Celebrating 1 year of our adventure badges!

The 5 badges – snow, water, sport, height and land – mark all the adventure happening across Girlguiding.

17 June 2024

In the first year since launch girls have achieved an incredible 76,986 adventure badges, meaning volunteers across the country have delivered over 76,000 adventures.

That makes an average of 1,480 girls having an adventure with Girlguiding every single week! To celebrate this and all the adventure happening in Girlguiding, we’re profiling the amazing work of 4 volunteers.

Find out what they did to achieve adventure badges with their girls and what adventure means to them but first check out their top tips for getting started on adventure.

5 top tips

We asked our volunteers Helen, Chris, Mila and Alex for 5 top tips for new or nervous adventure leaders.

  • Shadow an experienced or more confident leader - you can learn a lot from seeing someone else do it.
  • Start small, start local – something like a penny hike or scavenger hunt in the local park is adventure.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no such thing as a silly question.
  • For residentials find a provider who’s accredited by Girlguiding to organise it for you (via our adventure map).
  • If you're anxious about organising an event, put your time into fundraising for a provider to organise it for you.

If you want to get ideas for adventures with your unit head to our adventure activity finder. 

Helen Beecher Bryant, LaSER

A woman with short brown hair and glasses looks out at the camera smiling. She has a Girlguiding shirt on

Helen became a Brownie when she was 7 and is now leader of the same section. Today her unit also includes Rainbows, Guides and Rangers. The first badge she helped her girls achieve was the height badge at a local climbing centre.

‘To me it’s a joy to organise stuff’ Helen says. ‘I think once you’ve got a residential qualification why not use it? We tend to do a Rainbow’s day trip with optional sleepover, a Brownie holiday and for Guides and Rangers an international trip,' she continues. 'Yes it’s a lot of planning but it’s worth it.’

'I really like giving them badges because it’s not just about the experience it’s about the memories that are attached to that experience.'

For Helen badges in Girlguiding are an essential part of any experience because they provide a lasting memory. ‘The first adventure badge we did was the height one,’ she says, ‘when all of our sections went to the local indoor climbing centre.’

The centre provides climbing lessons for girls from the age of 4, which meant all the sections could experience adventure together from Rainbows to Rangers. Helen thinks this has positively impacted on retention from section to section. ‘It helps build confidence as one section sees what the group above them are doing and want to do it too,’ she says. ‘That’s why our unit is so big because the Brownies see what the Guides are getting to do and they want to do it one day’.

Chris Trasler, Midlands 

A woman with sunglasses on and a bobble hat stands by a river holding a Clear Access Clear Water bag

Chris is Brown Owl for the Brownie unit that she started her guiding journey in aged 10. She has helped achieve the water badge with her girls.

‘I love giving Girlguiding members the opportunity to do adventurous things,’ Chris says. ‘It's great to see how they find themselves initially out of their comfort zone and how with encouragement they can achieve and flourish in that activity.’

As a county water activities adviser Chris’ favourite adventure badge is water. ‘For the water adventure badge I organised a county paddle sports day giving Guides and Rangers a chance to try white water rafting, white water tubing, paddle boarding, mega paddle boards, canoe and kayaks’, she says. ‘This month Brownies are trying bell boats, katakanu, paddle boarding, mega paddle boards, canoe and kayaks!’

'Adventure means doing something you wouldn't normally do with a bit of excitement.'

Although she has a lot of specific experience, she doesn’t think adventure has to include equipment or training. ‘Adventure can mean different things for different people as long as people are trying something out of their comfort zone,' she says.

Mila Donovan, LaSER

A woman with short grey hair smiles at the camera. She is standing in a green field, wears sunglasses and lanyards against a Girlguiding top and animal print trousers

Mila started her Girlguiding journey as a unit helper in her daughter’s Brownie unit. When the leader of her unit emigrated, she took over and saved it from closure. Her standout badges to help her girls achieve are land and sport.

‘Seeing the girls gaining confidence before they leave our unit. It’s so rewarding,' she says.

'For me adventure is what Girlguiding is all about, it's an ongoing adventure.'

Mila and her unit have achieved all the adventure badges but her favourite is land. ‘Adventure is about exploring new places! The world is there to explore and we love helping the girls get out there to see it.

We do our termly walk which the girls always enjoy,’ she says. ‘They love the treat of having a picnic in an open field as part of that.’

For their sport adventure badge Mila reached out to local organisations. ‘I invited our local football club to do a football lesson in exchange for them being able to promote their club,’ she says.

‘When I emailed the local tennis club in our area, they were happy to give us a free interactive tennis lesson with the girls and gave out certificates and medals after.’ For Mila it’s always worth reaching out to see what your community can provide because 'you won’t know if you don’t ask.’

Alex Babbage, South West England

Alex also stepped in to help when a leader was leaving and stopped her unit from closing. She has been there ever since, organising a trip to Our Chalet in Switzerland this year to help her girls achieve their snow badge.

‘We took 30 Guides and Rangers to Our Chalet in February half term for a week and we did lots of snowy activities for their snow adventure badge,’ she says. The group booked onto one of the chalet’s programmes of activities, which meant that although, by her own admission, ‘I'm not really a massive adrenaline junkie like some of the girls are,’ Alex was able to hand over to people with experience of leading those levels of adventures.

‘We took girls of all abilities and quite a few girls with additional needs and they all came back feeling that they'd achieved something regardless of what they’d done,’ she says.

'Adventure is so important because it's about everyone achieving something in their own way.'

Alex believes that adventure is vital for everyone however confident they feel. ‘Even if you don't actually manage to do anything of the activity, just turning up sometimes can be your achievement,' she says. 'So everyone achieves and grows no matter what.’