When people find out I run a Guide unit on Friday nights, I often hear similar comments. “On a Friday? Really? Are you not tired at the end of the week”?
Truth is, there are many advantages to running a unit on a Friday. Some, you might not expect.
Last year, simple math told me we had too many advancing Brownies for the already overfilled area Guide units. They had mostly first and second year Guides, meaning no room would free up. Next years’ registration was about to become like Black Friday in an electronics department!
After discussing the problem with a friend, we approached the ACL and were approved to open a new Guide unit. But the biggest challenge was to find a meeting space! After much searching, the only option was a Friday night. Our initial reactions were mixed, but now, we’re completely on board with Friday night Guiding!
Friday night meetings have proven to be a fantastic option for the girls. Usually they arrive on time and relaxed. The school week is done – it’s time to celebrate! Our meeting becomes a reward for another successfully completed week. They don’t have to rush to do their homework before coming, and they don’t have be up early for school the next morning.
The parents have advantages to a Friday meeting as well. Not having to worry about pushing your child to do their homework in time for Guides, means less stress all around. If parents had a tiring week, they get a chance to rest while their daughter is at Guides. We have two sisters in our unit and a few “only-children,” so their parents enjoy Friday date nights or meeting friends for coffee! How’s that for an end of the week reward?! After the meeting, parents don’t feel rushed to get children home and to bed as quickly, with no school the next morning.
It’s not just the girls and their families who profit from the Friday meetings. As Guiders, we plan a schedule in September, but save smaller details until the week of each meeting. It’s nice having the week to finalize plans. If we’re tired after a busy week, we look at it as other successful work week done and another Friday night to celebrate with girls who are keen to learn and to be encouraged by us. Now that’s invigorating!
Since I’m a parent as well as a Guider, the solving of the homework and bedtime issues have made things easier for me, as well as my child. Instead of gathering my Guiding stuff while negotiating homework, I can instead focus on what I need for my meeting and ask my daughter to help, or to prepare herself with the things she needs for Guides.
On top of these benefits to our regular meetings, we’ve also enjoyed being able to extend our gatherings into sleepovers or camps! This way, the girls are free to attend because it’s already part of their regular schedule. Special nights for events often coincide with our Friday nights, making planning a breeze! The occasional party or ceremony also seems to fit well with a Friday night.
Although having a Girl Guide meeting on a Friday night is uncommon, I’ve slowly discovered the many benefits to this unusual option. I’m looking forward to the years ahead as we discover other advantages to our Friday Night Guides!
By guest blogger Lana Paine. Lana teaches part-time at Algonquin College and owns a business with her husband. She was in Guiding for nine years as a girl and has now been a Guider for five years. She currently runs the NEW 4th Kanata North Guides with her excellent co-Guiders and has been recently appointed as Community Guider for Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa.