At the first ever Boy Scout rally in 1909, a group of young ladies arrived calling themselves 'Girl Scouts'. Edwardian England was not quite ready for the concept of girls undertaking such boyish behaviour, but eventually the girls got their way and in 1910 the Girl Guides were born. They were called Guides, firstly to placate those opposed to the very idea of Girl Scouts, but also because it had a further benefit for the girls. It gave them an identity of their own, separate from their brothers and as such gave them more room for self-improvement and growth.
The Guide Association has since grown into the UK's largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women, and is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
The Guide Association is open to any girl or woman over the age of five who is resident in the UK. The different sections that make up the Guides are as follows:
The Rainbow Guides, for girls aged five to seven.
The Brownie Guides, for girls aged seven to ten.
The Girl Guides, for girls aged ten to 14.
The Senior Sections, for young women aged 14 to 26.
The Adult Section, for women aged 18 to 65.
The Trefoil Guild, for anyone over 18 who wishes to maintain their links with Guiding.
British girls not currently resident in the UK can join BGIFC (British Guides in Foreign Countries).
What is Guiding About?
As each individual has her own unique talents and abilities, Guiding aims to bring them out and develop them the full. As the founder of both the Scout and Guiding associations, Robert Baden-Powell, once said: 'The only standard that counts is the amount of effort on the part of the individual.'
To further this aim, there is an eight-point programme of personal development that all Guides follow, but it is different in each section of Guiding to take into account the girl's age, and is tailored to suit her ability.
Guides come from all sorts of different backgrounds, and Guiding is open to all girls regardless of faith, race or personal circumstances, providing they can understand and are willing to take to Guide Promise. The Promise varies slightly according to the section each girl is currently in, but it always has the same three-fold theme. Guides must do their best to:
- Seek spiritual development
- Contribute to society
- Live by a simple code - the Guide Law
You can find out more at the Guide Association website.