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. This organization was introduced 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.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (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 Robert Baden-Powell was a British soldier during the Second Anglo-Boer War in South Africa (1899–1902). He was the commander during the Siege of Mafeking, 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, near Poole in Dorset. The camp was a success, and subsequently Baden-Powell wrote the book Scouting for Boys . 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 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 Baden-Powell, to form a separate Girl Guides organisation. In 1910 The Girl Guides were officially 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, Maidenhead, Berkshire. 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 Corps of Guides, 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".
Other influential women in the history of the movement were Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Olga Drahonowska-Małkowska in Poland and Antoinette Butte in France.
The Guide International Service (G.I.S.) was an organisation set up by the Girl Guides Association in Britain in 1942. Their aim was to send teams of adult Girl Guides to Europe after World War II to aid with relief work.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 as "the ultimate feminist organisation".
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.
Transgender girls are admitted to units in some countries.Transgender women are allowed to become leaders in the United Kingdom Girl Guides.
Things that are shared amongst all Guide Units are:
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, survival skills, camping, citizenship training, and career preparation".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. Neckerchief of company colour. Skirt, knickers, stockings, dark blue. Cap – red biretta, or in summer, large straw hat. Haversack, cooking billy, lanyard and knife, walking stick or light staff. 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.
The Scout movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder, Lord Baden-Powell. The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.
A Scout is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and development span, many Scouting associations have split this age group into a junior and a senior section. Scouts are organized into troops averaging 20–30 Scouts under the guidance of one or more Scout Leaders. Troops subdivide into patrols of about 6–8 Scouts and engage in outdoor and special interest activities. Troops may affiliate with local, national, and international organizations. Some national Scouting associations have special interest programs such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, outdoor high adventure, Scouting bands, and rider Scouts.
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 countries. The two terms are used synonymously within this article.
The Scout Association is the largest Scouting organisation in the United Kingdom and is the World Organization of the Scout Movement's recognised member for the United Kingdom. Following the origin of Scouting in 1907, the association was formed in 1910 and incorporated in 1912 by a royal charter under its previous name of The Boy Scouts Association.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is a global association supporting the female-oriented and female-only Guiding and Scouting organizations in 150 countries. It was established in 1928 in Parád, Hungary, and has its headquarters in London, England. It is the counterpart of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). WAGGGS is organized into five regions and operates five international Guiding centers. It holds full member status in the European Youth Forum (YFJ), which operates within the Council of Europe and European Union areas and works closely with these bodies.
The three-finger salute is used by members of Scout and Guide organizations around the world when greeting other Scouts and in respect of a national flag at ceremonies. In most situations, the salute is made with the right hand, palm face out, the thumb holding down the little finger, and with the fingertips on the brow of the head. There are some variations of the salute between national Scouting organizations and also within some programme sections.
Scouts South Africa is the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) recognised Scout association in South Africa. Scouting began in the United Kingdom in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell and rapidly spread to South Africa, with the first Scout troops appearing in 1908. South Africa has contributed many traditions and symbols to World Scouting.
Since the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908, all Scouts and Girl Guides around the world have taken a Scout promise or oath to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribed to a Scout Law. The wording of the Scout Promise and Scout Law have varied slightly over time and from country to country. Some national organization promises are given below. Although most Scouting and Guiding organizations use the word "promise", a few such as the Boy Scouts of America tend to use "oath" instead. Typically, Scouts and Guides will make the three-fingered Scout Sign when reciting the promise.
Girlguiding is the operating name of The Guide Association, previously named The Girl Guides Association and is the national guiding organisation of the United Kingdom. It is the UK's largest girl-only youth organisation. Girlguiding is a charitable organisation.
Scouting Nederland is the national Scout organisation of the Netherlands with approximately 110,000 members (53,324 male and 54,663 female, 87,000 youth members, as of 2010.
The Kenya Scouts Association is the national Scouting association of Kenya. Scouting was founded in British East Africa in 1910 and became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1964. It has 323,929 members.
Scouts' Day or Guides' Day is a generic term for special days observed by members of the Scouting movement throughout the year. Some of these days have religious significance, while others may be a simple celebration of Scouting. Typically, it is a day when all members of Scouting will re-affirm the Scout Promise.
The Irish Girl Guides is a Girl Guides organisation in the Republic of Ireland. Together with the Catholic Guides of Ireland, it forms the Council of Irish Guiding Associations. Whereas the Catholic Guides are an all-Ireland body, the Irish Girl Guides are not organised in Northern Ireland, where Girlguiding Ulster, the branch of Girlguiding UK, operates instead.
The Scouting and Guiding movement in Belgium consists of 15 to 20 separate organizations serving about 160,000 members. Nearly all organizations are grouped by languages and confessions. The Crown Scout rank is the highest a Boy Scout can achieve.
Scouting and Guiding in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha is administered by the United Kingdom Scout Association and Girlguiding UK, due to Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha's affiliations as a British Overseas Territory.
Girlguiding Bermuda is a Guiding organisation in Bermuda. It is one of the nine branch associations of Girlguiding UK. It is represented by Girlguiding UK at World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) level and Girlguiding UK's Chief Guide is also Chief Guide for Girlguiding Bermuda. Girlguiding Bermuda is part of the Caribbean Link for Guiding.
Religion in Scouting and Guiding is an aspect of the Scout method that has been practiced differently and given different interpretations over the years.
Non-aligned Scouting organizations is a term used by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and their member national organizations to refer to Scouting organizations that are not affiliated with them. See List of non-aligned Scouting organizations.
Scouting has sometimes become entangled in social controversies such as in nationalist resistance movements in India. Scouting was introduced to Africa by British officials as an instrument of colonial authority but became a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of British imperialism as Scouting fostered solidarity amongst African Scouts. There are also controversies and challenges within the Scout Movement itself such as current efforts to turn Scouts Canada into a democratic organization.
The Scout and Guide movement in Malta is served by three organizations: