Being a leader: about the sections

We have four sections - Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Find out what makes them all unique.

There are four different sections in Girlguiding and, as a new volunteer, you might be unsure of which age group is right for you!

Find out about what you can expect from each section in this video.

There are four sections in Girlguiding; Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Rainbows are the youngest section, aged 5-7 (from 4 in Northern Ireland)

They will have only recently started school but are often inquisitive and love the opportunity to learn.

Rainbow: “My favourite thing to do as a Rainbow is making friends and learning new things every day.”

They can have lots of energy, but can’t always concentrate for a long time so short activities are best.

Rainbows are often developing their vocabulary at this age so songs and rhymes can be valuable. 

You can sing the Rainbow song on any occasion, at the start and end of meetings, a promise ceremony or at a Pot of Gold party.

The Rainbow Song:

Look at the world around.
Learn everything you can.
Laugh as you go along.
Love this world of ours.

Look, Learn, Laugh, Love.
Rainbows have begun.
We’re all here now.
Come and join the fun.

Brownies are aged between 7 and 10 years old. Younger Brownies (7 or 8) can be very imaginative and like to play and be creative whereas the older Brownies start to face more pressures in education with exams, so Brownies can be a great way to ‘let off steam’

Brownie: “There’s lots of fun activities you can do and you can get lots of badges. In the summer we play games outside and stuff so it’s really fun.”

Brownies are still developing their self-confidence and can be sensitive to what others think.

Recognition from adults can be very important, and comes in many forms such as praise, or allowing them to take the lead in activities.

A great way to give these opportunities is through the Sixes. Brownie units are divided into small groups called sixes. A sixer and a second leads each Six, these girls are usually a little older and are empowered to take responsibility and lead. You could use Brownie elections to help decide who takes on these roles.

After her tenth birthday a girl can join Guides and stay until just after her fourteenth birthday.

Guide 1: “I like being in Guides because I get to see my friends and do games and challenges”

Guide 2: “It’s just a nice way to finish the week with all school and all the homework. And just a place to have fun”

Similar to Brownies, Guides can be split into small groups of four to eight girls, called Patrols. They have a Patrol leader and a Patrol second, who can be elected and can then represent their Patrol at planning meetings.

Friendships at this age can be really important.

Peer pressure can be tough as girls head towards their teens, with the rise of social media platforms and their self esteem being linked to how others see them.

Guides can give them an opportunity to discuss these pressures, and your girls should feel comfortable to do this if they need to.

The final section is Rangers, from 14 to 18 years old.

Ranger 1: "It’s a group of friends that I only see once a week but we are all really close and we are so involved with each other’s lives. We know everybody – but we also feel like we’re working productively and learning new things that aren’t taught in our everyday lives."

This can be a challenging time with GCSEs before college, sixth form or apprenticeships. 

The school leaving age can vary depending on where you live so it’s important to bear in mind that girls may be on different paths with some looking for jobs and others planning to move to university.

Rangers can be susceptible to social influences such as friends, celebrities and social media. It’s important that Rangers is a place where they can have their own space and develop skills in a fun and varied way.

Peer educators can deliver age appropriate sessions on issues that are relevant to girls such as body confidence and mental wellbeing.

Girls can also become Peer educators themselves at the age of 14.