Wait?!? Girls Guides ARE adventurous!

29 AUGUST 2023
Girl Guides offers an array of adventurous activities, and we know adventure and outdoor education are at the heat of what we do. Let’s celebrate that! 

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald  positioned Girl Guides as a foil to Scouts. At Girl Guides, we don’t view Scouts as a competitor, but as a peer and a collaborator in the Youth Organisation sector. 

Reflecting on the misrepresentation in this article, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT got to thinking about how we better raise our public profile concerning all things Guiding, and why there’s space in the world for Guides and Scouts! 

Top 5 Reasons that Guides and Scouts coexist in collaboration and friendship

  1. Many Members join both organisations
  2. Many Members of both Guides and Scouts engage across the movements in the spirit of friendship, with a shared purpose to make a difference in the world and develop young people 
  3. Girl Guides has established relationships with Scouts at all levels – from local to global. Girl Guides and Scouts participate and collaborate in countless activities together, such as service initiatives like Clean Up Australia Day, or the many creative pursuits of Gang Shows, a type of variety theatre, or in adventurous activities including hiking and camping
  4. Guides and Scouts maintain positive relationships at governance levels. Our international bodies the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS ) and the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), together with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award join the Big 6 Youth Organisations globally
  5. Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT’s State Commissioner Emily Milton Smith serves on the Branch Council of Scouts NSW, a role she undertakes in recognition of the history and values our two movements share.  

Did you know that you can complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award though Girl Guides? 

Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT not only deliver The Duke of Ed, but we were the organisation that had the first young woman in Australia to finish her Gold Award! 

State Commissioner Emily Milton Smith is a Member of the International Council of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, elected as one of eight young people from around the world.
Girl Guides also holds a special distinction with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as the first organisation to provide the program to girls and young women in Australia. The Award was first introduced in Australia in 1959 and was delivered at two of the largest private schools – exclusively for boys. In 1964, the first young woman in Australia achieved her Gold Award – the highest level of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (the Award). She was a Girl Guide and completed the Award through Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT (when it was then just Girl Guides NSW). 
We are proud of this history – where we have been at the forefront of gender equality - and proud to continue to deliver the Award to girls and young women in Girl Guides, while offering opportunities for other young women who are doing The Duke of Ed and who are not yet Guides to complete activities through Girl Guides, such as volunteering with our Girl Guide Units. 
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is not an exclusive benefit to Scouting, and it can and is achieved through Girl Guides. The various sections of the Award, which include Voluntary Service, Physical Recreation, Skills, and Adventurous Journeys, as well as the Gold Residential Project for the Gold Award, align seamlessly with the ethos and programming of Girl Guides. The Award as delivered by Girl Guides enables our Members to challenge themselves further, discover new skills and experiences and cultivate a sense of responsibility to their community.

So…are Girl Guides adventurous?

You decide—well, the girls do the deciding. Girl Guiding offers a unique experience designed specifically for girls and young women. This girl-centred environment fosters a safe, empowering space where girls can feel confident to express themselves, take risks and lead. The girl-led nature of Girl Guides ensures they are always at the centre of their own growth and learning experiences. 
There is a recurrent misconception Girl Guides is primarily just about ‘domestic’ activities like sewing, cooking, and being a good hostess. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a harmful stereotype about a girls and women-centric space. 
Girl Guides promotes a broad array of adventurous activities, which develop leadership skills, resilience, confidence, and teamwork. From abseiling to archery, camping to canyoning to canoeing, hiking to horse riding to international experiences. With a largest portion of our Youth Membership in primary school, for many girls, Girl Guiding is their first experience of camping. It’s adventure – tailored to our Members’ need. The experiences offered by Girl Guides are diverse and comprehensive. 
In January this year, over 530 Members of Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT travelled to Victoria for a National Jamboree held in Ballarat, which showcased the adventurous stock of Girl Guiding. In September 2025, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT will host the next Australian Jamboree in the North Coast of NSW where we hope to welcome more than 2,000 Girl Guides to this beautiful part of the world. 
While both Scouting and Girl Guides offer valuable experiences, we shouldn't underestimate the unique benefits and opportunities presented by Girl Guides. It's not a question of which is 'better' or 'more adventurous', rather it's about what environment and experience resonates more with the individual girl and supports her in the most fulfilling way possible. 
Find out more about fun, friendship, and adventure at Girl Guides at joinguides.com.au  or join the conversation on our socials @girlguidesnswactnt.

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