Wilsden Brownies

| March 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

This year will mark 100 years since the creation of Brownies.

When Robert Baden Powell started the Boy Scouts in 1907, it quickly became clear that girls would like to get involved too, and in 1910 Baden Powell asked his sister Agnes to start the Girl Guides. When the Guides started bringing little sisters along to meetings, Agnes realised that a group for younger girls was needed, and in 1914 an under-11s group, the Rosebuds, was born. Their uniform was a blue skirt and jumper with a matching tam hat, a bit like the Guide uniform.

A cake made by the Brownies to celebrate

A cake made by the Brownies to celebrate

It soon became obvious that the Rosebuds loved the activities they did in their meetings, but they hated their name. Agnes remembered a children’s story she had always loved about a young boy and girl who pretend to be a helpful elf known as a brownie, secretly doing good turns around the house for their mother. The Rosebuds became the Brownies, with the uniform changing to a brown dress to match the new name, and in 100 years they have never looked back. Famous former members have included presenter Cat Deeley, actress and politician Glenda Jackson, and even Her Majesty the Queen!

2nd Wilsden Brownies have been working on two interest badges to celebrate “The Big Brownie Birthday”: the Entertainer badge and the Brownie Traditions badge. To get their badges, they worked in groups to practise and perform a history of the origins of Brownies using drama, song and even rap!

The performance for parents took place on 19th February, in their last meeting before the half-term holidays.

Wilsden Brownies wearing a selection of uniforms worn over time

Wilsden Brownies wearing a selection of uniforms worn over time

After narrator Libby had introduced the first group, they acted out the story of how the Guides began when a group of girls gatecrashed the first big Scout rally in 1909 and confronted Lord Baden Powell demanding to become Scouts. The Brownies showed what early Guides did in their meetings: activities such as sewing, camping and first aid – and how their little sisters were soon clamouring to come along too.

The second group performed The Brownie Story, the children’s fairytale that first inspired Agnes to change the movement’s name from Rosebuds to Brownies. In the story, two children, Tommy and Betty, are friendly but lazy, leaving their mum to do all the work around the house. When they hear Mum wishing for a brownie to help, they venture out into the woods to ask the Wise Owl to help them find one. The Wise Owl gives Betty a magic rhyme to say while gazing into a pool – “Twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I looked in the water and there saw…” When Betty sees her reflection and realises that “myself” will finish the rhyme, she knows what she and Tommy need to do – they immediately go home and start doing secret good turns around the house. The story explains how Brownies got their name, why their leaders are known as Owls, and why they look into a special Brownie “pool” when making their Promise.

The last group performed an energetic rap about the founding of Brownies and the story of how they got their name. Finally, all the groups came together to perform some of their favourite Brownie songs before enjoying a special “Big Brownie Birthday” cake and interest badge-themed cupcakes made specially for the occasion by Taylormade Treats.

For their performances, the girls wore a selection of Brownie uniforms from the 1930s up to the present day.

About Brownie Guides and Girlguiding UK

  • Brownies are the second youngest branch of Girlguiding UK. They are girls aged 7-10.
  • Girlguiding is the largest youth organisation for girls in the UK today.
  • Adult volunteers give on average 120 hours a year.
  • Girlguiding has around 450,000 young members aged 4 to 25.
  • Around a quarter of all eight-year-old girls in the UK are Brownies.
  • Girlguiding is a founder member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the largest youth organisation for girls in the world with more than ten million members in 144 countries.
  • For more information on Girlguiding, or to find out how to join or volunteer, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk
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