Girlguiding is as popular today as it ever has been. Supported by 100,000 volunteers, the charity gives girls and young women “space to be themselves, have fun, build friendships, gain life skills and make a positive difference to themselves and their communities”. I personally started as a brownie in the ‘pixie’ section. I loved it and carried on to become a guide and gain by B-P (Baden Powell) award.
Guiding was started by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 when he set up a camp for boys at Brownsea Island, Dorset to trial his scouting ideas. Scouting grew and grew; next girls wanted the opportunity to participate. In 1910 The Girl Guides Association was formed by Robert Baden-Powell’s sister Agnes. The clothes have always been blue in colour. Although in the very early days girls based their attire on the boy’s, dyeing their brothers’ old cricket shirts and sewing other bits of fabrics together to create their own uniform, until guidelines were set out in 1907.
In 1914 a junior section was created for girls under 11 called ‘Rosebuds’. It was soon renamed though to ‘Brownies’ in 1915 as the Rosebuds disliked their original name. Agnes Baden-Powell suggested the name ‘Brownies’, as they were helpful little creatures in a fairy story she treasured. With the name Brownies, brown was the obvious choice of colour for the uniform. Yellow was bought in as an accent colour for ties in the 1950’s.
The Rainbow section wasn’t officially introduced across the UK until 1987. There were groups in Northern Ireland that started up before this (around the 1970’s) called Bunnies, a programme was established, they had a ‘bunny badge’ and worked towards ‘Bunny Bobs’; different coloured badges with grey dots representing a variety of topics. Across the rest of the UK it was thought insurance would be too high and that younger girls wouldn’t understand the meaning behind the promise. A trial was set up though and proved so popular the scheme was rolled out. Each group had made its own decisions over uniform so to combine all the colours together they were now called rainbows.
The trefoil is the united symbol of the world association of Girl Guides, on the blue background it symbolises the sun shining over the children of the world. Easy2name provide Scout and Brownie Labels, which you can view here.