Girlguiding And The New Promise
Girlguiding has changed its Promise to welcome everyone, regardless of belief and culture. Hooray for a Promise that lets girl guides speak their own truth.
This week Girlguiding announced the outcome of their public Promise Consultation, which has resulted in a monumental change in the wording of the Promise. The pledge to ‘love my god’ has been replaced with ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs,’ and the girls are now asked to serve their ‘community’ instead of ‘country.’
Representatives have explained quite clearly that the aim of this change is to ensure Girlguiding is welcoming to everyone, regardless of their faith, or lack of it.
A noble intention, but of course an organisation as steeped in tradition as Girlguiding was never going to be allowed to progress without at least some resistance (despite the fact the Promise has been altered no less than 11 times in the last hundred years).
Frankly, I’ve been quite disturbed by the amount of ‘PC gone mad’ comments coming from within the organisation itself. It’s quite clear that many were operating under the false assumption that Girlguiding was primarily a Christian movement.
I have seen a few people who are so outraged by this new, inclusive Promise that they are threatening to leave the organisation for good. I can’t pretend that I’ll be sorry to see the back of them. If you are that strongly opposed to a gesture which aims to reach out to girls of all faiths and cultures, I have to question your motivation for getting involved in the first place.
Updating the Girlguiding Promise is a lovely and inclusive thing to do. Find out more about feminism and inclusivity in Girlguiding and get involved today.
I felt such a fraud getting up in front of the girls to make my Promise to a god I didn’t believe in, when I am always telling them to be honest. Girlguiding above all else should be a place where girls can feel that they are accepted as they are. Some come to us as young as 5 years old, and in my opinion this is far too young for them to have fixed ideas about their beliefs. I will be more than happy to help them develop their spiritual side in the same way that we help them to develop their confidence, creativity and new skills, and will feel much more comfortable doing this now that I am not tied to a predominately Christian narrative.
Any doubts being raised that the girls will find this new Promise too difficult to understand are, in my opinion, vastly underestimating them. They are growing up in 2013, when I told them I was getting married the first thing they asked was ‘are you marrying a man or a lady?’ They are modern young women who need a modern promise that reflects the world they are growing up in, and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that is committed to growing with them.