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History of the Girl Scout Movement

Updated on June 16, 2017
"Lady Baden Powell inspecting the guard of honour of Girl Guides at Battersea Park in 1916".
"Lady Baden Powell inspecting the guard of honour of Girl Guides at Battersea Park in 1916". | Source

The history of the Girl's Guides movement had its beginnings in the early 20th century when Robert Baden-Powell who was the pioneer and founder of scouting decided that girls and boys should not be in the same organisation and that single-gender organisations will work much better than gender joined ones.

The name originated from a famous frontier regiment, Corps of Guides; in the British Indian army which was famous for its skills in tracking and survival.

Right from its inception, the Girl Guides movement was an attractive concept that soon developed in different countries around the world, though in different ways, with many tracing its foundation to Agnes Baden-Powell, Baden-Powell's sister who was in charge of starting the Girls Guide in England in its formative years.

Aim and Objectives of the Organisation

Also popularly referred to as Girl Scouts, the organisation grew into a worldwide unit with the sole objective of supporting young girls in their spiritual development, physical fitness, maturity and mental growth to enable the young girls' play positive and productive roles in their varied societies.

A Girl Guide is taught how to employ the Scout method, a form of informal education that lays great emphasis on outdoor activities such as sporting activities, wood-crafts, camping in remote areas, long hikes, backpacking.

She must learn the art of fending for herself when placed in unfamiliar surroundings by having great survival skills.

She must be conversant with domestic skills and at the same time know how to display a practical feminism which embodies career preparations for the near future and citizenship training.

These have remained central to Girl Scouting.

Basically, being a member of the organisation helps the girls to develop the independence that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

A Girl's Guide Uniform

For as long as the organisation has been in existence, the most recognisable aspect of the organisation is the characteristic uniform.

The style of this uniform is by all intent meant to bring together as one all differences of social standing in any country, ensuring equality amongst all Girl Guide members the world over.

The ensemble and insignia are made up of:

  • Neckerchief (like a large handkerchief tied around the neck)
  • Girls Guide hat
  • Fleur-de-lis
  • Trefoil
  • Merit badges
  • Patches

Difference Between Girls' Guide and Scout

The Girl's Guide movement developed in various ways In different countries around the world with some places later opening up to boys enrolment, others merging with Boys' Scouts and yet in other instances, mixed groups were formed, sometimes to split later.

The name Girl's Guide or Girls Scout has been used interchangeably by different groups in different places at different times with some even changing from one term to another. Interestingly in recent years, Guides has been open for boys and girls to enrol in, in some countries, a deviation from the past when boys had to join the Boy/Cub Scouts and girls the Girl's Guide.

Today, even though most Scout organisations has become coeducational by enrolling both boys and girls, Girls Guiding still remains separate in many countries so that they can provide a more female-oriented program.

© 2012 artsofthetimes


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