The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is pretty big.
Ten million girls is a lot no matter what you compare it to.
Like any organisation with that many members it’s hard to keep us all pointing in the same direction. We are all individuals, and we all care about different things, but we all have one thing in common – we all believe in the same values.
What are the WAGGGS Values?
- Spiritual Belief/Ethics/Morals/Self-Awareness
You may be thinking “I never signed up to those!” or “I never knew there was a specific list!”. Or you may, if you’re quick off the mark, be thinking “that list looks vaguely familiar…”.
If you’re having trouble recognising it, try this:
- Change each word from a noun to an adjective (i.e. “honesty” becomes “honest”);
- Add “A Guide is…” to the front of each one.
Once you’ve rearranged the wording slightly, you should have something like this:
- Honesty: A Guide is honest, reliable and can be trusted.
- Loyalty: A Guide is a good friend and a sister to all Guides.
- Responsibility: A Guide is helpful and uses her time and abilities wisely.
- Respect: A Guide respects all living things and takes care of the world around her.
- Optimism: A Guide faces challenges and learns from her experiences.
- Consideration: A Guide is polite and considerate.
Which only leaves us with the spirituality value, which is included in the Promise, of course.
Good for the Guides. What about Rainbows and Brownies?
The Guide Law correlates pretty well to the WAGGGS Values. It’s a good starting point if you want to discuss it with them. If you have Rainbows or Brownies it’s harder, because the correlation isn’t exact.
The Brownie Law is:
A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself
and does a good turn every day.
which, with a little squinting and twisting I can turn into Loyalty, Responsibility, Respect and Consideration. Even Honesty could be included if you think about the fact that lying to people makes them feel bad and therefore isn’t thinking of others. Optimism misses out though.
Perhaps you could challenge the girls to find a link – I know my Brownies are surprisingly good at finding ways to link seemingly unrelated things.
Rainbows don’t have a Law. But the Rainbow Song could be a good starting point.
Look at the world around,
Learn everything you can,
Laugh as you go along,
Love this world of ours!
Rainbows get to be Optimistic, it seems. Good for them! We’ve also got Responsibility (learn everything you can), Respect and Consideration (love the world). From Consideration you can get to Honesty using the same route as the Brownies, but I can’t see how to get to Loyalty.
So why do the Values matter?
As I said at the start of this post, WAGGGS is pretty big. We include people of all different ages, cultures, social classes, belief systems, and past experiences. We are all, in a word, individuals.
The values are a way to keep us all on the same page. The values represent our guiding principles (pun intended), our broadest motivations. They answer the question “what makes us us?”
As well as making sure every one of us knows what we’re about, the Values are a great marketing message – I defy anyone to look at the list of values we’re attempting to instil in our girls tell us that we’re doing a bad thing.
Discussions are boring. I want to do something fun!
Why not try playing Snakes and Ladders? Challenge your girls to make their own version. They’ll need to think of some actions that either follow or go against the values, to use as the foot of the ladder or the head of the snake. Here’s a few suggestions to start you off:
- Your friends have forgotten your birthday. You hide in the bathroom and cry.
- One of your friends has two mums. You tease her about it.
- One of your friends has a problem. You go to the cinema with your boyfriend.
- You’re learning about world religions at school. You daydream instead.
- Your mum asks you to clean your bedroom, but you play games instead.
- You get into trouble for something. You spend some time thinking about what you could have done differently.
- Your friend is being teased. You stand up for her.
- You volunteer to run the cake stall at your school fair, and try your hardest at it.
- You find a cute toy in the playground. You hand it in to a teacher.
- The new girl at school looks lonely. You invite her to play.