We have flexible meeting times for The Senior Section

To allow busy members of The Senior Section to stay in guiding, Chris, Leader and Development Worker, is flexible and creative

Our girls over 14 stay part of Guides but are visited by a Senior Section Leader so they have access to amazing opportunities for older girls

Around the time girls turn 14, we want them to move on to The Senior Section, but for lots of reasons this doesn't always happen. So in the Girlguiding Anglia Region we have a new approach - the Leaders come to them!

Trying out our approach

We've been trying this out in King's Lynn Division, where I'm a Leader. Girls who are ready to move on to The Senior Section stay in their current Guide unit with their peers. Then, once a month, a local Senior Section Leader visits them to offer support, advice and information about The Senior Section programme and the opportunities available.

We vary the meeting times depending on the needs of The Senior Section girls. For example, they didn't meet for two months due to their exams. It means the girls just come along when it suits them and have fun.

Girls keep their friends and Leader from Guides

The girls continue to participate in the Guide Unit and pay regular subs, just as Guides do, but join in with their Senior Section peers too. They're encouraged to take a small leadership role in weekly meetings. Their current meeting time already complements their other commitments, there's no fear of trying to make new friends in an environment they're not familiar with, and their current Leader, who they have built a rapport with, can support them.

When The Senior Section Leader visits, they go through the Senior Section Programme, help them access information and activities, and effectively become their mentor. Regular emails are also sent out to all The Senior Section members giving more information about general events and activities. They're also invited along to other events where they can all mix together as a more traditional group - such as Duke of Edinburgh's Award expedition training, which only runs it if a minimum of five members of The Senior Section respond. This method then builds another group within a group!

Increasing visibility of The Senior Section

It encourages visibility of The Senior Section within guiding, it helps Guide Leaders learn about The Senior Section, and it means that the Guides get a really get to interact with The Senior Section and see what an amazing choice they can make at 14.

This set-up has worked well so far, we have 12 to 15 members of The Senior Section in the Kings Lynn Division. Some girls are involved as Young Leaders others as Senior Section members with a Guide unit. The girls are involved in lots of different activities such as peer education, international trips, fundraising for units and events, planning and running activities at units and participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

I'd really recommend giving this approach a try to see if it can help boost numbers of girls in The Senior Section in your area!

Be flexible with meeting times

Changing your meeting times could mean more girls and more volunteers can come join the fun of guiding! Read our ideas for being more flexible.