Religious differences and guiding
What you can do to include girls of all faiths and none in guiding.
Spiritual development is a key part of Girlguiding's programme.
Girlguiding is open to girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. This includes girls with no faith or who have a non-religious belief system.
It's important to think in advance about how you will make sure that girls from all faiths, and none, will be included in your unit.
This can mean taking a more bespoke approach. If you need some specific advice or can't find the guidance you need here, get in touch with your local commissioner or email [email protected].
First impressions matter
Think about how your unit looks to new or potential members. Holding meetings in a place of worship, or attending religious events, might make it look like your unit is for girls of only one faith. Think about how you can make it clear that your unit is open to all girls.
Talk about all beliefs
Make sure that girls from all faiths and none are understood and made welcome in your unit. There are places within the programme to discuss differences in beliefs - an evening on the Promise would provide an ideal opportunity.
Don't focus on one faith
Don't just refer to one faith during unit meetings and activities. For example, doing a reflection or song that refers to a god wouldn't be inclusive for all girls.
Think about when your unit meets
Particularly where this may clash with religious activities of faith groups in your community. For example, some members may not be able to attend meetings on a Friday night for religious reasons.
Remember to always talk to the young member and their parent/carer before making any assumptions. If a volunteer, parent/carer or girl has told you about their religious beliefs, it is useful to ask questions to make sure you understand how to include them in guiding.
This can include:
- do they have any dietary requirements?
- is there anything that you need to consider when planning the programme, for example, activities that they would not be able to take part in?
- are there days that they won’t be able to attend for religious reasons?
- are there any fasting days they participate in?
Give as much information as possible
Always give members all the information about events, including who will be attending and what activities are planned. This will allow for them to make an informed decision about whether they attend.
Remember, religious parades are not part of the Girlguiding programme. No young member should attend a faith-based parade without consent from their parent or carer, and taking part in any religious act must always be voluntary.