Make Senior Branch Visible to the Pathfinders

Marianne Mitchell
Guider 167th Nepean 'Andover' Rangers

In the transition years (i.e. when they move to another branch) the #1 priority should be simply informing them that the next branch exists and what it is about!

Senior Branches especially lose out because Guiders at other levels often have no idea what the Senior Branches do. Invite Pathfinders to your Guide unit, or Senior Branch members to your Pathfinders to tell your whole unit about what their level of Guiding is all about.

Last year my Rangers went out to a Pathfinder unit and ran pretty much the entire evening for the Guiders -- the first 45 minutes was taken up with telling them what the Senior Branches are like, and answering questions. Then we ran a session on co-operative games -- which gave the Ptahifnders a chance to get to know the Rangers. It was great! We also had a handout on Senior Bracnhes in general, and our unit in particular that we handed out, so they would have something to take home with them.

In program and unit activities, emphasize flexibility and choice. Get the girls to decide what they want to do for the year, and help them to organise these things. If they are making the decisions they can't complain about it being boring or that they never do anything fun!

You might also want to consider a flexible meeting schedule, so the girls can plan around the other busy things in their lives (once girls hit the Pathfinder age they are often busy in other extra-curricular activities, and eventually many teens hold down part-time jobs as well). You could try meeting every second week, or on Sunday afternoons (which are often quieter times for people). My Ranger unit meets on Sunday afternoons approximately every two weeks -- but our schedule is flexible and we set our meeting dates no more than a month ahead, so we can work around work schedules, exams, etc. Often if we have a major event (such as a camp) we will hold a quick meeting there and then not meet again for two more weeks. This may not be a great set-up for Pathfinders, however.