Girl Guides of Canada - Senior Branches
Senior Branches Program

Last updated: February 25, 1999

Compiled by Jennifer Walker, Edmonton AB 

Overview of New Program (updated)

Comments on the New Program

Purpose Statements

Commonwealth Award

Cadet "C" Pin (History)

Junior Leaders

Overview of New Senior Branches Program

Senior Branches Program - Adventure and Independence - article from Team Talk, Summer 1998, by Sandi Caron

    Adventure and Independence - what an appropriate name for this revised program!  Isn't this what Senior Branches is all about?  Girls trying new ideas, setting new goals and remembering that the sky is the limit!
    This revision offers a program to all girls in Senior Branches.  Everyone can choose to do the core and then their own segment of their chosen Branch.  On completion of both the core and their chosen segment, the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award will be awarded.  This very special award can be worn on the adult uniform - a recognition of a Senior Branches girl's prior commitment and achievement as a young adult.
    Senior Branches may now consist of a Cadet Unit or a Ranger Unit, Junior Leaders working in their chosen unit or a Senior Branches Unit consisting of Cadets, Junior Leaders and Rangers.  The idea of having Senior Branches units facilitates the finding of Guiders to work with Senior Branches.  It brings the three branches together and includes the Junior Leaders who seem to get left out or not feel as though they belonged.  All three branches can work as a team sharing ideas and planning events together.
    The Senior Branches program book was written as one book for both the girls and the Guiders.  This facilitates the girls implementing their own program.  The program book is filled with ideas, hints, suggestions for Unit organization and administration plus a section on resources.  Each branch has its own special purpose statement.
    The Core program is common to everyone and has the following sections:

*Enrolment *Guiding
*Community  *Personal Growth
*Environment  *Service

    The Cadet program is the practical part of their program.  It includes choices of challenges and suggestions for the girls to complete.  To complete the Cadet program and be awarded the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award a Cadet must:

- work in three of the four different branches of Guiding
- attend a minimum of 12 Unit meetings or 10 meetings and one weekend camp while working in each branch and
- complete Challenges 1, 2 and 3 (which is ongoing) and any three others in each of the Units in which they choose to work.

The Cadets may consider working a full year in each level to enjoy the continuity of the Unit activities and the long term planning.  It is important that the Cadets be included in the planning meetings with the Unit Guiders.  The Unit Guider should also have a copy of the requirements so that both the Cadet and Guider can plan how best to cover the program.  It is recommended that Cadets work in units with girls at least two years younger than they are.

    The Junior Leaders finally have a practical program!  To complete the Junior Leader program and be awarded the Commissioner's Gold Award, a Junior Leader must:

-attend a minimum of 36 Unit meetings or 30 meetings and 3 weekend camps and
-complete all the Practical Experience challenges.

It is recommended that Junior Leaders work with girls at least two years younger than themselves.  It is important that the Junior Leaders be included in both the long term and short term planning with the Guiders.  Unit Guiders should be given a copy of the requirements so that both the Junior Leader and Guider can plan how best to cover the program.

    The Ranger program challenges the girl to:

- develop independence and self-confidence
- broaden their personal interests
- be involved in the community.

    The program is divided into the following Interest Areas:

Active Living Guiding Service 
Camping Independent Living 
Canadiana Leadership
Creative Arts Outdoors 
Cultural Diversity Science & Technology
Future Service
Global Awareness Women's Concerns 

    Each interest challenge has an objective to help the Ranger focus; however, they are free to create their own challenges to meet the objectives.  To attain the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award, a Ranger must complete the Core program common to all Senior Branches and one challenge from each interest area that meets the objective.

    Senior Branches members may use equivalency from the challenges in the prior program to meet the goals of the new program.  They may earn the Cadet "C" pin or the Ranger " 16" pin and the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award up to June 30, 1998.  This opportunity is unique and a challenge worth trying for!
    This Senior Branches program challenges the Senior Branches girl to meet new goals and attain objectives through adventure and independence. The Senior Branches Guider acts as a resource person for the girls and has the opportunity to learn alongside these wonderful young women.
    Organize a Senior Branches Day in your Area to introduce the new Program!  Have the girls bring a friend!  Let them try some of the challenges.  Invite Guiders interested in finding out what Senior Branches are about!  What a way to kick off the new program and increase membership as well!!

Sandi Caron of Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec, is the Deputy Provincial Membership/ Public Relations Commissioner and Senior Branches Adviser.  Sandi was also a member of the Pathfinder/ Senior Branches Program Rewrite Task Group.

9 March 1998

The Senior Branches Program: Adventure and Independence

The program book will be 3-hole punched, and in loose-leaf form. It will include a lot of resources such as how to teach games and lead campfires, first aid information, etc. It will be about 130 pages in length. I asked how this will affect cost and I was told that the program books are usually heavily subsidized by National, so that if there is a cost increase it shouldn't be very much. (The books are currently priced at 7.95 I think --they should still be under $10)

The Purpose statements of all three branches have been changed (for those unfamiliar with Sr Branches, these statements are usually added to the end of the Guide Promise when teh girls are enrolled). I will post them in a separate message, with the old and new ones so you can compare.

A 'Core Program' has been developed, which will be common to all of three branches. It contains a lot of elements taken from the existing Ranger and Cadet programs which are applicable to all three branches. The core program will be one of 2 elements required for the new Sr Branches award (discussed later). There are six segments, which include 23 challenges. The segments are: Enrolment, Community, Environment, Guiding, Personal Growth, and Service.

The objective of the Core program is: "to develop a foundation of skills and experiences, based on the Mission and Principles, that provide the basis for the Cadet, Junior Leader and Ranger programs."

The program is then split into the three banches. The Cadet program retains basically the same elements it had before in terms of requirements in working with different level units, participating in planning, etc. I am not familiar with the Cadet program, but the consensus seemed to be that it would be quite easy to compare the old with the new and determine what elements had already been completed.

The Junior Leader program is brand new, since there wasn't one before! It is very similar in to the Cadet program, but requires working with a single branch of Guiding, rather than several.

The Ranger program is composed of 14 Interest Areas. Each has a stated OBJECTIVE for that area which the girl tries to meet. There are suggested activities you can do to meet this objective, but you can also choose your own (much like the current program is designed). The 14 Interest areas are: Active Living, Canadiana, Cultural Diversity, Global Awareness, Outdoors, Service, Independent Living, Women's Concerns, Creative Arts, Future, Guiding Service, Leadership, Science / Technology, and Camping.

The Chief Commissioner's Gold Award will now be the ultimate award in Canada. It will be awarded to Senior Branches girls upon completion of the Core Program and the appropriate branch program (no awards will be given for completion of parts of the program -- such as the Ranger Interest Areas, or the core program -- it is all or nothing). A pin will be awarded (a slightly flattened diamond, gold in colour, with Chief Commisioner's Gold Award written on it and an intertwined C, JL, and R for the three branches. You will be able to wear the pin on the adult uniform). A certificate will also be designed.

A girl who has earned the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award will require only an entrance interview with her commissioner and one other thing (I forget what -- didn't write it down) in order to complete her Stage 1 adult training.

Combined Senior Branch units are now official. This means that if you have a mixed unit of Cadets and Rangers (with affiliated Jr Leaders, perhaps) you should not run into as many administrative headaches once the new program, etc., is official. There was discussion in my training sesion about designing an appointment pin for Guiders of these units which would incorporate all three Senior Branch colours (currently Guiders of mixed units wear either the Cadet or Ranger appointment pins).

There will no longer be special requirements in order to be a Cadet Guider. They will be treated as any other unit Guider. It was recognised that any woman who had the skills to work with these young women had the skills to teach Cadets in turn how to work with the girls.

The Commonwealth Award and Duke of Edinburgh Award will both be represented in the new program book. The Commonwealth Award has been updated -- largely in terms of language (changing the word 'clause' to 'Challenge' for example) but there are also some content changes. The woman giving the session couldn't be specific about what all the changes were.

June 30, 1998 will be the date for retirement of old insignia. So if you have a girl almost finished her Cadet C or Ranger Look Wide program, buy the pins now!

--Marianne Mitchell

15 May 1997 -
I got a hold of the new SB program at Rangers Tuesday - I thought that I would post what the new program involves. Here goes...For Fun and Independence!

The new book starts with the aims, objectives, promise etc. that the current book starts with. New is the explanation of the roles of the Guiders, Advisers etc. and the parts of the unit (president etc.) A business meeting is outlined and then there is the actual program. I find the program quite structured but still a little flexible.

There are two parts of the program which the girl must complete to earn the "Chief Commissioners Gold Award" which *can* be worn on the adult uniform, the core and the Branch specific program.

The core: All must complete challenges in the area of Enrolment, community, environment, guiding, personal Growth and service. The requirements in this section are very specific - there are no options such as "or any challenge as approved by your unit". I find them challenging and they will take some time to complete as there are several parts in each section that are difficult themselves.

The Cadet and Junior Leader Programs: These are basically identical except that Cadets are to work in 3 of 4 branches and attend minimum of 12 unit meetings per branch. Some of the challenges (3) have to be done again with each branch. Jr. Leaders must attend a minimum of 36 unit meetings in addition to all of the challenges. Challenges include planning (short and long term), ceremonies, theme meetings, arts activities, bridging, outdoor activities, camping, games, activities with other units, active living, promise, campfire, service.

The Ranger Program: There is no longer the look wide idea. One challenge from each of the interest areas must abe completed. There are around 4 suggested challenges in each area plus the clause "or any other approved by your unit that meets the objective of the interest area". I like the suggested activities and there should be something in every section that appeals to the girl, ie. for camping you don't really have to go camping if you aren't a camp person, one of the suggestions involves planning a District Day camp.

Then there is a Resource section which includes topics such as: planning, parliamentary procedure ( I like this being put in because a lot of Rangers don't know anything about it), communications, evaluation, Promise and Law (like what was in the Canadian Guider when the new Promise came out), active living, camping, joint activities, ceremonies, Flag etiquette, internatioal, fund raising, resource files, games, record keeping. I think this section will be espically helpful for each of the Senior Branches. There are also plans to add info on scholarships, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Commonwealth Award, record forms.

Suzanne Wiley, 1st Royal City Rangers, Guelph, Ontario

Comments on the New Program

Leadership for Rangers...
"Leadership" does not necessarily mean working with other branches of Guiding as a leader. The new purpose says "share my leadersip skills". This can be done in many ways other than working with kids -- which I agree is not necesarily everyone's interest or talent, although there are many Rangers who are interested in it.

By being a member of the Ranger unit -- contributing to discussions, presenting challenges (if she chooses to work on program), organizing unit activities, planning camps, leading activities, etc., a girl can develop and share her leadership skills. Also, through the service which is also part of the Ranger purpose statement (and really, service has a part in all branches of Guiding), the girls share their leadership skills. Organising a carol sing at a Senior Citizens centre, preparing a float for the Easter parade, or serving food at a Division fundraiser all require some degree of leadership skill.

So I guess I have to disagree -- I feel that leadership is a vital part of the Ranger program and thus that it should be a part of the Ranger Purpose Statement.
--Marianne Mitchell

Chief Commissioner's Gold Award
I too am very excited that there will be a common award. It is about time that Jr Leaders had something of their own, and I know that Rangers have often felt the absence of an award like the Cadet 'C' -- they have had lots of lovely challenges to do, but nothing really special if they complete them all.

The one concern I have, however -- and I'd like to hear what some others have to say on the subject -- is the fact that it is an all-or-nothing thing. I am glad that the Chief Commissioner's Gold Award will be special, and that the girls will really have to work for it and complete the entire program. But it meams that girls will choose to either do the program or not -- and I am afraid it will discourage girls from working on program if they feel they won't complete it.

I am worried about the fact that there is no recognition for completing only a part of the program. Where will this leave girls who want to set themselves just a small challenge? For example, under the old Ranger program a girl could set herself the personal goal of completing her Look Wide 8 pin -- whioch would be just 8 of the 16 Look Wide Areas. But this might be enough for her to feel that she has reached the goal she set herself. And she will have something to show for it. This has been the problem between the old Ranger and Cadet programs -- the Cadet program was an all-or-nothing one, where if you don't complete all the requirements for your 'C' you end up with nothing. At the same time with the old Ranger program, if you completed everything there was no special award. One of the problems have been fixed, but at the expense of leaving the other unresolved.

The new program itself I like very much (or everything that I have seen of it so far). The problems I have with it are more to do with the insignia and stuff than the actual content of the program.

I know I'm not alone in my assessment -- my co-Guider Susan Thorpe expressed the same opinion to me (before I told her that had been my thought!) and Christiana Johnson (formerly of this list, a former Cadet and now a LINK member) also saw the same problem I did. She chose Cadets because she wanted the 'C' pin. Her sister, also in Cadets, is struggling because she won't get any recognition for completing just part of the program -- even though that is a big deal for her.
--Marianne Mitchell

Comments on the Draft Program
Now for a little more of my personal analysis, I didn't like the program the first time I looked at it because I missed the line that said "one challenge" from each of the Ranger interest areas and I didn't understand how you could complete the program even if every meeting was spent on program, but it's growing on me (espically with that clarification). There is structure and now there *is* a Jr. Leader program. But I know the core program will be the most difficult to adjust to because it is *so* structured but it does involve a lot of necessary skills and information that is very important. I sort of see the core like the BP emblem of Pathfinders, it is harder to earn, but worth it. Too bad I'll never be able to get the "Chief Comissioner's Gold Award" and never have something to tell the world I was a Ranger when I'm a Guider.

Suzanne Wiley, 1st Royal City Rangers, Guelph, Ontario

More Comments

Since there have been a few responses since my post on the new program I thought that I would post again, in response to these.

Emergency concerns can be seen in a couple of different parts of the new Ranger program depending on how you define it. There is a big section on first aid in one of the parts of the core (I think) I not sure which part because I no longer have the draft. Other aspects of emergency concerns can be addressed in camping, environment, science & tech, outdoors etc.

I always thought that working with the different branches is why someone would become a Cadet instead of a Jr. Leader. The current program states "where possible, gain practical experience by working in each of the following: Brownie pack, Guide company, Pathfinder unit". I think the intent is that the Cadet not try to do all at the same time but possibly one each year, which would be reasonable if the girl were a Cadet for 3 years. It would be possible to complete more than one branch in each year though, if the Cadet wished to move more often.

Luanne Taylor made a comment to me about the JL program which I think is very valid. She said that many JLs become JLs because they don't want the "program aspect" of it, they just want to be with the girls. I think that this is very important and that there although there have been many of us who have been pushing for more of a program, with an end goal, that it's not for everyone. Many of our Rangers, like many JLs aren't interested in any program work so I think that one of the hard things, when implementing the new program, will to make sure those who don't want to do the program work can be accepted for that no matter which of the three branches they choose to participate in.

Suzanne Wiley, 1st Royal City Rangers, Guelph 

Purpose Statements

9 March 1998
Here are the old and new Senior Branch purposes. I'm including both so you can see how they have changed:

Cadet Purpose statement:
OLD: My purpose as a Cadet is to train for leadership and service.
NEW: My purpose as a Cadet is to develop and share my leadership skills through practical experience in different branches of Guiding.

Junior Leader Purpose Statement:
OLD: My purpose as a Junior Leader is to enrich myself through the development and sharing of my leadership skills.
NEW: My purpose as a Junior Leader is to develop and share my leadership skills through practical experience in one branch of Guiding.

Ranger Purpose Statement:
OLD: My special responsibility as a Ranger is to render service by taking this Promise into a wider world.
NEW: My purpose as a Ranger is to develop and share my leadership skills, expand my interests and give service.

--Marianne Mitchell

Commonwealth Award

I don't really know but I'm guessing that National can't do too much with the Commonwealth award. There are plans to include the option of doing it in the new program but because it is something that is done all over the Commonwealth, National just can't decide they want to change part of it.

Yes, very few Sr. Branches members ever think about the Commonwealth Award. This year though there is a challenge to ON SB members for 97 girls to get it in '97. This was first mentioned (I think) at Rise Up, Branch Out, and again at Aggie, to try to get the word passed around. Maybe next year when there is an Ontario SB newsletter it will be easier to get things like this passed around.

Suzanne Wiley

The History of the Cadet "C"

The "C" is in honour of Nurse Edith Cavell, who died in 1915. During the first World War, she was a battlefield nurse in Belgium, at a Red Cross hospital, and was left in charge of the institute. The hospital was for both Allies and German patients. Later, she was arrested, and charged with harbouring refugees and helping 130 of them to escape. She was court martialled (and by today's standards, the trial had a great many irregularities). Letters of thanks from the repatriated patients helped to condemn her. She was sentenced to death by a firing squad.

Her body is buried at Norwich Cathedral, and there is a memorial to her in St. Martin's Place, near Trafalgar Square. Her last words, " Patriotism is not enough; I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone", are on the base of the pedestal.

Nurse Cavell was used as an inspiring example of a young woman; it was felt that Cadets should try to emulate her; hence the Cadet "C". The "C" is for Cavell.

-Katherine Town

Junior Leaders

26 May 1997
I think it's excellent that the JL's do have the option of program work now. Too many JL's that I've seen get misused because there is no real structure to their program, and their Guiders don't know anything about the purpose of a JL - too often they end up being the emergency games person or the like when the Guiders have to do the books or talk to parents, and the JL ends up with no participation in any of the unit planning.

I think there should be some sort of checklist of skills or topics that girls should cover before they become a JL - yes, many will attend trainings, but many will not. I find it somewhat amazing that we will let these JL's work with younger girls without any training whatsoever, just because they have Guiding experience. That Guiding experience does NOT always provide them with the tools for group discipline, or how to deal with difficult situations, or what situations NOT to get into with girls, etc...and the JL's are often left struggling (also Cadets or Rangers helping in units who have had no preparation for this). Surely National could come up with some sort of one-day session covering useful topics for these girls, with a pin to earn or something, to be done before or shortly after starting to work with younger girls. From what I've heard about the GSUSA Program Aide Training, that is sort of how it works there.

>Many of our Rangers, like many JLs aren't interested in any program work so I think that one of the hard things, when
>implementing the new program, will to make sure those who don't want to do the program work can be accepted for that
>no matter which of the three branched they choose to participate in.

Another important point! Even though there are programs available, the girls should not be forced to Ranger unit didn't ever work on the Ranger Look Wide program even though it was available (must have been the first edition or something, on its own with a red cover???) We did D of E as a unit (plus service activities and other stuff too), and I completed my Commonwealth Award on my own (if it sounds like no one knows about it now, imagine how many fewer people knew about it in 1987-1988 and the struggle I had to get to find who had the pins, let alone to get one!)

Jennifer Walker 

29 May 1997
I agree that there has often been friction between Guiders and Junior Leaders. As a Trainer this is a subject I have had to try to deal with from both sides. Guiders need to remember that they are the Junior Leader's Guider (although she also is responsible to the commissioner) These are still girls and as such need guidance, training and opportunity to grow into competant leaders. Most of these girls have a wealth of experience but often need encouragement and leadership skills. Their demanding schedules require flexibility on both sides. To feel part of the team, the Junior Leaders (and Cadets & Rangers working in Units) have to be included in planning and decision making. There will be much more enthusiasm if they choose a responsibility rather than are assigned one. "She's a JL, she's good at games".

On the flip side - JL's take heart. I think that the the Senior Branches program will be a real bonus. Yours is the branch that has changed the most. There are now a series of challenges that you must complete. It is the Guider's responsibility to give you the opportunity to do that. Many Guider's just do not know what is expected of them. The Junior Leader manual from National certainly helps. Make sure your leader has one. Maybe you could ask the Commissioner. My other suggestion is to attend as many trainings as you can fit in. Your Guiding team will wecome new suggestions even if it takes them a while to see how competant you are. Sorry this is so long... It is a subject I have had a lot of experience with (and trial over) with three daughters involved.

Felicity Critchlow 

30 May 1997
from the Guider Handbook Vol. 3 (A Guider's Resource on Junior Leaders) by Debbie Hungle, page 11 (don't worry, I checked copyright, "brief sections" may be copied for use within Guiding):

"The ten best ideas you can give your JL...
1) Always remember the girls are the most important part of Guiding. 2) Help the girls learn by doing and discovering things themselves; ie, hands-on activities. 3) ensure the girls are challenged, as boredom creates behaviour problems and discourages participation. 4) get to know the girls as individuals. 5) plan activities to suit the age of the girls, as the younger girls have a short attention span, the older ones longer. 6) ensure you have planned well and the right equipment is properly organized and then your activity will be successful. 7) be a good listener 8) encourage, don't criticize. 9) practise saying "I don't know...let's find out" or "I will help you find out" 10) be a good example to the girls.

I was just looking through this publication to see how useful it would be for Guiders working with JL's - it has lots of info, including a section on how to evaluate your JL (without threatening them!), plus this list of tips that I believe would help ALL of us if we made an effort to follow them.

Jennifer Walker 

Evaluating Junior Leaders

The evaluation section of the Guider Handbook for working with Junior Leaders (JL's) by Debbie's some excerpts (p16-19):

"The idea of evaluation can be introduced to the JL with a discussion of an activity or a special project with which she helped. This discussion should be brief and positive. Listen to the JL's concerns and comments. Give constructive feedback. Evaluate together regularly."

"Evaluation Tips:

  1. Evaluation is best done by the team.
  2. The JL and the Guiders need to be comfortable with the method of evaluation chosen.
  3. Specific, descriptive positive feedback is needed.
  4. Evaluations should be regular and timely.
  5. The information gained in an evaluation should be used. "

"Some things to think about when evaluating with a JL:

Return to Young Leaders Index Page || Return to Guide Zone Welcome Page or Main Index Page || Send us Mail || Top of Page