Girlguiding has announced a major overhaul to help its members ‘thrive’ in the modern world.
The new programme, which will be launching in summer 2018, will include new badges and activities.
The organisation is calling on members to suggest new badges, using a hashtag #badgegoals. So far more than 15,000 girls and young women, including Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, have put forward ideas including App Design, Self-Care, Festival Goer and Speaking Out.
Nine-year-old Maia said: “My dream badge would be the ‘Be Yourself Badge’ because I think that being yourself is very important for Brownies and for life.”
The badges have changed and been updated at different times over the years. Previously this was done one age group at a time but this is the first time the badges and activities for all four age groups – Rainbows (5-7), Brownies (7-10), Guides (10-14) and the Senior Section (14-25) – have been overhauled at the same time.
The evolution of Girlguiding’s badges has long reflected the changing status and needs of women and girls in society.
Badges such as ‘needlewoman’ (1912) and homemaking badges such as ‘florist’ (1910) may have had their day, but over the years the badges are replaced with those that better suit the members.
In 1916 ‘astronomer’, ‘carpenter’, ‘geologist’ were added to the offering, while 1919 saw ‘athlete’ and ‘sportswoman’, and 1957 saw ‘interpreter’ and ‘emergency helper’.
More recently the organisation launched a body image badge, ‘Free Being Me’ (2014), and earlier this year a mental health badge, ‘Think Resilient’, was introduced.
The new Girlguiding badges and activities will be developed around six themes, Skills for my Future, Have Adventures, Be Well, Know Myself, Express Myself and Take Action, expanding girls’ choices and equipping them with more skills and knowledge they can utilise now and in the future.
Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, who is involved in the revamp, suggested a Resilience Badge to help build mental wellbeing.
“I know from experience resilience is such a valuable skill and it has helped me in different situations, from handling the pressures of competing in gymnastics to dealing with the demands of daily life,” she said in a statement.
“A Resilience Badge would help to tackle the stigma around mental health from a young age by empowering girls to talk confidently about these issues and equipping them with the skills they need to be resilient throughout their lives.”
Beth Tweddle is one of a number of inspirational women who have received an honorary ‘I Give Girls a Voice’ badge from Girlguiding in recognition of the part they’ve played in helping to develop role models of the future by championing and empowering girls.
Other recipients include Olympic champions Dame Kelly Holmes and Lizzy Yarnold, singer and dancer Kimberly Wyatt, Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, journalist Bryony Gordon and adventurer Anna McNuff.
Many have taken to Twitter to make suggestions.