Why a Guide is called a Guide

>>  Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why is a Guide called a Guide?  It seems like such a simple question.  COG asked me it recently.  I didn't know the answer and I have to say, it took a bit of digging.

We all know about Crystal Palace and about Baden-Powell, some of the more advanced will know about Brownies first being called Rosebuds.  But I've never known why we were called Guides.

At the rally at Crystal Palace in 1909, when asked who they were, the girls had declared "We are Girl Scouts".  At that time it was not the done thing for girls to be doing 'boy things' and calling the Girls 'Scouts' would have probably have stopped parents letting their daughters join.  It would have also annoyed the boys who didn't want their scouting watering down by trying to turn it into anything suitable for girls.

Baden-Powell asked his sister Agnes to come up with a movement for the girls.  It was decided that instead of copying men and being scouts that the women should lead them and become their guides.  "Guides were the people who knew the way and could show it to others"*

Baden-Powell's career had been in the British Army.  His Scout movement was based on the youth corps he set up during the siege of Mafeking .   He would have been very familiar with the elite Indian regiment called the Khyber Guides who served on the north-west frontier of India

Rudyard Kipling's Ballard of East and West from 1889 refers to these Guides and the book 'The story of Guides' by George John Younghusband was published in 1908.  Baden-Powell would no doubt have read or been aware of both.  So the word 'Guide' would have held an important definition for Baden-Powell, just like his 'Scouts'.

In 1910 the Girl Scouts became Guides, it was a special name with significance of which they (and we) can be proud.

The first Guide Company was Miss Baden-Powell's own the 1st Pinkneys Green Guides. But when we talk about 'Guides' in Guiding general, it is a term we can use to encompass all members of all ages, we are all Guides.

I met this Guider at our Cenetenary celebrations in 2009.  She was wearing her own and original uniform.  A lovely lady.  I was quite in awe.

*The World Chief Guide By Eileen K Wade


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