Monday, August 24, 2009

100 years of Girl Guides


This year is the centenary of the Girl Guides. I was a Brownie but never made it as far as the Girl Guides (the association seemed at odds with my increasing desire to become a rock star). I did love being a Brownie though and I think part of this was because it challenged preconceptions of what it meant to be a 'little girl'. At times yes, we indulged in activities and chores deemed female but there was a balance as we also were encouraged to take part in things that perhaps in our homes, or at school, would be seen as boyish (such as orienteering, camping, climbing trees). Brownies went well with my Enid Blyton world I guess, my nostalgic side sighs at the moves to modernise the association.

Where you a Brownie or Girl Guide? What are your thoughts?


For more on the Girls Guides Centenary see here.

Recent newspaper coverage at:
The Daily Express
The Guardian
The Independent
The Telegraph


TP said...

I was a brownie - and what little I remember about it, I found it lacking. My group tended to focus on the more femenine pursuits, which didn't hold my attention and I dropped out before I had a chance to go on camp. I think a lot of it depends on the group leaders, how progressive they were, why they got into it and what they get out of their involvement.

I love the concept, and the potential that girl guiding has - would be happy to see it continue to be the biggest girls organisation for another 100 years :)

Anonymous said...

I was a girl guide for a couple of years. I knew their hearts were in the right places, but even as a twelve year old I thought the guide leaders were a bit on the do-gooding, curtain-twitching side, and they did tend to do more than their fair share of promotion of Christianity, and traditional 'feminine' values and behaviours. Having said this, during my membership I learned how to cook new recipes, visited the local fire station, was taught first aid and also learned how to make a myriad of camping accessories out of string and bits of cane. I'm sure if hadn't have gone to guides I would have been able to learn these things anyway from my parents, teachers or peers, but I think it's important to remember that not all young women in this country are born into safe, loving families and would necessarily be aware of, or have access to the kind of service the girl guides provides within our communities. Bible-bashing and crossed-leggedness aside, much of the work they do is centered around promoting opportunites to try out new things, develop self-confidence and skills, and encouraging young women to make informed choices about their personal well-being; thus 'guiding' them safely into adulthood. I think it's important for the association to move with the times, and try to keep their messages as relevant and accessible to ALL young people as possible - provilaged or not. I admire the work they do, and their efforts to respond to an ever-changing society. Keep up the good work ladies!