February 22nd is World Thinking Day which began in 1926 as a time when girls in Guiding throughout the world would think of each other and give thanks. The date itself is the shared birthday of Lord Robert Baden Powell and his wife Olive. Lord Baden Powell started the Scouting movement and Olive Baden Powell was the World Chief Guide.
I was involved in the Guiding movement starting as a Brownie and went on to Guides, Rangers, Junior Leader and Tawny Owl and finished my career as a Brown Owl which is a leader of a Brownie troop.
On the Sunday before the 22nd all the local members of Guiding and Scouting went to a church service and gave thanks. We marched down the aisle and presented our colours and then after the service we picked up our colours and marched out.
When I was in the movement it was called Thinking Day but at the 30th World Conference held in Ireland in 1999 they decided to make it World Thinking Day to show the global aspect of the movement.
My mother was in Guiding as a young girl. When I became a Brownie my mother volunteered as a leader and eventually was the Commissioner of our district. My paternal grandmother was active in Guiding and was a leader. She met my grandfather at a gathering of Guides and Scouts in Glasgow. My father was involved in Scouting.
Two of my grandfather’s cousins were so active in Guiding that they were awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen for their service to Guiding. The Queen herself was active in Guiding.
It is sad that the next generation in my family has not continued on with the tradition of Guiding and Scouting. I found the experience was fantastic for learning new things and testing my abilities in a safe and supportive environment. I can pitch a tent and light a fire with the best of them. I learned to cook over an open fire and how to keep the pots from turning permanently black from the fire. There was home nursing where I learned how to change a bed with someone in it and how to care for people at home.
It was the goal of many to collect as many badges as possible. You had to fulfill certain criteria and have someone sign off on the fact that you completed the requirements. There are badges available that reflect all the concerns and interests of people today. The badges introduce the girls to different ideas and may create a spark for a future career. They provide them with the skills they will need to care for and support themselves. Today you can get a badge for family heritage.
Younger girls are being welcomed into the movement with a group called Sparks.
In 1975 I was part of an event called Guiding on the Move which was part of our 65th Anniversary celebrations. It was a National Girl Guide project that allowed over 1000 girls to travel across Canada and exposed them to the different ways of life to be found throughout Canada. The group I was with included Guides from around Ontario and the Northwest Territories. We all gathered at our district camp site and went to Hamilton and stayed on the Navel base and toured the city. Then a larger group gathered for a special day celebrating Guiding at the Canadian National Exhibition. I remember marching into the stadium with all my new friends who were part of Guiding from around the country.
Of course there was the cookie sale held every year. We would go to every door in the neighbourhood twice, the first time picking up orders and the second time delivering them. There were only two flavours, chocolate and vanilla. This year Cookie Day will be held at Sears but I have yet to find a specific date for it.
Last year the Girl Guides celebrated their 100th Anniversary.
The Girl Guides motto is “Be Prepared” and their slogan is “Empowering girls will change our world.”
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