Girl Guides inspire their members to live with courage and strength, building resilience to cope with uncertainty. In March 2020, Girl Guides Victoria (GGV) jumped headfirst into a new challenge. Unable to hold face-to-face meetings, to control the spread of COVID-19, Girl Guide Volunteers rose to the challenge in coming up with new and exciting ways for our community to engage and connect, and continue their Girl Guide journey.
To make the program accessible to all Girl Guides, three separate access points were developed to accommodate different circumstances and needs:
- Local Virtual Unit Meetings
Within the space of only one week, ‘Girl Guides TV’ or ‘GGTV’ was conceived. The 25-minute YouTube segments produced and led by Girl Guides of all ages feature activities in Arts, Life Skills, Outdoors, Service, and STEM. Resources are also provided for Girl Guides to follow along at home.
Girl Guides, parents, Leaders, and Volunteers have loved the weekly episodes. The variety of content and opportunity for girls to develop confidence in presenting each episode has been a highlight of this initiative.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Fourteen weeks in, GGTV has reached over 18k views on YouTube.
Girl Guide Ruby says, “I’ve enjoyed GGTV so much… It’s made my week so fun, and I always have something to look forward to.”
Girl Guide Breanna says, “I like how you have the five different sections: Arts, STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors, and Service. Today I really liked the yoga activity. I have been doing a number of the activities each week.”
“I loved the first two episodes! They were very entertaining and informative – everything was so fun to watch! I especially loved the TikTok segment (I’m a little obsessed, haha) and the jokes,” adds Girl Guide Ciri.
As an alternative to GGTV, and to support our members to stay at home, GGV launched a virtual paper-based program, Guides@Home. For those members unable to access online content, a ‘Guides@Home’ activity pack was sent in the post. This has enabled Girl Guides, their parents, and our volunteers as well as the wider community to stay safe and connected.
Here’s a small taste of how Girl Guide Units across Victoria have rallied together and made excellent use of digital technology to stay connected.
The Sunbury Girl Guides have been hosting Zoom meetings with their Girl Scout sisters in the USA to gain an awareness of how COVID-19 has affected other girls their age across the world. The five and six year olds from opposite sides of the world chatted, shared their favourite animals, compared their Girl Guide and Scout Promises, and taught each other a new campfire song. In such adverse times it’s beautiful to see what connections and friendships can be forged across the globe between two Units that normally wouldn’t have a reason to meet.
Over the Anzac Day weekend, the Sunbury Girl Guides also took part in a stay-at-home sleepover. Through a Zoom meeting and a package of activities related to the Australian Defense Force, the Girl Guides commemorated and learnt more about the Army, Navy, Air Force, and our Commonwealth. Their favourite activity was sleeping in ‘trenches’ instead of their comfy beds!
The Carrum Girl Guides didn’t let Zoom stand in the way of their love of cooking. The girls connected virtually and supported each other to create their own 30 minute meal on gas stoves in preparation for camping in the outdoors. Whilst apart, they felt connected in a challenging time.
Their Leader says, “We wanted to keep the spark alive and do our lightweight camping once we are back at Girl Guides.”
The North Melbourne Girl Guides utilised digital technology in their Virtual Unit Meetings. The girls were challenged to write their names using a Lego simulator called ‘Mecabricks’ and compose their own tunes using Chrome Music Lab. While they wait to return to their regular meetings, the girls have been productive in learning new skills.
Girl Guides have shown strength and resilience by continuing to learn, grow, explore, and have fun amidst difficult times and shifting day-to-day realities. This is a testament to the creativity and courage of Girl Guides and their volunteer Unit Leaders.
Girl Guides Victoria has adapted our program to be flexible for a changing world. The program is now available through three different access points: Unit Meetings, GGTV and Guides@Home.
To support Girl Guides and our wider community through the challenges ahead of us in 2020, membership and access to all online activities is free until April 2021 (the start of Term 2, 2021), as well as for in-person activities when they resume.
We encourage you to share the joy of Girl Guides with your friends!