A Guide Meeting: 1917

Looking for ways to being Guiding History to life? Why not try holding a Guide meeting as it would have been in the past! Guides can take part in heritage activities and learn about Guiding history in a fun and interactive way.

The following is based on “A Model Evening” by G.M. Cobb, in The Girl Guides’ Gazette, April 1917.

Meeting is held 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

5.30 – On the sound of the whistle the Company “falls in.” The Leaders then call the roll, prove their Patrols, and inspect their kit and general smartness. At the end of ten minutes they leave their Patrols and report to the Captain.

  • The week before, let the girls know you will be using a whistle instead of your usual signals the following week.
  • Girls go to their Patrol Corners, Leaders take attendance, collect dues, etc. (your usual routine).
  • Inspection could consist of wearing uniform, proper shoes, water bottle (specifics will depend on your Unit). You could also provide hair ties and ask anyone with long hair to tie it back (this was required in the past!)
  • If your group likes to dress up, they could dress like Guides in 1917. Canadian Guides at this time wore a long navy blue skirt, white middy blouse, and blue scarf.
  • If you have time, make your girls Shoulder Knots in their Patrol colours. (I have done this and the ‘knots’ were worn for the rest of the year!). Shoulder Knots were worn by Guides until 1964.


5.40 – Company notices are then given out; this is followed by Patrol inspection, each Leader being held responsible for her patrol, and ready to explain absences, etc.

  • Hold your opening ceremony, make any announcements, share information for the evening

5.45 – The next three-quarters of an hour the Leaders are responsible for the work. Each Leader takes a different subject, such as Second-Class, Proficiency Badge work, Recruits, and so on. The Leader may choose whatever she things most interesting or most needed by her Guides, and can detail them off for work with another Leader, if not advanced enough, or too far on, for work with their own Patrol. After half an hour each Guide must return to her own Leader, and the remaining quarter of an hour is spent in drill. When the Leaders’ three-quarters of an hour is up, they leave their Patrols “at ease” and report to the Captain.

  • If possible, have Patrol Leaders, 3rd-Year Guides, Pathfinders or Rangers lead activities rather than Guiders.
  • Activities could be based on traditional Guide skills such as Semaphore, Morse Code, Trail Signs, Tracking and Stalking, Knots, First Aid, Map and Compass, Fire Lighting, Camp Gadgets, or Weather Lore.
  • Drill could include learning hand and whistle signals (very useful at camp!)

6.30 – The next three-quarters of an hour is given to games, varied by ball, and musical drills, Patrol competitions, any display work, and singing, the last being popular.

7.15 – The Company sit in Patrols, and the last quarter of an hour is given to the serious side of  Guideship – debates on difficulties, talks on the Guide Law, and how best to follow the Great Guide, and the parade closes with prayer, and the Vesper Hymn for our men at the front, “Tonight,” and then the “Dismiss.”

  • End your meeting with discussion about the Guide’s experiences during the evening, or share more tidbits from our past. Explore this blog for more interesting pieces of Guiding History.

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