Friday, 18 January 2008

Par-tay

Census party tonight.

For those uninitiated - and boy I wish I was! - on Feb 22 each year Girlguiding UK want to know exactly how many members they have. From just turned 4 (Rainbows in Northern Ireland can start at 4 even though it's 5 elsewhere and no, I don't know why) right up to the oldest member of the Trefoil Guild.

For parents, that means forking out an annual subscription fee of anything between £12 and £25. That's right, we don't have one annual subscription fee, it depends where you live. National office set a basic amount then each of the following can add on to it: regional, county, division, district. So even within the town where we live, girls could be paying one of 5 different annual subscription fees, because we have 5 districts.

Our division set the fee at £15 and another £1.50 was added by the district. Of that £1.50, £1 per girl goes on things like district admin costs, insurance for the district's garage full of tents, maintenance of the above tents and so on. The remaining 50p is for a party. Girlguiding UK will be 100 in September 2009 and our district doesn't yet know what we will do to celebrate but by saving 50p from each girl this year and the same next year, hopefully we will be able to cover the cost of whatever venue we hire.

So anyway, as far as our Brownie parents are concerned, they fork out £16.50 at the worst time of the year (January) on top of the term's subs (£18) and it's all over with for another year.

As far as the Guiders go...not so much. We - and I say we, I mean me, because someone has to sit down and count and fill in the forms! - have to fill in a detailed form all about how many Brownies we have and of what age (I mean exactly, how many 7s, how many 8s etc), the Brownies background (eg white, Indian), how many girls are on the waiting list, how many of those girls are 7 etc.

Then we have to fill in a form about the leaders - what leaders we have, what role they have, whether we are paying the subscription for them or if it is being paid somewhere else (for example, my Assistant Guider is also an Assistant Guide Guider - only one unit pays for her, the other marks her as paid elsewhere. We take it in turns to pay for her!).

Then we sit with the chequebook and work out 24 times £16.50 and however many Guiders we are paying for times £15 then write an incredibly large cheque.

Normally we do this in the privacy of our own homes. This year, our new district commissioner wants to make it easier on us so is throwing a party where we do the forms then have a wee drink. This could be a great idea or I could end up screaming because I can't concentrate. But I do appreciate her having the idea and I am going to give it a try.

If you have read this far, you are a wonderful person.

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