Girlguiding Midlothian members and volunteers came together for World Thinking Day on 22 February. World Thinking Day is the annual celebration of the birthday of the first Chief Guide, Lady Olave Baden-Powell (born in 1889). 

On World Thinking Day, girls in Girlguiding speak out about issues which affect them and their community, fundraise for causes they care about, and learn about other countries and cultures.

The day has been celebrated every February since 1926, with over 10 million girls in Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups around the world taking part. The theme for this year’s World Thinking Day is diversity, equity and inclusion.

Girlguiding research shows that over half (51%) of girls aged 7-21 have experienced being left out by theirfriends. The annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey also shows that 44% of girls aged 11-21 want to see more diversity in the media, including people of different ethnicities, people from the LGBTQ+ community, and those with disabilities. Meanwhile, 63% of girls aged 11-21 say there is not enough diversity among high-profile women.

Many Girlguiding groups took part in activities created to give girls the chance to reflect on these issues. The Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Ranger members in Midlothian honoured the anniversary by taking part in activities from countries across the world.

The event held at The Lasswade Centre in Bonnyrigg was attended by more than 200 girls and young women. As well as presenting unit flags and renewing the Promise, girls had the opportunity to learn crafts, songs, games and even dance from each of our World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Centres home countries.

The girls enjoyed making edible English teacups, playing indoor ski racing, trying some Bollywood dancing and making their own piñatas from paper bags. They all joined together to ‘visit’ to Africa and learned an African tribal dance, led by KIC Dance Company. The event was rounded off with some beautiful singing at an indoor campfire.

Layla Adam, 12, said: “I really enjoyed mixing with girls that are not in my unit. Everybody got involved and we had lots of different activities to do.”

The group’s leader, Claire Sanderson, said: “County events are always great fun and Thinking Day is a great opportunity for girls to see first-hand that they are part of a bigger organisation than just their weekly unit. Our worldwide organisation is an important part of Girlguiding and it is great that girls can celebrate this together.” 

Girlguiding was first set up in 1910. Frustrated by the lack of a girl-only organisation, a group of girls decided to take action. They visited a Boy Scout Rally at Crystal Palace in London and asked its founder Lord Baden-Powell to create a girl-led space for them. He and his sister Agnes listened to their call and formed the Girl Guides, appointing Lord Baden Powell’s wife Olave as the Chief Guide (the most senior volunteer in the organisation).

In 2018, Girlguiding overhauled its iconic badges and activities to reflect the world that girls live in today.  The badges and activities give girls the chance to build their skills and confidence, as well as having fun. New badges include Mixology, Vlogging, Aviation, Digital design, Mindfulness, Zero waste and Speaking out. As well as earning badges, girls can travel, speak out about issues they care about and make a difference in their communities.