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GUIDERS - over here please

24 replies

phantomnamechanger · 22/04/2013 19:30

WWYD - have been assigned a new "volunteer" to my unit - only she repeatedly has not turned up when she's supposed to. Sounds all very keen and willing. Then does not turn up. Does not get in touch to explain absence either before or after the event.

Apparently this is very common, says my commissioner! Well I think it's just rude!! If you are going to volunteer you need to be reliable and if something genuinely prevents you attending you need to let the leader know, right? Perfectly reasonable? Grrrr!

How many chances before I say enough's enough? BTW we are under staffed and this extra adult is vital - or I have to ask parents to stay and help at the last minute which makes ME look disorganised!

OP posts:

DeskPlanner · 22/04/2013 19:32

It's very rude. Do you have any idea why she isn't showing up ?


MaureenMLove · 22/04/2013 19:35

Have you got her phone number? If so, phone her and tell her how it is. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to do that.

Drives me nuts when my Young Leaders don't bother texting me. I use them for games at the begining and if they don't arrive, I have to change things.


phantomnamechanger · 22/04/2013 19:39

Desk - A couple of plausible "good excuses" eg car breaking down, not well, DH not back in time with the car - but it's the not warning/texting that annoys me then!

Some people obviously have no idea of being accountable - though presumably she does not do the same re: work! Is volunteering not seen as "important"?

I am not happy with the commisioners view that it's "par for the course" - it's downright rude and hardly a great role model to the girls!

OP posts:

phantomnamechanger · 22/04/2013 19:43

Maureen - I have 2 young leaders, they were a bit lax about not letting me know till 5 mins before we were due to start that they were not coming, but once i impressed on them that I needed to know in advance so I could contact a parent to help out, they are now very good at letting me know. It's coming up to exam time for them both hence why I really need a relaible "other". Where do you draw the line between being welcoming and appreciative etc, and being walked all over/taken for a ride!

OP posts:

Waltons · 22/04/2013 19:50

As she's been "assigned" to you, is she actually happy with that?

You need to call her or, better still, arrange to drop in to see her and ask how she feels about starting out with you. She may just be scared stiff!

Say you understand the last minute problems Hmm but then explain that they put you in a difficult position with adult cover. She may not realise yet just how awkward she is making things for you.

In the meantime, quietly ask one parent on standby each week, explaining that you are still "trying to establish the new leader's commitments".

Disclaimer: I am a Scout leader and we never get these problems. Ho no, never. Wink


Waltons · 22/04/2013 19:52

put not ask.

YLs not letting you know they aren't turning up? Perish the thought! Angry


redskyatnight · 22/04/2013 20:11

I think I have had the same volunteer Grin.

Set up a parents' rota anyway. If you're that tight on adults you could do with an extra "just in case" anyway - what if someone is ill/has last minute emergency?

[Our YL is lovely and v. reliable].


DeskPlanner · 23/04/2013 07:45

It's very rude not letting you know. I totally disagree, that its par of the course. It's simply rude and not setting a good example. I would find so many excuses a bit suspicious. to be honest. I would ask her if she actually wants to do this, and tell her of she does she needs to make a commitment. Let her know how it upsets the entire session, by not turning up and not even letting you know.


redexpat · 23/04/2013 07:58

Like the others have said she probably doesn't realise how much it puts you out. You've been doing it for a while, and she sees herself as an extra pair of hands, a luxury rather than a necessity.

Do what Waltons said, perhaps phrasing it 'is there anything I can do to help you come every week?' Does she live near you? Can you or one of the parents give her a lift? Can she not cycle now that the clocks have changed?


phantomnamechanger · 23/04/2013 08:01

I agreee it's rude, plain and simple. That's what irks me. I would never behave like that and dont "get" folk who do - it's like non replies to party invites.

Several times I have been sked to write references for my DofE/YL teens, as often volunteering is a great form of work/life experience-but I could not even say this person is punctual and relaible!

To the poster who asked about her being "assigned" - she registerd online for our area, and because of her address and days available and that we need staff, was matched to our unit as first choice/best match. She's agreed to that and would be able to ask for another unit if she wanted.

If she's changed her mind she can just say so!

OP posts:

Sunnymeg · 23/04/2013 08:07

Has she actually turned up to any meetings at all? It sounds to me like she thought volunteering would be a nice thing to do but perhaps the reality is that it is not going to fit in with her life. I had a helper like that once, it is very difficult.


jacks365 · 23/04/2013 08:26

Can i just clarify if this is a yl or an older person new to guiding. They may simply be unaware of how essential they are to the running of the meeting. Speak to them about it, yes they are being rude but it may be due to ignorance more than anything else.


trice · 23/04/2013 08:27

I have two volunteers like this. I have to plan that they won't turn up and then when they appear half way through there is nothing much for them to do. So they are not engaged and get less committed. It's a pain but I am a volunteer too and not their mum so I can't make them do anything.


Ragwort · 23/04/2013 08:32

Also a Scout Leader Grin with similar problems. Walton's advice is spot on.

I think many of us who have been volunteers for years are just so used to what we do that it is hard to understand what it's like for 'new' volunteers. For example running a game is such an easy, straightforward thing for me to do but I have to remind myself to explain to the other volunteers that you need to tell the young people the rules, etc etc over and over again. Grin.

We also have a bit of a problem with people volunteering 'because it will look good on their CV' without really understanding that you need to make an effort and do something rather than just turn up and stand around. One YL told me that helping at Cubs had gone down very well at his university interview despite the fact that he doesn't actually do anything when he is at the Cub meetings.


Waltons · 23/04/2013 22:11

Hang on!!

To the poster who asked about her being "assigned" - she registerd online for our area, and because of her address and days available and that we need staff, was matched to our unit as first choice/best match. She's agreed to that and would be able to ask for another unit if she wanted.

If she's changed her mind she can just say so!

What contact has there been from your side - especially from you personally? Not criticising at all, but you do have to nurture new leaders, hold their hands and all of it. Has GGUK done anything to introduce her to the role and support her?


ConfusedPixie · 23/04/2013 22:32

Meh, I can see it from her side. After nine months I finally remember to tell my scout leader that I have chronic pain and chronic fatigue, which is why I would just not turn up half of the time sometimes! You never know, she might have a health issue that hinders it!

She may also have the same problem that DP had, he tried to volunteer at a local scout group and couldn't find the hut. Eventually he gave up and tried to get back in touch but they didn't respond again!


Ragwort · 24/04/2013 08:16

Wow Confused that is terrible, wish your DP lived near us, we are crying out for leaders !
Agree with Waltons - new leaders do need a lot of hand holding (and some 'old' leaders sometimes Grin).


ConfusedPixie · 24/04/2013 08:30

We're crying out for leaders too! I got into the explorers by fluke, just inquired and they shoved me in that direction Grin though they are very much like cub scouts at times so I'm happy, they were trying to argue that with me on monday between listening to lion king songs on their phone and tattletelling on one another Hmm Grin


Pilgit · 24/04/2013 08:41

It's just rude. My old assistant was like this and bloody crap when she was there. Is she completely new to Guiding? if so she might not be aware of the protocols or the importance of having the numbers. Yes we are volunteers but we are also looking after children and that has to be taken seriously. If you are a Guider and it is meeting night and you can't make it you have to let the others know in plenty of time so that, if necessary, alternative arrangements can be made (or the evening cancelled). She may not be aware of this and may not be aware of what you have to do if she doesn't turn up. The un-reliability and not knowing is really annoying as you cannot rely on her at the moment. If you are worried about ratios get a parents rota in place for the time being. As it is Guides the ratios are guidelines so the odd week understaffed is probably okay (unless going out). FWIW you are lucky to have parents willing to stay - I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of parents who would do this for us - many can't (due to lots of large families) but even if they could they wouldn't (IYSWIM). Thankfully my new assistant and young leader are fab (sisters) and know all this as their mum is a brownie leader (and assistant also runs the rainbows - we all wear at least 2 hats in my district.... i also do senior section). Good luck


RainbowRabbit33 · 24/04/2013 08:46

I think trying to find the reason why she's not turning up will only drive you mad with frustration. She'll have her reason that will be unreasonable to you and very reasonable to her. My advice would be to be as practical as possible for the good of the unit. Not sure which section you are, I'm Rainbows, so the following may not be good for Guides! It sounds like she's come to you through Join Us, so I'm guessing she's an adult with limited experience of GGUK.

I'd try and meet up with her outside of a meeting, either at her house or somewhere neutral. You can then get to know her a bit, and go through in more detail what happens at a meeting, what she can expect, what the girls are like and, critically, what is expected of her. The first time I walked in to a Rainbow meeting I was terrified of them - I don't have kids and very little family. Suddenly there were hundreds of little people all around me! Up to now, all she's done is fill in a very simple web form, with little to no personal contact. She could think that because your unit is up and running, and was before she volunteered, that she isn't as critical as she actually is.

I'd also set up a parent rota; if she does turn up you can either thank them but say you don't need them any more, or you just have an extra pair of hands, which is never a bad thing.

How bad are your ratios? It sounds like your DC isn't that fussed if this is just "par for the course". My DC is obsessed, but I'll happily run the unit with 1:6 instead of 1:5 - I just don't tell her. It satisfies GGUK policy, just not the way she likes to do things (apologies to any DCs out there - for everything else I do as I am told, promise!).

In terms of how many chances, I think only you can know that. I removed a Guide Helper from my unit's Go! when she hadn't turned up for a whole term with no communication. I later found out that she had stopped going to Guides months earlier, but no-one had told me!

Good luck, hope it goes well for you and your newbie! If it doesn't though, it's not your fault, how can it be if she has nev turned up!!


ryanboy · 24/04/2013 08:57

It is rude. My sister is a guider and has the same problems.In the end she explained how grateful she was for her help but understood the helper had many other commitments (lie) , would she mind emailing her by Wednesday if she was able to come so that she could use her to best effect.She found them more likely to email if they could help that week than if they couldn't.Also it sets a more positive tone to the arrangement.


phantomnamechanger · 26/04/2013 17:59

sorry for not getting back to the thread - there's still no reason given for last weeks absence. I think she has changed her mind and isn't ever going to show now TBH. Fair enough, no one has to volunteer but it's rude not to explain.

Email was her chosen method of contact. I have emailed her about 10-12 times. She is aware we are desperate for helpers - I am the ONLY guider in the unit and I have 2 teenage volunteers. I have offered to meet her for coffee, offered to meet her at the scout hall for a look round & a chat without the Rainbows there, given her careful directions and my mobile number in case she got lost. I have explained that she does not need to DO anything initially other than be there as an extra supervisor. Last week she did not show and I had gone out of my way to be there half an hour early to meet her/chat, as well as get set up for the activities. I would never behave that way and i don't get people who do.

Ah well, if I wait another 5 years maybe another volunteer will come along!

OP posts:

RubberBullets · 26/04/2013 18:14

How annoying. Sounds like you need a more supportive DC too.

As a side note, while we've got a nice lot of Guiders here is anyone going to Kernow this year?


Startail · 26/04/2013 18:35

YANBU I had two like this, one sweet, not very bright girl with serious health problems was easy to forgive.

The other drove me Nuts! When she was there she was brilliant. Older than me, mum of two of the Brownies. Trouble was she'd suddenly not turn up.

I eventually worked out that she had some sort of cyclic, possibly PMT linked depression. I just wish she hadn't been embarrassed about it and had explained. This is long before I had children, so I'd have happily collected her girls when she was ill and helped out in exchange for her help when she was well, but she never asked.

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