Girl Guides SA turns 110

The youngest and oldest members at the party were Mackenzie Thomas, 11, from 1st Steenberg Company, and Doreen Botha, 91, a member of the Clarewyn Trefoil Guild.

Girl Guides South Africa has celebrated the 110th anniversary of its founding.

In 1909, a group of girls appeared at a boy scout rally in the UK and declared themselves to be girl scouts.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of boy scouts, decided there should be a movement for girls. Guiding was introduced that very same year to respond to the specific needs of girls and young women.

Groups of girl guides soon started in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and South Africa.

A year later, the Girl Guide Association was officially established in the UK under the leadership of Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert’s sister.

The first guide company in South Africa was the Hospital Hill Company in Johannesburg, formed by Dorothy Rogers in 1910. Soon after this, companies were started in Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, King Williams Town and Cape Town.

Today there are girl guides or girl scouts associations in 150 countries. In South Africa, there are 500 units in 26 regions with some
18 000 members.

At the gathering, past and current adult leaders from the Cape West region got together to reminisce and catch up.

Girl guides are divided into five branches: teddies (aged 4 to 7), brownies (aged 7 to 10), guides (aged 10 to 14), rangers (aged 14 to 18) and youth (age 18 to 24).

Vsit the movement’s Facebook page for more information.