Charlotte Mellor returns with her thoughts and tips for starting the new term
It’s September and that means the new term is nearly upon us. After nearly two years of guiding done via zoom or entirely outdoors, starting to think about doing actual, proper, in-person activities inside a building feels more than a little strange. In this blog, I’ll share the checklist I’ve put together for starting back with my Guide unit. Hopefully it can help others - or get them to remind me that I’ve missed off something important!
One of the most important things is the Guide programme. Knowing what you’re doing (and having a backup just in case) can be the reason a session goes smoothly. I’ve started to put together a list of UMAs and Skills Builder activities which we’d planned to do before they became logistically unfeasible. Thankfully, there’s some great guidance from the central guiding team which makes it easier. I’ve also checked on GO and worked out which Theme Awards some of my Guides are close to completing, so we can use this to guide our planning too. Next step will be to work out which leader takes the lead on which activities, and which the Guides themselves will lead!
Things have been tough this last year and, expectedly, some people have decided to step away from guiding. Part of our plan is therefore to try and recruit some new people locally who may be interested in guiding. Previously I’ve been involved with guiding stalls at local community fun days, but they’re still few and far between. We’ve therefore decided to reach out to parents and carers, alongside other community groups which some leaders are part of. We’re hopeful that by sharing how excited we are to return to face-to-face guiding, we will encourage more people to sign up to volunteer and more parents and carers to register an interest in letting their child join us.
Given how much time away we’ve had, we’ve all pushed various qualification expiry dates to the back of our minds. Before the new term, I’ve been on GO and checked that all of our volunteers are up to date with their First Response and Safe Space trainings. That way when I finalise our risk assessment, I know that everyone present will be safe. For those who have qualifications reaching their expiry, I’ve sent them a message asking if they’ve heard from our local commissioner about training opportunities. Luckily, we have lots of support from our commissioner. That’s how I managed to get my first aid and safeguarding renewals done as lockdown was eased!
So there’s my brief pre-term checklist of things to do to ensure that everything is ready for our return to guiding. I’m really excited to start back, and I know the Guides are too. Hopefully we can have an exciting term where we continue to discover new things and grow as individuals.