Learning the Law and Promise

I promise to share and be a friend.

-The Sparks Promise

I Promise to do my best, To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada I will take action for a better world And respect the Brownie Law

-The Brownie Promise

As a Brownie I am honest and I Promise to do my best, 
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada 
I will take action for a better world 
And respect the Guiding Law ind; I help take care Of the world around me

-Brownie Law

I Promise to do my best, 
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada 
I will take action for a better world 
And respect the Guiding Law

-The Guiding Promise

The Guiding Law challenges me to:
be honest and trustworthy
use my resources wisely
respect myself and others
recognize and use my talents and abilities
protect our common environment
live with courage and strength
share in the sisterhood of Guiding

-The Guiding Law

How old were you when you first learned one of our Laws, or made your first Promise in Guiding? Do you remember what it was like? Did you understand what you were promising, or what the Law really meant? Was your primary focus just to memorize the thing, so you wouldn’t panic during your enrollment, when you were called to make your Promise and recite the Law in front of your family, friends, and leaders?

Many Sparks looked to me last year for encouragement and reassurance that they were indeed capable of memorizing and understanding the Brownie Promise and Law. The hint of panic was visible in their eyes when they got their first glance at how much bigger the Promise is, and now there was a Law they needed to know too!!! I could understand their feelings, it can be a bit overwhelming when you are only 6 or 7, to think that you could remember and understand something so long!

I genuinely believe we start to lose girls at this point. I guarantee every year there are girls who do not make the transition from Sparks to Brownies because they are too intimidated by the Promise and the Law. I get it. These things are big deal at that age! They don’t necessarily have the wisdom or experience to realize that this is something they will be able to do. It’s our job as Guiders to reassure them, and give them the tools they need to succeed! And, most importantly, to know they can succeed.

I think one common way to tackle the issue is to not make the Promise and Laws a big deal. Guiders will say it for them at Enrollment, and then never really focus on it again. They mumble their way through it at Bridging and Sisterhood events. I get this approach, but I think we can be smarter about it.

To me, the Promise and Law are a pretty big deal. They are the entire foundation upon which we build our programming and teach our girls about values and character traits. They are essential to a true Guiding experience, and I believe that if we take a thoughtful approach, our girls will come to understand and value our Promise and Law. It will make their experience in Girl Guides that much more meaningful as a result.

My units spend the first several meetings getting to know one another, learning all about the level of Girl Guides they are in, including the traditions, ceremonies, Promise and Law, and making rules. This is a great time to help them learn and come to understand their Promise and Law, so they can incorporate it into the planning, traditions and ceremonies! It helps them to learn it, and in turn it helps to guide them with purpose and direction when they set goals–thus helping them understand it as well.

For example, when our unit is making up the rules, we might ask, “How would this rule reflect our Promise and Law?” and the girls can decide if that rule makes sense or not based on that. Or if they are struggling to come up with rules, “What do you think it means when you promise to share? How can we right that as a unit rule?” etc.

Incorporating your Promise and Law into your Girls First planning is essential in making the girl’s experience in Guiding as authentic as possible. It gets them all on the same page, and gives them a common core of values to come together in everything they do. Much like the constitution, or the laws of Canada, our Guiding Laws and Promises are a kind of glue that helps our units work together in peace, so that we can get on with the important business of learning and having fun!

Now, back to not overwhelming the girls….

As I discussed previously, learning the Promise and Law can be intimidating, especially at the Brownie age. It is important to give your girls lots of opportunity to practice and exposure to them in fun and helpful ways. We make up little laminated cards for them, with the Promise and the Law on the front and their Circle Group song on the back. I punch a hole in the top and then they can attach it with a safety pin to their sash (much safer than expecting them to remember to put it into their pockets for each meeting!). Every girl is invited to use the card whenever she wants, until she is 100% comfortable that she knows the material. In my opinion, if she wants to keep the card on the sash for the entire two years, that’s fine with me! As long as she seems to know it by about half way through the first year. I can appreciate wanting the safety net! You can download my printable for these cards down below.

These cards can be attached to their sash with a safety pin.

We also play games from the Girls First program (GF program) to help the girls learn the Promise and Law. Typically this is done during the second meeting of the year. The Brownie Promise Relay is an excellent activity to help the girls learn and understand their promise. It’s an activity Guiders have been doing long before the GF program came out, and it works! In this activity, the Promise is cut into strips scattered in a pile and the girls must collect them relay-fashion while their team puts the promise together. It’s guaranteed to end in a few belly laughs. I have the strips from the Promise laminated so that we can use them year after year.

The other excellent activity from the GF program is the Brownie Law in Action. In this activity, girls will break off into their circle groups and come up with actions to go along with the Brownie Law that can help your unit remember it. Then they will come to the sharing circle and preform their Brownie Law. This really helps it become memorable, and its loads of fun for those need-to-move kids!

So remember, as you plan your year, to incorporate the Promise and Law in meaningful, non-intimidating ways! Here are some resources to help you!

The Brownie Promise Relay

Brownie Law in Action

Promise and Law Bookmarks

Promise and Law Evolution (Rangers)

Guiding Promises and Law from Around the World (Pathfinders)

The Guiding Promise and Balloon Pop (Guides)

The Guiding Law in Action (Guides)

The Original Law and Promise

Brownie Promise Washing Line Relay

Promise and Law Activity (Guides)

Brownie Promise and Law Door Hanger

Promise and Law Instant Meeting (Guides) (Includes a Guide Promise and Law Wordsearch)

Brownies Promise and Law Word Search
Girl Scout Law Printable Coloring  New Canadian Brownie Promise Mini Colouring Book Owl And Toadstool Of Girl Scout Law Printable Coloring  12 Respect Coloring
Brownie Promise and Motto Colouring Book

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