For those who didn’t grow up in the Guiding family, the annual fuss in February can seem a little… odd. Just what is this “Thinking Day”? What are we supposed to be thinking about? And why February?
What is World Thinking Day?
“World Thinking Day is a day of friendship, advocacy and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.”
It is a day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world work together to learn more about international guiding and international events, advocate for change, and fundraise for the World Thinking Day Fund. The Fund helps WAGGGS to provide non-formal education, training and events to support women and young girls around the world – there are some examples and case studies here.
There’s a badge that girls can work on based around the advocacy theme for the year (this year it’s Education), and each year there are five focus countries for girls to learn more about. This year’s countries are Egypt, Bangladesh, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Benin, and Armenia.
Fun fact (courtesy of one of my Brownies): one of the major exports of St Vincent and the Grenadines is tennis rackets.
How Thinking Day began
Thinking Day began in 1926, when delegates from all around the world met in the USA for the fourth World Conference. They decided that there should be a special day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world could think of each other and give thanks for our international movement.
Why 22nd February?
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouts, was born on 22 February 1857. His wife Lady Olave Baden-Powell, the World Chief Guide, was born on 22 February 1889.
So, when they were considering dates to hold Thinking Day, there was an obvious candidate.
The fundraising aspect didn’t come in until six years later, when it was pointed out that birthdays usually involve gifts, and that thinking usually leads to action. For a long time it was traditional to donate a penny, due to the letter that Olave Baden-Powell wrote to all the members in 1932. You can read the letter on the World Thinking Day website.
When she wrote the letter, Olave BP said that there were a million Guides and Girl Scouts, and that if each of them gave only a penny, they would have a great effect on the world.
Today there are ten million of us – if each gave only a little, think what a difference we could make!
Lighting a Candle
Another tradition of World Thinking Day is for all Guides, Scouts, ex-Guides and ex-Scouts to light a candle in their window on the evening of the 22nd. This poster has been doing the rounds on social media recently – I don’t know where it began.
Why not try it this year?