Junior Leaders: How to Make the Best Use of Their Generosity?

This post originally appeared on Ottawa Guider Cara’s own Brownie Meeting Ideas blog. Thank you Cara for allowing us to share this with our audience!

Junior Leader Carolyn

Junior Leader Carolyn

We’ve just finished a good long run with a fantastic Junior Leader and we’re really going to miss her.  Spotty Owl Carolyn is a Ranger who has been with us for four years and she is leaving us to go away to school. In our Unit, Carolyn was always ready to go with ideas, songs and games.  She related well to the girls – but was still an authority figure that the girls (mostly) listened to.  She was a great bridge between the just-want-to-have-fun girls and the maybe-a-little-too-concerned-about-program-Brown-Owl.

The thing is, I don’t know if we did the best job for HER.  We were haphazard in incorporating her into the planning (we did much better in the later years) and mostly counted on her ability to do things on the fly.  She came up with games and songs, managed the post-craft clean-up, led hikes, and held hands.  But it just sort of happened – there wasn’t much formal planning.  Some of that is the nature of mixing a group of adult Owls who work during the day with a younger Owl who has school and other activities.  And some of it was that we knew Carolyn would just come through with whatever we asked.

Now that Spotty has to go away to school (!), we’ve invited a former Brownie who is in her last year of Pathfinders to be our next volunteer – and I’d like to do it right.

How does it work for Supervision Ratio?

  • Girl members assisting as leaders in Units need to be considered in ratio calculations for regular meetings, etc.
  • Ratio for Green Level Activities:  Once they turn 16, Junior Leaders who are members of Guiding do count towards ratio for Green Level Activities as the third supervisor (you need a minimum of two adult members for Brownies).  See Safe Guide Page 24 for full details.
  • Ratio for Yellow Level Activities: Only adults are counted in supervision ratio for Yellow Level activities. When girls turn provincial age of majority (that’s 18  or 19, depending on the province) they can apply to be a full adult Member.

Resources for working with Girl Assistants or Junior Leaders

  • Pathfinders are called Girl Assistants and Rangers are called Junior Leaders.
  • Talk to the Junior Leader to find out what she is working on and discuss how your Unit plan might work with the Program she is trying to cover.  You could also get a copy of the Pathfinder or Ranger book.
  • Talk to her about how much she wants to be involved: Is having a quick discussion after each meeting enough?  Does she check her e-mail regularly?  Does she want to attend planning meetings?  Would she prefer to just show up and do whatever is needed in meetings?  Also, before you accept her into your Unit, decide what you need from her, too.
  • Ranger Program Resources (this is what the girls get, but useful for the Guiders to see):

Did you have a Junior Leader or Girl Assistant (or two or three) this year?  How did it go?  How did you incorporate them into the planning?

Brownie Guider Cara

Brownie Guider Cara

By Cara Hicks – Community Guider, Brown Owl and Blogger.

Read Cara’s previous guest blog posts for GirlGuidesCANBlog, including: Online Resources: Guiding in the Cloud and What I Would Tell a New Guider. And don’t forget to visit her personal blog: Brownie Meeting Ideas.

The Guiding year starts up again in approximately a month. What blog post would you write about? Pitch us your idea. Writing a short blog is easy and fun!

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6 Responses to Junior Leaders: How to Make the Best Use of Their Generosity?

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

  2. Sort It says:

    We had 2 Junior Leaders for the past few years, and they were a HUGE help 🙂 They’ve gone off to university this year, but we’re hoping that the sister of one of the girls will step into those shoes. If you work with them, they can be a great asset 🙂

    • Brown Owl Cara says:

      We have been spoiled with the same JL for a couple of years … but we are also looking forward to seeing how our next girl, a former Brownie has grown up. It is fun to see how much they have learned since they left us. Good Luck!

  3. Naomi PuzzlePeace says:

    I was a Junior Leader in Grade 11, 12 and 13 (many years ago as I am 40 now and no longer a Guider…but still read and contribute to the blog.) I worked with a girl who had special needs mainly but when our Brown Owl went for surgery and was recovering I ran the unit with another adult there…the rules were different then about having 2 Guiders. I knew how the unit ran so I got to run it and was honoured to be given that much responsibility. I would encourage you to let your young leaders have a lot of responsibility at times…not all the time as they will learn nothing from that but sometimes let them plan and run a meeting. This will empower them, give them confidence and allow them to grow. Some of the best co-leaders I have had have been first year university students…prepare them for that. Find out what they like to do and use it…they probably know more about some stuff then you do. Also include them in all leaders meetings. How are they to learn to lead if they are not included in all planning time?

    • Naomi, you make a good point (one that we didn’t always get)… give the Junior Leader some responsibility and let them work it out. As a Brownie Guider we’re used to doing the leading and may not have our “mentor” hat on for the older girls. When you accept the offer of the JL’s time, you also accept the responsibility of giving her wings to learn – and fly or flop … both are good lessons.

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