Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Girl Guiding in Sri Lanka

olave baden powell

The Girl Guide and Boy Scout Movements were founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell (B-P). B-P had first worked with boys while he was in South Africa during the Boer War. He had set up his headquarters in Mafeking, but soon this garrison was under siege. B-P enlisted the help of a few boys to take and carry important messages around town. They were organized into groups or patrols and each patrol had a leader.
Agnes Baden-Powell

Miss. J. Calverley
The scheme was so successful that on his return home to England B-P decided that boys in England should be taught similar skills such as camping, team work and leadership, pioneering, stalking and orienteering to prepare them for when they were older. He then wrote "Scouting for Boys" describing how this was to be done. Boys all over England read B-P's book and started forming their own Scout companies and carrying out activities in patrols.

In 1909, the first Scout Rally was held at Crystal Palace in London. What B-P was not prepared for was the sight of a band of girls, dressed in variations of the Scout uniform, taking part in the rally.
Having met with and spoken to some of the girls at the rally, B-P realized that he had to provide a similar game for girls.
He had to think of a name, and soon he remembered that he had been particularly impressed with some 'Guides' in India.
These men had operated on the North West Frontier and their main task was to go on very dangerous expeditions. Even when they were off duty the 'Guides' were still training their minds and bodies. With this in mind, B-P decided that 'Girl Guides' would be a good name for these pioneering young women.
Lord & Lady B-P
"A Scheme for Girl Guides" was published in November and on 10th April, 1910 the Girl Guides Association was formed in the UK, with B-P's sister Agnes as the first President of the Girl Guides Association in the UK.

The first countries in which the Movement was nationally organized were Canada, South Africa, Denmark, Suomi-Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States of America (USA). When Mrs. Juliette Gordon-Low took over Guiding to the USA in 1912, she found that the name 'Girl Guides' was already in use, and so the Movement in the USA was known as the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
While on board the SS Arcadian bound for Jamaica in 1912, B-P met and got engaged to Olave St. Clair Soames. They were married later that year and Lady B-P became involved in her husband's work with the Girl Guide and Boy Scout Movements.
Rally at Crystal Palace
Guiding was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1917 by Mrs. Jenny Greene, then Miss. Jenny Calverley, and the first Guide Company was started at Girls' High School, Kandy with the support of its Principal Miss. Sansom.
Towards the end of the year a meeting to discuss the future of Girl Guiding in Sri Lanka was held in Colombo. At this meeting a decision was taken to alter the wording of the Promise to enable non-Christians to subscribe to it. The spirit of Guiding caught on, and in the same year, the first Guide Company was formed in Colombo at Methodist College. A junior branch called "Rosebuds" (now known as Little Friends) was also formed. 

In 1918, the Ceylon Branch of the Girl Guides Association was formed and Mrs. R. W. Byrde was appointed as Sri Lanka's first Chief Commissioner.

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