Welcome to this month’s edition of Signpost.
There are signs of Spring all around us with blossom and early spring flowers bursting into life. Spring gives us a feeling of hope and a new start and one year on from the first lockdown we are full of hope and optimism that with the easing of restrictions life will begin to feel a little more normal.
Lots of you will be making plans to meet face to face, I know I am and especially meeting the girls who have joined and made their Promise via zoom and have never experienced face to face guiding.
Keep a look out for the launch of further themes from The Buzz About Anglia challenge and don’t forget to share with us what you are doing, we would love to see photos of some of the amazing things you are getting up to. This month we have a selection of new activities from the next 4 themes for you, this can all be found here or down below in the newsletter.
Well done to everyone who has been working their way through the themes of the Buzz About Anglia challenge which have already been released. Thank you to Avril Brampton from Essex West who sent in these images of her learning to create Rangoli!
Remember to always tag Girlguiding Anglia on social media so your images can be shared with everyone!
This month we saw the launch of the new Girlguiding Anglia Facebook page which came with loads of interesting content for our members. Thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to share or re-like the page, you support means a lot to us. If you would like to visit the new Facebook you can find it here, be sure to like/follow the page to stay up to date on all the latest news, resources, and giveaways!
Deputy Region Chief
It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? We are now coming up to a year since the first lockdown was announced and 2020 was certainly not been what we expected. Despite everything going on around them, our girls, leaders and volunteers rose to the challenge and adapted to a new way of guiding.
We are continually amazed at the creativity and dedication of our volunteers as they adapt activities and offer girls and young women as many opportunities and activities as they can. We have heard from so many parents how important guiding and a little slice of normality has been for girls and young women.
Claire Course, County Commissioner, and Netta Record, Assistant County Commissioner
Some of our highlights from 2020!
Cambs East inaugural STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) event in February 2020, when over 1000 girls, leaders and volunteers enjoyed a day of hands-on activities, exciting experiments, exhilarating engineering, cool construction and marvellous maths!
With the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and in partnership with Girlguiding Cambridgeshire West, we launched the Lord-Lieutenant’s Challenge in February 2020. This give girls and young women opportunities to stretch themselves as they learn about and serve their local community, before taking positive action to improve their lives and the lives of others.
In April 2020, the Jarman Centre, the Girlguiding Cambs East residential centre in Newmarket, offered an egg-citing Easter challenge in for girls and their families to complete at home instead of their usual family fun day. Over 400 people took part!
Girls were out there serving their community too! Rainbow, Nevaeh-Joy, raised £450 for the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust doing a sponsored walk, and Maisie, a Brownie, raised over £800 from her own hospital bed for Starlight Children’s Foundation.
What’s to come in 2021?
Members celebrated a virtual World Thinking Day together on our YouTube channel on Sunday, 21 February. Activities included international crafts from all the WAGGGS regions and a special time to renew our Promise led by members, including a Rainbow. It’s not too late to get involved or order the badge! (Last order date: 31 March)
The Jarman Centre team are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back as soon as they can but, in the meantime, all members and their families are invited to take part in a fun-filled virtual sleepover, packed with Jarman Centre themed activities. The main event will be on Saturday 27 March to Sunday 28 March, but the challenge can be completed in unit meetings or as a family over the Easter break.
The change to doing everything online has been tough for some children and volunteers. We know that many of our volunteers just haven’t had the time or the headspace for online guiding between work online or work as a keyworker or unexpectedly home-schooling or caring for family members in a really challenging time. To try to offer guiding to those girls where online meetings haven’t been an opportunity, we are excited to be starting monthly Zoom meetings for each section across the county.
There’s been some small benefits to online meetings too that we wouldn’t have expected at the start of this!
During UK Parliament Week, Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner joined several Rainbow units to share the story of Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night from his office in the Houses of Parliament.
Last month, 5th Cambridge Brownies celebrated Chinese New Year with a virtual sleepover and joined Canadian Sparks and Brownie units for an international campfire.
After a difficult 2020, 2021 provides us with many opportunities to provide another generation of girls with fun, adventure and the space to discover their potential. As current volunteers know it is incredibly rewarding making this difference to so many girls lives and having a team of adults and young women to support us makes it all possible.
Joint social media campaign
From 19 April 2021, for 6 weeks, Girlguiding and Scouts will be running a joint campaign to recruit more volunteers to our organisations. By making sure volunteers are supported, and units have the teams they need we will have a solid foundation in which to welcome young people back as well as providing an enjoyable experience for every volunteer.
If you feel you would benefit from some targeted online recruitment please speak to your commissioner if they haven’t contacted you already.
Local is best!
Did you know? Each county has a volunteer with the role of County Growth Coordinator, some Divisions have the role as well.
In a recent grant-funded project, work was conducted to see which were the most successful ways of recruiting volunteers and the finding were that local is best! Below are a few tips for when you need a few more volunteers.
- Start by finding out if parents have skills or interests that could help. Remember that some of this information might be captured in the volunteering section of their daughter’s starting form.
- Share your vacancies with parents and ask them to share with their networks. Who better to ask for help than the people who see first-hand how much Girlguiding benefits girls?
- Include information of vacancies when sending letters to parents along with the term’s programme, bringing their attention to the weeks you need help.
- If you’re struggling to find a certain skill keep at it but remember to change the adverts regularly to keep them fresh and let people know you are still looking.
- If advertising on social media (Facebook community groups are brilliant for this) include:
- A link to girlguiding.org.uk/interested in your post.
- Some or all of the following hashtags; #InspireGirls, #FutureGirl, #GirlsCan, #EveryGirl, #Volunteer
- Hashtags for your community
- Make the adverts fun and in line with our key messages, you can find them here on the Girlguiding website and some images you can use from our own member resource centre.
- Support those that offer to help – give them specific tasks to the vacancy they responded to. You can give them more responsibility over time if they are interested in doing more.
- Add any new volunteers on GO as unit or occasional helpers so they will receive regular newsletters and other volunteer information.
What’s in a welcome?
Did you know? In Anglia, during the pandemic, over 200 members began their Leadership Qualification and over 250 new Unit Helpers joined us!
Before beginning recruitment, it is essential to invest some time in making sure you are set up for a warm welcome. A feeling of welcome can last a lifetime and sets a volunteer on a positive journey to finding their role within Girlguiding and can even bring them back later if they’ve stood back for a while.
Each county has its own processes for ensuring members are warmly welcomed and if you have any questions you can contact your commissioner or even your County Enquiry Coordinator through the directory section of your GO log in.
There are also resources you can use with new starters, resources for people supporting new volunteers and brilliant fun films for a warm welcome, featuring existing members, young women and girls, all available within the toolkit for a warm welcome on the Girlguiding website.
To LQ or not to LQ?
Did you know? The membership database, GO, contains 176 different volunteer roles types.
As lives change volunteering and what our young members are asking for has changed as well. Many units are moving away from a weekly meeting and are looking instead at school holiday guiding, monthly weekend meetings, online units that only meet face to face for camps and trips and everything in between. As well as thinking about what roles would be beneficial to you and your unit or area please don’t think that because a volunteer can’t make evening meetings there isn’t a role for them. Pass any enquiry not suitable for your area up to your district, division or even county commissioner as they will be able to help find the perfect role for that volunteer.