A new way for New Zealand girls to explore

Family life is busy and getting your children to after-school activities is a challenge. KELLY EDEN spoke with JULIE MCCLOY and SOPHIE HARLAND of GirlGuiding NZ about how their new Explore programme makes it easier for all New Zealand girls to get involved.

As we head into a new decade, it’s time for a fresh approach to enrichment activities for our kids. GirlGuidingNZ is leading the way. With an exciting range of STEAM experiments, hands-on creative projects, and outdoor experiences, their new Explore programme delivers enriching after-school fun straight to you!

“We wanted to be responsive to the changing demographic of the New Zealand family, heading into 2020,” says Sophie Harland, Development Manager for Explore.

GirlGuiding NZ has been around under one name or another since 1908, but many families are no longer able to commit to weekly meetings. Others live too far away from a GirlGuiding Unit. With the wait-list bursting with girls wanting to be involved, they decided to make their programmes more widely available to all New Zealand girls and remove boundaries.

Explore, a Guiding programme delivered online to any device was created to make this vision possible. “We believe we are the first in the world to offer an online delivery model of the programme,” says Sophie. “The programme can even be accessed by New Zealand girls living overseas.”

Julie McCloy, Communications and Marketing Manager of GirlGuidingNZ, says that although Explore is delivered online, the activities are very hands-on. “It’s not about kids being in front of a screen,” Julie explains. “They will definitely be going out and getting their hands dirty in the real world.”

What to expect with explore 
GirlGuidingNZ wants girls to take the lead and have a choice in their activities. When you sign up for a 90-day subscription with Explore your daughter will be given a number of fun options to choose from. These include popular outdoor activities and STEAM hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths done in fun, engaging ways.

As a parent, you can easily navigate the activity choices and select the duration of the activity, whether it needs adult supervision, or is indoors or outdoors. Once you find one that suits you and your child, many of the supplies needed can be found in your GirlGuidingNZ resource box (delivered as part of the programme) or around the home. “We built the programme so that it doesn’t require a lot of resources to complete,” says Sophie Harland. “It’s based not only on the girl’s experience, but also the parents’ experience.” 

After completing their activity, the girls can upload photos, videos, or text their Guiding Leader through a secure site. Girls also earn badges for their sash, both digital and physical.

As part of the Explore programme, girls are invited to attend regional events and camps. They can also come along to one-day Discovery events run by the national office. These are based around popular themes, such as animals.

Explore will be released in stages. The Pippins programme (5- to 6-year-olds) was released in January and Brownies (for 7- to 9-and-a-half-year-olds) will follow in June. The 90-day subscription is $28 per month for three months, plus $7.99 for shipping ($94.99 total).

Alternatively, $25 Activity Bundles (released for Pippin-aged girls in April and Brownie-aged girls in July) will be soon available as great holiday boredom busters. These are a one-off purchase and a great way to experience, or add to, your daughter’s Guiding.

girlguidingnz.org.nz