Girlguiding hit the national news last month. For the first time in decades, a new programme was revealed to the nation, parents, and leaders. After 18 months of research, trials, and focus groups by Girlguiding Headquarters, the organisation revealed a new 21st-century ready programme! Girls’ interests have evolved over the years so it is only right the programme acknowledges the change in interests. It’s hard to believe there was ever an Empire Knowledge, Dairymaid or Radio Communicator badge back in the day.
What has changed?
This is the biggest overhaul in the 100-year history of the organisation and will affect the 500.000 members in the UK. Changes include new interest badges, skills builders, anniversary badges and awards. As a Rainbow and Brownie leader, any big change can be scary but we have a year before old resources are obsolete to ease ourselves into it! Here’s what we know so far.
Spanning Rainbows to Rangers, the new activities and badges are built around six core themes. The first three focus on the individual. The second three focus on connecting with other people and exploring the world.
- Know myself
- Express myself
- Be well
- Have adventures
- Take action
- Skills for my future
For each of these themes, there are lots to work towards – interest badges, skills builders, group activities and awards.
New Interest Badges
Over 800 new badges have been launched across the four strands of Girlguiding (Rainbows, Brownies, Guides & Rangers). For the first time ever Rainbows (5-7 year olds) and Rangers (after Guides) can attain interest badges outside of the unit.
Some of the old favourite Brownie badges such as Cook (now Baker) have been given a makeover so not all completely unfamiliar. New badges such as Vlogging & Coding will certainly appeal to the little Hoopsters!
For Rainbows, there are 12 interest badges which include Animal Lover, Agility & Healthy Mind designed to be completed outside of the home. I am not sure how many of the girls in my unit will take them up but will be interesting to see.
Skills Builder Badges
Skills Builders are completely new and they are earned by working in a group. Different levels of skills builder badges can be worked on depending which stage of Girlguiding you are at – and the stages get more challenging as you go through. I have bought a couple of packs of these to get us started.
The organisation explains: “If a girl starts stage 1 in Rainbows, by the time she reaches stage 5 as a Guide she’ll have gained some very valuable skills, got a great set of badges and had a lot of fun!”
Once girls have earned a certain number of interest and skills builder badges for one particular theme, you can work towards getting a special theme award. Girls can earn all six theme awards, and a final challenge to get a Brownie or Guide Gold award.
These will be given to girls on the anniversary of the day they joined Girlguiding. At present we give our birthday number badges so imagine that we will use these instead as it’s a great way of building up loyalty I have to admit I’m not sure how these will be calculated but hoping that the computer system ‘Go’ will be able to keep me right!
I asked on my local Girlguiding facebook page for some initial thoughts on the programme:
“I’m loving the new format, think there’s definitely more for the rainbows and I have already had parents starting the badges with the girls as they are excited about it as I’ve been chatting with them how it opens up a lot more opportunities for the girls”
Natalie, Rainbow, Guide & Ranger leader
“I’m really looking forward to getting started on the new programme. I saw some of my Rangers at Pride after I’d picked up their resources and they snatched them out of my hands!”
Catherine, Ranger leader.
“I hope some one comes and tell me how it’s gonna work. Like the idea but putting it in place might be harder if some girls manage to do badges at home and some don’t. If you can make life easier I’m up for it”
Irene, Rainbows leader
I think any change can be scary but know that myself and the other ladies in my guiding team are keen to embrace the change. I sometimes think Girlguiding expects too much from leaders in terms of administration and hope once we are in the swing of it everything will make sense. At the moment i’m not sure what we will do about new badge and handbooks as they are expensive, but will maybe look to provide each girl with once next year. Would love to know what other leaders are doing regarding books?
Volunteer with Girlguiding
There are currently 70,000 girls on waiting lists to join guiding groups across the country. In our area Gosforth we are desperate for new units to plug the gap. Take a look on the Girlguiding website www.girlguiding.org.uk for more information. You will be joining at an exciting time of change!