We're going on a journey

What girls do when they're in Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and The Senior Section is changing.
Find out how.

We’ve stood with girls on their journey to adulthood since 1910

While they’re in Girlguiding, girls grow from being wide-eyed, new-to-the-world four and five year olds to young women who are learning to navigate the realms of adulthood. And we're with them every step of the way - offering support that gives them confidence, teaching them new skills and giving them chances to prove what they’re made of.

Together, as Girlguiding, we’re there for girls as they take the journey to becoming young women, and our programme is a huge part of that.

Our programme is the framework for all the activities girls benefit from, both in their units and in their own time. It supports girls as they grow through the sections, earning badges and developing skills for life.

However our programme has not had a full refresh in quite some time. Because it's so important that what we do with girls is relevant and useful to them, you've told us it's time to take a look at it.

Our world has changed

Is our current programme preparing girls for the challenges of today's world? Members, parents and girls themselves have told us that they’re not so sure.

Girls lives have changed - we want to be there for them

Improving our programme isn’t something entirely new – it’s a journey we have always been on. It’s the journey you make every term when you plan the best possible activities to do with your girls and evaluate what has worked before.

It’s the journey we started over 100 years ago when girls asked for something for them. It’s part of our commitment as an organisation to change as the lives of girls change.

Our first step was to ask you what you thought

This current phase of our organisation’s programme journey started two years ago with the birth of Being our best. In the Being our best consultation, volunteers, young members and parents told us that they wanted to see our programme develop. Since then we’ve been talking to our members and asking more questions - like what do you want and need from Girlguiding?

We’ve also gone through every part of our current programme (yes - every single badge and Go For It!) and checked whether they’re up to scratch.

It's the start of an exciting journey for us all

As we create this new programme, we'll be working with Girlguiding members and girls every step of the way to make sure we get this change right. Read on to find out what you told us, what our plans are and how we're going to make it happen.

What you told us

Both Girlguiding members and girls told us we needed a programme that is as challenging, exciting and appealing for the oldest girls in each section as it is for the new joiners.

You said we needed a programme that demonstrates a clear development journey through the sections, with a structure that gives girls more choice about what they do.

So we're acting on what you told us you wanted.

'We want girls to be able to choose from a more rounded programme'

That means more:
  • adventure
  • technical skills - like DIY and bike maintenance
  • social action - fundraising and girls making a difference in their area.

As well as popular traditional creative opportunities such as arts and crafts.

'We want the programme to have clear bridges between sections - so that more girls are keen to grow from Rainbows all the way to happy, well-rounded young women in our eldest section'

You told us that themes should be more consistent between age groups, so that girls can build on their skills, learn, and continue to be challenged within a familiar framework.

Starting a whole new journey in each section not only makes it difficult to keep girls engaged, but also makes it more difficult for volunteers who want to work with different sections. That's why Girlguiding is keen to create themes that run throughout each age group.

'We want girls to be challenged by the activities'

We’ll make our activities age appropriate for everyone so all the members can enjoy the fun.

Young women told us that they don’t always feel challenged by our programme and that many of the activities are aimed at the lower age range. They want to be stretched!

'We want girls to be prepared for the modern world'

We know that our members love expressing themselves through creative activities, but they also asked for a programme that helps them build other skills.

The message has been clear - our programme needs to be appropriate for the world we live in. We need to design more resources that are relevant enough to meet the needs of all our members.

This way we can make sure that Girlguiding continues to be the go-to youth organisation for girls and young women in the future.

The way forward

Now it's time to move on to the next stage

We want to continue to work together with you - our members - in the process to make sure that the new programme works for everyone in guiding.

It's not all change

Girlguiding has a brilliant and successful heritage and no one wants to lose that. So lots of the new programme will feel really familiar.

We will still have:

  • our Promise
  • a range of badges
  • awards and qualifications
  • time for non-programme activities such as trips and residentials
  • the same unit management structure
  • and the same uniforms for Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Leaders.

Read more information on changes to The Senior Section.

Our programme will also remain rooted in the Five Essentials, which describe the way in which we should deliver good guiding. They are:

  1. working together in small groups
  2. encouraging self-government and decision making
  3. a balanced and varied programme which is girl-led
  4. caring for the individual
  5. sharing a commitment to a common standard.

What's new

The new programme will be structured around six core themes, which together provide fun and stretching experiences that make up the package of skills girls have told us they need.

Know myself

Girls getting to know who they are, and their role in Girlguiding and the wider world. It's where our Promise sits.
Be well

Physical and mental well-being for girls. Helping girls look after themselves and others.
Express myself

Girls showing off their creative side.
Take action

Empowering girls to make a difference and use their voice to help their local community and the wider world.
Have adventures

Girls exploring the outdoors and nature.
Skills for my future

Providing the building blocks for girls to become independent and successful in life.

The programme elements

Within each of the above themes, girls will be able to choose from a range of fun unit activities, skills-builder badges and interest badges. We're also going to introduce awards for activity themes, anniversaries and moving on from a section.

Unit meeting activities

For small groups or whole units, these will form the bread and butter of your unit meetings. They will be an essential part of building up to an activity theme award. There will be a suite of ready-to-go activities of varying lengths and styles, which can be used in a mix-and-match form based on the time you have.

Interest badges

These will be done independently by girls, with a focus not just on skills, but also on the confidence and empowerment gained while completing activities. We will support Leaders to make sure girls of all abilities and experiences are able to succeed independently.

Skills builders

The bridge between unit meeting activities and interest badges - every skills builder will have six different stages. Each stage will require a more complex level of skill than the last - a girl can start at any stage depending on what her current skill level is.

Activity theme awards and end of section awards

Once a girl has completed a selection of all of the above things as part of her time in a section, she will earn an activity theme award that recognises her effort and commitment.

Earning all six theme awards in a section will be a really special achievement. The themes will continue through each section, so that girls will be able to move more easily between sections and be inspired to keep exploring and growing.

It's the individual girl's choice whether she wants to work towards these or not.

Anniversary badges

We will offer a new award that celebrates all the things a girl learns from being part of Girlguiding.

Our route

Our three year timeline

We know this is a big change so it's not going to happen all at once. We want to continue to work together to make sure we're getting this right.

Over the next three years we will continue to involve you - our members - in the process to make sure that the new programme works for everyone in guiding.

There will be opportunities for you to share ideas and activities, get involved and help test new elements of the programme. Of course, there will be learning and development opportunities before we launch the new programme to help you work with the changes.

November 2016 to summer 2017

We’ll explore plans for the new programme together. We’ll be asking you to share your brilliant activity ideas, so we can include some of them in the new programme – and credit and reward you in the process.

We’ll also be continuing to offer opportunities for you to get involved and giving you the tools you need to tell your girls all the exciting plans.

Summer 2017 to summer 2018

This will be a year of trying new things - exploring new experiences, and testing what does and doesn’t work for you and your girls. We’ll be sending you a free tester kit of the exciting new unit meeting activities and asking for your feedback. And we’ll share stories from across the UK about how you’re finding them.

Summer 2018 to summer 2019

This is it – the new programme is launched! A whole range of new resources to help you do what you do best, plus the learning and development tools to support you to do it. Don’t worry, there will be a transition period and you’ll still be able to use some of the current programme while you get to grips with the new one, but by September 2019 we’ll be switching over to the complete new programme.

What now?

It's going to be a fun three years of exploring, experimenting and creating the programme girls want and need. And we really need our members' help to get it right.

Here are just a few things you can do.

Keep giving girls your best

While this journey is happening you should absolutely continue to deliver the existing high quality programme we currently have.

Stay up to date

Girlguiding will be keeping you all updated with our progress through our website, newsletters, Twitter and Facebook. So one thing you can do right now is make sure you're getting our emails by checking your details are up to date on Go!.

Ask questions

We know you will have loads of questions about what is coming. And although we're not going to be able to answer each of you individually, if you email ourjourney@girlguiding.org.ukwe will use your thoughts, comments and queries to shape future newsletters and content on the website. That means not just one person, but all our members, will benefit from the answers.

Finally - get involved!

There are going to be loads of opportunities for you to feed in, experiment and comment. All chances to get involved will be posted on our journey hub on the website.