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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Behind the scenes at the Big Brownie Birthday

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The Big Brownie Birthday has begun! Celebrations of a century of girls in brown uniforms kicked off with a red carpet outside Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland.

The event saw 1,700 Brownies from across the city meeting in the museum to enjoy a silent disco, a trail around the museum, crafting activities and entertainment from drummers, dancers and an acrobat.

Girlguiding is the biggest uniformed youth organisation in the country, supported by thousands of adult volunteers. Edinburgh alone has 500 adult volunteers who all took part in the celebration alongside UK chief guide Gill Slocombe, the Scottish chief commissioner Sue Walker, and Girlguiding Edinburgh president Lady Rosebery.

The Rosebuds, renamed Brownies in 1915, was formed in 1914 by Robert Baden-Powell, who had earlier created the Scouts, and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell.

Events are happening all over Scotland this year to celebrate the Big Brownie Birthday, including the Big Brownie Fun Day at Gleneagles Equestrian Centre on 6 and 7 June.

Come and join Brownies because it’s lots of fun and you make lots of new friends - Ava, 10

Girlguiding Edinburgh

To get 1,674 Brownies, 27 Guide helpers, 78 young leaders, 319 leaders, 100 helpers, 11 Trefoil Guild and 22 Guiding Council members together in one space to celebrate 100 years of the Brownies.

Girlguiding Edinburgh would like to thank Lothian Buses, who kindly set up extra buses and gave the Brownies half price tickets, Police Scotland and Edinburgh Council for all their help when organising the event.

Supporter Quote
Ava, 10: “My favourite bit of the night was the silent disco. My favourite bit of Brownies is getting to see all my friends and playing with them. Come and join Brownies because it’s lots of fun and you make lots of new friends and you get to do lots of activities.”

Hurdles overcome
We wanted to run a Big Brownie Birthday star quest as a fun and special event in a top city attraction, have all Brownies involved and include a balanced programme of activities and challenges. With over 2,000 Brownies in Edinburgh, finding a suitable venue to search for stars, which was also easily accessible to all was no mean feat!

Key successes
Involving almost every Brownie in Edinburgh and building our relationships with Lothian Buses, the National Museum of Scotland, Police Scotland and Edinburgh Council.

Top tip
Don’t underestimate how long it will take to make up 2000 party bags!

The brains
A team of enthusiastic Brownie leaders from Girlguiding Edinburgh, including Ann Mack, Girlguiding Edinburgh county commissioner, and Emma Lyon, chair of the Big Brownie Birthday team.

Digital dimensions

Big Brownie facts
The first Brownie group officially registered in Scotland was 3rd Glasgow Brownie unit on 15 July 1915
There are Brownie groups in more than 100 countries around the world, from Aruba to Zimbabwe.
During the second world war, there were Brownie and Guide groups in Weihsien Japanese internment camp in China and Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany.
Famous former Brownies include Olympians and Paralympians like Dame Kelly Holmes, Victoria Pendleton and Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson; journalists Kirsty Wark and Kate Silverton; actress Emma Thompson and author J.K. Rowling.


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