Monday, 4 January 2010

Midlands Carnival

One of the Guiding events we were planning on taking part in in 2010 is the Midlands Carnival, more than 20,000 members of Guiding were going to parade through the centre of Birmingham and have fun in Centenary Square. Sadly, building work has put paid to that idea, despite a booking of more than two years standing. The Midlands team came up with an alternative, to use the NEC (a massive conference centre) and while this did not sound as much fun as parading in a city centre, it seemed a good compromise to let everyone take part.

Sadly, the NEC has let Girlguiding Midlands down too, and has said they can't accommodate us either, it took them quite a long time to decline during which time GG Midlands thought we had a booking and started to spread the word.

Still, they are not to be thwarted and have come up with another idea: take over Drayton Manor Theme Park instead.

I'm divided about it.

I realise that GG Midlands were caught between a rock and a hard place because the original and then the second venue let us down. And I think my girls would like a theme park trip, we've done Girlguiding day at Legoland before and that was a big hit. I like that it will be only GG in there too, makes it more secure.

However, we have to rebook by Feb (I think?) We had budgeted the carnival at £7 a head including the £2 charge, the train to Birmingham and a souvenir. We were able to cover the £210 for Brownies, young leaders and leaders to go from Brownie funds so there was going to be no charge to families.

Even at the heavily reduced £8 a head admission (and that is a fantastic admission price for a park that normally costs over £20 a head), the trip is likely to become around £18 a head as we would now have to use a coach. That's £540 for everyone to go instead of £210. I don't feel I can ask parents for £18 or even £11 (deducting the £7 we would have paid) at the same time as I am asking them for £20 subs and £18 census when they have also just paid £8 for going to a pantomime.

I need to talk it over with the other Brownie leaders, we may yet make it work, but my instinct is we may have to let this one go.

I am not cross or disappointed with Girlguiding Midlands, I do appreciate this has been a nightmare for them and well done them for coming up with a solution. It's just a shame that the solution increased our costs by about 150%.


Tawny said...

I know the feeling, there is so much going on this year we are limiting numbers do we can take as many girls to as many things as possible

Jen on the Edge said...

That's such a shame.

Have you thought about taking a poll of the parents? If I were given a choice to pay more for a more fun activity, I wouldn't hestitate to say yes.

Anonymous said...

I would also ask the parents or offer a payment system ie £1 a week to cover the £11 (I know tricky to collect but spreads the cost) or can you join with other local groups and share a coach to cut the costs there (or is that already happening?) or even just let those of your girls that wish to go tag along with you and another group if you do not get enough? Decisions decisions, I am d sure you will make the right one in the end.


TopChamp said...

I can't advise you! I'd be tempted to give it a swerve after a hike like that, but you're a more dedicated Browheie leader than me and the suggestions above are def plausible options.

I am a bit fed up with Guiding just now... need to get my mojo back. Keep getting emails about GO and the more they hassle me the more I dig my heels in and delay putting the details on. I was all set to do it today until I got an email hassling me again even though the deadline is 15th Jan. Grr. As DC how much info can you see? How can you tell whether a unit's updated?

Kelloggsville said...

nope - it's too much money and it's not what the original intent was. There are lots of 'theme park' ish days available all ready and they are all clocking up parenting money - we are letting this one pass.

Working Mum said...

What a shame it turned out to be just another theme park day and too expensive at that! I remember the centenary celebrations for Scouting that we did when I was a leader and our county's scouting association used a field they hired and each pack put on a different activity around the edges with races in the middle of the field of packs against each other. Could you not organise something like that? Or is it too late?

Jen said...

Thanks all, I talked to the other leaders and we have decided to get a refund on our deposit.

Working mum, thanks for the idea, but the Midlands includes 9 or 10 counties so it'd have to be a big field! We are doing loads of other stuff, including at county and region level, so they won't miss out.

chloe said...

I went there today!!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, if you didn't make it, you didn't miss out on much.
The park was still open to the public, queues for even the smallest rides were over 90 minutes long (our guides got one ride each), and the whole thing seemed a little bit disorganised. Nobody knew quite what they were doing!
The girls did enjoy themselves, it must be said, yet I think they enjoyed the idea of a day out more than the fact that we were at a theme park.
I hope you can still make the most of your Centenary year and rest assured that you didn't miss the "event of the year".

Happy 100 years of Guiding!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of an 8year old Brownie, who attended the bash at Drayton Manor, i was disappointed by her reaction. We paid £8 but were then given on Thursday a t'shirt to decorate for Saturday!! A theme park for 8year old not really fun when alot were to small for the rides. They also waited 2 hours for the parade to start so sounded unorganised! Could have been organised better!

Jen said...

To those that went: I'm sorry it wasn't completely brilliant, and I hope you/your daughters go on to have a great time for the rest of the centenary year. I'm sorry it felt disorganised, I think these things usually take two years to plan properly, at least that was how long it took the organisers of the Midlands One World One Beat, and this had to be pulled together in less than five months, so I suspect a bit of chaos was inevitable.

Our girls are going camping soon, arranged by the division, so that's our next big event.

stella said...

My two - a 9 year old brownie and a 12 year old guide, had a great time (although they thought the parade was a bit dull and the ques too long). They love theme parks and the brownie wouldn't go to the original parade.
However, the 9 year old is over 1.3m tall so she could do everything except shockwave and the guide is as tall as me :-(

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