Our Holiday Brownies event was great

Nine students ran a Holiday Brownies event so that girls on the waiting list in Gloucestershire got to experience guiding

I loved that the majority of the girls had never met each other and yet by the end of the three days they all had 19 new Brownie friends! - Charlotte, student volunteer

Holiday Brownies is a three-day non-residential holiday camp for girls on the waiting list to go to Brownies. It gives them the opportunity to experience a terms' worth of Brownie activities so that by the end of the camp they can be enrolled as Brownies.

Why our event was special

Our Holiday Brownies event was special for a number of reasons. Firstly, the team was unique as it consisted of seven university students, some of whom don't get a chance to do guiding in term time, and others who are involved in guiding with a local unit while at university. They got to learn lots of leadership skills during the week and one, Hannah, has started her Leadership Qualification since. Secondly, the girls had a great time!

There was also a very well-written article about the week in the Gloucestershire Echo, which sent along a reporter and photographer. Girlguiding Gloucestershire also loaned us their photographer to take photos we can use to promote future events.

We showed girls how fun guiding is

Hannah said: 'The thing I loved most about the holiday camp was the opportunity to work with young girls hoping to be Brownies and showing them how much fun guiding can be. It was fantastic to watch them make new friendships and by the end of the camp it was amazing to enrol them all.'

The programme included learning about Girlguiding in different countries and, through games and crafts, teaching girls that any faith or nationality is welcome. We ensured that we provided food suitable for vegetarians and for families with dietary requirements related to religion - even down to sourcing vegetarian marshmallows.

We wanted to use the outdoor facilities as much as possible, and we had remarkably good weather. So wherever possible we moved activities outdoors and picnic lunches became the order of the day.

The Brownies enjoyed every second

We could see from the laughter and smiles on the Brownies' faces that they were enjoying every second. We captured the girls' highlights and opinions about the programme during their Brownie Skills badge. They wrote letters to the Chief Guide and Chief Executive about their favourite moment. Many included activities such as painting a frame for a photo they had taken themselves; others mentioned more adventurous activities such as low ropes and grass sledging. Many of the activities were entirely new to the Brownies. In some of the letters, they wrote about making new friends and enjoying spending time with the Leaders, which was of course lovely to hear.

An atmosphere of excitement

Our County Commissioner Helen said: 'I loved watching the team create this amazing programme and run it confidently and professionally whilst maintaining a real atmosphere of fun and excitement for the girls. I don’t think they quite appreciated the effort it would take to plan, run and then wrap up and evaluate this programme, but they have been genuinely excited about being the first to do something like this and are very keen to pass on the message about what students can do to help give girls a chance in guiding.'

Charlotte, one of the students who helped run the day, said: 'I loved that the majority of the girls had never met each other and yet by the end of the three days they all had 19 new Brownie friends! I also loved hearing the reactions from the parents, especially those that said their daughter's confidence and self-esteem had improved.'

Run your own Holiday Brownies

Holiday Brownies isn't just a way to get young girls and those on waiting lists into Brownies - you can also do what Gloucestershire did and empower young volunteers to run the event.