One of the things I remember doing as a Brownie, but less so as a Guide was celebrating Thinking Day. I shared recently how I was shocked at how many of my Guides and Senior Section had never heard of it and didn’t know what it was, despite having been members of Girlguiding for many years.
This year Thinking Day fell during term time (so often it has been during the half-term holiday) and we were able to do something significant to celebrate. As the Guides have been navigating their G-Files and asking questions, I’ve been telling them more about the history of Guides and the things I did as a Guide. Four new Guides were due to make their promise, as well as our two new Young Leaders so we wanted to do something to make the night special.
I had looked up Thinking Day Candle Ceremonies, and found this one. But for me it didn’t quite sit right. I found some great stuff produced by Girl Scouts in Canada and USA too, and in the end decided to use some of the ideas from each of them and create a “new” candle ceremony.
I managed to get four pillar candles (White, Blue, Red and a yellow-y one – apparently no one sells Gold candles when it’s not Christmas time, so I’m going to nab a gold candle for next Thinking Day next winter!!) and three candles of different colours (scented) that were on sale in my local supermarket. They weren’t quite the colours I was hoping for, but C’est la vie!
Our amazing unit leader spent the weekend making candle holders from cereal boxes so that each Guide (and parents and sisters who came along to join us who wanted to join in) could hold a candle.
I asked our five oldest Guides and our two young leaders if they would light the big candles that we had on a table at the opening of our horseshoe, then from the friendship candle I lit my candle and then with my candle lit the other two leaders next to me and then around the horseshoe each person shared their ‘guiding light’ with the Guide next to them.
This is how our ceremony went…feel free to use or adapt. I based it on the World Flag and this Thinking Day candle ceremony that I found online, I assume it was made by someone in the Girl Scouts of the USA.
For 90 years, on 22nd February, the birthday of our founder and first World Chief Guide we have observed Thinking Day, where we celebrate the international friendship with our sisters in Guiding all around the world.
These candles symbolise what unite us as the World Guiding family and help us to remember our sisters around the globe.
BLUE: We light this candle to represent the sky and sun that shines over children around the world. We share the same sky and sun whether we are richer or poorer, taller or smaller, older or younger, worship different Gods or no god, come from different countries and have different abilities.
RED: We light this candle to remember our founder, Robert Baden-Powell, and his wife Olave Baden-Powell, our first World Chief Guide. Together they showed young girls and women the way of Guiding and Scouting to ‘Be Prepared’ and do a good turn every day.
GOLD: We light this candle to represent the Promise and Law that we all pledged to keep with the hope that it will become a way of life for all who make that promise.
WHITE: We light this candle in the hope of peace in every country and territory around the world. We remember our sisters who have been affected by war.
PURPLE: We light this candle to remind ourselves to always stay true to our beliefs even when it is not easy.
GREEN: We light this candle to represent our readiness to serve, and to help other people as expressed in the Guide and Scout motto to always “Be Prepared”.
PINK: We light this candle in honour of friendship, remembering our sister Guides and Girl Scouts wherever they may be – in homes, churches, meeting halls, refugee camps, hospitals and shelters.
We will now each light our own candle from the candle of friendship. Each of these candles are symbols of the Guiding light of friendship and peace we carry wherever we go in our communities and around the world.
It went better than I thought it would, no one set themselves or the hall (or anyone else) on fire with the candles. The girls who spoke did really well, especially considering we had no time to do a practice run. We later re-lit the candles for the girls to make their Promises!
Other highlights of the night were many of our Guides running a bake sale to raise money for the Guide Friendship Fund – they made £60. Many made friendship bracelets, and had created wordsearches and games about World Guiding. It was all a bit chaotic, and we had to encourage them to reach out to parents and family members they’d invited along for the evening to join in! I hope it gave the parents an idea of what they get up to when they leave them under our supervision.