INDEPENDENT NEWS

Girl Guides Get New Look

Published: Mon 5 Nov 2007 11:31 AM
Girl Guides Get New Look
New Zealand’s Girl Guides are making big changes ahead of next year’s 100th birthday celebrations.
While many of us remember our time as a Guide spent knitting, sewing or making cups of tea, today’s Guides are more likely to try kayaking, scuba diving or learn about other cultures.
As part of the centenary celebrations, Guides from all over the world will gather in Christchurch for a jamboree. As well as taking part in new challenges and new adventures at the 10-day event, Guides will also get to rock with New Zealand’s top bands, Evermore, Elemeno P and Spacifix at J’08 Live, a concert hosted by GirlGuiding New Zealand which is also open to the general public.
In keeping with their new image, a new, sportier uniform and a name change - from Guides New Zealand to Girl Guiding New Zealand - were recently revealed.
“While guides haven’t worn dresses and berets for a long time, our new uniform better reflects the activities our girls enjoy. It’s sportier and more practical,” says executive director Jill Tomlinson.
“The name change deliberately put the ‘girl’ back into guides. We’ve always been a female-only organisation, but the word ‘girl’ was removed in the 90’s when it was deemed politically incorrect.”
Jill says research indicates that girls and young women achieve more in a ‘female-only’ environment that allows them to develop in a cooperative, rather than competitive, environment.
While the principals of Guiding still relate to those developed by the founder, Lord Baden Powell, in 1908, today’s Guides are committed to the values expressed in a new Guide promise.
“The new promise talks about being true to yourself and helping others, with the help of ‘your’ god, rather than God,” says Jill. “We want to reflect the multi-cultural society that we now live in, and to teach girls about respect and tolerance.”
Girl Guiding also provides a safe, fun environment for girls to try new things, develop new skills and gain confidence. Jill says that philosophy is appealing to girls and parents alike.
“From the 1980’s membership declined all over the world, but we’re now finding that numbers are on the increase again.”
At last count over 13,000 girls belonged to the 956 units throughout the country. Girl Guiding is open to all girls, from ages 5 to 18. For more information on becoming a Guide visit www.girlguidingnz.org.nz. Tickets for J’08 Live are available from Ticketek (visit www.j08live.co.nz to find out more).
ENDS / / /

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