Find my local girl guides
How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie HamptonThere’s massively more to this book than at first meets the eye. On picking this chunky volume off the shelf of my local public library, I thought that here was a relatively light, entertaining, read which would tell me all about Girl Guides in WW2 picking rosehips, sewing blackout curtains, and minding younger brothers & sisters.
Well therein lies a little of that manner of life. What I had not expected to discover were descriptions of events during World War 2, which I had previously known absolutely nothing about: the Kindertransport; the work done by the Polish Guides in transporting food to the front line; the incarceration of the 1st Chefoo Brownies of Chefoo School (N.E. China) in a Japanese concentration camp; the extraordinary contributions made by Polish Guides during the Warsaw Uprising; Guides in Auschwitz; and the ten years of post-war work in Europe carried out by a newly formed Guide International Service. Peerless. This is truly Guiding as a World Organisation.
Interspersed with those eye openers are many accounts of wartime Guiding up, down, and across the breadth of Britain, from first aid rendered to victims of Luftwaffe bombing, to fundraising for war-work, to camping holidays, to ‘underground’ Guiding activities in Nazi-occupied Jersey (Channel Islands); and much more. It certainly was a lot livelier than just jam-making.
Overall, I found reading this book to be a deeply humbling experience; the contemplation of which at times moved me painfully to tears (well above and beyond the death and cremation of Whipsnade Zoo’s African Black Rhino).
However, my greatest sadness arose from Ms Hampton’s attempt at a conclusion, a postscript asking what exactly have the Guides achieved since? She finds little to say; so ‘much’ little that what she doesn’t say reads as deliberately being more telling than what she does say. I found myself agreeing with what wasn’t said: being entirely unable to remember the last time I saw a UK Girl Guide in uniform, locally, in a public place; let alone the last time I heard of any Guide selflessly rendering practical service to someone in need of help. Has our Western society become so atomised, so screen-bound, so risk-adverse and child-safety obsessed, that we live our lives saturated in international and national news stories, with little if any knowledge, let alone care, as to what is happening within a ten-mile radius of home? That see-saw needs re-balancing.
The best thing that this book has done for me is to help me realise that even C21st Guiding may just be able to find local solutions to a couple of problems which have been chasing round my head for the last few weeks. I know who I need to talk to
MY GIRL GUIDING EXPRERIENCE
Guiding encourages the best in us as it gives us the opportunity to discover new ideas, new skills, new experiences and new friendships. You will find that the friendships you form with other Leaders and your relationship with the girls will enrich your life and help with your own personal development. Guiding will also provide you with important lifeskills that are transferable to other aspects of your life such as career, travel, studies, family and friendships. There is a place for everyone in IGG and there are many different roles that you can take up that suit your availability and your skill set. Watch our volunteer video!
Their commitment to their local community is impressive and their interest in self-development is remarkable. Their diverse Movement represents ten million girls and young women from countries. Here we meet some intriguing Girl Guides from relatively remote areas around the world. Today's heros, tomorrow's leaders - hear their stories about the impact of being a Girl Guide. Charleville is a rural town with about people in South West Queensland, Australia. We are on the edge of the desert, so it varies from quite hot to very cold.