The ideas box

One of our concerns as Senior Section leaders is making sure that the girls have ownership of our programme and what they choose to do, but also to make sure everyone has a say. There were assumptions I made early on about what the girls did and didn’t like and when we did an anonymous online evaluation of our term programmes some of them were correct, and others were not.

We struggle to get the girls to plan their term programme, and I sense that this struggle is normal. We have new challenges now as when we began we had five girls aged 14-16 all from the same high school. Now we have ten girls aged 14-19 and in that group we have 1 in full-time employment, 1 college student, 1 university student and the rest go to three different high schools. So we came up with an idea to try and make this a bit easier – the suggestion/ideas box.



I brought in an old shoe box from our Guides’ cupboard that wasn’t being used, we all brought in old Girlguiding magazines and Jenny brought in some general magazines and the girls set to work on turning our old shoe box into what you see above using decoupage.

As far as I can tell this involved them cutting bits of magazines out and gluing them to the box, then brushing them down with PVA glue to give it that coated/shiny effect.

(Can you tell arts & crafts is really not my thing?!)

Our last meeting and next meeting we are doing trips outside our meeting place, so it won’t be until our final meeting before Christmas that this will start getting utilised. My hope is to have it there at every meeting with some cut out paper so that when they come up with an idea during the various tangents and chattering that goes on they can write it down, put it in the box and when we come to doing term planning they’ve already got some ideas. And I guess us leaders can pop in ideas as well, and when we are doing a term planning night it hopefully will help!

Or it might not work at all.

We’ll have to see!


What’s in our Patrol Boxes?


Guides are a difficult age group, as you basically begin with a girl who is still a child, and by the time they leave they have gone through puberty and almost at the beginnings of adult hood.

In Guides, you are really beginning to encourage them being able to make their own decisions about the programme and organising themselves. But it is far from easy!

There are a few things we have found that have helped with that, and Patrol Boxes is the main one!

In their patrol boxes they now have

– Their Patrol Scrapbook

-A pencil case with some pencils, pens, a pair of scissors and colouring pencils

-A document wallet which contains

-A copy of the Guide Promise and Law

-A Term Plan

-A copy of the Unit Guidelines

-A Go For It/Badge Planning sheet

-A Patrol X-tra folder (these are actually cheaper than the G-File!)

-A spiral bound notebook

All of these things means the Patrols have ownership of their own box, plans and know exactly where to find everything. It also means that when they try to get us to do the work for them (or they forget) we can encourage them to go back to their Patrol Box and find their planning sheet to see what they need to remember for next time. When they ask what dates we are doing somehting we can tell them to look at the term plan. And if they are stuck on how to work together as a Patrol, there are lots of great activties in Patrol X-tra. We’ve also encouraged the patrols to use the G-File to look at what makes a good leader and how to work as a team when picking their Leaders and Seconds.

The notebook is also great so they can write a list or make a note and rip it out of the book to take home with them!

We have found these simple things to really help our patrols function well, although we do still need to sometimes help mediate in arguments about what activities they want to do or make sure they are staying on task when it comes to planning things – otherwise we get a bunch of Guides finding themselves bored and grumpy with nothing to do at their next meeting.

You download our planning sheet by clicking on the link below.  I created this based on one I found on an old Girlguiding website a few years ago, which I haven’t been able to find since.


Hope this helps any Guide leaders out there. 🙂

Planning a term

We have been trying to come up with ways to get the girls to have more input in our programme planning. This term we had not been able to have a planning meeting before the term started, so I confess this was a last minute thing that I put together on the first night of Guides.


I gave each patrol a sheet of paper so each of them could put forward an idea for a trip and an idea for fundraising (as we promised we would do some fundraising for the Girlguiding Archives after they lent us some fantastic stuff for our Girlguiding Museum of sorts while doing the Traditions of Guiding badge last term). I also put some ideas of what they would prefer to do during meetings…

From this we discovered they really wanted to have a patrol run theme night again (see last post for one way this turned out), and some wanted to do Go For Its, others badges. Another thing some of them have expressed an interest in is learning First Aid. So we are now looking into how we can do this as a unit after Easter.

At the moment I am in Germany, so I missed this week’s patrol run theme night, but from pictures I have deduced that the girls had a bit of a Thinking Day theme having seen a photo of one of the girls wrapped in toilet roll to look at the country of Egypt which is the message I received via Whats App from the other leader when I arrived at the university here in Würzburg the morning after Guides night.