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New Programme Interest Badges

#1
Ladies I need your help? I need ideas for how to encourage and support girls (all sections) to complete interest badges out of unit meetings.

Lots of negativity in my county so far, so I want to organise a session at the County Training Day in March to help leaders with this.

All suggestions welcome
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
Well, I'm sure you're aware that the official stance is that it doesn't matter if girls don't complete badges, and they're only expecting a small number of girls to get theme or gold awards. Interest badges should not be done in the meeting place or on camps etc. However, it is disheartening somewhat to put a lot of effort into running a balanced programme with all the UMAs and SBs a girl needs, but no one even getting a theme award.

I would say that it depends on the reason that girls in your area are not completing badges.
-If it is due to cost of materials (and for the baking badge, that could easily be a reason), then one could run a meeting where several activities are available, one of which being the baking badge clause 3 or whatever.
-If it is due to lack of parental support, then perhaps what is needed is for a leader to have some one on one time with a girl at the start or end of a meeting, to ask about the interest badges she'd like to achieve, and help her think of ways she can do that. For example for the aviation badge, they have to think of 40 things that fly. A leader could support this by getting the girl to split it up into natural things, animals, big man made things and little man made things, or things with an engine, things with wings, things that use wind etc.
-If it is due to girls having lots of extracurriculars on, and no time for Brownie badges outside the meeting then there's not much we can do about that! Although you could suggest they give something like Performance or Dancer a go if they already have some skill in that area.
-If it's due to not knowing about certain badges, then doing a similar activity in the unit and then flagging the badge as an opportunity for extension could work. For example, during a skill builder you make fajitas and a kid loves it. You can suggest she looks at doing the baking badge.

Does that help you at all? I'm not sure I could fill a whole training on it though!
 

browniebeth

Brownie Leader
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#3
An idea that we have been considering is to run a day as a division whereby one clause might be covered from a selection of badges, as a taster, then they are encouraged to finish the rest off at home. At the moment we're waiting to see if many do badges off their own back, I have had lots of intention but minimal evidence thus far, but early days....
 

growlywench

Veteran (100+ posts)
#4
Some girls won't know how to approach it, and that's the bit you show them in meetings, what's available and discuss how they might achieve. Teach them how to plan doing a badge. Timetable sessions when they can bring their evidence in to show you. Generally look for ways to encourage, not barriers.
 
#5
An idea that we have been considering is to run a day as a division whereby one clause might be covered from a selection of badges, as a taster, then they are encouraged to finish the rest off at home. At the moment we're waiting to see if many do badges off their own back, I have had lots of intention but minimal evidence thus far, but early days....
An idea that we have been considering is to run a day as a division whereby one clause might be covered from a selection of badges, as a taster, then they are encouraged to finish the rest off at home. At the moment we're waiting to see if many do badges off their own back, I have had lots of intention but minimal evidence thus far, but early days....
An idea that we have been considering is to run a day as a division whereby one clause might be covered from a selection of badges, as a taster, then they are encouraged to finish the rest off at home. At the moment we're waiting to see if many do badges off their own back, I have had lots of intention but minimal evidence thus far, but early days....
 

Spittal Belle

Beginner (10+ posts)
#7
I've had 2 girls complete 2 parts and another 3 1 part, trying to wait it out and encourage them as much as possible, feel vexed for one girl with 4 brothers and parents are run ragged without adding extra's.
 

KRAIN

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
We had one Rainbow this week cam in with her evidence and she has done the three badges needed to do the Gold award and another has done two and is doing the third this week. That is for one unit the other even though parents have asked about them none have actually done them.
 

Burghilly

Veteran (100+ posts)
#9
So far none of my guides have done an interest badge - even though they were very enthusiastic about the new selection. I think this is because it's such a change from the way we worked before. We used to do an interest badge per term as a unit and as yet I don't think they ve got their heads round the idea of working independently at home.

We 're have a badges night next week to help them choose what they might like to do. As suggested above I think we might also spend some time on planning and how to approach working on badges . I think this might help build their confidence to give them a try.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#10
I noticed on our county facebook someone posted pics of their unit doing a brownie interest badge together, there was also a comment from another unit that they had enjoyed a different brownie interest badge together. Lots of people, including the commissioners, were liking the post. I guess some units are just doing the badges during unit time without any problems though it seems unfair that if you stick to the rules your girls will miss out on theme badges?
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#11
I think it's far too early to judge whether or not extra help is needed. Yes, some units have started using the programme already, but plenty of other aren't starting until January, and some not until Easter or next Summer. And the girls are most likely to work on badges during school holidays, as that is when they will have time away from the pressures of school, and free from their regular weekly commitments. Other than the October mid-term holiday, they haven't had any school holidays yet, so we have no way of telling whether they will embrace the interest badges enthusiastically or not.

I really think the planning for such a session should wait until at least January, only then will we know whether there is a need or not.
 

Spittal Belle

Beginner (10+ posts)
#12
I noticed on our county facebook someone posted pics of their unit doing a brownie interest badge together, there was also a comment from another unit that they had enjoyed a different brownie interest badge together. Lots of people, including the commissioners, were liking the post. I guess some units are just doing the badges during unit time without any problems though it seems unfair that if you stick to the rules your girls will miss out on theme badges?
This is also happening in our area, some with Division commissioners posting pics of badges done at guides. I have a small unit and the other units are very large, all new girls are going elsewhere, trying to play by the rules but this may result in the closure of a unit which should be celebrating its centenary in 5 years time. we have 4 guiders and girls seem to be enjoying the new programme.
 

Burghilly

Veteran (100+ posts)
#13
One of the key things that came out of our county new programme training was that interest badges can NOT be done during meeting or at camp.

We grilled the trainers in depth on this, including a session on barriers towards girls doing badges at home and how we might break through them and facilitate.

I agree with Fenris- we need to give the new interest badge programme a chance. Its very easy for us as leaders to assume all girls can't or won't do any badges at home. Its a big change in the way we do things so might take a little while for the girls to get the idea.

I freely admit I used to do an interest badge a term as is was a useful 'structure ' to plan the meetings around, but with so many UMA s and Skills builders now to give the term structure interest badges might take a back seat.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#14
I've been ruminating on this, and I have come up with another list of reasons why one might like to do interest badges in the unit:
- Interest badges are an easy structure. Yes. But so are skills builders, and there is no reason why you couldn't do two activities from one and two from another in a term if you wanted more variety.

- it's nice for the girls to get a badge. Again, the skills builders have badges but you could also try unofficial challenge badges, or better yet, the LaSER paw prints. They contain lots of ideas to get you out and about, they come with a badge and there's no set time or number of clauses to do.

- They'll never get a theme award if we don't do badges in the unit. Well, that's true. But maybe here the issue is other leaders. Maybe some leaders are scared of being seen as failures if they never award any theme awards, and I suspect GG will do an article at some point like "Wow, 5 million girls have now received theme awards! Well done them and their leaders!" But actually, unlike the old programme, this is no longer in our control and as leaders we have to be kinder to each other. As long as units are spending about 60% of their time on UMAs or SBs, everyone should be happy with that - even if that's not enough to meet the criteria of the highest awards.
 

Burghilly

Veteran (100+ posts)
#15
Maybe some leaders are scared of being seen as failures if they never award any theme awards, and I suspect GG will do an article at some point like "Wow, 5 million girls have now received theme awards! Well done them and their leaders!" But actually, unlike the old programme, this is no longer in our control and as leaders we have to be kinder to each other. As long as units are spending about 60% of their time on UMAs or SBs, everyone should be happy with that - even if that's not enough to meet the criteria of the highest awards.
I am certainly feeling the pressure of the new programme - so much so that having started in September I'm now totally reining back until we have to do it in September. Until then we will dip in and dip out off the new stuff.

I feel life is already full of enough pressures for both leaders and girls. If the ideology of the new programme that we should all be pushing hard to get those theme awards presented its exhausting and stressful.....
( must run catchup sessions for those who miss SB's. Have we done enough UMA hours? Are girls completing the right interest badges? ) ..... It's all a lot of pressure on leaders and girls.

I thought guiding was meant to be fun which is why we are now going much more slowly with the new stuff.
 

GirlFromMars

Veteran (100+ posts)
#16
I am certainly feeling the pressure of the new programme - so much so that having started in September I'm now totally reining back until we have to do it in September. Until then we will dip in and dip out off the new stuff.

I feel life is already full of enough pressures for both leaders and girls. If the ideology of the new programme that we should all be pushing hard to get those theme awards presented its exhausting and stressful.....
( must run catchup sessions for those who miss SB's. Have we done enough UMA hours? Are girls completing the right interest badges? ) ..... It's all a lot of pressure on leaders and girls.

I thought guiding was meant to be fun which is why we are now going much more slowly with the new stuff.
I noticed that when we planned our second term with the new programme (Oct-Dec). After Halloween, Xmas and St Andrews we still managed to fit in a Skill Builder. But then I was still trying to slot in UMAs in betweeen other activities too. Then I just had to tell myself to pull back and just let the girls play some games during filler time. I know they will prefer to do that than more structured learning activities. It's just too much I feel.
 

Pixielation

Brown Owl (x2)
#17
I awarded my first interest badge last night - after a reminder to parents that the girls needed to bring in their evidence to show us for each of the three challenges.

I've also awarded my first skills builders badges, to 8 of my girls after we ran an activity day for the district to do Camp, stage 3 at our local property. We had 24 Brownies and Guides do all 5 clauses on the same day. It worked really well, although two of the 5 cards have pretty much the same charades based activity on them, which was noted.

I was hoping to do something similar with Explore, stage 2 or 3 - and after looking through the cards, I am so disappointed to see that Explore is done entirely inside. Gobsmacked. Should be called Inplore.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#18
I am certainly feeling the pressure of the new programme - so much so that having started in September I'm now totally reining back until we have to do it in September. Until then we will dip in and dip out off the new stuff.

I feel life is already full of enough pressures for both leaders and girls. If the ideology of the new programme that we should all be pushing hard to get those theme awards presented its exhausting and stressful.....
( must run catchup sessions for those who miss SB's. Have we done enough UMA hours? Are girls completing the right interest badges? ) ..... It's all a lot of pressure on leaders and girls.

I thought guiding was meant to be fun which is why we are now going much more slowly with the new stuff.
Is the ideology that we should be pushing hard to get the theme awards presented? No, I don't think it is. They are available for those girls who wish to aim for them. An option. But I don't feel any expectation or pressure that the girls will get them, because it's entirely up to them whether they want to aim at that target or not. All I am responsible for is providing the means - ensuring that they work on Skills Builders regularly, and have the opportunity to do one on each theme during their time in the unit. Regularly running UMAs so that if they attend regularly, they have the chance to clock up enough minutes towards a Theme Award. Arranging for a member of the unit team to be available each week to look over any badge work brought in, and record any progress thus made. Obtaining the badges earned, and presenting them.

That's it. The rest is in the girls' hands. If they want to get a theme award, then they do an interest badge. If they aren't fussed, they don't. Those who opt not to do interest badges can still earn Skill Builders, can still do a varied programme of UMAs, can still enjoy a varied programme. And can still enjoy the fun.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#19
Is the ideology that we should be pushing hard to get the theme awards presented? No, I don't think it is. They are available for those girls who wish to aim for them. An option. But I don't feel any expectation or pressure that the girls will get them, because it's entirely up to them whether they want to aim at that target or not. All I am responsible for is providing the means - ensuring that they work on Skills Builders regularly, and have the opportunity to do one on each theme during their time in the unit. Regularly running UMAs so that if they attend regularly, they have the chance to clock up enough minutes towards a Theme Award. Arranging for a member of the unit team to be available each week to look over any badge work brought in, and record any progress thus made. Obtaining the badges earned, and presenting them.
Totally agree with this. I think in the launch, there has been too much made of the theme and gold awards, and not the enough focus on the journey and the things learnt along the way.

However, here is where it gets awkward: is my role to spend 60% of time on the new programme, or is it to ensure that six SBs and 24 hours of UMAs could be completed? Because actually for some units, that isn't the same thing. Assuming a SB lasts 4 meetings, and I do a 10 week term, that's 2 meetings to do UMAs (a max of 2.5 hours a term). Suddenly I run out of time. And this is the difficulty - we have been told what to deliver, and that it should take this long, but when it doesn't, it is the leaders who feel the pressure.

Hopefully as leaders we can all be supportive to others, and try to enjoy the transition year.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#20
Totally agree with this. I think in the launch, there has been too much made of the theme and gold awards, and not the enough focus on the journey and the things learnt along the way.

However, here is where it gets awkward: is my role to spend 60% of time on the new programme, or is it to ensure that six SBs and 24 hours of UMAs could be completed? Because actually for some units, that isn't the same thing. Assuming a SB lasts 4 meetings, and I do a 10 week term, that's 2 meetings to do UMAs (a max of 2.5 hours a term). Suddenly I run out of time. And this is the difficulty - we have been told what to deliver, and that it should take this long, but when it doesn't, it is the leaders who feel the pressure.

Hopefully as leaders we can all be supportive to others, and try to enjoy the transition year.
60% is an estimate. For some units, the new programme may take up less time than that, the aim is for it not to take up more than. It also depends on a range of factors - smaller units will find some activities run quicker than they do for larger units - if you have two groups giving their three-minute playlet it'll inevitably be quicker than allowing 4 groups to have their turns. It'll also depend on unit meeting length - some Brownie units have 75 minutes per week and others have 90, some Guide units have 90 minutes and others have 120. There may be some activities which the girls are keen about and they may naturally run longer because the girls are enthused. With others, the girls may race through them faster than anticipated, that's fine too.

The aim is for the girl to get the chace of the 6 Skills Builders and enough UMA minutes on each theme, over her time in the unit (assuming she is in the unit for the standard age range or close to it). It's up to you whether you opt to space the SBs and UMAs evenly across the term, or if, for instance, you reserve several weeks of the summer term for outdoor activities such as wide games, backwoods skills etc, and do more of the programme activities across the winter and spring when it's dark and cold outdoors.