Girlguiding Updates its Promise

Brownies making the PromiseGirlguiding is to strengthen its commitment to being open to all girls by updating the Promise that girls and volunteers make when they join the organisation. The decision comes after a consultation involving nearly 44,000 people of all ages from inside and outside guiding. The Promise, which sees members commit to ‘do their best’, is the core expression of guiding’s values.

The updated Promise will ask members to ‘be true to myself and develop my beliefs’. This will replace the previous phrase ‘to love my God’. The change was made after the consultation showed that different words were needed to include all girls, of all faiths and none, more explicitly in the Promise.

The revised wording will also see members promise ‘to serve the Queen and my community’ – a change from ‘to serve the Queen and my country’. The new wording explains the commitment to being a positive member of the community, with a strong sense of responsibility for others, in language more easily understood by girls today.

Gill Slocombe, Chief Guide, said: ‘Girlguiding believes passionately that girls need a space to explore their values and build the confidence to be true to themselves. Guiding has always been somewhere that all girls can develop their beliefs and moral framework, both inside and outside the context of a formal religion.

‘However, we knew that some people found our Promise confusing on this point and that it discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us. We hope that the new wording will help us reach out to girls and women who might not have considered guiding before – so that even more girls can benefit from everything guiding can offer.

‘Guiding believes in having one Promise that is a clear statement of our core values for all our members to commit to. We hope that our new Promise will allow all girls – of all faiths and none – to understand and feel proud of their commitment.’

The new Promise reads:
I promise that I will do my best:
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve the Queen and my community,
To help other people
To keep the (Brownie) Guide law.

The decision to review the Promise was made by Girlguiding’s members and Board of Trustees in 2011, and reflects the charity’s commitment to evolve in line with girls’ changing views. The Promise has been changed 11 times in the organisation’s history, most recently in 1994. 

Recent and ongoing Girlguiding and ChildWise research has indicated clearly that girls hold a wide variety of beliefs about a god. According to the 2013 Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 37 per cent of girls do not believe in a god, 13 per cent believe in a god at some times but not at others, and 26 per cent currently believe in a god.

The Promise consultation took place online and face-to-face at Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section meetings. Additional focus groups were run among girls from harder-to-reach communities to ensure that their views were included in the findings.

For more information please contact the Girlguiding press office on 020 7592 1733 or 07990 553940, or email kim.sanders@girlguiding.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

About the consultation
Nearly 44,000 people took part in Girlguiding’s Promise consultation, which ran between January and March 2013. The consultation was an entirely open process, with no pre-determined outcome. It was open to members and non-members and asked views on all elements of the Promise. Girlguiding’s Board of Trustees took the decision about the outcome of the consultation in May 2013. 

About the Promise
The Promise was last amended in 1994, when two key changes were made: ‘duty to God’ became ‘to love my God’ and ‘serve the Queen’ was supplemented with ‘and my country’. 

The most recent Promise, before today’s changes, read:
I promise that I will do my best:
To love my God,
To serve the Queen and my country,
To help other people
To keep the Guide Law.

About Girlguiding
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 546,406 members. Thanks to the dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. We run Rainbows (5–7 years), Brownies (7–10 years), Guides (10–14 years) and The Senior Section (14–25 years).

Find out about our Activity centres around the UK.