Give it a go!  Have fun!  ‘Try out Virtual Guide/Brigin/Cygnet/Ranger Meetings’.

We are all confined as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, so we decided in Buion Imelda Dun Laoghaire, that this was not going to ‘Get the better of Us’,  we agreed to experiment by using a video-conferencing platform called Zoom to set up our weekly meetings and it worked! 

Zoom is a web based tool that provides video, audio and a screen-sharing feature across PC’s, Macs and mobile phones (Android and iPhones).  One of the advantages of using Zoom is that you can have up to 100 participants and it is free.  The free version limits meetings to 40 minutes for larger groups.  If it is your intention to schedule meetings for over 40 minutes you must pay a subscription fee.  My advice is that 30 – 35 minutes is adequate.

The best part was that Lea Brennan, Trainee Guider took responsibility to research and download Zoom for free.  Lea emailed a link with a password out to all our parents and Guiders.  We then just simply clicked on the meeting link inserted the password from the email and jumped right in from our mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. Some kids joined by mobile, but the majority on their own or parent’s laptops.

We obtained buy-in and permission from the parents to allow their daughter to participate in the meeting and invited the parents to accompany their daughter at the meeting, which they did particularly for the younger ages.

The key thing here was ‘preparation’ which was vital. We requested all parents to resubmit their email address two days in advance of the meeting so that Lea could send out the link to the correct email addresses.  Prior to the meeting on Saturday, all the Guiders and Ranger discussed and agreed the content of the programme so that we could make it interesting.

 

Launch Day Saturday 21st March 2020 @ 11:30

  • We began by welcoming the kids and sharing experiences from the past week; this was so funny and engaging, the cygnets couldn’t stop giggling! Some people were in their PJ’s I won’t say who! with their Teddy Bears!
  • We introduced and set one of the challenges from the ‘14 Day Boredom Challenges’, https://www.girlguidesireland.ie/Event/cgi-14-day-boredom-buster-challenge, in this instance ‘Read and Review a book’ and design a ‘Book Mark’ for the following week . We intend linking this to the Book Lovers badge for the Guides and Brigin’s.  The meeting was very interactive, however one word of advice!!!  Encourage participants to speak one at a time bearing in mind that there are several competing voices, otherwise it could be chaos.
  • One of our CCA Applicants Niamh O’Driscoll briefed us on the challenges she was undertaking and making progress on for the CCA Award.
  • My advice would be to set up each ‘Section’, separately if you have large numbers.

 

screen shot of a zoom virtual meeting

Outcome of Meeting – As I said it was a very interactive meeting, we were all able to see and talk with each other and share experiences, it was novel, fun and something new and exciting.  Feedback was positive, our parents really appreciated our new initiative, and requested us to continue every Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, some of our guides and two guiders were sick with the virus and couldn’t attend. 

Lea was nominated our ‘Technical IT Genius’ and Alannah our ‘Creative ideas Person’.  We even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to one of our cygnets Charlotte as it was her sixth birthday.

Everything is possible

We tried it, it worked!  We were hopeful, we succeeded and together we made a difference for the children! This will help us retain our numbers!

 

Give it a go! If you need further information email [email protected] or [email protected]

 

Lea Brennan, Alannah Carey and Maria Travers