Rainbows/ Brownies and Guides

Rainbows (age 5 -7)

The Rainbows were first formed in 1987 for girls aged five to seven (from age four in Northern Ireland).
They meet in units of between five and 18 girls.

Being a Rainbow is all about learning, developing self-confidence and building friendships. Rainbows are encouraged to learn about working together and being kind and considerate to others, and also to think about the wider world. Although Rainbows do sometimes do badges and challenges, the main focus is on having lots of fun!

Activities in Rainbows are organised around work the four areas of the Rainbow Jigsaw – Look, Learn, Laugh and Love.

Brownies (age 7-10)

In 1914, Lord Baden-Powell formed a group for girls called Rosebuds. The group was renamed Brownies the following year, after the girls complained they didn’t like being called Rosebuds. The name ‘Brownies’ comes from the story The Brownies by Julia Horatia Ewing, written in 1870. A version of this story is still used today to teach girls that they can be helpful.

Brownies become a member of a six such as Badger, Fox, Mole, Squirrel, Hedgehog and Rabbit. They often follow a programme called the Brownie Adventure, which is split into three sections:

You – where girls build confidence and self-esteem
Community – where girls are encouraged to be active
within their communities
World – where girls learn about the wider world.

Brownies meetings are fun and varied, featuring arts, crafts, cooking, games, visitors and projects. Brownies can work towards a wide variety of badges, such as the Environment Badge, the Science Investigator Badge and even a Circus Skills Badge! They might go on Pack Holiday, and participate in events with Brownies from around the country.

Guides (age 10-14)

The Guides were formed in 1910, after girls attending a Scout Rally at Crystal Palace asked Lord Baden-Powell to develop “something for the girls.” Lord Baden-Powell’s sister, Agnes, set up the Guides for girls aged 10–14, with his wife Olave becoming Chief Guide in 1918.

Guides usually work in small groups called patrols and are encouraged to plan their own activities and meeting, under the supervision of adult Leaders and helpers. Guides work from the 5 Zones:

  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Global awareness
  • Skills and relationships
  • Celebrating diversity
  • Discovery

Guides can work on Challenge Badges, Go For Its, Interest Badges and other special awards, such as the Baden-Powell Challenge. Guides sometimes go on camp, and there are even opportunities for travel to other countries.

Being a Guide is all about learning new skills, making your own decisions and having fun. Guiding provides a safe environment to explore new possibilities and achieve personal goals while making friends and having adventures. And it’s up to each Guide to work out which opportunities are relevant for her, whether it’s improving her football skills, campaigning against airbrushing in the media, or learning about independent living.