What is Guiding?


Girl Guides Australia is one of the largest organisations in Australia for girls and young women. It provides leadership and personal skills development to its 30,000 members, including 22,000 youth members.

We provide a non-formal educational program that is dynamic and flexible while offering values based training in life skills, decision making and leadership. The Australian Guide Program is delivered to girls by trained volunteer leaders.

We are:

  • a not-for-profit organisation that involves volunteers at all levels of its operations;
  • an organisation that involves volunteers in its work to enable our members to gain maximum benefit from the unique knowledge and skills volunteers are able to offer.

Our Mission is to empower girls and young women to grow into confident, self respecting, responsible community members.

Our 2015 Aspiration is to be Australia’s leading organisation for girls and young women in leadership and personal development.


What is the Australian Guide Program?

The Australian Guide Program is a non-formal educational program based on shared leadership and decision-making at all ages.

There are four main elements in the Australian Guide Program: physical, people, practical, and self. The program includes a variety of fun activities that focus on self-development in the areas of practical skills, physical development and relationships with people, appropriate to age and interests. Guides of all ages are involved in decision-making, planning, implementing and evaluating their activities. Within her Unit, the Guide will be a member of a Patrol (4-8 girls), where experiences are shared. Guiding is about being part of a team. Leadership development begins with the youngest Guides and develops as the girls mature.

The program is based around the seven fundamental concepts of Baden-Powell's philosophy: Promise and Law Outdoors World Guiding Guiding Traditions Patrol System Leadership skills Service

The process used in the Australian Guide Program is: Discover, Decide, Plan, Do and Check

A Guide will set herself challenges to carry out to the best of her ability. There are badges and awards to be gained, however earning badges is only a small part of being a Guide. The girls will participate in many activities that they will enjoy and learn from. Their reward will be a great sense of achievement.

The activities could be outdoor adventures such as canoeing, archery, abseiling, camping, skiing, hiking overnight, cooking damper over a fire or just sitting around a campfire singing, chatting and sharing a joke. There are other times, though, when the girls prefer indoor activities such as trying a special recipe, having a go at making something, being creative in the visual or dramatic arts, working as a team to plan your next adventure, finding out about other cultures and religions or learning skills through games. No two meetings are ever the same.


What input do girls have?

All the activities the girls do, from weekly meetings, to camps, to expeditions and hikes, are driven by the girls themselves with input and assistance from their Leaders, and planned to match the girls' abilities. The Patrol System (small groups of girls within a Unit with one of their own elected as the leader) is an essential part of the program.

As part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, each girl part of a sisterhood of ten million Guides worldwide, the world's largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women. We aim give girls and young women a voice by asking our members' opinions and representing their views to decision-makers and the public.


How is Guiding in Australia organised?

A Unit's organisation depends on its members. Some Units operate in special skills areas such as Equestrian, sports, or outdoor activities.

Others may be organised according to age. It is the girls' and Leaders' choice. Girls can join Guides in their first year of school. All members under the age of 18 are Guides. All members over the age of 18 are adults who work in leadership roles, support roles, Trefoil Guilds and/or adults who are between 18 and 30 years old can be part of the Olave Program.
Many Units retain traditional Guiding words such as 'Brownie' and 'Gumnut' in their names, while others have invented colourful new names like 'Rainbow Star Guides' and 'Dolphin Guides'. These may change as the Unit's members change.


What Costs are involved?

Membership fees are paid annually to your State Office. These cover membership of the State Girl Guide organisation, Girl Guides Australia and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts as well as insurance and access to Guiding resources. Annual membership is great value, and is set by each state and territory each year.
Unit subscriptions: Each Guide pays an amount per week, per term or per year to her Unit to pay for week to week activities and the general running of her Unit.
Voluntary contribution: Some areas ask for a voluntary contribution to help with maintenance of buildings and equipment.


What happened to Brownies?

Prior to 1996 younger girls joined a Brownie Guide Unit and became a member of the Girl Guides in their State. They made their Brownie Guide Promise. After much research, in 1996, all members of State Guide Organisations became known as Guides. In many places you will hear the name Brownies still used as some people who were a Brownie in their youth are not necessarily aware of the change.

Girl Guides Australia didn't just change the name but also updated the program and range of uniform items girls can choose from. However the values remain the same.


How do I Join?

Contact your Girl Guiding State organisation to find a Unit in your local area.