Get with the programme

Watch the second episode of our series looking at the life of a guiding unit. See how volunteers handle leading activities that are new to them too.

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

What’s life like for girls and volunteers in guiding? How do you make activities work for every girl? And, most importantly, what's a go-bot!? Watch our five-part series following two guiding units to find out. We'll be covering their adventures as they get to grips with our new programme, made up of all the activities and badges girls do in guiding. The programme launched last summer and is the biggest overhaul we’ve ever seen - but what do girls think of it?

Keep tuned for a new episode every month until July, covering topics inspired by questions from our volunteers.

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 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.

If you're a Girlguiding leader, you can try all the activities in episode 2 with your unit:

  • Rainbows did Go gobots! from Innovate Stage 1 skills builder
  • Brownies tried the Guiding in a bubble and Use it to move it unit meeting activities. Guides had a go at the Treasure seekers unit meeting activity. They're both available from our online shop, Girlguiding regional or volunteer shops or our catalogue.

And if you want to brush up on your programme knowledge, complete our programme training

3 ways to work it out when you’re not an expert

Leading an activity, you’ve not done before? Or find yourself trying something new? Use these three tips and you’ll be an expert in no time.

  1. Don’t panic – sometimes it’s ok to work things out as you go along. And remember, no-one expects you be an expert (unless you’ve told everyone you’re a rocket scientist/acrobat/award-winning chef when you’re not really…if so, now might be the time to come clean).
  2. Read the instructions - if you're doing a Girlguiding activity, you can find everything you need to know on our activity cards and programme resources. They’re designed for absolute beginners, so no experience is necessary.
  3. Make it a team effort – get everyone involved in exploring new things together, girls and grown-ups alike. 

And then...just have a go. You don’t know until you try.

Watch more episodes

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