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A question for Brownie leaders..

(26 Posts)
scrappydappydoo Tue 28-May-13 18:34:10

DD1 has just started Brownies - loves it completely in her element. Only problem is that her brownie leader says that they don't go away overnight - no sleepovers, pack holidays or camping. DD is disappointed as she was really looking forward to that especially as the beavers/cubs in our area go camping regularly (not to mention that she won't be able to get those badges hmm) DD doesn't want to join scouts as too many boys (she's a girly girl). Is there anyway she could join in a brownie camp/holiday if she doesn't belong to that group?

ReadytoOrderSir Sun 09-Jun-13 18:08:27

It's a pain isn't it Groovee?

After all my rants upthread, I've got a change of job coming now that means that I will have to stop doing Brownies after this term. I announced it to parents ... three of 22 families have expressed thanks/sorry to see me go / etc. Silence from the other 19 families.

No prizes for guessing how many volunteers we've had in response to "We need a new leader" but I'll give you a clue: it's fewer than one. Our remaining leader is ready to throw in the towel.

One pack less sad

Groovee Sun 09-Jun-13 17:28:53

Well I've offered a weekend away to my brownie pack and not one parent replied with yes! It was all "no!" or ignored.

It was one weekend where I didn't need all the qualifications for the camp (am licenced to cater).

The qualifications also can take up a lot of time. My catering licence was done in 1 week end but the paper work took up around a week of my own time. I haven't had a chance to do my first aid or my holiday licence yet.

soontobeslendergirl Thu 30-May-13 09:52:07

At several points during their "career" in Beavers/Cubs/Scouts, there has been a lack of leaders for supervision in my sons' packs. No-one was able or willing to do the role full time, but parents just made up a Rota so that there was a parent helper every week - for an average pack that meant you only had to do it once or twice a year. If your week didn't suit, it was up to you to swap with another parent. It worked really well.

When I was a brownie many years ago we used to join up packs for camps and such like.

I think the leaders do a brilliant "job" and I do appreciate it and always tell them so.

MyLittleDiva Thu 30-May-13 09:41:15

Would she not give cubs ago? My dd goes as do lots of other girls and it is fab.

chickensaladagain Thu 30-May-13 09:32:40

When I do a pack holiday it's a week out of my annual leave so I only do it every other year

Unfortunately the job I do means a lot of weekend activities are out of the question as I work weekend shifts -I do get parents complaining but they still don't volunteer

The guide unit I run currently has 27 members but I'm likely to close it in September as the other leader is going, I've sent 2 letters out since Easter and not had 1 volunteer

badguider Thu 30-May-13 09:26:19

There's a HUGE problem with leaders. In our district for guides, we have two units of 20-30 girls and we have 25 girls on the waiting list!!!

Our unit is currently run by me (6 months pregnant with my first baby) and another guider (7 months pregnant with her first). In September it is going to be just a girl who has just come back after graduating university who is expeirened but only just finishing her qualification now... and she can't do it alone.. but we don't have another regular helper for her yet - four weeks or so to the end of this term....

If our unit folds that will be 30 girls in a unit and 50 on the waiting list in this area!!!

Primrose123 Thu 30-May-13 08:47:22

The problem is though, or it was for me, is that lots of parents said that they were willing to help out occasionally, but no one would commit to every week.

I took part in a Saturday event with other Brownie packs with twelve of our Brownies. The other leader had a family emergency and had to drop out, and not one of the parents of those twelve girls was willing to help for a few hours on a Saturday. I had to ask my teenage DD to help instead.

For a while I took Brownies on my own, with only my DD to help. It was exhausting and I was amazed at how rude and ungrateful some of the girls and parents were. After a while, we found four mums who were willing to help every week and I started enjoying it again.

I don't do Brownies any more, but I used to put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that we did fun and varied activities. I think some parents think Brownie leaders get paid. It's not a job, it's a voluntary thing!

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 07:54:01

Ready that sounds amazing!! I'd love my daughter to go to your group :-) I guess there's no way to know in advance? I'd happily help out occasionally but I'd like her to go to one that does a lot whether its guiding or scouts. She's on the rainbow waiting list though.

ReadytoOrderSir Thu 30-May-13 01:19:48

Thank you sine... and thanks to you too.

SineOfTheTimes Thu 30-May-13 01:08:04

flowers for ReadyToOrder.

Scrappy - do talk to the Leader. She may well want to take the girls away but have obstacles such as a very full-time job, lack of childcare, or it may be that the leadership team is less experienced - I'm sure you will approach it sensitively!

There are sometimes opportunities to go away with other local groups, or to a PGL centre.

The training and qualification for Girlguiding residentials are about to change so it may be that once the new scheme is up and running, more Leaders go for it?

If you're able to volunteer and train as a Leader and then get your residential quals you'll be able to take girls away! It is fantastic fun but v hard work! If you are interested in this, you can register your interest at

Alternatively, you could perhaps offer to fundraise (PGL holidays are great, but generally more expensive) or to do the catering for a weekend, if lack of volunteers is a problem?

As Ready says, activity levels depend on the unit - our Guides have been offered four camps this year, ranging for an overnight to a full-scale international event, as well as assorted other events - and there may be a sleepover or Christmas holiday as well.

ReadytoOrderSir Thu 30-May-13 00:36:07

Twasbrillig It's all down to the leaders. Some people are outdoorsy/adventurous/craft-focussed/sporty/etc/etc and their units will reflect that.

My Brownies have been on a pack hol that involved canoeing, raft building, climbing, abseiling, zipwire and low ropes blindfolded. Another pack hol was international food and craft-centered.

We have a girly spa night in winter term and build fires in summer term. We go ice skating, swimming, learn sign language and origami. We've been to an observatory and had our own fire engine for an evening.

Meanwhile, my son's Cubs seem to play dodgeball most of the time.

It's all down to the leaders and that's why the good ones need nurturing and supporting.

AnnaBegins Wed 29-May-13 20:18:49

Well said Ready - we help with Cubs and Scouts and it is exactly as you say - you never get any sleep on camp, there is so much paperwork and prep beforehand, there's always one who doesn't get picked up, and the parents always say "why is it so expensive to camp?" oh well let me think, hiring the trailer for the camp gear, petrol for 4 cars to get them there as no one has a minibus licence, food, food and more food for hungry and fussy kids (as an aside, how many kids don't even eat potato?!), activities so the little darlings aren't bored... But we do it anyway and love it. And take a week's holiday from work for the privilege. And then need a holiday to recover!

TwasBrillig Wed 29-May-13 19:57:29

I was wondering similar. I was on brownsea recently and met a girl beaver and we chatted and it seems the beavers 'do more ' than rainbows and similarly for the cubs and brownies. Is that the case?

I'd love my daughter to do lots of outdoor activities and camp etc. . .

ReadytoOrderSir Wed 29-May-13 19:53:04

Ragwort Oh wish I could! I'm a teacher ... I am bl**dy useless for days after pack holiday. Take my marking with me but never get enough prep done!

Scrappy Can you leave your job early on a Friday, possibly take the day off, to get to the venue before the Brownies? Or will you be rushing to get there just in time having hoped that your only other Owl has prepped it all for you?
Have you got care for your own DCs/pets/dependents ? Will they still get to their events (swimming lessons, etc). Will you be responsible for 22 other people's PFBs?
No sleep until they are all asleep (midnight, 1am, Tabitha's lost her teddy) Up at 5am because Jemima woke up the rest of her room.
Oh, and the willing parent helpers are disappointed to not have their own room.
Work non-fxxxing stop until Sunday afternoon keeping them fed, entertained and safe...
then deal with the one not collected at the end because parents thought she was going home with another family (and they aren't answering their mobiles and just shout at you when you take her home yourself...).
Then be fxxxing knackered at work on Monday because your job means you can't take a day's leave at all.

And three out of 22 families will say Thank You.

I am very close to quitting Guiding. I cannot do this any more. Why can't I quit? Because if I do then the pack will fold. Other Owl feels the same. Couple of parents will step in in an emergency but they are as busy and stressed as we are (funnily enough they are the ones who thanks us). All the rest ... just rely on someone else to do it and complain if we are a bit slow to order the badges.

Yes, that was a rant ... but please PLEASE help out at your Guiding and Scouting units.
Say thank you.
Don't presume we'll always be there. We might be at breaking point and it'll be your DCs that miss out.
Just one night a term.
Offer to lead a badge.
Do the accounts.
Help for one afternoon on hol/camp

Ragwort Wed 29-May-13 19:26:08

Exotic - Although I now work p/t from home when I was in full time employment I used to take a day's holiday from work after camp to 'recover' grin - I must have been mad !!

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 19:22:56

I was a Brown Owl years ago, before a family, but I wouldn't have done a camp-it was too much with a full time job.

exoticfruits Wed 29-May-13 19:17:09

Become a leader and do the camp training. I would expect that the leaders have families and time is too precious to give it up for a weekend.

Ragwort Wed 29-May-13 19:16:32

I am a Scout & Cub Leader (so hope I can join in the conversation grin) but agree with Ready, there is so much for Leaders to do and the assumption is that we up for all this organising of events in addition to the weekly meetings. Leaders also have to undertake very stringent training (ie: camping weekends away themselves) before being allowed to take the children camping. I am currently organising two camps, with very, very limited help, every parent seems to have a 'valid' hmm reason for not offering to help. The most common one being 'my child would prefer to camp without me' - well, guess what, so would my child but he has had to put up with me as his Leader through every section grin.

Sorry if I sound bitter but I genuinely think that 90% of the parents have no idea of the amount of time/effort/energy etc involved in being a Leader in Guiding or Scouting. More Leaders are desperately required so that more children can enjoy the benefits of Guiding & Scouting.

ReadytoOrderSir Wed 29-May-13 19:09:43

Maybe your Owls have other commitments at weekends? There is a huge presumption that we're always going to be available and it does cause upset if we're not.

<Speaks from experience of having to change my own plans because the District organised a trip at a weekend without checking that leaders from every unit were available first...>

badguider Tue 28-May-13 20:03:33

We're sending our guides with the other guide unit to camp as I am currently 6mo pregnant and the other guider in my unit is 7mo pregnant!! grin

badguider Tue 28-May-13 20:02:29

Speak to your district commissioner and say that your dd is dissapointed. In my district, packs join up for pack holiday if there are any packs without suitably qualified leaders (or enough leaders).

scrappydappydoo Tue 28-May-13 19:59:28

Thanks for the replies - I'm up for helping occasionally and have said as such to the Brownie leader. I'll have a chat with her about maybe trying to do a joint thing with another pack.

DeWe Tue 28-May-13 19:54:56

They need specific qualifications to take a pack away, which I think includes getting experience with another pack, so if they don't do it, they probably can't.

Going with another pack is possible, but I would expect any pack to give priority to their own pack, so basically you need a pack with space to do this.
The pack my girls have been with had a couple of years where they weren't getting the numbers, and they did join with a second pack whose leaders were working towards the qualification on the second year.
But naturally after two low years they asked the parents whether they were interested in having pack holidays (they were) and what timing would be better. Since then they now have a waiting list (does by age, so all get their turn, but very few, if any, get to go on their first year, but they've all got to go (if wanted) after their first year).

BurnThisDiscoDown Tue 28-May-13 19:00:26

It could be due to lack of leaders, as Primrose said, or that they haven't got the qualification to take the girls away. If there's another unit nearby, ime sometimes they'll link up for pack holidays. Not sure about going with another unit by themselves, it's worth asking the Guiders if there's another unit they're close with (we used to have joint events as in a village).

Primrose123 Tue 28-May-13 18:37:39

It's probably due to the lack of volunteers. I speak from experience as I used to be a brownie leader. Would you be willing to volunteer every week? If you could, and could get a few other volunteers, perhaps they will consider overnight trips.

I have no idea if she could go camping with another group. It's worth asking though.

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