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How are you progressing with UMA hours?

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
I know there are mixed thoughts on the new programme, but I wanted to see how others are fitting it all in and where people are with gaining themes?

We are about to complete our second SB and one girl in particular is doing the appropriate interest badges each term which is fab, but I hate telling her we are no where near getting the UMA hours for her theme badge.

I think the highest UMA hours for any theme we have is currently 90 mins, the rest sit anything between 15min-45mins. At the rate we are going, I fear she will only get 1 theme complete before summer when she leaves unless I forgo the "balanced" attitude and just hammer one or two colours :(

It's not like we're ignoring them either, so far we've only had 1 or 2 nights where we didn't do any of the official programme. Does anyone else feel like the amount of hours is too much.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#2
The main thing to remember is that its aimed at long term planning, although I think the amount of hours is a bit too high IF we have to keep with the cards that exist rather than use any we make up ourselves. I know my older girls are not going to achieve anything with hours - even though they are the ones who all have most of the times from the first UMA pack that was sent out as a taster. The largest time I have recorded on any theme for any girl is one hour and 15 minutes. But there are going to be problems with girls who aren't starting with the new programme at the beginning of their journey - anyone caught in the transition doesn't have the time to achieve much. When the programme hits the third year of being run, things will start adding up.

But that said, my planning has the balance skewed to do a bit more of each theme in the terms after we do that theme as a skills builder So we're doing skills builders in Express Myself this term, so in each of the next two terms I'll be trying to cover at least 2 meetings of Express Myself UMAs (2 each term, total of 4). I've also put a further 2 slots spread out in other terms in my three year cycle.

My planning spreadsheet is very pretty. But the overall thought is that I make it possible for a theme award to be covered in three to five terms, rather than having all theme awards start to be earned at once you've reached 3 years. The ones I have planned in for the next few years will also be dependant on what ones the girls choose, at the moment the whole unit has no skills builders. We'll have to see how we manage it once some girls have 4 or 5, and some have none.
 

browniebeth

Brownie Leader
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#3
We are doing ok, but I'm not expecting to give out theme awards this year.

We're doing a lot of UMAs and 1 SB per term, but I'm focusing on getting the older ones through their 2nd adventure badge and into the transition gold award....as they have done a full programme and just circumstances that mean they won't get the themes.
 

JJJJ1980

Brownie Leader x 3
#4
I have used a spreadsheet created by someone on facebook to record our hours. For each of my three Brownie groups we have managed between 2-3 hours in total. So averaging 30 mins on each theme, my target is 40 mins per term. I think this is partly because we have chosen the simpler, shorter activities rather than commit to the longer ones. Once I add in what we have planned next term we are getting close to 8 hours over all so we are back on track. We are only planning one SB per term. They are designed to take about 2 years to earn a theme award so I think getting one by next summer will be a great achievement.
I think it is just going to take a while for us all to relax into accepting the theme awards will come when they come. We have been whipped up into the excitement of all these badges and awards that can be achieved and are impatient to get our girls achieving, especially when we have girls that are keen and engaged.
I am currently obsessing about hours and ticking all the boxes and enjoying playing with spreadsheets to track them but I think that will wear off shortly (or maybe not!)
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#6
I wouldn't expect to give out any theme awards in the next 12 months - but then, the programme is meant to run for 2 years or more (depending on your section). Anyone who is due to move on within the next 12 months can use the transition option to try for Gold Award if they wish. If they opt not to utilise the transition option they will still gain some Skill Builder badges, and become familiar with SBs and UMAs which will be useful when they move section and encounter them there.

So far, we're only half a term in, so essentially, units should be nowhere near completing the hours for any of the themes. Even by this time next year they should be just over halfway at most, if Rainbows - 1/3 of the way if Brownies, 1/4 of the way if Guides.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#7
I think they should just make it - " Do 4 official UMA cards" rather than do 4 hours. It's a lot of nonsense having 15 mins here, 20 mins there, especially when it doesn't make it clear to the girls in their badge books. They just have 4 circles to colour in and keep asking me to tick it off but I can't as they don't add up to an hour cleanly.
I agree, the badge books have no capacity to record UMAs as you do them, or for the girls to understand how much they've done. We write the time in the box within each theme award page, and they've been told that when the numbers add up to 240, then they have completed that part.

No-one thought this bit through. If the UMAs were all divisible by 15, then they could have put a visual grid in with 4 clock faces divided into quarters for example - colour them in as you go. But it would have been nice to be able to also write down the name of the UMAs they've done so that they can see what they actually did when they look back.
 
#8
We've done one UMA. Can't remember the time that was allocated. The UMAs are not our priority to be honest. We're grinding our way through SBs so some girls have a chance of getting a badge.
 

Burghilly

Veteran (100+ posts)
#9
Just a quick question- how many people became guide leaders to spend their whole lives calculating how many hours each girl has taken part in certain activities?

Trying not to be negative but having read this thread it seems a little sad we have now totally shifted away from what we 're doing to how long we spend doing it?

Not sure I became a leader to fill out spreadsheet and perform complex calculations to see how may SB and UMA's you can fit into 12 week ! The cards are certainly a fantastic resource to reduce planning time, but has this just been replaced with recording time? Given the choice I'd far rather spend an hour on Pinterest than an hour recording details on Go!
 

AnotherOwl

Regular (50+ posts)
#10
Just a quick question- how many people became guide leaders to spend their whole lives calculating how many hours each girl has taken part in certain activities?

Trying not to be negative but having read this thread it seems a little sad we have now totally shifted away from what we 're doing to how long we spend doing it?

Not sure I became a leader to fill out spreadsheet and perform complex calculations to see how may SB and UMA's you can fit into 12 week ! The cards are certainly a fantastic resource to reduce planning time, but has this just been replaced with recording time? Given the choice I'd far rather spend an hour on Pinterest than an hour recording details on Go!
This is very true. Hopefully this will get quicker as we get more used to the programme and find the best methods that work for us (in terms of planning the right hours etc.) but I guess only time will tell.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
I am aiming for around 10 hours per year of UMAs (Guides).

This is because:

- at Guide age, there will be people missing meetings for very sensible reasons (e.g. attending parents' evenings). I want to offer slightly more than the minimum number of UMAs to mean that these girls are not penalised.

- girls nominally spend four years in the Guide section, so they should have the opportunity to cover sufficient UMA hours and skills builders for each of the six themes, AND complete their Gold Award if they would like to do so. If we budget a quarter of the UMAs per year, then we are not necessarily leaving them time to do this - we want a little time in hand for any catching up required.

- whilst the girls will ideally be gaining Skills Builders as they go, and possibly interest badges, it would be great to get some Theme Awards along the way, rather than all within a few months at the end. As Pixielation says, a little skewing would allow this to happen. That doesn't necessarily mean a lack of balance: the Guide Know Myself UMAs so far include activities on firelighting, the Guide Law, international Guiding, learning names, a knotting/problem-solving challenge and Guides in wartime.
 

Willow

Veteran (100+ posts)
#12
Most of the UMAs we've tried have gone down well, and we've had some great, positive feedback from the girls. There are some good ideas included, with a mixture of traditional and new.

Almost all of them have taken longer than listed, largely because of the time taken for everyone to have a go - and we have a comfortably-sized unit, not an enormous one! (If we had a smaller unit, the Guides would be able to do more activities entirely of their choice??)

Some of the UMAs use resources in a way which seems wasteful: 'To flush or not to flush' uses a selection of items such as tampon, cotton bud, cotton wool ball, etc, per Patrol, which are put into a bottle of water and shaken to see if they dissolve or not - only to be thrown away afterwards. It does make the point nicely, but then all of those things and their wrappings are just thrown away. You can do it with pictures instead, which turns it into another paper and discussion based exercise. Should we do it again in a few years time, I'd consider turning it into an active game instead, and perhaps have one or two items in water for everyone to look at.

Some of them have an enormous list of items to collect for a 20-45 minute activity. It would be possible to spend two or three times the listed activity length - or indeed quite a lot more - preparing the materials, or organising their loan and return.

Some of them have very obvious answers: in some cases, I've covered these with a sticky note or washi tape (thanks, Trinny and Fenris!) but there is one which Leaders have to prepare the activity first, without letting the girls see the back of the card (and if you put the card into a pocket with a piece of paper over the back, the natural response would be to take it out to see the instructions, because that's how the cards work).

If these were optional, and we could record the time they actually take, I'd be such a happy bunny - because then we'd have fresh ideas to augment the girls' and leaders' suggestions, tried by real girls, which could be tweaked, extended or compressed to suit our unit, and the records would accurately reflect the time spent on them.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#13
If these were optional, and we could record the time they actually take, I'd be such a happy bunny - because then we'd have fresh ideas to augment the girls' and leaders' suggestions, tried by real girls, which could be tweaked, extended or compressed to suit our unit, and the records would accurately reflect the time spent on them.
Imagine if they'd just left it at "do 4 UMAs", then on each UMA they listed the activity with a section at the bottom to "take it further" and see how the girls can come up with activities that fit the theme. It would be much more relaxing and fun for all involved and would be much more valuable to the girls with actual girl-lead activities, rather than the current cram as many in as you can approach.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#14
Just a quick question- how many people became guide leaders to spend their whole lives calculating how many hours each girl has taken part in certain activities?

Trying not to be negative but having read this thread it seems a little sad we have now totally shifted away from what we 're doing to how long we spend doing it?

Not sure I became a leader to fill out spreadsheet and perform complex calculations to see how may SB and UMA's you can fit into 12 week ! The cards are certainly a fantastic resource to reduce planning time, but has this just been replaced with recording time? Given the choice I'd far rather spend an hour on Pinterest than an hour recording details on Go!
Nobody, but then it's not something I'm doing. We're doing UMAs regularly, interspersed with activities we'd have done anyway. We've recorded the UMAs the girls have done. But I haven't looked to see whether they are ahead on one topic as compared to another, whether it's entirely balanced or not. Over the piece, I daresay we'll cover a reasonable number of UMA hours across each topic. For now we don't need to concern ourselves with how many hours anyone has done, as the transition will apply to anyone who has a year to go or less. For those who have longer, then nearer the end of their time in the section we can look at what gaps they have, and which can be realistically filled - if they are one UMA activity away from a Theme Award we can look to do an activity from that subject. If they are one activity short of a Skill Builder we can look to fit it in.

We need to be careful not to add unnecessary complications.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#15
Imagine if they'd just left it at "do 4 UMAs", then on each UMA they listed the activity with a section at the bottom to "take it further" and see how the girls can come up with activities that fit the theme. It would be much more relaxing and fun for all involved and would be much more valuable to the girls with actual girl-lead activities, rather than the current cram as many in as you can approach.
For some, perhaps, if your girls are imaginative and keen to contribute. My units aren't great at contributing ideas, so for us that would be a painful tooth-drawing exercise at best, neither relaxing nor fun.
 

mustbemad

Veteran (100+ posts)
#16
I don't think the transition arrangements have been very well publicised - they weren't mentioned at our training until someone asked a question about them.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#17
I don't think the transition arrangements have been very well publicised - they weren't mentioned at our training until someone asked a question about them.
Do you know where they are on the website? I keep hearing there is a route to the gold badge using the old resources but I haven't seen anything?
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#19
Just a quick question- how many people became guide leaders to spend their whole lives calculating how many hours each girl has taken part in certain activities?

Not sure I became a leader to fill out spreadsheet and perform complex calculations to see how may SB and UMA's you can fit into 12 week ! The cards are certainly a fantastic resource to reduce planning time, but has this just been replaced with recording time? Given the choice I'd far rather spend an hour on Pinterest than an hour recording details on Go!
It's definitely become more demanding to fit defined activities in - quite a lot of them.

I've created a spreadsheet that does all the calculating for me, so I can just mark in what girls have done what, and it shows me progress.

I've also done a three year plan to ensure that we cover enough SBs and UMAs for girls to be able to get their theme awards and gold awards IF they turn up, and if they do the extra work. Without ensuring that enough is programmed in, it would be unfair to a girl who has attended regularly to turn around and say "sorry, you've got too many gaps to catch up with now." That puts the Gold award out of her hands through poor programming. (This is on the presumption that none of the feedback and suggestions we have make any difference to the current set up, but I do hope that some refinement allows this programme to become less restrictive.)

Imagine if they'd just left it at "do 4 UMAs", then on each UMA they listed the activity with a section at the bottom to "take it further" and see how the girls can come up with activities that fit the theme. It would be much more relaxing and fun for all involved and would be much more valuable to the girls with actual girl-lead activities, rather than the current cram as many in as you can approach.
I'd also be much happier with "Do 4 activities with your unit" for each theme and allow the girls or the leader to use prescribed cards OR create their own. In fact, I'd really rather the UMA section be something built more around the girls designing and running activities from an initial idea to make it more girl led and differentiate it from Skills Builders cards. I keep having to explain to my girls that we have SB cards, and we have UMA cards and they are different things. To them it's all cards. The activities on the cards aren't really that different. So it's lots of "do what's on the card" in meetings.

To define our meeting times as stuff from the new programme, and our own stuff is necessarily divisive. We should be finding that everything we do that isn't a pure game can fall under one of the six themes.
 

Spittal Belle

Beginner (10+ posts)
#20
Our brownies have covered many minutes of UMA's in most themes except Be Well, some will have covered 2 hrs 10m on Express Myself by the end of the session, so I will be offering more of the 1st and none of the 2nd this term to balance this out. My girls dont seem very imaginative with ideas when asked for them and always ask for the same things ie baking and crafts for this reason I have welcomed the UMA's to give them choice and variety. I will be presenting at least 2 Interest badges tonight Baking and Painting most girls chose badges from Express myself so will be offering this theme's SB's next term so that they can achieve the Theme award when they make up the remaining hours.