Historically, the Guides section and Brownie Guide section each had their own handbook and Interest Badge book.
The Australian Guide Program was introduced by Guides Australia in 1995 as a non-formal education program to engage girls in fun and energetic activities, while encouraging each individual to develop a range of skills to assist in daily life. At this point, the existing handbooks were phased out and the badge syllabus was no longer applicable.
A national review of the AGP identified that Leaders and youth members wanted the return of handbooks. Girl Guides Australia and the various state organisations collaborated to deliver a result to meet this recommendation. The project was led by Ballarat’s Karen Chatto, National Program Manager of GGA.
The result was a series of books released in 2013 for youth, adults and families to learn about Guiding. The Youth Handbooks are progressive with skill-sets to develop as the Guide herself develops. They provide a record of each Guide’s experiences as she writes her plans, ideas and reflections, and they work alongside the Australian Guide Program (AGP).
It is exciting that each book cover features a Guides or Leaders from Ballarat.
The handbooks contain fun ideas, activities, resources and badge challenges. They are designed into each developmental age group:
- 5-7 year olds
- 7-9 year olds
- 9–12 year olds
- 12–14 year olds
- 14–17 year olds
To complement the handbooks, 10 Discover-a-Challenge badges were created; each addressing a set of traditional skills and knowledge appropriate for each age level.
Each clause is based on one of the four elements of the AGP:
The badges named after Australian gemstones: Turquoise, Topaz, Amethyst, Garnet, Agate, Zircon, Jade, Sapphire, Diamond, and Black Opal.
Girl Guides Australia have a set of printed books with the syllabus for each badge. These can be purchased from the Guide Shop in your state.