Symbols of the movement

Many of the symbols of WAGGGS and the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement were introduced by Lord Robert Baden-Powell and have been updated throughout the years to ensure our relevance in today's world.

Trefoil on blue background

World Trefoil

The Trefoil, used on the World Badge, is the unifying symbol of WAGGGS with every part of the design having its meaning. The golden Trefoil on a bright blue background, for example, represents the sun shining over all the children of the world; the three leaves represent the three-fold Promise as originally laid down by the Founder; the base of the stalk represents the flame of the love of humanity; the vein pointing upwards through the centre of the Trefoil is the compass needle pointing the way; and the two stars represent the Promise and Law.

WAGGGS World Badge

World Badge

The World Badge, which incorporates the Trefoil, was first adopted at the 11th World Conference in Evian, France, in 1946 and features the gold World Trefoil on a blue background.

World Association Badge

The World Association Badge was first adopted at the 7th World Conference in Bucze, Poland, in 1932. It is similar in design to the World Badge, and is worn by members of the World Board, its Committees, World Bureau staff, Guiders-in-Charge at the World Centres, Honorary Associates, and others, who carry out special duties for the World Association.

World Flag

The golden Trefoil remains the focal point on a blue background. A white blaze in the lower, right-hand corner represents WAGGGS' commitment to peace. This is crowned by three golden blocks symbolising the three-fold Promise. It is used at the World Centres, the World Bureau, WAGGGS' gatherings and by all Member Organisations, often as a unit flag.

The Motto

The Motto, 'Be Prepared', shares the Founder's initials and is a practical reminder of the educational purposes of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.

Good Turn

The Good Turn symbolises the service given by all members of the Movement to the community. Younger girls think of ways they can do a good turn every day, while older girls develop this further into service projects at local, national and international levels.

The Left Handshake

The Founder suggested a Left Handshake to recognise other members of the Movement, and it is still used widely. When asked to explain the origin, Lord Baden-Powell related a legend told to him in West Africa: two hostile, neighbouring communities decided to try to live together in peace, and so they flung down their shields, which were carried on the left arm, and advanced, unprotected, to greet each other with their left hands extended in trust and friendship.

The Salute

To make the sign, raise three fingers of the right hand, with the thumb holding the little finger down. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Girl Guide and Girl Scout promise and echo the core values of integrity, citizenship and spirituality. In some countries the sign is held at shoulder height, in others it is held to the forehead as a salute.

The World Song

The World Song was adopted at the 13th World Conference in Oxford, UK, 1950. The music was adapted with the approval of the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, from his March, Opus 91b. It was originally composed as the march for one of Finland's oldest Scout companies. First published with English words by Gavin Ewart in 1952, the World Song highlights the principles and spirit of the Movement.

Our way is clear as we march on,
And see! Our flag on high,
Is never furled throughout the world,
For hope shall never die!
We must unite for what is right,
In friendship true and strong,
Until the earth,
In its rebirth,
Shall sing our song!
Shall sing our song!

All those who loved the true and good,
Whose promises were kept,
With humble mind, whose acts were kind,
whose honour never slept;
These were the free!
And we must be,
Prepared like them to live,
To give to all,
Both great and small,
All we can give

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