Before I joined this unit I knew a bit about planning and programming so I kinda had an idea about how I wanted the year to go. I also made sure to put a variety of activities and events and not just put the things that I want to do into the program. The first draft was the most detailed. I took specific sections of the program and made sure that I was managing to cover sections. So for instance, I wanted to do a code of participation which is in Learn About Guiding so I made sure that we finished Learn About Guiding throughout the year.
The plan during that first plan was to do 33% of the program split over all of the different areas. I would do Understand Promise, Law and Motto and then make sure to cover at least 1 full challenge section from each one. This first plan also included a detailed schedule of what would be done in each meeting until Enrolment. At that time I was doing the following:
- You in Guiding
- Understand the Promise, Law and Motto
- Learn About WAGGGS
- Adventures in Guiding
- Cookie Rising 1, 2 and 3
- You and Others
- Learn How To Plan
- Personal Growth: Event Planning
- Safety: First Aid (Possibly Fire Safety)
- Discovering You
- Discover What’s Important to You (All)
- Discover Your Creativity (All)
- Being Healthy: Sports
- Girls Creating: Kitchen Creations
- Beyond You
- Try New Things (All) (#1, #2, #3, #5)
- Science and Technology:
- Camp Out (All)
The plan got more complicated when I started reading source materials from the Guide Website and other blogs. This led me to bring together program sections that would work well together like Responsibility, Leadership and Patrols. So they above changed again.
There was one big change that turned the above plan into what I called Meeting Plan Version 2.0. For this plan, I took a look at which meetings we would hold, which dates we could not have a meeting, like on Thanksgiving, Family Day, March Break, Easter and Victoria Day. And in Version 2.0, most of these dates were forgotten. So I was planning three to four extra meetings. In the future, don’t choose to have your meeting on a Monday.
This plan looked more at the large picture and took themes etc and put them onto a calendar. At the time we needed more enrolment so I had a bring a friend night. I also had enrolment at an early meeting. I was having 4 weeks of only enrolment prep, we were having science night and sports night and thinking day and bridging activities (Since my co-leader is a brownie leader as well). I was having meetings about Lady Baden Powell and taking them to learn about using tools and camp prep and a service project and on and on.
This plan was still detailed as well. I included the program sections for each week. I has seen a three year plan and wanted to make sure 33% of the program was being accomplished. The other thing I did with this program was write when permission forms were due and when I would take the girls to pathfinder meetings and on and on and on about things that did not need to be planned. I also did not leave enough choice for the girls.
Meeting Plan Version 3.0 was a handwritten plan for the first three meetings that I wrote while waiting to speak with my co-leader. I was reading one of the blogs and had found a lot of material that helped me plan better. The problem with this one was it was too detailed again. When I finally met with my co-guider I asked her what she wanted to add to the plan and what she wanted to do. She told me to have free reign but since a few of the girls were her brownies last year she knew them and she knew who would want to do and not want to do.
This meeting almost led to Meeting Plan Version 4.0, including a bunch of bridging events with her brownies and lots more crafts and activities but at that point I was going to Guide Foundation Training so I decided to wait and plan after I got more ideas because I mistakenly thought that doing more training would help me to have a better idea of how to plan. This was true in a sense but this training also provided me with clarity.
Before I mention the awesome advice I got and how I will be planning this year I just want to mention that I am at an in-between place in my life right now and that I had far too much time on my hands and I used it unwisely by planning and re-planning so even though I state that there are only 3 official plans, each had probably 4-5 versions.
Ok so the big secret to planning for the girls? Get their input. We discussed different ways to plan in the meeting but a girl is not going to participate if she is not doing what she wants. Everyone agreed that the program had to be girl centred programming and even if we had to force the “boring” stuff on them, to let them have an opportunity to choose what they wanted to do. Another trick was that if not everyone wants to do something to split into groups. Not everyone has to work on the same thing.
So if I called me new plan version 4.0 I think it would carry the stigma of the horrible planning from my past plans because I was focused on the program and what I wanted and hoping that the girls would want it too without thinking about them. So I am throwing the old plans out the windows and starting almost from scratch. 🙂