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The Girl Guiding centenary

To celebrate 100 years of the Girl Guiding movement.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate 100 years of the Girl Guiding movement.

Preparation and materials

  • The different Guiding groups are: Rainbows for 5–7 year olds (established in 1987), Brownies for 7–10 year olds, Guides for 10–14 year olds.
  • Prepare some Brownies in your school to answer questions, and lead the reflection. They might like to wear their uniforms.
  • A special centenary 50p coin can be seen at (but you need permission from the Royal Mint to show this image).
  • You might invite a local Guiding leader to help with this assembly.


  1. Ask the children to imagine the following scenario in your classroom. Everyone has worked very hard during the morning so you decide to give the class half an hour’s treat. The boys can spend this time in the gym hall or football field, the girls can have half an hour in the library or doing sewing. Or perhaps you might say that the girls can try their hand at cooking or knitting, the boys can make models or go on the computer.

    Ask for suggestions as to how children might feel about this. Emphasize the ‘that’s not fair’ factor! Encourage an understanding that boys and girls can like and enjoy similar things and that girls have a right to adventure and fun as much as boys.
  2. Explain that more than 100 years ago this was not the attitude in society. Girls and boys lived very different lives from each other. Girls were kept indoors a lot of the time, learning the art of good housekeeping. They wore long dresses and skirts which made it very difficult to run, never mind climb trees or ride bicycles. What adventures they had took place in the sitting room or kitchen.

    About this time a man called Lord Baden-Powell had started a movement for young men called the Scouts. This was to encourage boys to become good citizens, to meet together and learn new skills and to have opportunities for fun and adventure.

    In 1909, there was a Scouts rally at Crystal Palace in London. At this rally several groups of girls courageously approached Lord Baden Powell.

    ‘Please, sir,’ they asked. ‘Can we have something like the Scouts but just for girls only?’

    Remember that in those days women didn’t have much of a say in their lives, not even having the vote. (It must have been a bit like Oliver asking for more porridge!)

    But Lord Baden-Powell heard their plea. He gave his sister Agnes the task of establishing a suitable movement for girls, which started in 1910. Later his wife Olave became the first Guide Leader.

    This caused quite a stir! The Girl Guiding records show that early critics labelled this ‘a foolish and pernicious movement’ and an ‘idiotic sport’. Goodness me! All the girls wanted to do was hoist up their skirts and run around and do a bit of activity. If these critics could see you young ladies now they would blush!

    Today, 100 years on, the Girl Guiding movement has several different sections for girls aged 5 to 14. One in four 8-year-old girls is a Brownie and about half of all British women have been involved at some stage. There are millions involved in the World Association of Girl Guiding.
  3. Interview some Brownies in your school. Ask questions about when they meet, what they enjoy doing, what they wear, etc., as time permits.
  4. There will be lots of special events happening this year. The Royal Mint has produced a special 50p coin, but you may be lucky to see one as there are only 250,000 being minted. Show an image of the 50p coin.

    Explain that the clover leaf represents the three-fold promise: duty to God or religion; duty to country; keeping the guide law. The stalk signifies the love of humanity. The star signifies friendship.

Time for reflection

In our moments of reflection today the Brownies in our school will now stand and say the Brownie Promise and Guide Law.

These are special words of promise that each Brownie takes when she joins the movement.

Dear God,
We thank you for the Guide Movement.
We thank you for all the girls that it has encouraged and helped over 100 years
to become good and caring citizens and to have fun and adventure in life.
We thank you for all the pack leaders
who give up their time every week for the Brownies.
Bless the leaders of the movement in this centenary year
as they plan and carry out activities and adventures
for millions of girls all around the world.


‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: March 2010   (Vol.12 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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