The origin of Girl Guides in the United Kingdom

about_history1_big-065a7df7-fill-500x500-c100The Girl Guides movement shares a close tie with the Boy Scouts. The founder of the latter was the retired army general Robert Baden-Powell, who created the group in the early 1900s in the United Kingdom. He based his movement upon his military experience, especially his sense of patriotism and Christian spirit which he encountered there. He believed scouting would turn boys into ideal grown up men and kept it centered on boys, not being inclusive of girls.

It was Robert’s sister who recognized and addressed the need for a girl scout/guide movement. Agnes Baden-Powell, with the help of her brother Robert, helped initiate the first Girl Guides.

This organisation was similarly influenced by military ideas and common ideals. Both girl and boy guides movements wore uniforms, and as they progressed they earned badges – yet another idea derived from military life.

The Girl Guides movement has enjoyed significant growth from its humble beginnings. In 2016 it has reached an excess of five hundred thousand members in the UK alone! Some herald the movement today as the largest group of its kind for young women in the UK.

One of the significant role players in the Girl Guide movement was that of Lady Olave Baden-Powell, who in time became the Chief Guide. The Girl Guides’ work was a great contribution even in the war – acting as messengers for the historical event of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. This and other endeavors by the organization led to them being awarded military service badges. Even the Queen and her sister Princess Margret were Girl Guides. One can view photos of them performing various Girl Guides tasks online in archive photos.

It is important to acknowledge that the Girl Guides was not an isolated activity within the United Kingdom. There are more than 10 million Girl Guides across the world, and many groups worldwide trace their roots to this very first group created by Ms Baden-Powell.

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