Girlguiding has been around since 1910

Our name has changed slightly over the years, but Girlguiding has been around since 1910 - ever since the founder of the Scout Movement was inundated with requests for a girls equivalent. 


In the early years of the 20th century, Robert Baden-Powell, a famous army general, developed a scheme for training boys. He tried out his ideas at a camp on Brownsea Island, Dorset, in 1907 and the following year published them in a book, Scouting for Boys. The book was an instant success; boys throughout the country enthusiastically took up 'scouting' and the Boy Scout Movement was formed. 


When the Scouts' first rally took place at The Crystal Palace in London in 1909, Baden-Powell was faced with a small group of girls, representing hundreds of others, who insisted they wanted to be Scouts too. In an age when skirts were ankle length and young ladies never ran, the idea of girls being involved in camping, hiking and similar activities received a mixed response. Angry critics denounced 'girl scouting' as a 'mischievous new development', a 'foolish and pernicious movement', an 'idiotic sport'. However, the girls won. In 1910, Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides and asked his sister Agnes to look after the new organisation. 


A few years later, his wife Olave became involved and, in 1918, was appointed Chief Guide. Such was the enthusiasm for Guiding that it soon spread worldwide and since those early days, countless millions have made the Guide Promise. There are ten million girls and women in Guiding worldwide today. 


The pioneers who turned up at the 1909 Crystal Palace rally called themselves Girl Scouts, but when he founded the girls' movement, Baden-Powell decided they should have their own independent identity. A Scheme for Girl Guides was published in the 'Scout Headquarters Gazette' and together with his sister Agnes, Baden-Powell wrote the first Guide Handbook called 'How Girls Can Help to Build Up the Empire'. 


More than 100 years after Girlguiding began we continue to do amazing things. We've launched a number of fun-packed gigs and festivals for our members, marched at Pride and celebrated not one, but three centenaries.


In 2018 we launched a brand-new programme for all our members from Rainbows to Rangers. It was the biggest refresh of badges and awards that Girlguiding had ever seen. Led by the skills and passions of girls today, we created six themes for our members to explore and introduced over 800 new badges and activities. 


We have established our girl-led peer education programme, training our peer educators to talk about subjects like body confidence, healthy relationships and other issues facing young women. We continue to focus on championing the voices of girls, establishing our youth panel, Advocate and working to create the change girls want to see with Future Girl.

History of Girlguiding