Programme overview

An overview of the structure of our programme and themes

There’s so much to try in our programme, all designed so there’s something for every girl.

The structure of our programme means girls can grow along with the themes from Rainbows right up to Rangers.

  • There are 6 programme themes: know myself, express myself, be well, have adventures, take action and skills for my future. 
  • Completing skills builders, unit meeting activities and interest badges earn girls theme awards.  
  • Earn 2 theme awards and girls get a section Bronze award. 
  • Earn 4 theme awards and girls get a section Silver award. 
  • Earn all 6 theme awards and complete a Gold award challenge for girls to get a section Gold award. 

Our members worked with us at every stage to design and test every element of this programme, from activities to badge design. Interest badges alone were tested and tried by over 1,000 girls and parents and caers, and many more members and young women tried out activities at unit meetings, consultations, focus groups and camps.


The programme has 6 consistent themes. They’re all equally important as each represents an area of girls’ development.

One theme might include activities to build your confidence, another will take you on a muddy adventure or teach you how to fix a plug.

Everything girls do as part of our programme will fit into a theme. It’s a neat way to group together badges, activities and awards focussing on a similar area. 

Thinking about activities by theme is also a way to make sure girls are offered a balanced and varied programme. By giving them a well-rounded experience, we can help girls develop their sense of self and how they relate to the wider world.

Centred on you

Know myself

Know myself

Girls explore emotions and learn about themselves. They’ll look at what they enjoy, build confidence and discover how feelings affect behaviour.

Example activity: explore your cultural background.

Express myself

Express myself

Girls develop their creativity in all sorts of ways. They’ll make up stories and create inventions to solve problems and start thinking laterally and teaching creative skills to friends.

Example activity: using digital tools to communicate ideas in creative ways.

Be well

Be well

Girls learn how to stay healthy and how to look after their own wellbeing and help others when they’re hurt.

Example activity: learn first aid skills.

Connecting with the world and others

Have adventures

Have adventures

Girls have the chance to overcome fears, try new activities and learn survival skills. Getting outside and having adventures has always been an important part of guiding.

Example activity: geocaching and orienteering.

Take action

Take action

Girls build skills to make a positive difference, whether in their community, the wider world or with the people they know

Example activity: volunteering or fundraising for a local cause.

Skills for my future

Skills for my future

Girls investigate what they might like to do in the future and how they can grow their life skills.

Example activity: exploring different career paths.

We really wanted to make sure these themes work for girls and volunteers. We spoke to girls and leaders in 2015 from across all sections and from right across the country. In true Girlguiding style we even held some of them at camps!

The feedback helped shape the development of the themes, in particular:

  • What’s included in each theme.
  • The need for a structured way for girls to move up through sections and feel motivated to do so.

We love how the themes combine continuity and progress. They also help us see at a glance whether girls are doing a wide range of activities in guiding. We want to make sure they get the variety of experiences they need to reach their potential, make a positive difference in the world and be happy and safe. We hope that it gives girls and volunteers a really clear way to enjoy a varied, balanced and inspiring guiding programme.

Anniversary badges

These bold badges celebrate girls membership and commitment. There’s a badge to mark each year a girl spends as part of the guiding family – no matter what age she joins.

Interest badges

Interest badges are a girls’ opportunity to explore her own interests, hobbies and passions inside or outside of the unit setting.

Find out more about interest badges.

Unit meeting activities

There are lots of fun, ready-to-go unit meeting activities of varying lengths, styles and fun topics which add balance and variation to the guiding experience. 

Find out more about unit meeting activities.

Skills builders

Skills builders are designed to stretch and challenge girls of all abilities and enable them to develop core skills throughout their guiding journey.

Find out more about skills builders.

Theme awards

A combination of unit meeting activities, interest badges and skills builders in the same theme will help girls build up to a theme award that demonstrates the time they’ve dedicated to exploring that area.

Find out more about awards.

Top section awards

These are the top awards in each section and are a real achievement:

  • Section Bronze award: a girl needs to complete any 2 Theme awards from her current section.
  • Section Silver award: a girl needs to complete any 4 Theme awards from her current section.
  • Section Gold award: a girl needs to earn all 6 Theme awards from her current section and they'll have the chance to complete 1 final challenge to earn this very special 'top award'.

Find out more about awards.