Barbara Harrison, Guide Guider White Oaks Area, LDP & Commissioner/Admin Trainer Highland Glen Area, Ontario, Canada:
We also test once a month and ask that the girls sign up let the week before test night so we don't get a tester in (usually a Mom) if there is nothing to be tested that month. The guides bring in their badge work on the night that they sign up and we have a quick look to make sure that all the requirements are completed - just a quick chat and look see - sometimes the guider makes small suggestions, especially if there is obviously very little effort or if it is not totally a product of the girl's effort (a common problem, I have found). This method avoids disappointment when they present it to the tester on the actual testing night.
One thing that I feel is very important is presenting the badges right after they are earned. I don't mean stockpiling badges and presenting them the same night, but making sure that they are presented the following week. I am always horrified when I visit units at the end of the year and they have saved up all the badges from the whole year and present them at the end. It's especially frustrating for girls who are in their final year of their particular branch since they never get to wear the badges on their current uniform.
Tiger, Cadet Guider, District Guider, Trainer, Quebec City:
As a unit, we will work on about four or five badges together, but when things get slow I included "tasters" in the program. Once we've done an activity that they enjoy, I tell them this also comes with whatever badge is appropriate, and if they like, with just one or two more things they can earn the badge.
Do you use badge slips? I wasn't using them for some time but I have started again the past two years and it really is handy to keep an eye on who is doing what. That way if there are several girls not working on badges I can encourage them with little tidbits. I had one girl ready to be tested on six badges. She was in tears, because she thought you only had to do one requirement from each. After talking with her, and what kinds of things she did at school and at home, she earned two badges completely and the tears were saved. Sometimes the girls just don't realize, even if it was explained.
By the way, I had to make a judgement call. If they are being tested on the Pet Care badge, I will insist the animal be ALIVE !! One mother was very angry at me for refusing the badge - the cat was living with the grandmother and had died three years before!!
Kristen Byrnes, 8th Kingston Guides, Kingston, Ontario:
Our guide group does badge testing on the first meeting of the month (unless it conflicts with camp). We have it posted on our schedule that is sent home, as well as a verbal reminder the week before. We often have a good turn out although we have had a few girls thumb through their books that meeting to see if there is a badge they can get - usually they don't get it, even though they attempt to. Mothers are often the badge testers.
We present the badges to the girls the next meeting (or shortly thereafter). Any of the work the girls have to present to the group usually is just before taps or to their patrol, depending on what we are doing. A leader is always listening. I really like the pet stories (although they often tend to ramble a bit) and the collections they bring in.