Girl Guides (known as Girl Scouts in the United States and some other countries) is a movement found worldwide, which was originally and still largely designed for girls and women only. The movement began in 1909 because girls demanded to take part in the then grassroots Boy Scout Movement.
In different places around the world, the movement developed in diverse ways. In some places, girls joined or attempted to join Scouting organizations. In other places, all girl groups were started independently, and as time went on, some of these all girl groups started to open up to boys, while others' started to merge with the boys' organizations.
In other instances, mixed groups were formed, sometimes to later split. In the same way, the name Girl Guide or Girl Scout has been used by groups at different times and in different places, with some groups changing from one to another.
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS ) is a global association supporting the Girl Guides, female-oriented and female-only Guiding and Scouting organizations in 152 countries. It was established in 1928 in Parád, Hungary, ...
(WAGGGS) was formed in 1928 and has member organisations in 145 countries. There are now more than 10 million members worldwide. WAGGGS celebrated the centenary of the international Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement over three years, from 2010 to 2012.
Lieutenant-general (United Kingdom), Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, ( ; 22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), was a British Army officer, writer, founder and first Chief Scout (The Scout ...
was a British soldier during the Second Anglo-Boer War in South Africa (1899–1902). He was the commander during the
Siege of Mafeking
The siege of Mafeking was a 217-day siege battle for the town of Mafeking (now called Mahikeng) in South Africa
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of ...
, and noted during the siege how young boys made themselves useful by carrying messages for the soldiers. When he came home, he decided to put his Scouting ideas into practice to see if they would work for young boys, and took 21 boys camping on
Brownsea Island, also archaically known as Branksea, is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour is a large natural harbour
A harbor (American English
American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometim ...
Poole () is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is east of Dorchester, Dorset, Dorchester and adjoins Bournemouth to the east. Since 1 April 2019, the local authority is Bournemouth, Christchurc ...
Dorset (; archaically
A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...
. The camp was a success, and subsequently Baden-Powell wrote the book ''
Scouting for Boys
''Scouting for Boys: A handbook for instruction in good citizenship'' is a book on training, published in various editions since 1908. Early editions were written and illustrated by with later editions being extensively rewritten by others. Th ...
''. The book covered topics such as tracking, signalling, and cooking, and it outlined a Scout method for an "instruction in good citizenship". Soon boys began to organise themselves into Patrols and Troops and calling themselves "Boy Scouts". Girls bought the book as well and formed themselves into Patrols of Girl Scouts, while some girls and boys formed mixed Patrols.
In those days, for girls to camp and hike was not common, as shown by this excerpt from '' The Boy Scouts Headquarters Gazette
'' of 1909: "If a girl is not allowed to run, or even hurry, to swim, ride a bike, or raise her arms above her head, how can she become a Scout?" Nevertheless, Girl Scouts were registered at Scout Headquarters. In 1909 there was a
Boy Scout rally at Crystal Palace
A boy is a young male human. The term is usually used for a child or an adolescent. When a male human reaches adulthood, he is described as a man.
Definition, etymology, and use
According to the ''Merriam-Webster Dictionary'', a boy is "a ma ...
in London. Among the thousands of Boy Scouts at the rally were several hundred Girl Scouts, including a group of girls from Peckham Rye who had no tickets. They asked Baden-Powell to let them join in. Following negative publicity in "The Spectator" magazine Baden-Powell decided that a separate, single-sex organisation would be best. Baden-Powell asked his sister,
Agnes Smyth Baden-Powell (16 December 1858 – 2 June 1945) was the younger sister of Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
Lieutenant general or lieutenant-general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a Three-star rank ...
, to form a separate Girl Guides organisation.
In 1910 The Girl Guides organisation
was formed in the United Kingdom. The first Guide Company to be registered was 1st Pinkneys Green Guides (Miss Baden-Powell's Own), who still exist in
Pinkneys Green is a semi-rural village near the town of Maidenhead, Berkshire. It sits within the ancient civil parish, parish of Cookham.
Pinkneys Green is about two miles northwest of Maidenhead town centre, although it is located within ...
Maidenhead is a market town in Berkshire, England, on the southwestern bank of the River Thames. It has an estimated population of 70,374 (152,914 Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead). It is a town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenh ...
Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county
A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary
The ''Chambers ...
. Many, though by no means all, Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups across the globe trace their roots to this point.
Baden-Powell chose the name "Guides" from a regiment in the
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army was the main military of the British Indian Empire
The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit
Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam' ...
Corps of Guides
Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French language, French ''corps'', from the Latin ''corpus'' "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805.
, which served on the Northwest Frontier and was noted for its skills in tracking and survival. In some countries, the girls preferred to remain or call themselves "Girl Scouts".
[''The Guide Handbook'', London: The Guide Association, 1996]
Other influential women in the history of the movement were
Juliette Gordon Low
Juliette Gordon Low (October 31, 1860 – January 17, 1927) was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. Inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, she joined the Girl Guide movement in England, forming her own group of Gir ...
, founder of the
Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA), commonly referred to as simply Girl Scouts, is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. Founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, it was organized af ...
in Poland and Antoinette Butte
Guide International Service
The Guide International Service (G.I.S.) was an organisation set up by the
Girl Guides Association
Girlguiding is the operating name of The Guide Association, previously named The Girl Guides Association and is the national guiding organisation
An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an ...
in Britain in 1942. Their aim was to send teams of adult Girl Guides to Europe after
World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war
A world war is "a war
War is an intense armed conflict between states
State may refer to:
Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
to aid with relief work.
[https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19431025&id=bjxAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YlkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3236,2831161 The Glasgow Herald, October 25, 1943 Helping Victims in Occupied Lands. Girl Guides' Service] [http://www.smh.com.au/national/obituaries/guiding-hand-took-on-world-20110401-1crlw.html Guiding hand took on world Nancy Eastick, 1920-2011 The Sydney Morning Herald April 2nd, 2011]
It is described in two books: ''All Things Uncertain'' by Phyllis Stewart Brown and ''Guides Can Do Anything'' by Nancy Eastick. A total of 198 Guiders and 60 Scouts, drawn from Britain, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Kenya, served in teams.
Some went to relieve the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp
, while others served in Malaya.
There has been much discussion about how similar Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting should be to boys' Scouting programmes. While many girls saw what the boys were doing and wanted to do it too, many girls' organisations have sought to avoid simply copying or mimicking the boys. Julie Bentley
, appointed chief executive of the United Kingdom Girl Guides
in 2012 and head of the Family Planning Association since 2007, described the Girl Guides in an interview with ''
''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' as "the ultimate
Feminism is a range of social movement
A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a or one. This may be to carry out, resist or undo a . It is a type of and may ...
Even when most Scout organisations became mixed-sex, Guiding remained separate in most countries to provide a female-centred programme. For example, the UK Scout Association introduced a mixed-sex provision in 1976 with the Venture Scout programme, for all age-based sections in 1991 (optional), and became fully co-educational in 2007.
However Girl Guiding in the UK remains limited to girls.
are admitted to units in some countries.
Transgender women are also allowed to become leaders in the United Kingdom Girl Guides.
Things that are shared amongst all Guide Units are:
*The Guide Promise – Girls become Guides by making their Promise. Each country has its own Promise, but historically all have the same three parts: duty to God or to your beliefs, duty to your country and keeping the Guide Law. Though there was historically a religious aspect, many countries are moving towards more non-denominational promises.
*The Good Turn – Each Guide tries to do a kind thing for someone else, without payment and without being asked, every day.
*The World Badge – This can be worn on uniform or ordinary clothes. The three leaves of the trefoil stand for the threefold Promise. The vein in the centre is a compass needle, pointing the way and the two stars stand for the Promise and the Law. The colours stand for the golden sun shining over all the children of the world, from a blue sky. This badge is a guiding symbol that can be recognized all over the world.
*The World Flag – This is in the same colours as the World Badge and can be carried or flown by any member of the movement. It is often used as the Unit Flag. The three yellow blocks represent the threefold Promise and the white corner represents the commitment to peace of all WAGGGs' members.
*The Guide Sign – The three fingers stand for the three parts of the Promise. The Guide sign is used when making or renewing the Promise and can be used when meeting other Guides. It may also be used when receiving a badge or at the end of meetings.
*The Motto – "Be Prepared" – This means that Guides are ready to cope with anything that might come their way.
*The left handshake
– This is the way members of the Movement greet each other. The left hand is the one nearest the heart, so symbolizing friendship. Additionally, warriors held their shield in the left hand, so putting down your shield means that you are vulnerable, making it a display of both bravery and trust.
*Thinking Day – On February 22 each year, Guides think of their Guide sisters all around the world. The date was chosen at a World Conference because it was the birthday of both the Founder and the World Chief Guide.
* The World Centres – There are five World Centres in different parts of the world: Our Chalet in Switzerland; Pax Lodge in London; Our Cabana in Mexico; Sangam in India; and Kusafiri in Africa.
* The World Chief Guide – Olave, Lady Baden-Powell is the only person ever to have been World Chief Guide. She was the wife of the Founder, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, and lived from 1889 to 1977.
Two central themes have been present from the earliest days of the movement: domestic skills and "a kind of practical feminism which embodies
Physical fitness is a state of health
Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World Health Organiza ...
Survival skills are techniques that a person may use in order to sustain life in any type of natural environment or built environment
In urban planning, architecture and civil engineering, the term built environment, or built world, refers ...
Camping is an outdoor activity
Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure
Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is time spent away f ...
Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection.
Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
The career is an individual's metaphorical "journey" through learning, work
Work may refer to:
* Work (human activity), intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the community
** Manual labour, physical work done ...
These two themes have been emphasized differently at different times and by different groups, but have remained central to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.
''Individual national or other emblems may be found on the individual country's Scouting article.''
The uniform is a specific characteristic of all Scouting movements. Robert Baden-Powell said it "hides all differences of social standing in a country and makes for equality; but, more important still, it covers differences of country and race and creed, and makes all feel that they are members with one another of the one great brotherhood".
In the 1909 ''The Scheme for Girl Guides'', the uniform for the newly emerging movement was given as:
Jersey of company colour.
A neckerchief (from ''neck'' (n.) + ''kerchief
A kerchief (from the Old French ''couvrechief'', "cover head"), also known as a bandana or bandanna, is a triangular or square piece of cloth tied around the Human head, head, face or neck for prote ... of company colour. Skirt, knickers, stockings, dark blue. Cap – red biretta, or in summer, large straw hat. Haversack, , lanyard
A lanyard is a cord or strap worn around the neck, shoulder, or wrist to carry such items as keys or identification cards."lanyard lan-yrd." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004. Credo Reference. Web. 1 O ... and knife, walking stick or light staff
Staff may refer to:
* Staff, a weapon used in stick-fighting
Stick-fighting, stickfighting, or stick fighting is a variety of martial arts which use simple long, slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden "sticks" for fighting, such as a gun .... Cape, hooked up on the back. Shoulder knot, of the 'Group' colour on the left shoulder. Badges, much the same as the Boy Scouts. Officers wear ordinary country walking-dress, with biretta of dark blue, white shoulder knot, walking stick, and whistle on lanyard.
Guide uniforms vary according to cultures, climates and the activities undertaken. They are often adorned with badges indicating a Guide's achievements and responsibilities. In some places, uniforms are manufactured and distributed by approved companies and the local Guiding organisation. In other places, members make uniforms themselves.
* List of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts members
* '' 100 Years of Girl Guides
A rainbow is a meteorological
Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting
Weather forecasting is the application of sc ...
Girl Guide and Girl Scout
A Girl Guide or Girl Scout is a member of a section of some Guiding organisations who is between the ages of 10 and 14. Age limits are different in each organisation. The term Girl Scout is used in the United States and several East Asian co ...
* Ranger Guide
External linksThe World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting
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