Last week, as the current worldwide situation began to escalate in New Zealand, we announced that we were moving (temporarily) to a virtual way of delivering our programmes to our girl members. We are calling it #VirtualGroupGuidingNZ.
We are committed to empower girls and young women no matter the circumstances we face. Now, more than ever, girls need to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem, and this is exactly what we help them to learn. We may be all socially distant, but technology has the power to bring us closer and we will do our best to provide girls some normalcy to their life and, above all else, awesome experiences.
Some people have asked us how this virtual model works. So, here’s a rundown of how we are continuing to empower girls and young women around New Zealand virtually. (Side, but important, note: a huge shout-out to our awesome volunteers! This is an initiative led by our volunteers and we couldn’t do this without them).
First things first, the core elements of our programmes are still the same.
We take girls (aged 5 to 17 years old) on a journey to discover themselves and the world. We do this through our section programmes (Pippins, Brownies, Guides and Rangers, go here if you want to know more about each one) activities that: provide awesome experiences to increase their self-confidence and self-esteem; help them to learn to use courage and resilience to overcome challenges; develop their leadership skills; encourage them to embrace diversity and appreciate others; show why it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle and become committed to caring for the environment.
Girls work together, and individually, to face different challenges and achieve badges. They are supported by our awesome volunteers, but lead their own experience at their own pace. All of our activities follow the International Girl Guides/Girl Scouts Educational Method – learning in small groups; my path, my pace; learning by doing; connecting with others; and connecting with my world. You can read more about it here.
So, how do we do this ‘virtually’?
With a little bit of adaptation and creative thinking (Guides can do anything!), we are providing resources and activities to support our volunteers undertake their normal weekly group meetings in an online meeting platform (like Zoom or Google Hangouts). They challenge girls to do some of the activities they would normally do in a group, but at home.
We know that girls are likely to have a shorter attention-span on a device, so some of the challenges are done after their meeting. (Which also gives parents and care-givers some opportunities to keep our younger members entertained!) This way girls can use their time with each other to share how they are feeling and what badges they are working on.
In our 112 year of history, we have been through other pandemics and two world wars! It’s not the first time we had to come up with alternative ways to empower girls, and we were already operating some programme options in a purely digital space. If you have any ideas about activities that can deliver great girl experiences, we would LOVE to hear about it! (Please, email them to [email protected]).
If you are keen on register a girl you know, go here.