Eesti Gaidide Liit
Number of Girl Guides in 2020
Girls & Boys
I solemnly promise to do my very best: To fulfil my responsibilities to my god and Estonia, to help my neighbour and at all times to fulfil the Guide law.
Estonian Guide Law
- A Guide is honest and trustworthy
- A Guide fulfils her/his responsibility to her/his god, country, parents and leaders
- A Guide is helpful and friendly
- A Guide is polite and obliging
- A Guide is a friend to nature and animals
- A Guide is cheerful and is not afraid of difficulties
- A Guide is diligent, thrifty and persistent
- A Guide is clean in her/his words, thoughts and deeds
Development of the Movement
Girl Guiding reached Estonia in 1919 when the first Guide unit was formed in Tallinn. As elsewhere, the forerunner of Estonian Guiding was the Scout Movement, and the first Guide units came into being as part of Scout units. The first independent district was formed in Tallinn, in March 1920. The next year, independent districts were formed in Tartu and Valga.
The foundation of the national organisation was laid by forming the Headquarters of the Estonian Girl Guide Association in 1924. At the first Estonian Girl Guide Congress in 1926, work started on standardising the Guide uniforms, Guide Promise badge and the requirements for the various tests.
The international relations of the organisation began as early as 1922. The Estonian Girl Guide Association became a member of the International Council in 1922, and in 1928 was accepted as a founder member of the newly formed WAGGGS.
At the end of the 1920's, Estonian Guiding had overcome the early difficulties, and the development of the organisation was stabilised. The founding of a parallel girls’ organisation (Home Daughters-Kodutütred) as a youth movement of the Estonian Women’s Defence League Auxiliary Corps at the beginning of the 1930's brought problems to the Guide Movement. Soon, the rivalry which had developed between the two organisations had a positive effect on the Guide programme.
The attempts to unite all Scout/Guide organisations by a law of organising youth from 1936 onwards had no effect on these girls’ organisations. Guides and Home Daughters worked side by side, until all youth organisations were closed by the Soviet authorities for opposing them in 1940. At that time there were 2,500 members in the Estonian Girl Guide Association. After its official liquidation, some groups continued their work underground during the Soviet, and also German, occupation until 1944.
The political situation in Estonia was very complicated in 1944. Many of the people decided to leave their homes and flee to Sweden or Germany, with the hope of returning. Estonian Guiding and Scouting was built up again in camps in Sweden and Germany, and then spread all over the world. Wherever any Guide leader arrived, there soon arose an Estonian Guide unit. The first units were formed in Sweden in 1944, in Canada and the USA in 1949, in Australia in 1950, and in Argentina in 1951. In Germany, the organisation was restored in 1953, and in Brazil an Estonian Guide unit was formed in 1968. A central organisation, Estonian Girl Guides in Exile, was established in 1949. Nowadays the Estonian Guides in Exile are working in Canada, Sweden and the USA.
Restoration of Guiding in Estonia began in 1988. Troops and groups formed began activities in different locations across the country. Two separate Guide organisations were formed in 1989 – the historically based Eesti Gaidide Malev and the newly formed Eesti Gaidide Ühendus – and the first national events were held in 1989/90. In 1992 these two girls’ organisations formed a federation in order to facilitate membership of WAGGGS. That membership was reinstated in 1993 and in the Congress of 1999 the two separate organisations joined to form a single, strong, unified Estonian Guide Organisation called Estonian Guides Association.