Blog / May 25th, 2022
Peer education Summer Update
Hi everyone, welcome to our first of many peer education blog posts! My name is Hannah, and I am one of the Region Peer Education Coordinators. I officially took on the role in October 2021 and was soon joined by Jade. You’ll hear from her in a future blog, but I think we make a cracking team, if I do say so myself.
Peer education struggled a bit during the pandemic. It was a really difficult time for lots of young people, with virtual exams (or no exams) and moving across the country to start university in lockdown. We also couldn’t hold any peer education trainings, as these are organised regionally and need to be face-to-face. However, we have just held our first basic training in a while, and we are all buzzing with excitement about peer ed moving forwards!
Peer educators are young members of Girlguiding aged 14-25 years old, who are trained to run sessions on a variety of topics for Brownies, Guides and Rangers. As peer educators are closer in age to the session participants, messages come across differently from when others deliver the same topics, and the girls certainly tell us they get a lot from this peer-led interaction. Current topics include mental health resilience, breaking gender stereotypes, and our new topic – Safe the World. This topic is all about your rights to being safe as a young person, and how you can look after yourself.
I’d never been to a peer education training weekend before and was interested to see what happens. All the peer educators-in-training arrived on Friday evening. We had dinner, then the girls had some free time to get to know each other before an early night – as the Saturday training was jam-packed! Bacon or egg baps for breakfast, the trainers started on the morning sessions. I did the catering for the weekend so got a birds’ eye view of what was going on from the kitchen which opened out onto the main room. There were lots of different sessions, with loads of hands-on practice of different skills you need to be a peer educator, like active listening, teamwork, communication, and dealing with the unexpected. The trainers are all current or former peer educators and made the sessions fun – there wasn’t much sitting around and chatting, instead, there were obstacle courses and challenges!
There was a bit of free time in the evening to get badges from the Guide centre we stayed at. We then had dinner and watched a movie to relax after a long day. Sunday was focused on the topic training, so learning all about the Safe the World resource and how to deliver it in units. I got to join in and pretend to be a Brownie to help the peer educators learn how to manage different scenarios in units, which was fun, and was really rewarding to see how the peer educators had all grown in confidence and skill levels across the weekend. We finished the weekend with 8 new peer educators for region – before this training, we have 16 peer educators delivering, so this is quite an increase.
We’ve learnt lots of lessons and are looking forwards to our next training (including topic training on Think Resilient), which will be held on the 25 – 27 November 2022 in Scout Park, London. Applications are open, and the application form can be found here:
If you are an existing peer educator and would like to attend on the Sunday for topic training, please contact your county coordinator to book on.