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Guides’ Own

History of Guides’ Owns

“Scouts’ Owns were introduced at the Crystal Palace Rally in 1909. They were originally meant to be simple, interdenominational religious celebrations. Often consisting of songs, prayer and a yarn, the Scouts’ Own encouraged quiet times of reflection and were used at camp and in Scout and Guide meetings. Although invented by ‘Uncle’ H. Geoffrey Elwes, these ceremonies increasingly mirrored Baden-Powell’s ideas about individual development and expression. Scout and Guide lore was blended with religious stories and ideas in writing and in practice. Emphasis was on good deeds and upright character, not on salvation after death. As Baden-Powell wrote, ‘You will find that heaven is not a kind of happiness somewhere up in the skies after you are dead, but right here and now in this world’.”
[From the book On My Honour: Guides and Scouts in Interwar Britain by Tammy M. Proctor, American Philosophical Society, 2002]

To be pedantic, here, note that the term is Guides’ Own or Scouts’ Own, regardless of the age of the participants; and that the apostrophe goes after the word - it is for plural Guides, not one Guide.

I have been to many Guides' Owns. Most of them seem to be cobbled together in a hurry from a selection of tired old readings and songs we've heard and sung a million times before. In my opinion, Guides' Owns should be inspirational, interesting and individual. They should invite the participants to reflect on their lives and how they can live the Promise and Law. They should inspire us to be better people.

How do I plan a Guides’ Own?

My Guides are at the stage of organising and running their own camps now. One of the most common questions I get about this is “How do I plan a Guides’ Own?” (Mind you, Guides’ Owns don't have to be only at camp - you can have one for any special occasion or for none at all!)

So I’ve done a bit of internet searching, and have found some useful links. They are listed here in no particular order, and the links are valid as at 1st March 2008.

What is a Guides’ Own?

Introduction to Guides’ Owns from the Anzagl discussion list:

Here's a short page on Guides' Owns from the website of my long-time internet friend, Becky Vincent, of Canada:

Dreams and Aspirations:
- scroll down the page, or search within the page for “own” - this is a small paragraph about a meaningful Guides’ Own this Guide attended

Worksheet for planning a Guides' Own for use by girls:

A Canadian site that talks about four parts of a Guides' Own,with readings and samples:

Examples of Guides’ Owns

Guiding Friendships:

One for adults, performed at Scroggin 2007:

One suitable for a Pirate theme:

Seven Wonders of the World:

Choices, love and courage:

Items suitable for Guides’ Owns

Here are some readings:

I have successfully used Khalil Gibran’s works in Guides’ Owns.

If your Guides are doing the readings clause of the BP Award, why not use some of those in your Guides’ Own?


Internet Resources on Guides' Owns

Spirituality, from the Irish Girl Guides: http://www.irishgirlguides.ie/index.php/spirituality

Some useful readings from Tweed Guides in Australia: http://tweedguides.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/guides-own-prayers-and-readings.html

Ceremony ideas from Tweed Guides: http://tweedguides.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/guides-own-ceremony-ideas.html