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Brownies joining from another unit - how best to handle?

(17 Posts)
EcoLady Sun 09-Dec-12 22:52:28

Owing to a day clash with another popular activity, a group of girls are expected to move between Brownie packs in our area, joining my pack. I've already had some high-maintenance parents letting me know that "Xxxxx is a Sixer/Seconder. You can't demote them you know." etc.

Anyone got any advice on how we can successfully integrate older girls (all years 4 and 5) into our pack without putting lots and lots of noses out of joint? We'll need to make a new Six, but there won't be enough roles for all the existing Sixers & Seconds to keep their posts.

Plus we'll be way over guideline ratio, so will need a parent volunteer rota but they are notoriously poor at coming forward and very good at finding excuses!

It's a lovely position to be in, but going to make some headaches for a while.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 09-Dec-12 23:02:19

if you haven't got space then they can't join so tell you high maintainance parents that

if they have made a choice that the other activity takes priority then they are lucky you are willing/able to take them and the parents should really recognise that fact

I've got a large waiting list and I regularly get phone calls from parents asking why their child hasn't got a place when so and so has but I can't accomodate everyone and I do go on age at the time a space becomes available and how long they have been on the list

in terms of integration -how active a role do your sixers & seconds have? could the new six be comprised of the new girls and they rotate the jobs so they aren't actually demoted?

will they know some of your existing brownies from school?

I would do a couple of introduction games, good evening friend brownie etc I also do a version of 'I went to the market' but they introduce themselves and then repeat the names of the girls that have had their turn -for older girls I also use middle names to make it extra complicated for brown owl

the other option is not to determin any sixes until they have been there for a few weeks so you can see the dynamics of the group -are there some that are better split up, existing friendships that sort of thing

EcoLady Sun 09-Dec-12 23:14:52

Thanks for all of that. We will indeed need to manage the parents as much as the girls. I wonder whether we could try "Meet the Leaders" as the hook for getting the new parents to volunteer?

The other pack is moving days (long story!) so creating a clash with something else long established. District Comms says we have to take the girls if we can, as it's not their fault that the day is changing.

They do all know each other: same school catchment. I like the idea of doing the middle names for the games. It'll help with the fact that we'll have 5 with the same first name!!!

sausagesandwich34 Sun 09-Dec-12 23:17:51

I've got 11 girls called 2 names at the minute, and one of my YLs has one of the names too -it's a nightmare!

if the district commissioner is so keen for you to take them, perhaps she should be your extra adult grin

ComeIntoTheMistletoeGardenMaud Sun 09-Dec-12 23:41:45

I agree with sausagesandwich. If you've been told to take them if you can, that means they get the next available spaces. They get to queue-jump the waiting list, not push you over the ratio.

If you feel you have no alternative but to take them all now, then maybe you could do what my Brown Owl did decades ago when I was a Brownie and she needed to create some opportunities for more girls to be sixers and seconders. She 'promoted' the oldest sixers to be the 'senior six', which effectively meant pack leader before pack leaders were invented.

You also [voice of bitter experience] need to be very clear with the parents that no parent rota = no expansion of the pack.

OrangeLily Sun 09-Dec-12 23:58:57

Do you have 'senior sixers'?? That help with the running of the night, inspections, etc? This might help to bump the older existing sixers up and create roles.

High maintenance parents are a nightmare in scouting/guiding, I really don't think they know how worried sick they can make us feel. Just remember its OK to say no to them! You can offer them X but can't stretch to Y.

As for the parent rota, for our Beavers we just tell parent when they are helping. They have to sort swaps out themselves. Do you have an active support unit of PVG checked adults in the group? If you don't get a group started, then you'll have a bank of trusted helpers available.

DeWe Mon 10-Dec-12 10:10:23

In all honesty, I think if they move pack due to a clash with an activity (ie that activity comes first) they demote themselves. If they moved house, or, something out of their control (eg contact arrangements with non-resident parent) moved, then I'd do my best to keep their positions.

I think you do risk putting noses out of joint. At dd2's pack they do it by age generally. Dd2 was terribly excited to work out at the end of last summer that, depending on how many went up, she was in with a chance of a seconder. She's would have been most put out if she'd arrived back to find several older ones had moved into the pack and her chance had moved right down.

I'd do it one of three ways.
1. Set them up as a (or two) sixes on their own. The oldest two get to be sixer, seconder. Or you could rotate it. Difficulty is that they may not mix with the others then.
2. Spread them out between the sixes. None of them are sixer or seconder, and you give a letter out explaining that you can't demote your original brownies so they will have to wait their turn and as brownies are always sensible and kind to others you're sure they will understand wink
3. Don't have sixers/seconders alligned to a particular six. Say the oldest (or however you do it) 1/8th a pack are sixers, the second 1/8 are seconders irrelevent of which six they're in. A bit like ranks in the army type thing. SO they are your helpers with responsibilities, but not particularly in charge of a six.

lljkk Mon 10-Dec-12 10:14:16

I like DeWe's ideas.

DD was demoted from Sixer to NOTHING, with no explanation. Probably Brown Owl's way of persuading DD to go to Guides.

Some of your new yr5s may be old enough to go to Guides, too.

JennyWren Mon 10-Dec-12 10:49:44

You can definitely talk to your local Guide unit leaders about letting your eldest girls start Guides a term early, if that will help. And I second the idea of allocating a parent rota rather than asking parents to sign up for an evening.

Beyond that, I would just look at the total number of girls you will have joining, and your current six arrangements. Are your existing sixes full? How many is the most you can have in your unit taking into consideration the size of your hall? (Our Guide unit could take more in theory, but we cap at 30 because there is just no more space - even then we don't have enough chairs in the hall for everyone including leaders, if everyone turns up.) You need to prioritise taking in girls who are already members of Guiding over those who are not, and it would make sense to prioritise Brownies moving across over Rainbows moving up. But you don't have to take them all in at once if you can't accommodate them safely. You are a volunteer - you don't have to do anything! If you feel that you can't take them all in immediately you could choose to admit the oldest ones first (who will have less time before they age out of Brownies - younger girls may have to wait a term or two for a place, but will still be young enough to re-join Brownies when a space is available).

If they are already a Sixer then by all means put them in as a sixer if you have a sixer spot available. If not, I would put them in as Seconders, if you have those spots, or just tell them that they will be first to be selected when a new Sixer is needed. And so on for the Seconders. Tell them in advance what your plan is, and that you hope that they will enjoy their time at Brownies in your unit. Or you could have co-Sixers, without a Seconder, if that makes the politics easier. But you can only do what you can do - it will just make your life more complicated if you try to fudge the issue too much. At the end of the day, you are in charge, so make a decision and feel good about yourself. You are giving up your time to give these girls the opportunity to be Brownies. It isn't compulsory for them to join - if they don't like what is on offer, that is their perogative to take it or leave it. I don't mean for that to sound harsh, but neither can we be held to ransom.

ComeIntoTheMistletoeGardenMaud Mon 10-Dec-12 11:31:54

JennyWren has just encapsulated what I feel. Don't be held to ransom!

JennyWren Mon 10-Dec-12 11:37:14

Thank you, ComeInto smile

I think that sometimes parents forget that we're volunteers!

ComeIntoTheMistletoeGardenMaud Mon 10-Dec-12 11:41:23

Please, call me Maud!

EcoLady Mon 10-Dec-12 13:12:47

Thank you SO much everyone for all of your thoughts :-)

We are very fortunate to have the space (huge church hall) and are pushing some up to Guides early (3 are 10 now and another 3 turn 10 in Jan). That will leave us with 18 across 4 sixes, then all these new ones to add: up to 8 movers and up to 4 rising Rainbows (who have a waiting list and are keen for the spaces). So we could have 30.

I like the idea of sharing out the roles. Might get some of the new Buddy badges for the very-nearly-seconders and make a bigger deal of that role. Senior Sixers sounds like a plan - would help with their move to Guides too. I suppose one view is that if they've been a Sixer/Seconder then they have had that role and we should let another have the chance. I have a lot of summer-born year 5s waiting their turn.

Thanks agaian - we'll see how many come this week for their come-and-try-us night. Got extra adults at the ready!

ComeIntoTheMistletoeGardenMaud Mon 10-Dec-12 13:17:10

Buddy badge? I must go and have a look at that!

Good luck!

EcoLady Mon 10-Dec-12 13:32:50 smile

ComeIntoTheMistletoeGardenMaud Mon 10-Dec-12 13:44:22

Ah yes. Someone had shown me th certificate but I handn't spotted that there was a badge to go with it. I make a big deal of being a buddy because it is a role for Brownies who aren't seconders, so will be getting the goodies next term.

JennyWren Mon 10-Dec-12 14:31:03

Nice to meet you, Maud smile

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