Four weeks before pack holiday, we had an information meeting for parents.
It took place instead of a Brownie meeting, but only lasted half an hour. There was a good turnout – in fact, I think we had a parent for all the girls except one. We also had about 6 Brownies and siblings, who couldn’t be left at home, and we installed them at a table with paper and pens, and some colouring sheets and wordsearches on the holiday theme which I’d printed.
Things we handed out:
- Site address and map
- Home contact number
- Kit list
- Health info form
(all these were stapled together)
- Receipt for full payment
Things we collected:
- Cheques for final payment
- Food and bedroom questionnaires (given out at Brownies the week before, for each Brownie to fill in their food preferences like pizza toppings, and people they’d like to share a room with, and preferences for top or bottom bunk.)
What we spoke about:
- Brown Owl introduced me, as I’m not a leader with these Brownies, so most parents don’t know me. Then I did my thing:
- Welcome, introduce team and roles
- The site, house, and facilities
- Activity programme and duties
- Kit list – went through each item, explaining where necessary
- First Aider spoke about her role, invited parents to speak to her privately
- Caterers spoke about the food – reassurance that no one will starve or have to eat food they’ll hate, and explaining that we’re asking Brownies/parents to bring snacktime food
- Back to me: explained how home contact works
- In next few Brownie meetings we’ll be doing activities to prepare for holiday
My biggest worry was that a parent would ask something I had no idea how to answer. I needn’t have worried, as there was only one question, which was were cameras allowed? (They weren’t on the kit list – not intentionally, I just hadn’t thought of them.) I said yes, if they were named, and another leader added that older, cheaper ones were preferable to shiny new ones.
That was a relief. Apparently our parents are quite mellow about the whole thing; either that or I stunned them into silence. I think it helps enormously that three of the leaders work in the school that most of the Brownies go to, so most of the parents already see a lot of them and trust them with their children.
What was a bit strange was having the last Brown Owl in the “audience”, as her daughter is going as a Young Leader. This is a lady with loads of pack holiday experience, at one time a residential advisor, and no doubt she found it odd being on the receiving end for a change!
Some of the parents stayed to chat afterwards, e.g. about medication and allergies. Then we leaders stayed behind a bit longer to sort out the forms and cheques we had been given, and generally have a chat. The other leaders said they thought I’d done fine at leading the meeting, which was encouraging. I thought it did the job alright. At least I’ll never have to do it for the first time again!