AIBU to put an end to the local giude unit?

(68 Posts)
badguider Tue 27-Nov-12 21:07:45

I agreed about three or four years ago to help out at the local guide unit. There were four others already on the team but one wanted to retire after many years' volunteering.

Since then, the next most experienced left pretty swiftly (maybe one year after the first), then another one left for understandable work-related reasons. Now another is leaving in January because her work has moved offices so she feels she can't make the journey and there's just me left from that original team. The only other person to join is in the services and wont' be staying in the area long.

The thing is... i really don't enjoy leading the unit meetings, I always did all the paperwork but i prefer to take a supporting role in the main meetings and don't enjoy keeping control of girls or keeping the activities on-track and to be honest they sort of run amok with me as I am too soft on them. I really wanted to leave before my co-volunteer did but I didn't want to land her in it. Now she's going i'm the one landed in it angry.

I dont' want to be responsible for this whole unit... but there are 25girls in it and a waiting list of about 10 and it's been going for decades and i really don't want to be the one that ends it all sad

Oh god... what am i going to do???? i didn't sleep a wink last night after the unit meeting as i'm aware the unit needs a lot of work to get it back on track and i'm a pretty shit guider anyway sad

WIBU to pack it in???

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 27-Nov-12 21:11:43

If you packed it in without even trying to find more volunteers, it would be a shame. Not unreasonable, just a shame.

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious and you have already realised that no one else will ever offer to help, but do all the other parents know that you are in this situation? Could you put out a little local appeal for help? Are there any other nearby Guide units that know of anyone that might help?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 27-Nov-12 21:12:30

Should have said, YANBU if you pack it in.

WorraLiberty Tue 27-Nov-12 21:12:59

Try recruiting before you pack it in.

specialsubject Tue 27-Nov-12 21:13:26

no - someone has to be last. You are a VOLUNTEER. That means they say 'thank you'.

give them as much warning as you can, but set a definite date. And yes, spread the word. It is somebody else's turn.

Euphemia Tue 27-Nov-12 21:13:56

Where are you? I'll volunteer. smile

stormforce10 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:14:35

1. Write a letter to ALL the parents explaining the situation and asking them if they or anyone can help

2. Contact whoever is reponsible for girl guides locally and tell them you really need help. Do you have an area or county office? They will not want such an active unit to fold unless there is no option.

If no one is prepared to help after all that then you will have to decide and to be honest I think its too much for one person to do alone so you would not be unreasonable

badguider Tue 27-Nov-12 21:15:12

No, I haven't told the parents that I want to leave, as that would be somewhat burning my bridges I feel - I will only do that if I decide I really do have to leave.

We ask all the parents when their dd's join if they could help us out and almost all say 'once in a blue moon in special circumstances'...

I don't have children at school so i don't know any parents of children older than a few months and i don't go to church.. i just don't know where to find people to ask...

I'm just going to have to hang on in there amn't I?

girlbehind Tue 27-Nov-12 21:17:46

I would start by seeing whether there's someone higher up who can help - not sure of your structures, but guess there's some District people like in Scouting. They might know of someone in an Assistant role who's ready to step up. or perhaps come in as your assistant on the understanding that she does session plans and activities.

I don't think it's unreasonable to give it in if that's your definite decision, but a couple of phone calls might lead to an alternative.

badguider Tue 27-Nov-12 21:17:49

Euphemia - damn it! you're not in the right city! I don't want to say where it is as there's quite a lot of info in that post and too many potential parents who might be mumsnetters...

It was fine to be one of three or four... but one of two when the other will be posted elsewhere any week/month... too hard...

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Nov-12 21:18:39

Just call your district commissioner and let her know that you will be finishing at Easter/ in the summer.

Send an email to all of your guide parents asking for volunteers to step up and learn the ropes before you go.

Ask the brownie guiders to send the same email to the older girls' mums who are moving up next year.

It's not a one man band. No one has to take sole responsibility for everything. If your time is up, let them know and move on. Most people take a proactive role in at least trying to find replacements, but it isn't compulsory.

If you have 25 girls, start a parent helper roster and explain you need at least two parent helpers every week.

Contact the local ranger unit (or whatever they are called now) and ask for young leader volunteers to tide you over (and hopefully some of them will be old enough to take on adult leadership roles next year - I know we resurrected an almost dead brownie unit this way)

Etc etc.

Whatever you do, don't do it because you feel blogged. It will be crap, and you and the girls will all be miserable. Time to hand over the reins.

Come in number 7, your time is up etc etc.

Of course, there is always the possibility that once you get some more help on board, you will feel revived and full to the brim with programming ideas... wink

Euphemia Tue 27-Nov-12 21:18:48

Are there any local units yours could merge with?

The women I used to guide with closed a Brownie unit in a very affluent town full of SAHMs who were happy to send their daughters to Brownies but would never volunteer to help run the unit. She got pissed off stretching herself six different ways, wrote to them telling them the unit would have to close, got no responses, and so closed it. sad

She was gutted, but sometimes no choice is the only choice.

badguider Tue 27-Nov-12 21:18:55

yes, there are district people and i'm going to contact them... but realistically if they find a brand new volunteer i'm going to have to stick around for at least a year before i then drop them in it and the cycle continues blush

FromEsme Tue 27-Nov-12 21:19:06

Who is in charge of guiding in your area? My mum was a guide leader for a while and always found the head of our area really supportive.

Could you post your area on here? There must be mums who would like to help out. I know I would.

marquesas Tue 27-Nov-12 21:19:42

Is there a regional team above you ? If you approach them and explain the situation they will sort out a new person won't they, the Guides is a huge organisation, you shouldn't be on your own in this one. Or is it not the actual Girl Guides?

WorraLiberty Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:21

See if you local council can help

Even if you post on their Facebook/Twitter page?

frasersmummy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:28

I have been a guider for many more years than I care to remember and have some suggestions

Arrange a parents night and explain the issue to them .. see if someone is willing to step in and run the acitiviites while you do all the admin etc for them

speak to your district/division commissioner. We have a unit in our area which is being run by someone very new who doesnt want the responsibilty so a bunch of us more exerienced guiders go help her on a rota basis

I think if you reach out via these 2 avenues and explain it the way you have here someone will come along and help you out... expecially as there are a lot of girls (you must be doing some thing right to have this many girls in a guide unit )
If you dont get the support you need from either of these routes then you can walk away knowing that you tried

I know if you walk away without trying you will feel bad for letting the girls down

good luck

WhistlingNun Tue 27-Nov-12 21:21:21

I am in the (almost) exact same situation!

I got roped in to volunteer at a Brownie Unit last year. It was my friend running it (who had also been burdened with it after the experienced leaders fecked off) and she said that if she couldn't find volunteers soon, the unit would close. So i offered to help.

Since then, my friend has went off to uni and I've been persuaded to stay on as a helper. They've got another experienced leader in, plus 2 young leaders, and now they've roped me in to training to become a warranted leader!

The thing that get's my goat is that i have to take dd with me to the meets, she gets fed up, and I also have to fork out for petrol money (£20 a month) to get there as the unit is miles away from me!

I really need to learn to say no.

Op, explain to your local commissioner that you don't feel able to stay on any longer (make up an excuse if you have to), and would appreciate their help in finding other volunteers. Make sure the parents of the guides know the situation too so they can ask around.

WorraLiberty Tue 27-Nov-12 21:21:52

yes, there are district people and i'm going to contact them... but realistically if they find a brand new volunteer i'm going to have to stick around for at least a year before i then drop them in it and the cycle continues

No, tell them you want out after X amount of months and stick to it.

Remember, graveyards are bursting with 'indispensable' people.

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Nov-12 21:21:54

Nah. We were a group of four rangers who took over brownies on an interim basis. No experienced guiders at all.

I've run three groups with no experienced guiders. (In fact, I've never been in a unit where anyone has had a clue - including me) a year is ridiculous.

badguider Tue 27-Nov-12 21:22:39

i've got two good young leaders who are great but are teenagers, and i could try a parent rota but it's more the stress of being 'in charge' that's getting to me.. parents who help once each per term are not going to help releive the stress... but maybe one of them would enjoy it and step up, eventually, i just worry i've left it so late they will sense the end of my tether... i should have started this process when i was still full of beans and before i lost a bit of a girp on stuff (some records are a bit out of date, some girls overdue badges, new ones cant' be bothered to do their promise and i can't be bothered talking them into it)...

NatashaBee Tue 27-Nov-12 21:23:48

I agree, get in touch with the county guide office and ask for help. If nothing else, they might be able to help you get all the girls placed in different groups elsewhere. Are there any girls who have recently left who might come back and help? If you announce you're leaving and the unit will be shutting, it might trigger some of the other parents to actually help a bit more.

LaCiccolina Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:21

Good grief love u have been given great ideas and suggestions and all I'm hearing is poor me ill have to keep hanging around for a bit. Get a grip. Follow the ideas, set dates, make everyone aware and do it.

Otherwise ur starting to come off as a martyr or worse, just wimpy.

Your a guide. Act like one.

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Nov-12 21:25:40

Last year I was asked to take over brownies, and the only other leader left at Christmas. (It was always planned that way lol, I had 20 girls. We survived.)

No way do you have to stay a year after they find another victim. I mean guider. grin

Put an ad in the local paper. Get the local commissioner to pay for it. Go to your local volunteer centre and ask them if they have anyone who might be interested - put an opportunity on their online system. Sign up for a volunteer speed dating night wink

Groovee Tue 27-Nov-12 21:26:02

You need to speak to your DC and DIV COM about this. They would be your first port of call.

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