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Kirstie Alameddine
Every time I tell one of my friends or family members that my daughter is in Girl Guides they’re like ‘Girl Guides, what’s that?’

Belinda Allen
They were very much ahead of their time, very much in empowering girls and women in decision-making..

Anna Kitchener
It’s not just about learning, it’s about having fun and enjoying yourself.

Yasmine Shehata
I was the first one in my class to raise up my hand and say ‘oh me - I’d love to be a girl guide!’

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
They’re not as visible as they once were and you’d be forgiven for thinking they are no longer around…but...look a little closer..

Belinda Allen
We’re still here - very much so. The girl guides have not gone away!

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
It’s Wednesday night in Sydney’s upper north shore and the West Pymble Guides are opening their weekly meeting ...

For more than 50 years young girls aged between 7 and 14 have been gathering in this hall to have fun - And fulfil the Girl Guides Mission.

Chesne Jones, Archivist Girl Guides NSW/ACT
At Guides girls learn life skills that will stay with them for the rest of their life. Skills to learn to cope with whatever life throws up at them.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
So, what values lie at the heart of this 100 year old girls-own group?

In an age, where almost anything’s possible for modern girls, what is its enduring appeal?

Belinda Allen, Commissioner Girl Guides NSW/ACT
The Guide motto is ‘Be Prepared’ and it’s absolutely timeless. It’s just as valuable today as it was 102 years ago ...

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
It all began just over a century ago when
Lieutenant-General Baden Powell, fresh from the Boar war, set up the Scouts for boys in Britain.

It was a huge success: In 1909 eleven-thousand turned up to the first Boy Scout rally in London.

Lieutenant-General Baden Powell
I’m so glad to see you all turn out - nice and clean...

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
And at the end of the parade was a small group of girls.

Margaret Coleman, Girl Guide joined 1938
They were asking to do the same activities as their brothers. Mostly they were brothers or boys that they knew in the area. And they wanted to go to camp and they wanted to do the same sort of things.

Chesne Jones
There was a problem because the parents of the young ladies didn’t want their girls to become Tomboys.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
But the girls wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer so Lord Baden Powell turned to his sister Agnes for help and the Girl Guides was born.

Margaret Coleman
We have to remember that girls wore very long dresses and things in those days which would have been rather awkward in camping and hiking and so on. But they gradually adapted and it took off like wildfire.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
By 1910, Girl Guides had caught on in Australia.

It’s believed the first Unit was formed in Tasmania ... the other states quickly followed.

Soon girls, in towns big and small across our wide brown land, were donning the uniform and making the promise.

Chesne Jones
Guiding was a very important part of any community. In the days when there wasn’t very much around for girls.

In the 1930’s the Lord and Lady Baden Powell came out from England to do a tour of Australia. And it was a huge rally of thousands of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides at the Sydney Show ground.

Lieutenant-General Baden Powell
So I want you to listen to your promise - and think it over as you’ve never done before - so you will carry it away with you when you go.

Chesne Jones
To Scouts and Guides, they were the ultimate celebrities.

Lieutenant-General Baden Powell
Will you do your best? Answer me!

Crowd
Cheers and roars.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Even the Queen was a Girl Guide...

Chesne Jones
She wasn’t given any special treatment in her unit at Buckingham Palace. Treated just as one of the girls.

Margaret Coleman
I’ve met the Queen, I’ve met Lady Baden Powell, I’ve met all sorts of people.

I have been places, met people and done things all around the world that I would never, never have done otherwise. I’ve had a hell of a good time.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Margaret was 10 years old when she joined the Roseville Girl Guides in 1938. A few weeks later, she made her pledge to the movement.

Margaret Coleman
I promise on my honour to do my best, to do my duty, to serve the King and help other people at all times. It’s 75 years ago, you’re stretching the imagination a bit. But I think that’s it.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The Girl Guide promise is at the heart of the movement - it’s a commitment to live by a code of values.

Belinda Allen
When a girl joins to become a guide she makes the promise. But the promise is a personal commitment to herself of how she is going to act.

It’s a responsibility to community and it’s helpfulness to others. And those are the key components that have always been there.

Pip Bloomfield
These are the badges I’ve collected as a leader. Some of them I used to have on my guide hat..

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Pip Bloomfield is the matriarch of a Guiding Family spanning three generations.

Her daughter Jo is a Guide Leader, and granddaughter Anna is literally being guided by both.

Anna Kitchener, Girl Guide
It’s more like having two mums in guides//because that’s twice the amount of guiding knowledge and she just generally knows stuff.

Jo Kitchener, Guide Leader
Ok - I’ll show you my Guide blanket..

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Badges are a big part of being a Girl Guide. It’s a reward, earned when a girl completes a chosen activity called a ‘challenge’.


Jo Kitchener
So I would go bushwalking, we would cook outdoors, we’d have campfires, we’d be rewarded for the things that we did.


The badges have changed that the girls have more freedom these days to choose what they want to do. And I think that’s great for girls to have lots of freedom because sometimes these days nobody likes being told what to do..

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Anna is a member of the West Pymble unit in Sydney and is practicing for her Girl Guide “fitness badge”.

Anna Kitchener, Girl Guide
I’ve been recently doing, trying to do this .. one handed cartwheel, because I can do a two handed cartwheel but I can’t do a one-handed cartwheel very well.

Jo Kitchener, Guide Leader
I think the principles behind Girl Guides are the same. Our uniform has changed, it’s become more practical.

Our tunic was not so good for cart wheeling in and Anna is very pleased to wear her jeans and guide shirt so that she can do cartwheels whenever she feels like. And that’s probably a good thing.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Guides are divided into groups called patrols, and at this week’s meeting at West Pymble each patrol can choose its own activity.

Jo Kitchener
Ok, unit at ease. So tonight girls, follow the instructions of your patrol leader, there will be a leader or an adult for things you need help with and you’ve got until ten past eight.

Chesne Jones
Usually there is up to 6 girls; 4 - 6 girls is ideal in a patrol. Um, they usually have a leader a patrol leader - she is the one who pulls everything together and just makes sure that the whole patrol works.

It gives the girls a real feeling of ownership. Because it’s the girls.. working for themselves

Pip Bloomfield, Guide District Leader
This is the start of leadership.

Girl Guide
Cut the kiwi into cubes and the bananas into slices..

Pip Bloomfield
The girls are given opportunities to do things that might take them a bit out of their comfort zone. For an 8 year old to run a game for instance for the whole unit to participate in is a big thing.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
While Guiding still has an outdoor focus, today girls can choose all sorts of activities.

Jo Kitchener, Guide Leader
One group are doing the Girls Badge. They’re doing some pedicures on their feet and they’re also looking at different foods and things that are relevant to girls.

And we’ve had to redirect them so they’re not just eating junk food and carry on because that’s not really what guiding about.

It’s about learning about their bodies and respecting themselves and I think to do that they need to learn how to do their hair properly and look after themselves properly so we’re not doing makeup.

I don’t think they’re old enough to do that and just doing nail polish on the toes.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
But Guides of yesteryear can rest assured... outdoor activities are STILL at the core of the movement..

Chesne Jones
Outdoors is really where we excel. Because this is very much where you are going to learn a lot of your life skills.

We’re learning through experience - and it’s just always fun. Fun and laughter and food. The three things that people often think about when they think about their time in Guides.

Archive, Narration
Its Willing Shilling Week and that means plain hard yacker for Girl Guides and Brownies who will tackle any job to earn a bob..

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Girl Guides have been involved in community fund-raising right from the start.

Archive, Narration
Now the pay-off.. a good job - here’s your bob!

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
For the past 30 years the Guides have been selling their own brand of biscuits.

Jo Kitchener, Guide Leader
I sold biscuits when I was a guide. And everyone knew when guide biscuit time was.

Anna Kitchener
I’m really excited about selling Girl Guide biscuits because I love them and mum always said that if you love something it’s much easier to sell it.

Jo Kitchener, Guide Leader
What other organisation can you get that experience to knock on the door of people you don’t know that you can go and talk to them, you’ve got a reason to talk to them.

It gives them skills into talking to adults, earning money for the Guide Association and just taking responsibility.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
In its Australian heyday the Girl Guides boasted 80,000 members, but by the late 80s its membership was waining.

Chesne Jones
Well in the, about the late 80’s, was when netball became huge. Um, and so girls had something else that they could belong to and.. I think that was one of the reasons that Guiding had a bit of a slump.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
And it wasn’t just sport... there was other forces at play too.

Belinda Allen
Women in droves were getting back into the workforce and free education had come in and lots of women were going to university who hadn’t previously had that opportunity. And that certainly had an impact on a number of women that were volunteering.

Chesne Jones
So the Guides had to decide, well do we go under, do we sink or do we swim.

Reporter, Archival footage
From computers to cyberspace, the Scouts and Girl Guides are embarking on a revolutionary effort to attract new recruits. With new names, logos and uniforms the Scouts and Guides are shedding their old image in favour of a new 90’s kind of look.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
As a result of recruitment drives, today membership is on the rise again, with 28-thousand Girl Guides in
770 Districts across Australia.

Chesne Jones
One of the reasons I think Guides is having a bit of a increase at the moment is because parents particularly are looking for a more value based organisation for their girls to belong to. And that is something that Guides can offer.

Belinda Allen
These days other than the outdoor activities they’re into recycling, recycling mobile phones, looking at their carbon footprints, cleaning up with Clean up Australia Day and how they can leave the world a better place.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The Girl Guide movement has evolved with the times too.

Sara Shehata, Guide Leader
Go grab your chairs + get your stuff ready

Girl Guides
Chatter

Sara Shehata
Take a chair girls
Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Among its newest members are young Muslim girls who joined after a special recruitment drive in western Sydney.

This unit, the Strathfield Diamonds was formed two years ago and operates out this local Islamic school.

Sara Shehata
I don’t think there were any Muslim guides when I grew up at all.

As you all know we’ve got camp coming up. When have we got camp? Friday. Who’s ready?(girls raise hands)

Sara Shehata
I saw the guides in the Scouts Hall right next to my high school. Always saw it but always walked passed it. So it always seemed like it was a secret club.

Everybody was, you had to have like a little passport to be a part of.

It was also quite a challenge to explain to our parents that girl guides wasn’t purely Christian as well. We really had to tackle, that was the first issue that we had to tackle.

Kirstie Alameddine, Natasha’s mum
Not many Muslim people know about Girl Guides. If they do they think that it’s for non-Muslim girls.

And they don’t want to go towards it. They think maybe it’s a boy thing they teach them about girlfriend boyfriend, they talk to boys and really it’s not that, it’s the opposite.

They teach them to stay away from all that kind of stuff and have self-respect.

Rama Al-Hanouni, Dianas mum
Before guides she was pretty quiet. She was not so much out there and she liked to lead but didn’t know how to lead. And then guides came along and she came up to me and said, ‘Mum they’re doing Girl Guides at school’.
And I said, yes. Perfect opportunity.

Sara Shehata
So do you want to try it?, yep?

So the aim was to just get them outside of the classroom..just get them out of the box.

Because our girls are quite academic based, quite textbook based, and to have them learn to tie different types of knots, to actually use their skills and develop leadership skills.

Yes she actually got involved in girl guides because I told her she had to. No. Girl Guides was an opportunity for her to move away from the book as well.

She’s also another one that is very academic based.

Yasmine Shehata, Girl Guide
I’m a nerd. I’m a bookworm. Like there’s not one night that I could sleep without reading a book or studying or anything. So girl guides just keeps me away from that.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Yasmine is about to put her newly learnt Guiding skills to the test.

She is working towards an achievement badge called the Junior BP, and the challenge she’s chosen is to sing a song that reflects Australia ... in public.

Children
Australians all - let us rejoice…

Yasmine Shehata
Before I was in girl guides I wasn’t as confident. So if I was like to go up and speak in front of a class I’d be too embarrassed. I would always ask somebody ask to go first. But now it’s like something completely normal.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Another challenge is in store for Yasmine... she’s about to go on her first Girl Guide camp.


Jo Kitchener
The other thing guiding teaches them is a bit of self-responsibility so they have to get themselves organised to come on camp. They pack their bags, and they make sure they have everything. If they lose it it’s their own responsibility.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The campsite is a 40 minute drive away.

It will be the first time Yasmine, and most of the Muslim girls, have been away from their parents for a whole weekend.


It’s also an opportunity for them to spend time with guides from other Guiding units..


Guide Leader
Ok, does everybody know everybody else? Fabulous!

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
Around 70 girls from a dozen different Guiding units have come for a weekend of activities.

Natasha Alameddine
I’m Natasha + I’m from Strathfield Diamonds

Yasmine Shehata
I’m Yasmine, I’m from the Strathfield Diamonds

Grace, Girl Guide
I’m Grace, I’m from Yagoona Girl Guides

Yasmine Shehata
When you go into Girl Guides you meet other people from other cultures. You learn about other people’s points of views.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
While the younger girls sleep indoors, outside it’s a chance for the older girls to use the traditional camping skills they’ve learned at Guides.

Chesne Jones
There is quite an art to erecting a bell tent.
Someone needs to hold up the pole inside.
The bedding gadget would be put inside and usually the girls would have a table that they often would make. And that in itself has a real need for leadership.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The theme of this camp is Pirates, and organisers have created a fantasy world with lots of fun activities.

Belinda Allen
The outdoors is important and probably more important than it’s ever been because girls now are so connected to electronic means and all the pressures that come with that, that to go out into the outdoors and test oneself against nature.

There’s nothing more exhilarating. They might sound old fashioned but they actually challenge the person themselves.

Guide Leader
a pirate has to be able to scramble quickly over the nets to get the sails down quickly..

Sara Shehata, Guide Leader
Yasmin was not one to actually get involved actively involved in camps and getting dirty.

Yasmine Shehata
There was the net on one side. Once I went up the net I was too afraid to go over to the other side.
There was a girl six years old and she did it.
I said to myself ‘come on, a girl six years old can do it, but I can’t do it?’

Guide Leader
There you go. Excellent - well done.
Give yourselves a clap - yeah we did it in time - fantastic!

Tony Jones, 7:30 Report News Archive
For a century Girl Guides have promised to do their duty to God and serve the Queen. But not anymore.

Girl Guides in Australia are about to embrace a new promise and they've removed any reference to God or the Queen.

Girl Guides
I promise that I will do my best, to develop my beliefs..

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The Girl Guide “Promise” recently underwent its biggest change in the history of the movement.... as well as removing references to God and the Queen ...

Lateline 2012, archive footage
In the new guide law, loyal has been replaced with respect, and helpful replaced with considerate.

Obedience has been abandoned and instead girls are encouraged to make choices for a better world.

Belinda Allen
The girls find the words empowering, where-as the previous wording was a little bit more subservient.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
But not everyone has embraced the changes..

Margaret Coleman
I’m upset that God and the Queen has gone. I’m a total monarchist, I will not abide a republic under any circumstances.

Pip Bloomfield
I guess my main disappointment with the promise is that there’s no mention of spiritualism, spiritual aspect.

Anna Kitchener
I think I need to go with the new because well we’re not getting the old back and it’s just easier to go with it.

Geraldine Doogue, Narration
The new promise is here to stay.

At today’s ceremony, eight year old Noura is about to join the more than two hundred and fifty million women world-wide who, since 1910, have called themselves a Girl Guide.

Sara Shehata
Dianna may you bring up your first girl to say her promise..

Dianna
This is Noura. She is ready to make her promise.

Chesne Jones
You really are making the promise to yourself. but you are doing it amongst your Guide family. So that it is you really saying to yourself yeah I am ready to do this.

Sara Shehata
Nora - are you ready?

Noura, Girl Guide
Ready

Jo Kitchener
Anna - can you come up please and renew your promise? Girls do you all want to salute when Anna makes her promise?

Belinda Allen
Girl Guide back in the early 60’s. And I had a wonderful time, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learnt so many skills that I didn’t appreciate at the time that I was learning those skills.

It was just good fun. And I think that’s the thing about guiding, it’s often just fun and adventure and you’re not aware until years later of the skills that you have learnt as a guide, because you take it for granted when you’re a child growing up....

Chesne Jones
The life skills that they have learnt will stay with them forever.

Sara Shehata
When you’re ready..

Noura, Girl Guide
I promise that I will do my best:
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs.

Anna Kitchener
To serve my community and Australia
And live by the Guide Law.

Noura, Girl Guide
To serve my community and Australia
And live by the Guide Law.