22nd February - Thinking Day

22nd February is a special day: World Thinking Day.  At the World Conference in 1926 it was agreed that there should be a day each year when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all around the world could think of each others and appreciate the amazing movement we're a part of.  22nd February was chosen as this was the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, who founded the Scout Movement, and it was also the birthday of his wife Olave, who was World Chief Guide.

I love Thinking Day.  I'm lucky enough to have done a lot of big things through Guides (and Scouts), I've attended national camps and international jamborees, visited World Centres, and I've worked with units across the UK regions.  I know that Guiding truly is a worldwide phenomenon (a word defined in the dictionary as 'something that is impressive or extraordinary') and I love, as a leader, being able to show my Brownies just what they are a part of.

We had a district event today, organised by our Young Leaders as part of their leadership qualification.  Around 40 Rainbows, Brownies and Guides (we do normally have more, but it is half term) and lots of leaders met in the Guide hall for a trip round the world in two hours.  The girls made fairy bread in Australia (white bread spread with margarine, then dipped into sprinkles, so wrong and yet so good!), a God's eye in Mexico (a weaving craft, thousands of images if you do an internet search), drums in China, and game in India (not sure about the game, I was in the kitchen!).  (I don't have many photos I can use here, as most of them are of the girls, but the photos I do have are great, looking forward to updating our unit display board.)  When we arrived back in the UK, we had our candlelit promise ceremony.

Every member country in WAGGGS (the World Assocation of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) has its own promise and laws, but all the promises and laws share a base in personal development, spiritual development, and a commitment to helping others.  In our Guide hall, we all stood in a horseshoe, with candles lit and laid out in the shape of a trefoil.  Then one of our newest leaders made her promise as an adult.  She is fluent in sign language and went along to Brownies a year or so ago 'just for a couple of weeks' to help them earn their Disability Awareness badge.  Well, a couple of weeks has lasted quite a while, she's now doing her leadership qualification, came to our Butlins event last month and is a valued part of the district team!  And today she made her promise, in sign language, with one of her Brownies reading it aloud.  It was a really lovely moment.  We then sang 'This Little Guiding Light of Mine' and the good bye song for Rainbows, Brownie Bells for Brownies, and Taps for Guides.

This evening, looking through Facebook and Twitter, so many Guiding people are sharing stories of what they've done today (one Facebook group appears to be having a singalong, which is great!), and uploading photos of their Thinking Day candles/light.  There is a tradition whereby everyone who is, or has been, involved with Guiding lights a candle and places it in their window as a symbol of what today means.  Candles are not appropriate for everyone's window, but I've seen lots of variations on line, lots of battery-operated tea lights and lanterns and head torches.

My Brownies have sent postcards to several units around the world, and have had replies from the USA, Canada and Singapore, which are proudly displayed on our noticeboard.  I know the girls know that they're part of a big organisation, and I hope today of all days they are proud of their involvement.

Happy Thinking Day, everyone!


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