What I Would Tell a New Guider

Today’s post was shared with us by Guider Cara. It was originally posted on her own Brownie Meeting Ideas blog and it is very timely for our end of Guiding year calendar. Thank you Guider Cara for letting us share this with our GirlGuidesCANblog audience!

When you’re a new Guider who will be joining a Guiding unit in the fall, you are full of enthusiasm (or trepidation) and want as much information as possible.   You want to get going just when the Guiding machine is slowing down for the summer.  Here are some things I would tell you…

  1. Welcome … We’re so glad you’re here.  Guiding is rewarding for both girls and Guiders.  It isn’t easy.  It isn’t “just 90 minutes a week”.  But it is one of the best things I have ever done.  I hope you get as much out of it as I have.
  2. Read.  Read Blogs and websites.  Becky’s Guiding Resource Centre (this one is the best!); GirlGuidesCANblogGuiding with Jewels;  Strictly Guiding; and Brownies Meet.  Read the program book of the particular branch you’re joining.   And take one of the Guider Trainings offered from your Province or area.
  3. Learn songs and games.  They’re likely what you remember most if you were in Guiding or went to summer camp as a girl … and having a few of each in your head will make you a valuable asset to your new Guiding team right off the bat.
  • The CD “Sing-a-long for Sparks and Brownies” is an excellent resource from Guides Ontario (go to the Click here to submit your order link and find the CD name).  I like it because it is a teaching CD – not a listening one (e.g. the Brownie song is sung once, then line-by-line, then all together.  Perfect for a new Guider!) .

4.  Be imaginative.  But don’t get discouraged if the Responsible Guider (RG) seems to want to do it her way all the time.

        • RGs are often busy and we get set in our ways.  We may need a nudge to try things (we shouldn’t, but we do).  Keep pushing.
        • Ask Why Not?  The unit may have already attempted the thing you’re suggesting and finding out what happened is valuable information that may help persuade the unit to try it again.   Was the activity introduced badly? Did the girls think it was boring? Was there was a lack of equipment or supplies on hand so girls were waiting around? Was the activity too old or too young for the girls (singing “Wheels on the Bus” to nine-year-olds was a low point for us)?  Is there too much paperwork involved?  Is it too expensive?  All good reasons, but also not impossible ones.

5. Insist on Guider planning meetings.   Try to get/take detailed meeting notes that list specific things that each Guider is in charge of and the supplies necessary for each meeting.  This becomes a script to follow during the meeting – and if someone is absent another Guider can take over.    Here’s an example of one of ours: Key to my Community: Proud to Be Canadian; Our Flag and Our National Anthem.

Things to know:

  • Experienced RGs aren’t perfect.  We have a bad habit of pulling a meeting out of the air at the last-minute and that is frustrating for new Guiders who want to contribute and learn how to set up a meeting.   We know that, but it is tough to change.  Please insist.  But if you do, be prepared to take a larger role in the planning – that’s how I became RG.  =)
  • Also … running a meeting without a plan isn’t fun for the RG either (I’m speaking from experience) – she ends up barking out orders and telling people what to do for the whole meeting.  And then she gets frustrated when the Guiders (who can’t read minds) aren’t where they are supposed to be.  A plan is better.  Every time.

6.  Enjoy your summer.
Guiding is getting into summer mode right about now.  The Guide Office staff is still working, although vacations may mean slower responses for new Guider applications and police check processing (and this is frustrating because you are SO excited about it).  Volunteer Guiders are on vacation until August.  If you’re waiting for a communication, please be patient.   And don’t lose your enthusiasm.  We’re going to need it in September!

By guest blogger and Guider Cara. Check out Cara’s earlier post for us about Guiding in a Cloud, and don’t forget to visit her Brownie Meeting Ideas blog or her personal chicksknit blog.


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4 Responses to What I Would Tell a New Guider

  1. Pingback: I’m a guest poster! « Brownie Meeting Ideas

  2. Linda Lefler says:

    ALso tell the new Guider that the girls do a lot of the work! I have aways been proud of my Brownies and Guides who are happy to get task assignments or just show up with a smile when a leader says “i need some help!” And if you have ever been to camp with Sparks and watched them vying for their turn to clean the lats its pretty side splittingly funny too!

  3. Alana says:

    A handy thing to have ready to keep in your pocket at meetings is a short list of some songs and games that you and the girls enjoy. That way, you are prepared when a meeting isn’t going the way you had hoped. (Sometimes the girls just aren’t “into” it). No matter how many games you’ve played, or songs you’ve sung, it is still possible to come up totally blank when trying to think of something, even if you’ve been Guiding for years. (ask me how I know LOL)

  4. Pingback: Key to Brownies: Getting to know you with a Beaded Bracelet | GirlGuidesCANBlog

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