It's great to see that our members are embracing virtual meetings to stay connected with their members and to keep girls engaged.
We've created some handy key-points to consider while you take guiding online and keep in touch with girls. It's important we continue to keep all our members safe, even when we're all staying at home.
Having said that, we also want to remind you that members should not feel that they must take their guiding online; we understand that some of our members are unable to carry out virtual meetings, owing to their roles as key workers among other reasons.
Guiding using digital tools in this way should be treated as an activity outside of the unit meeting so don't forget to get permissions for girls to join online meetings. You don't need signed forms for each meetings; one will cover all your meetings. These forms have been designed to be filled out remotely, so you don't need to meet with parents for their signatures and they can be sent via email.
You can find the consent forms here.
Solo Online Guiding – Sharing activities for young members to complete at home
Solo online guiding doesn't involve virtual meetings and means leaders can simply share activities with girls' parents or carers, or directly with the young members 14+. Leaders usually do this via instant messaging, social media, and email.
- Keep communications in line with the Girlguiding Digital Communications Policy
- Never be in a one-to-one conversation with young members and ensure another leader is present in the communications
Group Online Guiding – Video calls, audio calls or broadcast video
Group guiding will bring girls and volunteers together digitally, so it’s more like running a virtual unit meeting.
This might take a bit of practice so give yourself time to explore the technology before you get started. You might want adults to ‘drop off’ their girls at the meeting like they would in person, so you can make sure that young members have an appropriate adult nearby if they need a hand, and to give you a moment to talk to parents and carers if you need to.
- We recommend girls use their parent's or carer's account
- Parent/carer is in the room for members aged 14 and below and are nearby for members aged 14+
- Two adults need to be on the call; with at least one adult DBS checked and the other, we recommend, with a Level 3 Safeguarding qualification.
- Do a risk assessment for activities
- At least one adult volunteer must have their Leadership qualification and a current disclosure check (DBS/Access NI/PVG).
You might want to run break out sessions in an online group meeting as you would in your regular face to face meeting. You will still need to have two adults present in each smaller break out group, so if that isn't possible for your unit you could try:
- Joining with another unit so you have enough leaders when a specific activity needs break out sessions.
- Pausing your meeting, let the girls go away and do the activity in their home. Then come back together to discuss and show each other what they’ve done. This can also help on platforms like Zoom if you have a limit on your time on the call – you can hang up the call and then start a new one once the girls have done their activity.
Your space needs to be suitable for the young members to see – a safe space as we say in Girlguiding.
- Be aware of what is behind you and that you are wearing appropriate clothing
- Make sure that people in your household know what you are doing and that they choose appropriate language if in the vicinity.
- Girls should not be alone in bedrooms during these meetings
- Maintain a respectful environment in your virtual meetings i.e avoiding girls interrupting each other and giving them space and time to each have an input
- Leaders are not to contact members through 1 to 1 messaging or digital tools
- If leaders are sharing videos, they must ensure they have watched the videos from start to finish and the videos are appropriate to share
- Pick activities wisely as resources are limited. If possible, let parents know of activities in advance, so they can prepare if needed
- Some online systems need you to share personal data and other information. Take a look through their terms and conditions and check the managing information policy, digital communications policy, and social media policy to make sure they are suitable for guiding.
Here are some platforms and their functions to help you decide which methods to choose.
Video and audio calls
Sharing videos (interacting via comments)
A place to store files etc.
If you have specific questions about running online guiding, you can get in touch and we can do our best to help with advice and guidance.
We're not able to give any tech advice or help you with using specific digital tools. If you have technical questions it's best to contact customer services for the tool you're using.
For online safeguarding help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about running unit meetings online, get in touch with email@example.com.