World Thinking Day is celebrated each year by the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts across the world on the 22nd February.
Thinking Day originated from a desire by the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to dedicate a day to thinking about and appreciating the global spread of these movements. The observance of Thinking Day has been celebrated every year since 1926, and began over 90 years ago.
The day began when the delegates from the Guide and Girl Scout organizations from across the globe attended the 4th world conference where it was decided that the day would be created and would be held on Lord Baden-Powell’s birthday, the founder of the Girl Scout and Guide movements.
Several years after the day was begun, at the 7th World Conference held in Poland, it was suggested that birthdays usually mean the giving of gifts. It was suggested that girls who were part of the movement could give some kind of gift or do fundraising to help support the movement.
Olave Baden-Powell wrote a letter that was addressed to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and asked them to give a penny to help support the Girl Guiding and Girl Scout movements around the world.
History of Thinking Day
Since it was first launched, Thinking Day has become a way to support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouts across the globe. It allows groups of Girl Guides and Scouts to get to know and connect with others within the Girl Guiding and Scouting community, even if they’re situated countries apart.
The aim of Thinking Day is to bring together young people from across the world – nearly 150 countries choose to take part in the celebrations – to celebrate international fun and friendship, as well as to help raise money and focus on the year’s global theme.
Each year, the theme for Thinking Day changes; this year the theme is ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ – it’s about respecting other people for who they are, regardless of their background. The theme for this year is about treating everyone equally regardless of race, religion, age, nationality, ability, appearance, gender, identity, and experience.
The Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are a global movement with 10 million girls spread across 150 countries, all of whom have diverse backgrounds, cultures and experiences. This year’s Thinking Day aims to celebrate the incredible diversity within the movement.
Usually, one country is selected to be the focus of Thinking Day. With the aim being that Girl Guides and Scouts from across the world will spend time researching the country, its culture and the living conditions in place there, and are then able to better understand how other people in the world live.
The idea around selecting one country to focus on is to help the community better understand and be aware of how different cultures and communities across the globe function and live on a daily basis. It’s also an opportunity to gain a better insight into different religions and how they impact the ways in which communities live and function across the world.
A 1p donation is requested from each member in support of projects that aid Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from member countries in need.
Thinking Day is one of the most important days in the Girl Guiding calendar, with the theme of the event encouraging members of the movement to think about the bigger issues impacting themselves and the communities around them, as well as communities situated across the globe.
Previous Thinking Days have tackled difficult issues such as : poverty, inequality based on gender, sustainability and the environment, as well as access to education across the globe.
To celebrate this momentous day, most Girl Guiding groups opt to plan a range of different events to mark the occasion. The activities organized are normally designed around the concepts of the day’s theme, which this year are: diversity, equity, and inclusion. With the aim being for the Girl Guiding movement to focus on how they can put these issues into practice and help the world to celebrate diversity both locally and in communities across the globe.
How to celebrate Thinking Day
What’s great about Thinking Day is the fact that it allows each set of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to choose how they want to mark and celebrate this momentous occasion. There are no set rules for marking this day, apart from the girls needing to donate 1p and fundraise if possible.
However, everything else about the celebration is left down to each pack of Guides or Scouts.
While some packs choose to celebrate this important day by holding public events such as bake sales and sports days, others choose to embark on challenges to help raise funds for the Girl Guiding and Scouting movement.
A common way that packs choose to celebrate is by taking part in wider events organized by the Guiding and Scouting communities; such as weekend campout events that include a hike of a set number of miles, along with a number of other challenges.
There are also endurance challenges set that a number of older Girl Guides and Scouts take part in, some in their home country, others in countries across the world. Experiences like trekking along complex trails, climbing smaller mountains, and taking part in races from one destination to another that allows the girls to utilize their map-reading skills, are all popular ways to celebrate.
While some groups choose to hold special pack events, such as group sleepovers, parties, and other activities. Some groups of Girl Guides and Scouts choose to walk to a local point of interest and watch the sunrise as a group. This is a popular way that certain packs opt to celebrate Thinking Day, with the time spent at sunrise dedicated to focusing on the theme set for the year.
Thinking Day offers the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting community the opportunity to think about others and focus on the wider issues impacting those within the Guiding and Scouting movement.