Learn about our commissioners' calls
Lead volunteer for commissioner experience, Angela, tells us about them
Angela Peel, who grew up in Barbados and was a Brownie, Guide and young leader, is our lead volunteer for commissioner experience.
She’s also a Rainbow and Guide leader and has also been a district, division and county commissioner.
Hi Angela! What are the commissioners’ calls?
The commissioners’ calls started during the pandemic after county commissioners said that they wanted to have an opportunity to have two-way conversations with HQ staff and the chief guide’s team.
These calls are an opportunity for commissioners to come together to hear what’s happening and why and for you to ask questions and understand more around decision making and cascading information. It’s another way to keep in touch, to cover topics of interest, and an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts with other commissioners, widening our support network.
Why did you decide to go to the calls?
My first call was during lockdown. I received an invitation to attend to find out more about what was going on. Maybe it was the inner me wanting to ‘be in the know’ or just being nosey! I thought it was interesting, honest and insightful. We were given the opportunity to ask questions and voice our thoughts and opinions. It gave commissioners to chance to get our voice heard.
What have you learned from the calls?
The calls are useful because they all have different subjects that we focus on. For example, one was about subscriptions. We were given an honest insight as to how the pandemic affected Girlguiding nationally and how we could all work together. Hearing it form ‘the horse’s mouth’, so to speak, meant that we were all getting the same message and we could prepare for the questions from volunteers. Having the chance to go into breakout rooms meant that we could share ideas and best practices of how we could help units locally. On most calls you get the opportunity to hear from other commissioners and take away their top tips too.
How do the calls work?
Usually, we get to meet the chief guide and her team, and they update us on what is happening. We also get to hear from the CEO, Angela Salt, who gives us an update on what is happening at HQ.
For specialist topics, we get a chance to speak to the lead volunteers or staff members who give us an insight into where we are and what is happening. One example would be the introduction of 4-year-old Rainbows to the whole of the UK. Members from Northern Ireland who have been taking 4-year-olds for many years came along to talk to us about what they did, and it gave commissioners the opportunity to voice and concerns or questions that they had. There is usually an opportunity to go into smaller groups to discuss things in break out rooms where we sometimes have a mix of commissioners, region chief commissioners and staff members.
Anything else you want people to know?
The commissioner role can be such a rewarding one but since the pandemic more and more commissioners appear to be struggling. I know that coming out of this pandemic had left lots of volunteers, including commissioners, deflated and feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes you may feel like you can’t face another virtual meeting after a day at work.
I would encourage you to try to attend anyway, even if it means just listening to what is happening if you can’t bear looking at a screen again. If you are sharing the commissioner role, why not alternate which one of you attends the meetings. It’s a way of supporting each other.