Reading Time: 6 minutes
Listen to this article
world thinking day
world thinking day

World Thinking Day: Reflecting on a Global Movement

Discover the global impact of World Thinking Day, empowering young women through Girl Guides and Scouts. Explore traditions and activities.

Origin of World Thinking Day

World Thinking Day, formerly known as Thinking Day, is celebrated on February 22, every year, globally by all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. In fact, it is also celebrated by Scout and Guide Organizations around the world. It allows the members to reflect on the significance of their pledge and the global reach of the movement. 

It was in the year 1926, that the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts delegates, at the 4th Girl Scout International Conference, at United States’ Camp Edith Macy (presently the Edith Macy Conference Center) agreed that there should be a special day each year when they would think of each other and express their gratitude and appreciation for their counterparts in the international movement. Hence, they chose February 22, as it is the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scout Movement) and Lady Olave Baden-Powell, his wife, (World Chief Guide). After all, what better day, than the birthdays of the founders of the Movement?  

Evolution of Celebration

In the year 1932, at the 7th World Conference of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts at Bucze-Poland, a delegate suggested that as birthdays are normally associated with gifts, so also the girls could appreciate the day by offering gifts to the Movement by way of fundraisers and donations. Thus Lady Olave Baden-Powell penned letters to all the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts informing them about this idea and asked them to donate a penny to support the movement globally.

In the year 1999, at the 30th World Conference in Dublin-Ireland, the delegates, globally, changed the name of Thinking Day to World Thinking Day to highlight the international aspects of the day. The fundraising, which began in 1932 is subsisting as of date for the WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts).

WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)

Empower girls and young women across 152 countries

WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to empowering girls and young women across the world. It promotes non-formal education among girls and young women, and inculcates leadership qualities in them, to make them responsible citizens of the world. This movement is spread over 152 countries across the globe and has about 8.9 million members. The movement offers numerous extra-curricular activities in the fields of arts, sciences, outdoor challenges, global awareness and allied activities that teach them lifetime lessons. It empowers the girls to find their voice, discover themselves and make a positive difference in their community. Thereby increasing their self-confidence and self-worth.

Current theme: "Our World, Our Thriving Future: The Environment and Global Poverty."

Another aspect of this movement is that they have different themes for each year, on which all the members work together. The theme for this year 2024 is “Our World, Our Thriving Future: The Environment and Global Poverty”. It is indeed heartening to know that these youngsters are so concerned with the glaring issues of environmental safety and global poverty that are so prevalent at present.

The Girl Guides and Girl Scouts use this opportunity to study different countries and cultures, appreciate them and also raise awareness and sensitivity about global issues being faced the world over.

empowering women

Traditions of World Thinking Day

Some traditions are followed on this World Thinking Day:

  1. It is a tradition for the rangers from Mona Burgin’s Unit in Auckland- New Zealand, to climb to the top of Maungawhau/ Mount Eden, before dawn, and set up a campfire and a flagstaff, waiting for dawn to break. As the sun rises over the sea, they raise the Guide World Flag, sing the World Song and speak of some countries/people that they are thinking about. This is called “The Big Think” which then travels all around the globe.
  2. It is another tradition, that on the weekend before World Thinking Day, the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world come together online and chat with each other and celebrate their Founders.
  3. Another tradition that is followed by each and every Scout and Guide, present or ex, to light a candle in their window at dusk, that night, which implies “This is my little Guiding Light, I’m going to let it shine”.
  4. Yet another tradition is to send letters or postcards to other Scouts and Guides before Thinking Day. In fact, a postcard campaign was organised by the Ring deutscher Pfadfinderverbande, Ring Deutscher Pfadfinderinnenverbande, Letzebuerger Guiden a Scouten, Swiss Guide and Scout Movement, Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Liechtensteins and Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Osterreichs in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Issues Tackled on World Thinking Day

Various issues have been tackled on each World Thinking Day, like poverty, gender-based inequality, tree plantation, sustainability and the environment. Last year- 2023, the topic was Our Planet, Our Peaceful Future, which explored learning from the ecosystem and how humans can work in tune with nature towards a peaceful and secure future for girls around the globe.

Benefits And Activities - World Thinking Day

Provides a global platform for young women to address crucial issues

World Thinking Day provides young women with the opportunity to be heard on a global platform about issues that are of major importance to them.  This promotes leadership skills and increases their confidence. They become adept at socialising with their counterparts and learn from the same. They become aware of the different countries and cultures, thereby increasing their knowledge. They can brainstorm and develop new ideas as to how best to deal with any concern that they may face. This promotes a sense of peace and harmony, thereby evoking a positive feeling and happiness too.

Activity Packs tailored to the yearly theme, promoting creative learning

There are Activity Packs that are customised as per the topic of the year. This is a fun way to learn more about the topic and involves the creative ability of the young women too.

There are also activities like selling cookies to raise funds. My young niece, in the USA, has taken part in a drive to sell cookies online and raise funds for her Girl Scouts. The funds raised will be utilised for welfare activities. Last year they donated to the local food pantry and bought gifts for families in need, during the holidays.  She is so happy to be a part of this great Movement.

The bonding and empowerment of the young women to be independent and responsible as well as developing goodness for the betterment of the world is the crux of the movement.  We definitely need to make the world a better place to live in for us and future generations.

“The world as we have created is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”


World Thinking Day stands as a powerful testament to the unity, empowerment, and global consciousness fostered by the Girl Guides, Girl Scouts, and Scout Organizations worldwide. Originating from a simple idea in 1926, this day has evolved into a platform for young women to address pressing global issues, enhance their leadership skills, and promote cross-cultural understanding. Through traditions, themes, and impactful activities, World Thinking Day not only reflects on the founders’ legacy but also propels the movement into a future where these young minds actively contribute to positive change. As we celebrate this day, let us embrace the spirit of unity, peace, and collective empowerment championed by these remarkable individuals.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top