Last updated: 17/09/2006
Compiled by Jennifer
Walker, Edmonton AB
Comments about Link and SSAGO
Guide Association Junior Council
UK LINK International Fellowship (updated)
Student Scout And Guide Organization (SSAGO) (updated)
Scout and Guide
Graduate Association (SAGGA) (updated)
Activities for the Senior Section, from Guide Association website (updated)
Nette Clarke's UK Guiding Senior Section Pages
Ayrshire Raven Parliament , a joint activity between Ranger Guides and Venture Scouts
- Just a quick thing about Senior Section (as we call them here in the U.K.) You are not alone in the fact that numbers are low in this section. My Division are trying to combat this with a "Senior Section" group. The group is made up of all members in the Senior Section in our area (anyone aged 14-26). We all meet up on a regular basis. Our group aim is to "Guide and support members through the senior section". It gives the Young Leaders (like Junior Leaders) a chance to get together with people of thier own age and it gives the older Guides some-thing to aim for and encourages them to 'stay on'. It's been running for over two years now and it gives them/us (as I am still a member although I am away at college) a focus point and a contact point. Our Young Leader Guider works through this group and also the Action Plus and Link members can come too. Also, because it is open to all members up to 26 we have a lot of Young Guiders too! It's all great fun! Another thing we do is to go to the Guide units and talk to them about what their options are and what Guiding can do for them now that they are older. It seems to work.
Young Leaders are our 14-18 year olds who work with units (Junior Leaders/ Cadets?) - I am the division YL Guider/Advisor - the one who keeps track of where they are - who they are working with & whether they have finished their certificates etc.!!
In Guiding in the U.K we have a severe lack of leaders, too many girls and not enough people to run the units. Most Guiders I know are running two (or more) units. For example my Mum runs two Rainbow units (5-7 year olds) and is division Young Leader Guider and a trainer!!! Because of this, we must all do our best to not only recruit new Guiders but also encourage the Guides to continue. Here, our Young Leader Programe leads into gaining a warrant and becoming a Guider. It's just a matter of keeping the girls in Guiding. I think this Senior Section bridging issue is one we should all try and work towards. 15 is a difficult age! Most of the girls do not want to admit to going to Guides let alone start helping to run a unit! One way that encourages them to continue is the idea that Guiding looks great on thier C.V. Employers love people involved in Guiding as it creates a great many skills that they are looking for. Also, when applying for college or university it certainly helps (well, it did for me!) Keeping students involved is another matter of course. I think that the only way to keep the girls involved is to let them see that it is "FUN" and that they will enjoy the next stage in Guiding. Many girls may have grown tired of Guides and having the younger girls around. An all embracing "Senior Section" would provide a clear step up! Having to choose between Rangers and Young Leader is often a decision they do not want to take so they give up (I've seen it done!) They want to do things with the younger girls but do not want to lose contact with thier own age group. This is where the "Senior Section" group would be perfect.
There is a Link system in the U.K. and it organises national camps - just has problems selling itself I think - we also have "Uni Scout and Guide groups" which are non-uniform and great for a laugh. Do other countries do this too?
26 Nov 1996
I'm Kathy Briggs, I live and work in London, England and I'm a Ranger Guide leader (ages 14-25, although realistically I lose all of them to University or the pubs and clubs at 18). The Unit is called the 2nd Woodford Rangers although I'm not aware of there ever being a 1st!! We are based in Woodford, Essex which is in North East London. About 8 miles from the centre, and right in the middle of Epping Forest. There are currently around 15 Rangers (which is very good) and we meet every Friday night at various locations ranging from the church hall, to people's houses or outdoor pursuits centres.
I have been a leader for about 3 years, before that I was a Ranger myself. When I took over there were just 5 of us and were about to lose a few to University. We embarked on an aggressive recruitment campaign around the local Guide Companies and were successful. Numbers rose to around 10. We've come a long way since then, although stayed at around the 10 Rangers mark until we held a camp in May for girls aged 12 to 16. It was a roaring success with many of the over 14's joining the next week and now the younger ones, as they reach 14, are joining too. We haven't always managed to hang on to them, they don't always fit in, or their first meeting they come to is, say, a craft evening and they don't like craft and don't come back (despite my desperate phone calls trying to convince them that it's different every week!) We also have produced a newsletter, informing people of what activities we have done and what we are planning on doing. We have had a good, positive response from that, from all over the County. (London over the Border)
I really enjoy it, it can often be a challenge, sometimes I come home really depressed and wonder if it's worth it, but at other times, I come home with a big smile on my face from ear to ear feeling really proud, pleased and happy! :) :) I'm sure it's all part of it, if there weren't any difficult times, we wouldn't recognise the good. However, I'm in a real need of an assistant - I thought I could do it by myself, but I can't. This age group is very emotional, and bring with them a lot of "baggage". You want to find the time to help, but can't. They are also very good at arguing and falling out! It can be hard to calm situations down when you're on your own. There is a possibility of a Guide leader who is feeling under used in her current Guide company. They have lots of leaders and although she offers to do things for them, they say "no, its all under control", so she stands around doing nothing or talking to the girls. She may possibly move to help me, we get along really well, and she's helped at one-off events. She enjoys the age group too and works well with them, but its not definite, so fingers crossed on that score.
Kathy Briggs, Ranger Guider, 2nd Woodford Ranger Guides,
04 Mar 1997. They are keeping the details well under wraps..... If its anything like the other weekends aimed at the younger leaders it is a constant surprise! Apparently they have called it "Uncensored" which may give you a flavour of what is planned! I quote from the blurb: "If you are aged around 18-30(ish) and are active in Guiding, like to meet new people, have fun, have your say and, perhapse, revitalise your love of Guiding, then the Uncensored weekend could be right up your street. Six venues around the country have been booked for July 4-6.(ie Lorne, Foxlease, Waddow, Broneirion, Netherud and Buckinghamshire College). Every program will have a core, varied programme, but each will have a different emphasis. The topics are: Global Guiding Community action Publicity and people power Programme and training Today's challenges (issues facing the association and its members) Questions of Faith (the spiritual side of Guiding)
The cost will be keep as low as possible (30-35 pounds) because we want you there at this weekend run by young guiders for young guiders.
The title of the weekend says it all; there will be Uncensored opportunities, Uncensored programme ideas, Uncensored fun, Uncensored discussion. You alone set the direction of your life - Guiding offers you the protection of a piece of elastic to take with you, it lets you stretch yourself to the limit.
Never befores has the association given its young people such an opportunity, so don't waste it. Book up for Uncensored, the young Guiders weekend and leave your blue knickers at home!"
Broneirion in Wales
As some of you wondered what was "uncensored" about the conference, I'll try and explain! The weekend (July 5-6, 1997)was for Guiders aged 18-30 to get together in 6 venues around the UK. Each venue had a theme, e.g., international, social issues. Our theme at Broneirion in Wales was the spiritual side of Guiding. The program was devised and run by Young Guiders, with the idea that everyone would be "uncensored" in their thinking. Young Guiders sometimes find it hard to get their point across in their districts and at trainings with older guiders so this was an opportunity to say what you thought. This was aided by a large graffiti wall where everyone could write their thoughts and questions. We also had a question and answer sesssion with representatives from County, Country and HQ level.
We were also supposed to contact Guiders at each of the sites by email and fax, but it wasn't very successful as we didn't have sessions on the computers at the same time across the country. Several Guiders in Broneirion did talk to a couple of Scout leaders in an AOL chat room though.
At Broneirion there were about 24 Guiders from all over the UK. I got to meet Jane Yeadon from this list too! Many of the other Guiders were amazed when we started receiving email from Guiders/Leaders in other countries. They couldn't all grasp what was going on.
YiGGGS, Kathryn Monkhouse
UNCENSORED was billed as a weekend for Young Guiders to "be listened to, be valued, express their opinions, make a difference to the Association" (or words to that effect). It took place at 6 locations in the UK, each with a different theme but following a similar programme: a keynote speech, discussion groups, activities (eg. swimming, line-dancing, Internet),and a market place (ie different projects run by the Association, information about history/members with disabilities/international camps etc).
The venue I attended was in High Wycombe (about 20 miles north-west of London) at which the theme was "Tuesday nights and the rest of your life? - a look at programme and training issues". That was the only venue that isn't one of the GA's own training centres, the 5 others being scattered throughout the UK. Other themes were Community involvement and development, Religion, Publicity...can't remember the rest: programme and training was what appealed to me (plus the venue was easiest to get to: only an hour from Oxford (I don't have a car)).
We had the biggest number of participants: about 85 in the end; I think the smallest group was about 30 at Netherud (Scotland). Someone who visited 3 of the venues (in a weekend! - Lorne, Netherud & Bucks College (us)) commented that there was quite a different atmosphere at each one because of the different numbers.
Basically a lot of talking was done in between the sessions as people compared experiences as young Guiders, and made some (mostly) constructive criticism about the programme, where the Association is headed etc. Key themes in these discussions were recruitment, and retention, particularly of older girls, and linked with that, the programmes on offer. I don't know how similar the programme is in the UK to that in Canada: over here the programme has 8 points which are explored in different ways by the different sections (Brownies Guides and Senior Section/Rangers, and to a lesser extent by the Rainbows, who don't do badges or very structured things). The traditional means is through badgework, either by individual girls or by the unit as a whole...there are pros and cons of course for sticking to the traditional way of gaining "staged" badges known as Journeys (Brownies) and Trefoils (Guides), and for not doing any badges at all (which is a bit radical for some people!)
We were looking in one of the formal discussion groups (there were 6 on offer, of which you participated in two) at these issues: whether the programme and our methods are still relevant to girls today. No firm answers, of course, but we did feel that a greater flexibility with some of the requirements for Trefoils, etc., would be very beneficial. As the National Brownie Adviser was sitting in on the group, I think we can be confident that our views at least will make it back to CHQ. The National Guide Adviser also attended the weekend, and they (along with a former Chair of the Junior Council and the National P & T Adviser) took part in question time at the end of the conference. This was excellent, and as we were all able to meet with these four women, who are all extremely nice/forthright, I think the general feeling was that we were being listened to.
Other sessions were on leadership, formal qualifications (the jargon over here is NVQ - National Vocational Qualification) either as equivalents or as replacements for the existing GA qualifications (eg Campers' Licence, Training Licence), teamwork, channels of communication...and one other which I forget. The format was essentially a group of about 15 with a member of the venue team to start/guide discussion looking at various questions; we'd started with an ice-breaker type game/activity each time so nobody was tongue-tied! These sessions lasted about an hour and a quarter, though maybe a little more time would have been better.
Perhaps the biggest success of the conference was simply the meeting, talking and sharing, although sometimes (depending on who you were talking with) conversation could degenerate into complaining. I tried to steer things away from a "them (Guiders over 30) and us" line, because I don't personally think this is beneficial to the Association as a whole. There was a long session at the end for evaluation on a personal level, as well as on an Association and conference level: this I found very helpful, especially as it crystallised the themes of the weekend and what I had got out of it.
The general feeling was the GA has a future in the UK, that we had some specific suggestions to make about that future, and that these would be taken back to Council and Junior Council by the people from CHQ that I mentioned. The thing they were trying to get across to us, was to make noise back on the local level, which really is where it matters eg if you want a training that isn't offered, ASK and the trainers will try to provide it; if you're not sure what to do about the girl with epilepsy that's just joined your unit, ASK...communication goes both ways. I didn't have very much faith in the efficacity of channels of communication beforehand, but have certainly been inspired to be persistent....!
Comments About Link and SSAGO
01 December 1997
LINK is for 18 - 30 year olds. It is a non-uniformed branch of Scouting / Guiding, open to both men and women in the UK. I think it is also connected in some way to the Trefoil Guild. I know it exists in the UK and Canada, but I don't think it's here in the US. The purpose of LINK is to provide a way for young adults to stay involved in Scouting / Guiding when they can't make a regular weekly commitment to a troop due to new work commitments, young children, moving to a new area, etc. I've only ever been to one LINK meeting myself, but I believe that most LINK units do a mixture of providing service teams for local events, building on their own skills, and social events for themselves. In a way it's an extension of being a Ranger Guide (the equivalent of Seniors in UK).
LINK is not the same as a Student Scout and Guide Club. Student Scout and Guide Clubs are part of the Student Scout and Guide Organisation (SSAGO), and are based at places of higher or further education. However, I suspect that the activities are similar to those of LINK.
Guide Association Junior Council
As a member of Guiding I am very proud to represent my region (there are nine plus "British Guides in Foreign Countries") on Junior Council. This is a body of young women aged 16-26 who meet twice a year at a Guide centre for a weekend (there are about 6 centres around Britain). Once there we discuss issues, not just relating to 'young' women within the association, but based around our personal experience it can often be that, and topics that the association have in the pipeline and want an alternative opinion on. Our chair, who is elected by members, sits on the National Executive and although without vote, I am told is very much an important member of the head body of the association.
Aside from the immediate function of getting 'young' views on GA policy, the council also serves as a means by which young women can fast track into the association, examples include past members attending seminars all over the world, being trainers, becoming employed at CHQ, and in WAGGGS-Europe. (and many more!)
This year we're hoping to get in touch with another European country who has a similar body as aside from them ,we seem to be quite unique. Although it can be a lot of work (and after weekends its relaxing to get back to uni), I really feel as if I know what's going on in the Association, which I find really rewarding.
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