Subs for online meetings and spreading Guiding good.

>>  Monday, May 04, 2020

Pre lockdown life I was running Rangers meeting every two weeks.  Week on, week off was less onerous for me.  I had time to get plans together, get accounts done and all the other gazillion paper work jobs that come with running a unit.

Once girlguiding sent out the notice that meetings were to stop (a week or so before the government lockdown came into force) I knew I needed to move online.

It was no stress, online meetings are my life at work, I know it works fine and activities would present themselves if I spent a bit of time thinking about it.

I reviewed software I already use like Skype, web-ex, gotomeeting but ultimately Zoom won through sheer ease of use and with careful use of security controls it would be safe.  I was eye rolling in the extreme as the media went wild about meetings being zoom-bombed etc.   It's not so hard to apply some basic security that means most triers will just no bother with your meeting and move on!

I also decided a paid for account would be best, no messing with timeouts, guaranteed feature usage rather than an at a whim "no longer available to free accounts" and I also hoped for some bandwidth priority to paying customers.  This is easy to justify as a unit expense and actually less expensive than rent.

The girls got on really well with it and really enjoyed the time they were 'virtually' spending together.  So we upped to weekly and sometimes twice weekly meetings and they started to fly through the programme and I am having to buy a lot of badges.

So whilst I am not buying biscuits and other normal meeting type expenses I am paying virtual rent and paying for badges.   To ask for subs or not to ask for subs?   This is a difficult question, many parents will be furloughed or without work but at the same time I am now putting in 3 times as much effort to delivering meetings and support  (for usual volunteer free though) , and I have the unit expenses to pay out.  

So after a long thunk I decided  to ask for a payment of one quarter of the normal subs, made it very clear it was a voluntary contribution not a required payment and that I would only ask for it once and never chase for payment again.

So far a few parents have sent the money through but I think what has made me more heartened than anything is the comments that have come with it:

"Thank you so much for putting on the sessions via Zoom, she has really enjoyed these so far, it's great for the girls to still be able to get together as a group & have some chilled out fun and giggles"

"I think the meetings you've been doing with them have been brilliant and she has got loads from them."

"last night sounded so much fun. A much needed morale boost. thank you"

"Many thanks for doing the meetings it is definitely a highlight of her week."

"Wanted to say thank you for all your hard work with rangers online- it really does make a difference giving them some structure still.  Its lovely hearing her chatter and laughter from upstairs.  You're doing a fab job and it's really appreciated by rangers and parents"

And that is why I am a guider, I make a difference to a few girls lives.  And those few girls will develop more because of that and they in turn will do the same for others. 

Infographic showing exponential growth of a virus

It's the same exponential growth as a virus except with only good bits!


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