Last week, as one of the PRAs for my county, I received a press release from Girlguiding about the release of the new Guide uniform. As with all of their press release info, it was super helpful and contained ideas for things to tweet about, and answers for FAQs we may have to deal with.
(As an aside, I'm not entirely sure my county really *gets* Twitter, as barely anyone seems to interact with us on it, but it's good to be prepared.)
There are many pieces, but I've chosen this photo because it's remarkably similar to the kind of thing my guides have been wearing to our meetings for the past year or so. A uniform top and/or zipped top, with a skirt and tights / sandals / leggings etc. The only difference here is that the skirt is also a(n optional) uniform piece. I know that those girls, who were not consulted in the new uniform idea process at all, have asked in the past about a skirt, so that suggests to me that Girlguiding have got it right. I'm also sure that some of the other pieces will appeal to other girls in other units, and it's nice that there is a wide range in order that girls can pick and choose what they want to wear, but still be wearing uniform.
Sadly, it seems that not all leaders feel the same. I refuse to link to the DM article, but it was published at the weekend to highlight some of the negative response which members, leaders and commenters have been sharing about the uniform changes. If you do read it, also read this: This is a wonderful response. I think all the negativity is really sad, firstly because: if you're a leader, it's not meant for you. No, you weren't part of the consultation, but you also won't be expected to wear it, so why would you expect to be asked? Secondly, if your girls haven't yet seen the new uniform, it's not fair to push your opinions on them. Negative public comment like this reflects badly on the organisation as a whole.
In the more extreme cases, I've even seen leaders threatening to leave Girlguiding altogether, because they don't like the uniform. Frankly, I think that's a childish reaction. We've seen it before, with the Promise and not one of the leaders I know of personally who made that comment with the introduction of the new Promise has actually left their role. What exactly is a comment like that supposed to achieve?
I love the fact that, given all of the recent work which Girlguiding have been doing to promote body confidence, that was one thing which was in the forefront of the designers' minds when they were working on the new uniform. The design team had input from 150 guide units and used their ideas as the basis for their inspiration, which is great - girl-led guiding, at it's best!
I guess my main point is that if you're a member of an organisation like Girlguiding, you need to embrace and move with it's changes. Things can't stay the same forever, and we are all embracing all of the changes we've made in the past 100 years when looking at the #BigBrownieBirthday. I think we, as leaders, should be proud of the fact that we are taking what our girls are saying and turning it into something with tangible results, be that with the new uniform, or seeing a trip or activity they want to do come together.
Let's set a good example for the girls in our organisation by presenting a united front with this. We need to teach them that change happens, but it can be a good thing.
Have you seen the media hype? What do you think of the new #GuideUniform? How would you react?