1. Girl-Led Guiding


Girl Guiding in Australia (GGiA) is committed to being led by girls and women of all ages, with the vision of empowering all girls and young women to discover their potential as leaders of their world.

Girl-led Guiding is facilitated at the Unit level through the delivery of the Australian Guide Program (AGP).

GGiA will routinely and regularly seek the views of Youth Members about issues of interest and relevance to them, including, in particular,

(i) their safety and wellbeing;
(ii) the policy and practice of GGiA; and
(iii) issues relevant to being a girl or young woman, and a Youth Member.

The views of all Youth Members will be sought in a respectful and effective manner and will be given serious consideration by GGiA.

The procedures to support this policy are included below.

1. Girl-Led Guiding

GGiA believes strongly that Australian girls are best served by a program designed specifically for girls and facilitated by girls and women. GGiA provides girls and women with an opportunity to experience leadership and management positions from a young age.

Girls and women take positions of leadership in GGiA, use their talents and abilities in planning and policy making, and are encouraged to take these skills into their everyday lives. This allows them to build their self-esteem and confidence.

GGiA provides a unique girl-only environment, promoting personal and social development. The girl-only environment is a safe, inclusive space where girls can be comfortable just being themselves. Guiding offers a unique opportunity for girls to acquire leadership skills, to become self-reliant, to enjoy the friendship of other girls and women, and to develop a sense of wellbeing and self-worth.

2. Leading For Her World

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) has developed the WAGGGS Leadership Model.

The Model notes that:

“Taking part in Girl Guiding…enables girls to build a foundation of leadership practice, confidence and life skills through a learning journey that they shape themselves. They set their own goals and pursue them at their own pace. They get to know themselves and understand what they need to thrive.”

The Model also notes that:

  • Leadership practice is a whole person process
  • Everyone can develop their leadership practice in everyday life
  • Anyone, whatever their age, position, or situation, can be more conscious about how they practice leadership
  • Everyone should be given tools to see themselves as leaders, and reflect on their leadership practice
  • We need to make time and space to practise leadership if we want to be better leaders; holding a position of power doesn’t automatically make us leaders
  • Girls can develop their leadership at all ages – and it is part of the responsibility of the adults who support them to create spaces for them to practise
  • Our values and behaviours affect who we are as a leader more than the skills we learn.

3. The Australian Guide Program

The Australian Guide Program is a non-formal educational program based on shared leadership and decision-making at all ages.

The Program notes that:

All the activities the girls do, from weekly meetings, to camps, to expeditions and hikes, are driven by the girls themselves with input and assistance from their Leaders and planned to match the girls’ abilities. The Patrol System (small groups of girls within a Unit with one of their own elected as the leader) is an essential part of the program.”

4. The Patrol System

As Youth Members progress through the Australian Guide Program , they gain leadership skills. This is encouraged and supported through the Patrol System.

The aim of the Patrol System is to develop the skills of Youth Members so as to build effective team members.

The Patrol System is used to train Youth Members in the skills of self-government, communication, group-management, and leadership, and encourages:

  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork
  • Responsibility
  • Peer support
  • Learning
  • Cooperation
  • Confidence
  • Fun
  • Friendship

5. Participation of Youth Members

Girl-led Guiding is fundamental to the delivery of the AGP. Girl-led Guiding demonstrates the commitment of GGiA to the participation of Youth Members in all aspects of their programs.

GGiA supports the participation of children and young people in issues of relevance to their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Girl Guiding in Australia strives to provide a culturally safe place for all Youth Members.

GGiA notes that talking WITH children and young people in an age and developmentally appropriate way (not just TO children and young people) leads to better engagement and outcomes, and, quite frequently, more worthwhile outcomes. In seeking the views of children and young people, Adults in Guiding should assume that Youth Members of all ages will have a view on most issues relevant to their lives, would like to have their say on these issues, and are able to express clear and informed views when these are sought.

Consulting with Youth Members can be as simple as sitting around in a group and having a respectful and equal conversation, or it could involve more formal and structured sessions looking in detail at specific topic areas.

The Australian Leadership and Qualification Program (ALQP) provides Leaders and Managers with the resources and the structure for opportunities to develop engagement skills to support the voice of girls and young women to be heard.

There are some special funds to support Youth Members to engage in specific activities. Some of these funds are administered by GGA (see here), others by the relevant SGGO. Please see individual SGGO websites for more information. Youth Members are encouraged to talk to their Leaders about alternative sources of funding to minimise economic barriers.

Youth Members and young women in Guiding are given opportunities to be involved in making decisions about the management and programs of GGA and accept responsibility for these decisions as appropriate to their age group. There are opportunities to be involved in policy decision-making through local, state and national youth forums, State Committees and panels. They also comprise part of the GGA delegations to international forums.

There are many useful external resources online about effective ways to consult with children and young people, and a good place to start is the NSW Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People’s resource Understanding and Supporting Children and Young People’s Participation.

The resource has been developed to:

“Help organisations understand the value of involving children and young people in decisions that affect them, and to walk you through aspects to consider when involving children and young people in decision making processes that affect them.”

6. Feedback from Youth Members

All Youth Members are encouraged to speak-up about issues relevant to them, both positive and negative.

Open and honest feedback from Youth Members is essential in a girl-led environment and helps to ensure that the views of Youth Members are central to Guiding.

The ‘Tell us what you are worried about?’ for Youth Members form is specifically for Girl Guiding in Australia to hear feedback from Youth Members and any concerns or complaints they may have.  The form is available on the GGA website and Guide Lines. Leaders should tell Youth Members about this form and have copies available at Unit meetings.

7. The Girl Recognition System

The Girl Recognition System refers to the formal system of challenges as found in Look Wide, Look Wider Still, Aim High and the Guide handbooks 1 to 5. The fundamental premise of the system is that it facilitates the development of a personal challenge for each girl. This is achieved by applying the Australian Guide Program Process. The Girl Recognition System is tied to the Australian Guide Program and encourages individual Guides to evaluate and modify their Guiding experiences so as to reach their full potential.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

GGA requires all people involved in Girl Guiding in Australia, including Members, Volunteers, Employees, and Board Directors of GGA and SGGOs, to comply with the GGA Child Safe Child Friendly Policy and to be proactive in identifying and promoting Girl-Led Guiding.

9. Training and Support

GGA recognises that most people responsible for implementing this Policy are Volunteers and they may have a range of experience in implementing Girl-Led Guiding. The AGP is designed to facilitate Girl-Led programs.

GGA and SGGOs endeavour to provide all Adults in Guiding with guidance and training in the Australian Guide Program as required. The aim is to ensure that everyone in the organisation adheres to high standards of support for Girl-Led Guiding in matters relating to communication, recruitment, service delivery, membership services, policy implementation and general day-to-day business.

Last Modified: 09/05/24 at 4:05 PM