Helping Brownies

11 June 2012, by

As a female technologist I belong to quite a few female friendly organisations, including the excellent Women in Technology. Their regular newsletter is always packed full of interesting information, but one particular article caught my eye: “Help required to revamp Brownie Guide computer badge syllabus”.

As a former Brownie, Guide, Range and Young Leader, this seemed like a great opportunity to give back to the guiding movement, so I eagerly applied to help out.

For those of you who haven’t come across this organisation, Girlguiding UK is the largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women in the UK with over half a million members. They have been stepping up their tech-savvy in recent years and now have both a YouTube channel and a twitter account.

Girlguiding UK aims to help girls and young women to grow and develop to fulfil their potential by offering them a non-formal educational programme, which includes a set of Interest Badges. Details of the current syllabi for brownie and guide interest badges can be found here and here. A girl can be a member of a brownie group from the age of seven up to ten, at which point she can move to be a guide until she is fourteen or fifteen.

I was asked to provide some ideas in three areas.

  • Improvements to the brownie computer badge
  • Suggestions for computer activities that could be incorporated into the syllabi of other badges
  • Suggestions for activities to be included in guide badges

I came up with lots of suggestions (full list below) and I really enjoyed the experience, particularly vicariously imagining how much fun it would have been if someone had taught me how to do these things when I was younger! If and when they implement my suggestions, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Girlguiding UK are always looking for volunteers to work with young women. If you are interested, more information can be found on the Girlguiding website.

Guiding badge suggestions

These could form part of the existing Science badge, or a new computer badge.

  • Make a video of a Guiding event using a digital camera or a smart phone and upload it to YouTube.
  • Create a website for your Guide group so new members can find out information about when you meet, what you do etc. (e.g. using
  • Add a blog or a forum to your Guide group website.
  • Create a twitter account for your Guiding Group.
  • Create a web page for your Guiding Group.
  • Learn a basic web development language such as PHP and write a demonstration website.
  • Learn a basic scripting language such as VBScript and write an example script that e.g. changes the names in a text file.
  • Learn a database language such as SQL, set up a basic database and write some example queries.

Brownie computer badge suggestions

  • Create a simple webpage, using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.
  • Use a search engine to find a digital copy of a famous painting and print it out.
  • Find your favourite show on iPlayer and show how you would watch it.
  • Get your computer to play the national anthem of another country.
  • Register with an email server and send an email to a friend.

Other Brownie badge suggestions


Use a photo or graphical editing package (e.g. MS Paint) to add quotes, explanatory text or a “photo frame” to a digital photo.


Use the internet to find copies of 3 books that you would like to read that are out of copyright (e.g. on Wiki books).

Brownie Skills

Register with an email server and send an email to a friend, Use Google to find out something.


Write a web page to advertise an event e.g. using Google Sites.


Design a T-shirt on a computer.


Calculate your carbon footprint at

Finding your way

Use Google maps to print a map of where you’re going, and to generate directions. If you have a smart phone, show how to find out where you currently are on a map, or use navigator to get spoken directions to a nearby place.


Use an online star map and identify 4 constellations that can be seen at different times of year (e.g.

World cultures

Find a website of another country and translate it online.

World guiding

Use Wikipedia to find out three new facts about Guiding in another country e.g.

World Issues

Use an online news site (e.g. to find out about a new issue that you were unaware of.

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Categories: CSR


2 Responses to “Helping Brownies”

  1. Jane says:

    Fancy coming over and trying some of these with my Brownies? We’re doing Designer badge this term… and we’re based in London.

  2. Chris Harris says:

    Hi Jane, thanks for commenting and leaving your email address – Zoe will be in touch!

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