Starting a Senior Section unit

I’ve noticed a lot of leaders asking on facebook about starting a new Senior Section unit. Our struggles came from the fact that many don’t realise Senior Section exists and like Trefoil Guild seems to often get ‘forgotten’.

So when it came to starting our unit, which began when five Guides approached me with the asking “We’re feeling too old for Guides, we don’t want to leave, but what can we do instead?” we began with no start-up fund, no idea about the programme a leader who had been away from Girlguiding for a almost a decade (and still had no access to Go! due to an admin/communication breakdown) and a leader who hadn’t been part of Girlguiding since she was a Brownie.

Yes. We were CLUELESS.

However, we were all clueless together. We were brand new, and being the only Senior Section unit in the whole Division there was no precedent. I had thankfully been a Ranger and Young Leader myself at the turn of the Millennium, so I was at least able to tell them a bit about the sorts of things I’d done to give them an idea of what was possible.

Our first meeting, Jenny (my co-leader) brought tons of nail varnishes, I brought popcorn and after introducing ourselves and explaining which Guide units everyone came from, and whether or not they were Young Leaders we just asked the question “What do you want to do?” They really wanted to know what others had done. Once they had a few suggestions put to them, the ideas flowed back from them to us. We would say “Ok, let’s see how we can make that happen!

We split up the meetings by doing a ‘fun’ activity one week, and something from the Senior Section CD ROM the next week which is what led to a great long debate about the Guide Promise.

Here was our first ever Term Programme (it’s not perfect, but it might help to get people started and give other members ideas of what they might like to do).

September 12th – Nail Painting and Getting to know each other

September 26th – The Hunger Games

October 10th – The Hunger Games/Looking at Senior Section Promise

October 31st –  Hallowe’en Party

November 11th  (Sunday) – Remembrance Sunday services

November 14th – Creating Promise Tree

November 21st – Trip to see The Gang Show (with local Guide units)

November 28th – Planning for the spring term and activities from Senior Section CD ROM

December 12th – Trip to Christmas Market, making Senior Section Promise on Christmas Ferris Wheel.

The Promise Tree. The discussion that came along with doing this was what made us think Girlguiding UK had been bugging our meetings. We were so happy to hear about the Promise Consultation and all of us took part in January.

As each term came, the girls grew more confident in sharing ideas of things we could do. We also began to understand the Look Wider programme better, and I gave them each a Record folder to record their progress in each of the Octants. This would also inform their term planning, because they could see which Octants they needed to do activities for. We could then encourage them to come up with an activity to try at meetings together under the different Octants.

Over the next two terms this included:

-Taking part in the Girlguiding Promise consultation (Personal Values)

-painting glass jars to be filled with treats and sold for a fundraiser (Creativity/Community Action)

-making collages about women that inspire them for International Women’s Day (Personal Values)

-Pizza and Pyjama Party (we made our own pizzas to count towards Independent Living)

-trip to learn Rock Climbing & Abseiling (Out of Doors)

– visit from our local Young Leader advisor (Leadership/YLQ)

-Smoothie night (Fit for Life/Independent Living)

-Pilates (Fit for Life)

and we have kept a scrapbook of everything we’ve done, which can count towards Phase 2 Creativity.

The girls decided at the beginning of this year that they wanted to start a blog, in the hope that it might help other Senior Section members around the world to get idea of what you can do and share ideas. At the moment they’ve only got as far as setting up their blog. The content is still to come!

Anyway, I hope this helps some new Senior Section units out there. I also recommend this activity which I’m keeping a record of for the future when we have new members to our group which gives an introduction to the Look Wider octant programme. (Thank you K-ville!)

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3 thoughts on “Starting a Senior Section unit

  1. I’ve just got home from a Ranger Guide meeting (ages 14-17 in Australia) where there are only 2 girls that turn up regularly. They invited me along to talk to them about marketing and I was so excited to see them throwing ideas around for ways they could get new girls involved. This age group are often forgotten, but often need the girl-only space the most.

    • I totally agree. One of my Ranger groups only has 3 members. I’m trying to teach them how to run themselves as I don’t think I can keep running both groups but they really seem to want to keep going.

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