Founder of the Boy Scout and Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movements was Robert
Baden-Powell, founded in 1908. In 1909, a Boy Scout rally was held at
Crystal Palace in London, and Baden-Powell was taken aback when a number
of girls attended, proclaiming themselves to be girl Scouts. He decided
that if they wanted to join in, they should have their own name and
Movement, and a program suited to their needs. Baden-Powell chose the
name Girl Guides after the famous corps of guides in India who were
"distinguished for their general handiness and resourcefulness under
difficulties, and their keenness and courage..."
1910...the Guide Movement was formally founded, with the establishment
of the Girl Guides Association (United Kingdom).
1910, Baden-Powell retired from his army career and devoted himself
to Scouting and to the beginning of Guiding. He attended camps, rallies
and jamborees all over the world, and it was during a world tour in
1912 that he met Olave Soames, his future wife. Olave accompanied her
husband on visits and tours, and soon became actively involved in the
Guide and Scout Movements. In 1917, she began to organize The Girl Guide
Movement in Sussex, United Kingdom, having been appointed UK Chief Commissioner
the previous year.
First World War did not stop the progression of the Movement, and Girl
Guides/Girl Scouts offered their services as volunteers in many countries.
This rapid growth was due to the efforts of many enthusiastic, resourceful
and forward looking women who saw the Movement as a wonderful opportunity
for the education of girls. Juliette Low founded Girl Scouting in the
United States of America in 1912.
the United States of America, the term ‘Guide’ was unacceptable, as
it already had a widely accepted application to Indian hunters. The
first groups were therefore called Girl Scouts, and several other countries
adopted the same name.
the idea and Spirit of the Movement crossed all frontiers, an official
communications channel needed to help Girl Guide/Girl Scout organizations
to share their experience. In 1919 Olave Baden-Powell formed the International
Council to provide this essential link. The Council was an advisory
body, made up of women who acted as official correspondents with any
country in which they were particularly interested. The first International
Conference was held in England in 1920. It was a historical occasion,
which gave representatives of the Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting world the
opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and experience. During the Conference,
more Girl Guide/Girl Scout organizations became known to the International
Council and, for the first time, Girl Guide/Girl Scout groups began
to plan trips abroad.
1931, the Chiefs undertook a world tour and were delighted at the progress
they saw in every country they visited. The number of Girl Guides/Girl
Scouts within WAGGGS now exceeded one million - the Movement was flourishing.
July 1932, Our Chalet, the first WAGGGS World Center, was officially
opened in Switzerland, and in 1939, the second, Our Ark, was established
in London, next door to the World Bureau. In 1939 the first Girl Guide/Girl
Scout World Camp, Pax-Ting, was held in Hungary, and attended by some
June 1977, millions mourned the loss of Olave Baden-Powell, World Chief
Guide, who died peacefully in her sleep. The World Chief Guide had traveled
the world until 1970, covering many thousands of miles in order to encourage
and inspire girls and young women. But from 1970, health reasons prevented
overseas travel; however she had continued to welcome large numbers
of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world at her home in
the 1980s, WAGGGS undertook the Olave Center project in memory of the
World Chief Guide. The project aimed to locate the World Bureau and
the London World Center together again. The World Bureau moved to its
new home in 1984 and was officially opened the following year. The new
World Center, renamed Pax Lodge, opened in 1990.
the Movement continues to thrive and grow. Nearly ten million girls
and young women are members, in 140 Member Organizations worldwide,
with at least 33 more Working Towards Membership.
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