a bit more reflective about how it's difficult to lead.


Different volunteer [to camera]: For those who have not yet moved on to the new programme I think you've got lots of fun to be had. The girls are really enjoying it, the leaders are really enjoying it, and overall it's really worked for us.


Volunteer [to camera]: At Rainbows and Brownies and Guides it's much more about the relationships and getting to know them and watching them really grow up over the years. And that's why I'm so ridiculously fond of the big girls because I've known them for a really long time.

Guide [to camera]: It's like she's my aunty but it's kind of nice because it's like I've grown up with her, and so she knows me really well. It's also kind of weird sometimes because I care about her opinion quite a lot. So when I come to Guides it's like a fun thing but it also matters a lot as well.


Ranger [to camera]: Some of them in the beginning they're crying a lot because their mum's gone. And you can kind of see how they grow throughout their time here. And it's really nice to see them develop as a person really.


Brownie [to camera]: We all share things with each other and we're never leaving one person out.

Different Brownie [to camera]: I'd say everyone is nice and they won't bite you, and we do lots of fun activities and Brown Owl's the best!


Volunteer [to camera]: I think Girlguiding gives girls a space to grow confidence and the difference that we see with girls, from the moment that they walk through the door right through to when they're waving us goodbye at the other end of their Girlguiding journey, is amazing.


Brownie [to camera]: It's like preparing you to be a better leader. I want to be a teacher when I grow up.

Guide [to camera]: Being a Guide you sort of build-up in responsibility.

Volunteer [to camera]: And it's really all about empowering the girls, that whatever you want you can go out and do it.

Guide [to camera]: It makes me feel that I have something good in myself.

[Girls laugh and play]

Episode 5: #GirlBosses

How do you build a slide? Or a tower out of fruit? Or play a game called ‘it’s not brain surgery’? We’re following the adventures of two units as they get to grips with our new programme, which launched last summer and is the biggest overhaul we've ever seen.

Take a look the last episode in our five-part series that looks at how young girls of all ages are getting involved in leading the new programme activities.

Watch more episodes

Episode 4: Flexing it

What do you do when you want to try new unit meeting activities, but your unit meeting space doesn't have a kitchen, or your supply cupboard is running a bit low, or maybe one of your girls has a specific need? Take a look at episode four of our five-part series to see how volunteers adapt our versatile new programme to suit the needs of their girls, themselves and the space they’re in.


Voiceover: In July 2018 the Girlguiding programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do, was given the biggest overhaul we've ever seen so now we're going to see how two different units are getting to grips with the new programme, what life is like for girls and leaders at the heart of guiding and how they make it work for every girl.

[Girls applause]

Volunteer [to group of Rainbows]: What do you think we're going to be practicing today, Eleanor?

Rainbow: Tie up laces

Volunteer: Yes! Good work. We are going to be learning how to tie shoelaces.

Volunteer to camera: So with the Rainbows tonight we did an activity called Tied up in knots. We kind of adapted those activities tonight to suit what we had available. I really wanted the girls to have something that they could take home and so we made little cardboard shoes for them with a shoelace in.

Rainbow to camera: We've been practicing how to do shoelaces.You could remember it by two bunny ears jumping into a hole.

Different Rainbow to camera: The bunny ears were hard.

Volunteer: And then they decorated their shoes so they had something to take home.

Volunteer [to group of Brownies]: You are going to be making boats.

Girls: Yes!

Brownie [looking at sponges and paper plate]: We're getting the straw and cutting the thing and putting it in there. And then we can get a j-cloth or a plastic plate to put on here.

Different Brownie to camera: And then we're going to have water and we're going to test it out and see if it will sink or not or move.

Volunteer to camera: But because of the time of year and because we were in the hall .and we didn't have a paddling pool with us, they had to do it just in little bowls of water. But they seemed quite happy with it.

Brownie to camera: This year I think the most fun activity right now is the paper boats.

Volunteer to camera: The Guides they were supposed to be making biscuits with part of the recipe missing, but we don't have a cooker at the hall, we only have hot plates and so instead we did making pancakes

Volunteer [to Guides]: It's a little bit like the technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off. We will tell you those parts but what we're not going to tell you is how much flour, ok?

Guide to camera: We put too much milk in so now it's really watery so we're just going to add more flour.

Guides [to each other]: Just pour one on until there's a thin layer across all of this.

Guides [to each other]: Are we doing a thin pancake right?

Guides [to each other]: Thin, yeah.

Guide to camera: Obviously it's not meant to look like that but I think it will taste nice when it's in the pan and cooked.

Girl: Eeew

[Girls Laughter]

Volunteer to camera: Guides was very mixed

Volunteer to Guides: It looks like a poppadom. Has it been on the floor?

Girl: No, this one hasn't.

Volunteer: One group did them quite nicely.

Girl: Don't get whacked by the frying pan.

Volunteer [to girls]: It's good, I'm impressed.

Guide to camera: And it was fun, like cooking and stuff yeah.

Girl [eating pancake]: I'd say these are pretty good for, like, a teamwork. I think we've learnt a few things, not to add too much flour.

Volunteer: Three, two, one, go!

Volunteer to girls [looking at craft]: And then if you want to make it pointy at the bottom you can do.

Volunteer to camera: This evening we're doing the One good turn leads to another unit meeting activity.

Brownie: The good deed that I'm going to do is walk my dog.

Brownie: I help my mum tidy the living room.

Brownie: I also held a door open for a friend.

Brownie [reading from chain to the group]: I will make cakes for people more often.

Volunteer to group: Do you know, I like that, whoever wrote that can make them for me anytime.

Girl to camera: We're going to get all the tables to join together to make one big chain.

Volunteer to camera: The new programme cards are really great because you can adapt them as you need them for your girls. We've got a young lady in a wheelchair in our Brownie unit, so we've definitely had to do some adaptations for those to make it inclusive for her. But there are other ways that we're adapting as well. Where the girls haven't quite been 100% on board with the idea, we've made some tweaks and, you know, the basics is still there but we've just taken it down a slightly different twist, if that makes sense.

Volunteer to camera: So some of the activities I do adapt them, but because the basic idea is there as long as you're thinking about the needs of your children, then it's still good fun. As long as you just sort of take it in the spirit of having a go.

Episode 3: It's INTERESTing

This week girls have a go at completing interest badges outside of their weekly unit meeting. Interest badges are made up of three challenges and girls can do them at home, on holiday, up a tree, anywhere they like! They’re a chance to learn something new or dig deeper into what they love. Though perhaps the best bit is getting a shiny new badge once you’ve completed it.

There are loads of different interest badges to choose, from Media critic and Charities to Performing and Mixology. Take a look at them all in our badge finder or find out more about how interest badges work.

Voiceover: In July 2018 the Girlguiding programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do, was given the biggest overhaul we've ever seen so now we're going to see how two different units are getting to grips with the new programme, what life is like for girls and leaders at the heart of guiding and how they make it work for every girl.

[Girls applause]

Volunteer [to group of Brownies]: I've got a badge book. Oh, it's more exciting than that - I’ve got a badge book! Let me just explain how it will work, ok, so your interest badges you can earn at home. Ok, what we will do we'll have a session every term where you guys can bring in things that you’ve done to show us.

Volunteer to camera: So with the new programme we've got a whole list of new interest badges which the girls are really keen to do, which is great. We gave them their badge books a few weeks ago so we hope they're going to be excited about those.

Brownie to camera: Brown owl handed out loads of badge books to everybody and they have all the badges that you can do at home.

Guide to camera: I've finished the Upcycling badge and I'm doing the Aspirations badge. With the Aspirations badge you've got to make a board of your role models who you look up to in life and what you're trying to achieve. I've got Darcy Bussell because she was dyslexic and still does what she loves.

Guide [looking at badge book]: Most of them are to do with life skills. So this is an interest badge and it's called Mindfulness. It tells you things about how to calm yourself down and trying three challenges. The first thing I'm grateful for is to have siblings, really and to be the eldest

Volunteer Mhairi to camera: Doing the interest badges gives the girls a sense of achievement. But I think also it can introduce them to learning about skills or activities that they haven't considered before.

Guide [as looking through magazines]:
I just did my Media critic badge I had to analyse different types of media, my favourite types of media and sort of write a report on them.

Brownie [cutting up and painting egg boxes]:
The badge I'm going to do next is the Charities badge. It involves promoting your charity, supporting your charity and thanking your charity for what they do.

And there are three parts to it and you have to do all three parts to it. And then we have a badge testing night.

Volunteer: So sometimes, like with the Rainbows tonight, one of the mums volunteered and so that was really nice for them because they feel like it's a bit special then, because they've got a special person to test them.

Guide [showing her scrapbook to a volunteer]: You bring in all the stuff and your scrap book here and you show it to one of the Guide leaders and they look through the book and see if you've met all the three points. And if you have it gets signed and you get the badge.

Brownie: I'm doing the Jobs badge and I had to interview three people and I had to draw my dream job me in twenty years later.

Brownie [playing the flute]: I was practicing at home and I got my whole family to come round our house to listen to me perform.

Brownie: I did my Painting badge. I had to name my favourite abstract painter and my favourite figurative painter and then I had to do one painting where one was abstract and one was figurative.

Guide: I chose the mocktail [Mixology] badge because it looked really fun in the booklet and I like experimenting with things and seeing what's nice and what's not.

Guide to volunteer: I tried milk, nutmeg and ginger which was not nice.

Volunteer: They're so happy when you give them the badge in a meeting and everybody claps and for them it's like a really big deal.

Volunteer [to group of Brownies as a girl collects a badge]: You can give her a clap, yeah, I think that's a good idea.

Guide: I just got given my Media critic badge, which I've been working towards. I got a sense of achievement because I was working quite hard towards it.

Guide: I've been given my Aspirations badge and my Upcycling badge.

Volunteer: Really what you want Girlguiding to do is to have an impact on their lives and to help them grow as a person. So the fact that they're actually taking it home and maybe encouraging some friends and some family as well to get involved is a really good thing.

Rainbow: It's fun doing interest badges because you get to do loads of fun things and you really get to interest yourself in everything.

Brownie: You get to do them at home and have lots of fun.

Guide: You can do so many different things and you can choose what you want to do, which is really good.

Girl: It would mean a lot to say I got the Gold Badge.

Episode 2: You don't have to be a know it all 

Sometimes our volunteers find themselves leading activities that are new to them, as well as to girls. It's all part of the fun - after all, one of the best things about guiding is trying new things. 

In this episode, see how leaders Clare, Elaine and Sophie learn as they go. Meanwhile, the girls try their hands at tying knots, making bubbles and coding their own robots.

Voiceover: Every week nearly half a million girls around the UK meet and take part in Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. In July 2018 the Girlguiding programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do, was given the biggest overhaul we've ever seen so now we're going to see how two different units are getting to grips with the new programme, what life is like for girls and leaders at the heart of guiding and how they make it work for every girl.

[Girls applause]

Leader Clare talking a group of girls: ...round the body and think about how many you might find

Clare to camera: The girls definitely always have a lot of questions. And you definitely don't always have the answer to it.

Leader Anne to Brownies: Ah, this one is...

Brownie to leader: What is it?

Anne: I'm going to tell you

Brownie: How can we see it in England?

Brownie: What's happened to your hair?

Anne: Oh, it's tough being Brown owl, isn't it?

Leader Sophie: Well so I'm a teacher as well. And I think if I hadn't of been a Brownie leader, I wouldn't have become a teacher. I like it because it makes me do stuff that I've not done before. So that gobots activity that we did today with the Rainbows. We definitely would never have done that. It's a little bit of getting your head around it and thinking how is this going to work. And who do I need to get to help me.

Sophie to Rainbows: You are going to be the robots and we've re-named you and we're going to call you go-bots, ok

Rainbow: One, two...

Rainbow: We have been coding our go go robots

Sophie: ...fifteen, stop. Oh no! My gobot has gone wonky

Sophie to camera: The Brownies were doing one of the unit meeting activities which was Guiding in a bubble. I had an idea of how it would work but I hadn't had a chance to practice it. And so I got my two older Guide helpers to have a practice while we were doing Rainbows.

Guide to Brownies: We're trying to put as many bubbles into one big bubble at a time to represent one Brownie and then a six and then a unit.

Brownie: They represent all the Brownies in different countries and all over the place. So that's what they represent as they get bigger. They've popped!

Guide to camera: We sometimes just get asked to help out run the activities like quickly or set up an activity and things like that. Sometimes it can be a tiny bit stressful because you don't know 100% what you are doing.

Sophie to camera: One of the girls in particular was really good at it so that was lucky when it came to demonstrating for the Brownies I couldn't make it work at all but she could and so she was able to, sort of, come and help out. And they do that a lot.

Guide to camera: Looking at the card it was really clear what we had to do. I think it's pretty cool when it all goes smoothly.

Brownie while making bubbles: We've got three bubbles inside and then they split and escape and die.

Sophie to camera: And then the Guides were doing part of what will be an activity for a unit meeting activity which is about Treasure seekers but for that Treasure seekers activity they're supposed to be able to tie knots. I was pretty sure they weren't going to know how to tie clove hitches, reef knots, fisherman's knot and so on. So I wanted them to spend a bit of time practicing.

Guide reading activity card: We've got the figure-of-eight and the reef knot and we need to sort of work on the clove hitch and the fisherman's knot.

Guide to camera: It was fun and challenging

Sophie to camera: What I really like about my Guides is that they really go for it with whatever you give them. And so because we said to them this is a competition. They were really up for that

Guide doing activity: Yay, I did it!

Leader Anna to camera: One of the activities that we've got planned is about muscles. And the card when we read the instructions just talked about arm muscles, leg muscles. But we found it slightly strange that we weren't teaching the girls the real muscle names. But actually, then when we were talking we realised we didn't know them either. So we're going away to learn those so we can share those with the girls and expand our knowledge as well as theirs.

Anne explaining activity to Brownies: Tonight we're going to look at the body and we're going to look at what muscles you have in the body.

Brownie doing activity: Brown Owl gave us lots of muscles and we have to kind of think where they go. There's two easy ones the eye and the heart but the others we’re kind of guessing.

Leader Elaine: I wasn't 100% but the girls have really seemed to enjoy it, they've really got into it and even though they don't know where some of them go they're having a good guess and they're communicating well with each other to work out where they're going.

Brownies talking to each other while putting muscles in the right place on the body:

- That one's not right either

-That one's over there

Leader Clare to camera: I don't think it really matters if you know everything about it. I think it's good for the leaders to learn at the same time as the girls.

Brownie to camera: I enjoy doing things I've never done before because I learn new things when I do them

Brownie to camera: I love it because there is always some fun activities to do.

Sophie to camera: So it has, especially this new programme, has made me have a go. It doesn't matter that you don't know how to do all the activities because it means that you try new things

Anne: So I think the new programme is great because regardless of whether you've got the experience or the knowledge for the activities. You don't have to worry about that because it's all laid out for you and we can just run with it and have the fun that we're here to have.


Episode 1: It's a balancing act

Meet 1st Coaley Brownies and 6th Clapham Rainbows, Brownies and Guides - our hosts for the next five episodes. Leaders Sophie and Anne tell us how they get girls involved in deciding what to do and how they balance the mix of old favourites with new activities. 

Meanwhile, the girls get down to striking matches, popping corn and some very frothy experiments.

Voiceover: Every week nearly half a million girls around the UK meet and take part in Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. In July 2018 the Girlguiding programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do, was given the biggest overhaul we've ever seen so now we're going to see how two different units are getting to grips with the new programme, what life is like for girls and leaders at the heart of guiding and how they make it work for every girl.

[Girls applause]

Leader Sophie [talking to a group of Guides]: And I've told Ella that I will give her a really big badge which is a picture of Baden Powell if only she does her Whittling badge!


Sophie: I've been a young leader since I was 13, because I grew up in Wales, in a very small village. But then I moved to London and I was going to my graduation for my teacher training and I walked past the hall and I said to my mum ‘They’ve got Brownies!’ and that was it. I went along the next Friday and I've been here now - this is my 13th year. I run three separate units. We have Rainbows Brownies and Guides some of them have been with us for eight years now which is really nice.

Guide to camera: It's not usually friends that you see in school you just see each other once a week and it's good to connect with them and do an activity that you wouldn't usually do. 

Leader Anne: I’ve been a leader here since 2001, so that's nearly 20 years now isn't it? We've got a whole mixture of girls in our unit, it's no two the same. I'd say we do all the usual typical things like playing games. 

Brownie: Brownies is fun and time for freedom. [Brownies playing games in hall] 

Sophie: Obviously the new programme was introduced and it's completely different in some ways, because there are now different coloured skills builders that the girls can earn, and the interlinked interest badges and themed badges. Normally what we would do is, at the end of the term before, we present the girls with some options. But as they're getting older, they have clear ideas about which kind of activities they like, so it's just finding the balance and just sort of embracing it. Today the Rainbows were starting on their new skills builder, which is the Innovative skills builder, which is part of Express Myself [one of the six Girlguiding programme themes].

Sophie to Rainbows: We are going to be doing some different experiments this week.

[Volunteer helps Rainbow put a bowl over a candle].

Sophie: So, what does a candle need to burn?

[Rainbow holding a magnet beneath a table to move a paperclip on top of a table]

Rainbow: We’re putting the magnet underneath and moving it around.

Sophie: The Brownies, the thing was that they were supposed to learn, was how to strike a match safely.

[Two Brownies hold a foil cake case of popcorn over a candle.]

Brownie: Usually when the popcorn is heated it just pops which explains why it's called popcorn.

Sophie: And then the Guides did the speedy explorers.

[Guides attach bean bags to a zip line and run it down a zip line.]

Guide: We have to try and attach a bean bag and make a zip line and see who can go the fastest down.

Anne: We do get the girls involved too and so we're planning tonight to talk to the girls about what they'd like to do this term and decide which unit meeting activities, which skills builders which themes they want to go down. 

Anne [showing activity cards to girls]: This one’s got water involved and a bucket with holes in it. It’s called water run and we would have to do this outside.

Brownie: We are voting for what activity we want to do this term.

Anne: We're still getting the hang of the new programme, with it being still very new, but last time for example we did the Have Adventures skills builder. But then we also took them bowling because it was something that they'd asked to do.

Sophie: We are doing the new programme most weeks to be honest because it helps me to have the cards. I'm like ‘okay these are some good ideas that I can I can work from’.

Guide: It's just a nice way to finish the week and just a place to have fun to be free.

Sophie: But we didn't want to give up on the old activities that the girls really like doing. 

Clare: I think it's important to keep some of the old stuff so it's still familiar, although the new programme is introduced a lot of the core values are still the same. 

[Brownies standing in group playing a game]

Brownie: I want to make a difference.

Sophie: They really like the fact that they're working towards specific badges and I think as time goes on I think more of them are going to cotton onto that and get quite competitive. They do like to collect their badges.

Anne [to Brownies]: We’ve got the water one! [The activity they have chosen to do.]

[Brownies cheering and clapping.]



Explore our new programme

Find out about the awesome badges and activities that girls do in guiding as part of our new programme.

Explore the programme