Guiding in the UK

Rainbows : Aged 5 to 7
(4 to 7 in Ulster)

Brownies : Aged 7 to 10 or 11

: Aged 10/11 to 14+

Rangers/Senior Section
: 14 -26


Guiding in the UK started in 1910 when lots of girls kept applying to join the Boy Scouts (they used just their initials to hide the fact that they were girls!) They were called Girl Guides after the Khyber Guides, who had particularly impressed Lord Baden Powell.

In 1914 a section was started for younger girls, aged 8 to 11 : they were originally named Rosebuds but later renamed as Brownies because of the brown uniforms they wore. Senior Guide Groups were formed in 1916 and renamed Rangers in 1920, and the latest new age group, Rainbows, were started in 1987 for girls aged 5 to 7.

Why girls-only?
From its very beginning, Guiding in the UK has been all-girls because we believe that an all-female association offers girls and young women the best opportunities for personal and social development. In general, girls mature more quickly than boys, but, on the other hand, their self-confidence grows more slowly. A mixed group, where boys are dominant because they appear to be more self-assured, only serves to highlight the differences. Guides gives girls the opportunity to:

  • decide what to do for themselves
  • work together in teams
  • co-operate and negotiate on an equal basis
  • assert themselves
  • see other women in positions of responsibility
  • take the lead
  • make decisions
  • develop a sense of identity and self-worth.

Uniforms :

The Guide uniform was completely re-designed in 1990. The new uniform consisted of sweatshirt, jumper, polo shirt, t-shirt, jogging bottoms, skirt and trousers - all in bright 'Guide' blue and navy - which can be worn in any combination, and in 2000, to go with the Guide Section Renewal, extra items were added to the selection so now we can wear any of the existing uniform as well as the new stuff - a new T-shirt, gilet, rugby shirt and sweatshirt in mid blue and dark blue with red detail and a Guides logo label. Lots of us still wear the "old" uniform, and we wear yellow neckers when we go out as a unit.

For pictures of all the uniform items we can wear, click here.

photo © The Guide Association

The Guide Trefoil:

Guides and Girl Scouts around the world have a common design for their badges, the trefoil. This is a three-part leaf which symbolises the three parts of the Guide Promise : service to one's faith, one's country and obedience to the Guide Law.

The Guide Promise :

I promise that I will do my best to love my God,
Serve the Queen and my country,
Help other people and keep the Guide Law.

This is the promise made by every Guide, from whatever section, when she makes or renews her promise. Brownies say “Brownie Guide Law” and Rainbows do not make a formal Promise as they are considered too young to understand what making a promise means, but they say “I will do my best to love my God and to be kind and helpful.” Rangers make the same Promise as other Guides and also promise to be of service to the community. Guiders make exactly the same promise as the Guides and we all renew our promise from time to time.

The Guide Law :
  • A Guide is honest, reliable and can be trusted.
  • A Guide is helpful and uses her time and abilities wisely.
  • A Guide faces challenge and learns from her experiences.
  • A Guide is a good friend and a sister to all Guides.
  • A Guide is polite and considerate.
  • A Guide respects all living things and takes care of the world around her.

Back to previous page

Home - Unit - Patrols - Programme - Badges - GFIs - Guiding UK - Links - Email