In response to Martin Conroy (Letters, 26 June), I would like to clarify that Girlguiding’s decision to update the Promise came after a consultation that ran from January to March and was open to all. Nearly 44,000 people of all ages, from inside and outside guiding, took part and the result was not pre-determined.
The responses showed that the main concerns with the Promise were with the phrase “to love my god”. Many people who participated commented on the need for Girlguiding to be open to all girls and to respect the beliefs of others – including those with no specific beliefs.
It was decided to replace the phrase “to love my god” with “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”. This updated wording reflects the broad range of beliefs of members, while continuing to reflect the continuing spiritual development that remains a core part of the guiding programme.
Girlguiding’s members have made it clear that they want to retain just one Promise as it is what unifies all girls of all backgrounds or circumstances – it is our common standard.
Many girls and volunteers involved in guiding have a strong Christian faith and we are very proud to continue to provide a welcoming space where they can develop their beliefs.
Members who wish to participate in church parades or other religious gatherings remain free to do so – this is part of each individual member’s spiritual development – but this must always be voluntary.
Through the Promise our members continue to commit to do their best, to help others and to keep the Guide Law.
It remains the centre point of guiding’s programme, reflecting the commitment that our half a million girls, young women and volunteers make to guiding’s values, and emphasising the importance of values such as honesty, responsibility, integrity, loyalty, respect, tolerance, self-awareness and having a moral framework.
We hope the new Promise will allow all girls and women – including Christian members – to fully understand and feel proud of the commitment they are making.
We also hope it will help us reach out to even more girls across Scotland, so that they can benefit from all the amazing experiences, adventures and opportunities guiding offers.
Girlguiding Scottish chief commissioner