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Girlguiding the modern way

The Girlguides are undergoing a bit of a makeover to move them into the modern world. Diane Davies finds out more. . .

Badge of honour – there are some new activities on offer
Badge of honour – there are some new activities on offer

We’ve been on a journey to transform what girls do in Girlguiding’. This was the bold announcement as the Girlguides revealed they are undergoing ‘revolutionary’ change bringing in 800 new badges for the modern girl.

Out are the knitting, hostess and laundress activities – in are vlogging, making mocktails, entrepreneur, survival and human rights.

Quite a step away from the slightly twee image the movement may have had. Though to be fair, the Guides do get a pretty raw deal.

While ‘image’ isn’t such an issue for Rainbows and Brownies, the Guides can be seen as a little ‘straight’ for teenagers desperate to establish their individuality and youthful rebellion.

In a quest to be ‘edgy’, teenage girls often turn their nose up at joining the Guides or drift away from their ranks.

As a teenager I remember abandoning my local Guides group to spend my evenings hanging around the youth club or park – largely chasing boys.

What did that achieve I wonder? Well I didn’t meet the boy of my dreams. I didn’t do much apart from improve my game of pool and sit around in the cold. I didn’t get a badge for that. I certainly didn’t get to take part in adventure sports, go away with my pals for the weekend or learn skills that would help my career prospects.

And if the activities weren’t enough to keep me hooked way back when ‘I was a girl’, over time they have become even less relative – until now!

More than 50,000 girls have been involved in shaping the new activities and badges for the movement, which has been going for more than 100 years, over the last 18 months.

Their ideas mean girls, aged from five to 18, can now choose to work towards interest badges such as entrepreneur, inventing, navigator, animation, craftivism, self-care, and human rights while other activities include first aid, survival skills, DIY and money management.

Spokeswoman Jess Bond said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Girlguiding – it’s revolutionary.

“Our ambition is to give girls the opportunity to discover and develop their interests, skills and confidence, take on new challenges and have fun and adventure with their friends. We want girls to feel equipped to take on the world.”

Well done to the Guides on taking these huge steps to change their image and modernise the movement. It will hopefully entice the ‘edgy’ young girls out of the park to enjoy some exciting challenges which will help them in future life.

There certainly seems to be something to tempt every modern teenage girl – except boys, but you can’t have everything.

  • To find out more about Girlguiding Midlands visit


Social media separation – learning and helping others to let go of mobile phones for longer than the time it takes to shower. Weaning themselves and others off social media maintaining a 50/50 Snapchat/life balance – not including time spent sleeping!

Plate spinning – this badge would be awarded to girls who can juggle multiple tasks and roles at any one time and see all through to successful completion. It is the perfect preparation for becoming working mothers.

Reality check – carrying out studies of the world of reality TV to establish how far away from the real world such programmes and ‘stars’ actually are. This analysis can then be used to educate young people beguiled into thinking this is the typical behaviour of singletons, modern nightlife and anyone from Newcastle or Essex.

Capturing landmarks – photography badge teaching youngsters how to capture images of landmarks, scenery, family and friends without being in it. Images such as the sun setting over Sydney Opera house or Gaudi’s stunning Sagrada Familia cathedral deserve more than becoming a backdrop to yet another selfie.

Read all about it – the ability to read an article or feature beyond a two-paragraph breaking news snap is an increasingly rare commodity among young people today. Tomorrow’s generation must be trained to absorb more facts at a time or risk losing the capability forever.

Small talk – as waiting rooms, trains and similar spaces are filled with people looking down stroking their mobiles, the art of conversation is dying. When faced with the threat of having to speak to others we become engrossed in what an acquaintance is having for lunch. Passing the time of day and making small talk is a skill which needs to be passed down to our children lest we slip into a world existing only on virtual communication.

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