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To expect dd's Brownie leaders to take contact numbers on a trip to a theme park?

(137 Posts)
aleC4 Sat 08-Nov-14 20:06:14

Dd went on a trip today with her Brownies to Drayton Manor. It was a big Guiding thing with 10,000 Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.
Obviously the weather was awful and she got absolutely soaked, she got through two pairs of trousers both of which feel like she has laid in a puddle. I know they can't do anything about the rain and I wouldn't dream of complaining to them about the weather.
However - I was a little concerned when I left her that there only appeared to be young girls in charge and no Brown Owl. However they are official Brownie leaders and there seemed enough of them. Apparently Brown Owl was ill and when they got there no-one had the tickets. They had to wait in the pouring rain while another leader from another pack had to come back from the park to get them in.
She has been on 3 rides all day which seemed strange to me as we have been on really, really busy days and always got plenty done. She said 3 of the leaders don't like the other one (in my opinion she shouldn't even know this!) and the one they don't like kept going off with children. Because of this they had to walk round for ages looking for this other leader because she wouldn't answer her phone.
They had to eat their packed lunch outside which although maybe not their fault seems ridiculous.
Sorry I am going on, now for the bit I am really cross about. They arrived back early, I'm not sure how early because I only have the word of a 7 year old, but in her words it was 'ages'. None of the other Guides, Brownies or Rainbows were there, they had already been picked up and I was 10 minutes early. It was raining and the girls looked freezing.
I walked up to the group and gave dd a cuddle (she was soaked!) and started walking away with her. I realised that none of the leders had even noticed she had gone as they were chatting to each other. I went back and told them I was taking her.
I asked dd if they were early as we were driving away. She said yes we got back really early and we had to wait. I asked where everyone else was and she said their leaders had rung their parents to come early. I asked her why we hadn't been rung and she said the leaders had not got any of their contact numbers!!!
I couldn't believe it. We had to provide all the details with the permission slip. They had been to a theme park over an hour away, all day, in the pouring rain with no-one but teenagers in charge and they had taken no-one's contact numbers. Please tell me we are NBU to be spitting feathers. Dh is absolutely fuming an ready to go in all guns blazing next week when she goes to Brownies. Obviously we will have to check the details but this is not right is it?

HappyAgainOneDay Sat 08-Nov-14 20:10:59

Doesn't your daughter know your contact numbers?

Aeroflotgirl Sat 08-Nov-14 20:13:03

Sounds quite a shambles, its a surprise girls didnent get lost. Yes of course they should have taken children's contact numbers with them, its a matter of course.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 08-Nov-14 20:14:09

No you cannot rely on children telling you their number, those have got to be taken with, what if they have an accident or unwell.

Topseyt Sat 08-Nov-14 20:16:16

It is pretty poor really, though you need to ensure your facts are as straight as possible before going in "all guns blazing" when she next goes to brownies.

Explain calmly that you noticed the others had all been picked up earlier and you just wondered why you received no phone call advising of the change of return time. Add that your daughter seemed to have been standing in the rain for some time because she was soaked through, which could have been partially avoided if you had had a call.

Groovee Sat 08-Nov-14 20:19:42

They should have had the consent forms which they need to take with them with the emergency contacts and all this information should have been collated and given to the home contact who would have been sent a text or had a phone call to say they would arrive early and then should have contacted each parent!

I take the consent forms and a copy of the collated info on a spreadsheet. I think you need to speak to the Leader in Charge and if you aren't happy you need to speak to the District commissioner about their "outings" procedures as it sounds like they are not following them.

MissMillament Sat 08-Nov-14 20:20:13

I used to be a Brownie leader and have organised many trips and residentials. Never would I have gone without a list of contact numbers - normally two for each Brownie - and I am amazed that this didn't happen. If Brown Owl was ill she should have passed all this information on to the other leaders. Similarly, I was always really careful to check each Brownie off the list as they were collected - this can be difficult sometimes but I made sure Brownies and parents knew they must check in with me before leaving. So you are totally NBU in that respect. With regards to the weather and having to wait around - well this happens and it was your responsibility to ensure your DD had appropriate clothing - I don't see what the Brownie leaders could do about the rain. But you are not being U to complain about the lack of contact numbers certainly.

LIZS Sat 08-Nov-14 20:21:04

Do you know any of the other parents to verify the story. Some of the detail could be a 7yo filling in the gaps and may not be accurate. ime they always do less as a group than you would as a family.

HedgehogsDontBite Sat 08-Nov-14 20:22:35

This is why I gave up being a brownie leader. Brown Owl, a volunteer, is sick and is the one who most likely had all the contact details. A mistake was made, possibly because she was sick, and they weren't handed over. The other volunteers have still given up their time to take your child somewhere for the day and done their best and your DH wants to go in 'all guns blazing'. Perhaps one of you could volunteer some of your time to take them and supervise them next time.

wheresthelight Sat 08-Nov-14 20:24:21

as a brown owl I am disgusted if this is true!!!! the girls should not go anywhere without all the leader having a copy of the emergency contact numbers.

I would speak to the brown owl directly and if the response is not appropriate then request the details for the district commissioner and report your concerns to her

museumum Sat 08-Nov-14 20:24:44

Who were these other leaders and why didn't you know them?
When I was a guider in charge (like brown owl but for guides) i would expect my parents to recognise my assistant leaders and young leaders too.

Coolas Sat 08-Nov-14 20:27:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coolas Sat 08-Nov-14 20:30:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waitingonasunnyday Sat 08-Nov-14 20:31:49

It should have been better organised re. Contact numbers.

FWIW my DD went on the mega day today, v well organised by her group, but they still only managed 3 rides as the queues were really long apparently. They all wore wristbands with brown owls name and mobile on.

aleC4 Sat 08-Nov-14 20:37:26

You can rest assured dh will not be going in 'all guns blazing', he is just really cross. He will be doing exactly what one poster suggested and enquiring as to why we weren't contacted to pick dd up early. That will be his way of trying to find out whether they had the numbers or not.
I did recognise the young leaders but I don't do the drop off or pick ups very often as dh does one and my fil does the other. I didn't say I didn't them, I just thought they were very young to be given such a responsibility.
To the poster suggesting my dd should know my mobile number - she is 7? SHe knows her name, date of birth and address but I would not expect her to remember a long phone number!
I am glad many think I am NBU. I knew I would get jumped on by the people saying they are volunteers etc etc. Just because they are volunteers does not mean it is ok to put young children potentially at risk.
What if one of them had had an accident? How on earth would they have contacted us?
I am an infant teacher and I know what procedures we have to go through in order to take children out anywhere. If you are in loco parentis you have to have the safety of those children as your upmost priority.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 08-Nov-14 20:38:59

I agree no guns blazing, please be polite, ask to speak to Brown Owl when you go in next. Yes contact numbers always, leaders should be extra vigilant on who is being collected, those being collected chef off with the leader first before leaving.

aleC4 Sat 08-Nov-14 20:40:52

I did also say I wouldn't dream of complaining about the weather! I'm sure they were just as miserable about being wet as the children!
Dd had as much appropriate clothing as possible - a long-sleeved top under her Brownie tshirt, Brownie jacket, Brownie trousers, a waterproof war coat, hat, scarf and wellies. She had a complete change of clothes in her bag which she changed into at lunchtime.
I will reiterate, I do not hold the leaders responsible for the weather!

Coolas Sat 08-Nov-14 20:42:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aleC4 Sat 08-Nov-14 20:49:46

I don't know why I am asking really as I certainly don't think we are being unreasonable. I just wondered (although expected not) that maybe the rules were different for these type of clubs. As a teacher safeguarding is such a buzz word and we have it rammed at us in all areas of our work so much it just came to me as a shock that things appeared to have been so sloppy.
You can rest assured that dh will be polite, he always is, but he was just so cross that this had happened. I think it was just the sight of dd sopping wet and miserable that made him so cross - he let his emotions get the better of him. He is a teacher too so also has a heightened awareness of safeguarding. I just wanted to see if we were looking at it too much through teacher's eyes.

EdwiniasRevenge Sat 08-Nov-14 20:58:06

As a Brownie leader:
the leader responsible for the day should have had all contact numbers in some format. Not critical to take consent forms however very good practice as - in an emergency one girls form can be given to - eg paramedics if necessary whilst leader retains all other girls.

mobile phone signal on the park was shocking - it was hard work and perseverance to contact other members of my team.

On any day out there will also be a designated "home contact" who's job it is to sit at home and act as a contact point for parents if contact cannot be made directly with the leaders attending for whatever reason. This also works in both directions and if I was crazy enough to "forget" my groups contact info I would have used this to filter info if we were going to be more than 15mins early or late.
weather was utterly shocking. Even my "dry" clothes in my bag are soaked through without being worn. Park was the busiest I have ever seen it - I guess 10, 000 is the maximum capacity and queues for rides, loos, food, places to sit were hideous, especially at lunchtime. Some of our girls only went on 2 rides. Those that went on more hung around thomas land. I think the most they went on was about 8.

So I would ask your local district comissioner to clarify rules on emergency contact info and express your concerns on that issue; but as you are already aware some of the other issues were beyond anyones control and others were difficult but not impossible to control.

18yearstooold Sat 08-Nov-14 21:00:17

It depends on how early back we are when making the decision about ringing to notify a change of time

I generally tell parents if it's half an hour either side of the expected time then we won't contact as by the time we've contacted the home contact and then they've contacted 30+ people its a bit pointless

They should have contact details with them and certainly the home contact will have them

The 'teenagers' will all have been 18+ and will most likely have been brought up in guiding so have plenty of experience of trips

Everyone got soaked today and no one went on many rides as getting 30 kids on a ride as opposed to a family of 4 is a bit more tricky, making sure adults are on and off at the same time, getting to exits etc

EustaciaBenson Sat 08-Nov-14 21:12:06

Well I was there today. Eating outside unfortunately seems about right as does only going on three rides. All the cafes were packed out all day, there was barely any chance to sit down and we ended up eating standing up huddling under a shelter. You may go on more than three rides as a family but we were queuing over an hour for some rides especially the ones aimed at stalker children and trying to get a group of children to all agree on where they want to go next without any arguments, sulks or toilet stops takes time especially when the weather is as bad as it is! The mobile reception was awful and Drayton manor didnt seem to be set up to cope with the numbers.

I'm not sure how the Brownie leaders could be young girls? Either they were Young Leaders, teenages, and so unlikely to be the only ones in charge, or they were adults!

By all means go in all guns blazing if you wish, to complain about a group of women who spent all day in the freezing rain looking after your children who do it for free! Or maybe you could politely enquire as to what happened and then volunteer to either go on a trip next time or be the home contact.

honeysucklejasmine Sat 08-Nov-14 21:14:18

We do not routinely take consent forms with us, but do use the hone contact method, where one person holds all the information and is contact for everybody on the day.

I would agree that it seemed a bit of shambles, but would echo that volunteers, especially young ones, are very entitled to jack it in there any then if they feel hard done by. Adult leaders are a huge shortage area in Guiding. Of course your complaint will be taken seriously but you are likely going to be asked if perhaps you would be able to help to ensure no "staffing" problems in future.

Guiding is hard work, but very rewarding.

EustaciaBenson Sat 08-Nov-14 21:18:41

Id also like to point out that the adult volunteers paid to go to drayton manor today as well as the children, it wasnt even like they had a free day out. They paid to look after your child in the pouring rain!

Viviennemary Sat 08-Nov-14 21:20:39

It sounds a shambles. But really the whole thing is run by volunteers. I'm not saying don't be a bit irritated that the whole thing wasn't better organised. Seems to have gone pear shaped because Brown Owl was ill.

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