The Big Brownie Birthday - Stay Away

2014 is the 100th birthday of Brownies, and Girlguiding has produced some guidelines as to what Brownies can get up to this year.  There's Star Quest (a one-day event) and Stay Away (an overnight event).  The idea is that these events can be organised by units, districts (a group of units geographically close together), divisions (a group of districts), counties (a group of divisions) or regions (the regional areas Girlguiding is divided up into).  The emphasis is on organising great events, worthy of a centenary!

Our Stay Away is being organised by the division for early in the summer, we could have around 250 Brownies, plus their leaders, plus the leaders running the event! It's quite a large thing to organise.  I've got my Brownie Holiday licence, meaning I can take Brownies away on residentials, but in the past I've only ever worked with a team organising events for 30 girls or fewer - the numbers for the Stay Away are quite a lot larger!  We booked a venue last year, and now we just needed to plan the rest: there's the enjoyable stuff like sorting out the timetable, menu, activities, but then there's also the consideration of the logistics of catering, rubbish disposal (both food waste, recycling, and general waste), on site safety, wet weather plans...important things to consider, obviously, but not quite so much fun!

Girlguiding is girl led, so the Brownies have already been asked what they would like to do. There are broad national guidelines as to the format of the Stay Away, so Brownies across the UK have similar opportunities, but the details make each event unique! So we had questionnaire information from the girls showing what they would like to do, and we just needed to do our best to meet those suggestions. I am very pleased the girls said they'd like a badge, every event needs a badge!

During the meeting we put together a rough risk assessment, an approximate budget, and a very flexible timetable.  Our next meeting is in a week or so, for those of us on the programme subcommittee (told you it was a big event!) to put together the detailed timetable and activities, and a couple of other ladies are off to visit the venue, to finalise the risk assessment and decide on sleeping arrangements etc.  Then we all have another meeting at the end of the month, when we'll put everything we have so far together, and hopefully have the information ready to give to all the Brownie leaders, and an invitation for the Brownies themselves!

Fingers crossed they will want to come!  So far I think we've met many of the Brownies' requests...although one girl did ask to sleep in Buckingham Palace, and I don't think we'll be able to arrange that any time soon, although it would be amazing!  One to put on the wish list, perhaps.

Where else would make an excellent sleepover venue?  I've heard that some Brownies are sleeping in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, now that would be excellent!


  1. Sounds awesome! I am sure it is both really exciting and maybe a little scary to organise something so big! Hope it continues to go to plan and I look forward to hearing more about it. :D

    Jen |

    1. At the moment it's all a bit hypothetical (let's do this, yes, and this yes, and oh we're bound to have time for this) and I think it will be a bit more real when we've got Brownies signed up to come and money coming in! But importantly, the birthday cake order has been confirmed, so that's a major thing off the to do list!


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