Saturday, 15 October 2011

What should parents expect for their Brownies?

This post was prompted by Working Mum's post No Brownie points for Brownies. While she's going to ring her daughter's Brown Owl and hopefully get the lines of communications going, it did get me thinking about what parents can reasonably expect of us as Brownie leaders and volunteers. (And that's not getting at you WM, as you know from my comments I do think you're not asking too much!)
  • The dates that Brownies will meet that term, and, before you break up at the end of term, the date of the first week back next term. You might not know what the girls will be doing each week, but you should know if they are meeting.
  • How much subs is for the term, and how payment is taken (eg, is it £2 a week, and do you pay weekly, half-termly or termly. Are cheques ok or does it have to be cash)
  • That your daughter will be supported towards making her promise, and, when she is ready to do so, that she will be able to (technically, Brownies don't ever have to make it if they don't want to). That may involve the Becoming a Brownie booklet, or a unit's own version.
  • That your daughter will be safe when she's with us (we do risk assessments, check venues for fire safety, give girls a chance to talk to us about anything that is worrying them, etc)
  • That we will offer your daughter a range of experiences as best we can given our own circumstances, because we are (generally) parents too who have to juggle family, work, other commitments with Guiding
  • That when it comes time to move on to Guides, we will help your daughter learn about the new section and move when she feels ready.
Anything else I should add, other Brownie Guiders?

And in return, here's what Guiders would love in return from their Brownie parents:
  • That you come in with your daughter, make sure we are there and are happy to take her - dropping your daughter off without checking first is sadly more common than you'd think and every now and then will result in a girl being left on her own because a parent didn't check if the unit was somewhere else that night. (This hasn't happened to me, but I know of other leaders where it has happened and we do have a couple of parents who try to drop and run without coming in, we soon set them straight)
  • That you pay subs promptly, ideally on the first night back so that we don't have to chase and chase and chase till we get them
  • That you send your daughter in uniform and sensible shoes, not her favourite clothes - and if you do send her in her favourite clothes, don't be surprised if they come back dirty and/or ripped
  • That you return forms on time, again so we don't have to chase them. And don't be surprised if your daughter can't attend because you ignored the deadline.
  • That when we need an extra adult occasionally, someone will step forward and help. Actually, my set of parents are brilliant for this, they know that two of us Guiders have younger children, and four of us Guiders have older children and that if we need a night off, there's a good reason. Also that "I have a younger child" doesn't wash as an excuse - so do some of us yet we are there every week, we're only asking you to help once in a blue moon.
  • That you have patience with us when we mess up: forget to give your daughter a badge, forget supplies for a specific craft etc. Just gently remind us, we're human too!
Again, other Guiders, anything else I should add to that list?
And parents - anything you think we should be doing as a minimum?


Kelloggsville said...

I think Guiders should hand out a 'starter pack' that includes how to buy a uniform, have a friendly inclusive approach andbe prepared to explain 'why' for any rule sthat have to be made.

I think it would be nice if parents did say hi at drop off and pick up, the occassional thank you and the odd offer of help...a dad that carries kit to the car on camp is my dream man, one year a parent cleaned the pack holiday cooker for me..OMG I have never been so grateful to anyone :)

In return we owe the girls a chance to have opportunities, to get out and about, to make things, to learn things and develop.

There is so much support available for leaders in terms of resources or even organised county events that there is no excuse not to get out there occassionally.

Jen said...

Wow - a parent that cleans the cooker, that IS a dream!
I agree with all you said.

Tawny said...

I agree with both of you wholeheartedly. Can I also add as a Guide Guider, if your daughter no longer wants to attend, please don't force them, you will only have a miserable daughter who makes the others in the unit miserable too.

Working Mum said...

Great lists on both parts.

Thank you for your thoughts on my posts. I think I've now got the information I wanted (including the vital lists of dates of meetings and church parades) and you may like to know that my daughter got enrolled this evening so she's over the moon she's now a "proper Brownie" (her words). I feel happier now that I know what's happening and can encourage my daughter to become a fulfilled Brownie.

Your list for parents seems very reasonable and anyone who has ever organised a group of children would know how vital some of those requirements are. I can't believe people drop a seven year old and run without checking there is someone to look after their child!

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