Recently I went to a midweek evening training session on “PR for the Unit Leader”. I decided to go on impulse when I received an email about it, since it was not far from where I live, I was free, and I’d learned from my experience helping to organise a publicity event that I could use some advice on selling guiding to people and liaising with the press.
It was a small and intimate gathering with just 5 people: me, the trainer, her Training Qualification mentor, another participant (a Guide leader from another town in the county), and a Guide leader who let us into the hall and then stayed to take part. I think it was one of those situations where lots of people say they’d be interested in training on a topic, but for one reason or another they don’t actually come when it’s offered. No blame: you can’t do everything, and I certainly don’t.
Actually, I liked the small size, as it made the session informal, like a semi-structured chat. I always enjoy meeting new leaders (two I’d met before but didn’t know well, and the other two I’d never met) and having a good share. It helped that, by chance, everyone was a Guide leader, as we had a lot of common ground to discuss.
The trainer was one of those amazing women who can talk anyone into volunteering for anything. We have a couple of those in my District, who have singlehandedly recruited dozens of volunteers over the years. She also seemed to be good at starting up new units and then moving on and leaving them in capable hands: good succession planning.
The training covered various topics, such as wider recruitment incentives (Growing Guiding and a county badge for new members and the people who recruited them), being prepared with short selling points about guiding (like an elevator pitch), ideas for where and how to find new members, both girls and adults, how to present yourself in the press, the importance of an exciting girl-led programme in attracting new girls, and making use of the free promotional materials from Trading.
It was one of those sessions where I learned one or two new facts and tips, but the main benefit was being refreshed and inspired by speaking and sharing ideas with new people.