>>  Tuesday, October 16, 2018

We are currently undergoing a time of change in Guiding.  There is a new programme happening that flows through from Rainbows to Rangers.

It's really good that as girls transition through each stage of Guiding they will understand how they can earn badges and gain awards because the terminology will be the same every time.

The interest badges change with each section as their interests change and develop with age. 

 The skills builders grow in complexity as the girls get older.  

They have to do more hours of meeting activities with each section progression.  (This one I'm not so happy about, I believe a Ranger doing A-levels has considerably less time to give to Guiding than a Rainbow, not more.)

So far so (mostly) good then.

But for Rangers there are parts of this programme I think are quite stinky:  it isn't as flexible for the Rangers as the previous programme and doesn't take into account the skills they are acquiring outside of the programme (but often still within Guiding) .  For example, they will have to complete 5 hours of unit meeting activities for the 'Be Well' theme even if they did a 7 hour Guiding First Response (first aid for leaders) course.  Now I would value the training course higher and would say "it's ok to tick off 'Be Well' meeting time being as you spend half your weekend learning how to save lives" But the new programme doesn't allow for that flexibility, if they miss the meetings when those types of activities are covered they won't 'hit' the hours needed.

The activities are provided as activity cards with an exact way to run it and an exact amount of time that will be credited towards the award for each girl that does it.   You can see how that would work for a Brownie Unit, it's fantastic.  But for Rangers that have just completed NCS and spent weeks with people they've never met before, planning and self leading large scale charity fundraising or a community project - they can't use a bean of that towards the 'Take Action' unit meeting time, they would have to do another night of how to plan a community action.  This is going to turn some girls  off so much with an 'I spent 3 weeks doing that and raising £100s, is that not recognised?' - no, it's not.

I think the new programme could be good, it could go a long way for many years but I think it has teething problems.  That's fine and normal for new things but I'm stuck in a guiding world where that doesn't seem to be recognised or even prepared to be discussed.  We have really been set on a my way or the high way road.

So for me  currently, the problem is not the change itself so much as the autocratic attitude of a lot of guiding. It is getting me down. I think great ideas and growth can come from all people. Ideas need to be put out there and it's ok to be told that might not work because this, or that isn't totally right because that but I am fed up of people being shut down before they are given a chance to speak out. 'you can only do exactly what it says on the cards', 'you can't share secondary resources you have created even if they work and could help others', 'you can't have an opinion if it is not positive towards the latest methodology'.

Things rarely come off the drawing board as perfect, it's why there are customer focus groups, ideas pools, feedback, reviews. Trying to discuss any of this with the teams in Guiding producing the programme is useless,  all that is coming back is the preset 'marketing hype'.   Why not encourage discussion, idea sharing: this worked for me, this didn't work for me, this is what I tried. 

It feels like there is a suppression of individual creativity that is grinding me down.  It's tiring kicking back against it and it's not why I am in Guiding.  It's great to be 'for the girl' but after so many years it also is much more about 'for me' .  When a volunteer gets more out of it mentally and as an enjoyable hobby then it is a win-win for everyone but currently I'm finding it a real frustration.   I use to tell the girls at planning time they could plan a trip to the moon if they wanted to, as long as they could budget it out and risk assess it and I loved that lack of walls, encouragement of imagination and self drive that still allowed them to achieve awards.

I feel restricted by the new programme but more than anything restricted by the new autocracy. 

I don't fit it well.


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