The history of World Thinking Day

In 1926, delegates from around the globe met in the USA and agreed that 22 February would be known from then onward as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world.

Historic WTD modern WTD

Camp Edith Macy – now called Edith Macy Conference Center – in New York state, USA, was the venue for the fourth World Conference of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement in 1926.

A special day

Conference attendees agreed that year that there should be a special annual day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other and express their thanks and appreciation for our international Movement. This was called Thinking Day.

The delegates chose 22 February as the date for Thinking Day because it was the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and his wife Olave, who was World Chief Guide.

The delegates chose 22 February as the date for Thinking Day because it was the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and his wife Olave, who was World Chief Guide.

A birthday gift

Six years later in 1932, the seventh World Conference was taking place in Bucze, Poland, when a Belgian delegate pointed out that a birthday usually involves gifts, and so girls could show their appreciation on Thinking Day by offering gifts to our international Movement by fundraising or making a donation.

Olave Baden-Powell wrote to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts later that year to tell them about this idea and to ask them to spare a penny to help support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting around the world. Scroll down to read Olave’s letter.

International aspects

Much later in 1999, at the thirtieth World Conference in Dublin, Ireland, delegates from around the world decided to change the name of the day from Thinking Day to World Thinking Day, to better emphasise the international aspects of the day.

The fundraising aspect of World Thinking Day that began in 1932 is still an important funding mechanism for WAGGGS today, and it helps to keep the Movement going. Find out more about fundraising and how World Thinking Day proceeds are used.

Olave's letter, 1932

Download the letter

Olave's letter