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AIBU to be annoyed that my DD probably wont be able to join the Rainbows? (Brownies)

(84 Posts)
RainbowGuides Tue 28-Jun-11 12:22:18

Have namechanged for this...

My DD who is 5 would like to join the Rainbows (younger Brownies), there is only one group operating in our local area. It is run from the local Synagogue and the girls that attend are all Jewish. I asked for an application and applied but was surprised to see that one of the questions asks about your religion and which synagogue you attend.

I questioned this and said we are not Jewish nor do we attend synagogue so would my DD get a place. I was told that I could apply and my name would be put on the waiting list however girls that were Jewish or attended the local synagogue would get priority. Meaning my DD would forever be on the waiting list as those that come on it after would be moved above her as they are Jewish IYSWIM and she would never actually be able to join.

My problem here is that the Girl Guides association is supposed to be a INTERNATIONAL programme that is open to girls of any religion, creed or nationality and is supposed to accept diversity and multi culturism. Their policies include equality and diversity. So why is it that the ONLY Rainbows unit in my area is only for those of the Jewish faith?

I did speak to someone at the local Brownies office and she did agree that it wasnt right and stated that if there is only 1 group in the area it is supposed to be open to all.

This is not a post slamming Judaism - so please no racial hatred posts. I just want to know if IABU to expect that this Rainbows group should take girls of any faith as that is what the Girl Guides is about and they are NOT following its ethos at all??

pinkthechaffinch Tue 28-Jun-11 12:27:55

Doesn't seem fair, no and I would be complaining.

but why not try Cubs? They are unisex these days.

ShushBaby Tue 28-Jun-11 12:29:22

That does sound a bit off. I didn't think Brownies were allowed to select like this. YANBU.
Try Woodcraft Folk instead, that's where we were packed off to as children and it's all very dance-in-a-circle-and-celebrate-our-beautiful-differences.

hatwoman Tue 28-Jun-11 12:29:26

I would be suprised if they can give priority based on religion. I would write to head office.

Succubi Tue 28-Jun-11 12:30:15

YANBU. I find it disturbing that discrimination of this type is allowed. If your daughter was an adult applying for a job and she was discrimated on the basis of her faith, colour, race etc it would not be tolerated. I don't see how this is different.

To be honest I am shocked and disappointed by the lack of intervention by the Brownies office.

I wish you luck in finding a more welcoming and open-minded place for your DD to attend.

clemetteattlee Tue 28-Jun-11 12:34:27

Write to the girl Guiding Federation for your county. This is outrageous and illegal. No-one at DD's Rainbow unit is from a religious family. When DD made her pledge to "love her God" she followed it with a yell across the room "you don't believe in God do you mummy?"

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 28-Jun-11 12:34:36

YANBU. Girl guides and the scouting movement are all-inclusive when it comes to religion. Leaders are expected to respect differences in relgion, make allowances for dress-codes or acknowledge special days etc.. It is not compulsory to be part of a particular religion or to attend religious events like church parades in order to participate, although believing in some kind of god is expected. (Us atheist cub-leaders just keep quiet) The way you describe it, that pack is operating an exclusion policy and you are entitled to complain to someone higher up the organisation

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Tue 28-Jun-11 12:36:21

That definitely doesn't sound right. I would honestly ring the Girl Guiding Assocation and ask them.

TickTockPillow Tue 28-Jun-11 12:38:07

Cubs isn't a substitute for Rainbows. Cubs start at aged 8 and Rainbows at aged 5. I agree though this does not sound right and I would ring the Girl Guiding Association to complain ask.

RainbowGuides Tue 28-Jun-11 12:39:17

Thats what I thought. I have now drafted an email to their press office and await a response.

Thankyou all so much.

chrisrobin Tue 28-Jun-11 12:41:05

You are correct that Girlguiding is open to all girls. The Rainbow unit may be sponsored by the Synagogue. If it is an open sponsorship then they must take any girl who applies, if it is a closed sponsorship they only need to take girls who have an association with the synagogue. While the suggestion is that if there is only one unit in the area it should be open to all, this isn't set in stone. I suppose they may argue that by being on the waiting list they are including your daughter but they feel they have the option to bump other associated girls up the list above her. That doesn't make it better though, as you say its not really in the sprit of Girlguiding.

I assume you have spoken to the District Commisioner (local Brownie office?), you could try talking to the County Commisioner (google: girlguiding and the name of your county).

I'm sorry you are going through all this bother, I welcome ALL girls in my unit and people are put on the waiting list in the order they apply. I hope you get some joy soon.

Indith Tue 28-Jun-11 12:41:07

Definitely go higher up and get things changed, that is NOT right and should NOT be happening. Although all unit leaders are allowed to run theri waiting lists in whatever way they see fit the organisation is inclusive and running a waiting list in a manner that excludes certain children is not right and should not be allowed to continue. If you wanted to PM me to name and shame the unit in question I do have friends dotted around the country in Guiding so could be someone to offer a little help in complaining if you so wished.

Makes me very angry. When I ran a unit I had a long waiting list, I ran it so that I took older girls first, ensuring that everyone on my list got at least 2 terms in Rainbows before going up to Brownies and nobody languished on the list until they were too old. The only exceptions were those who only rang me when the girl was 6 and a half or something, those I passed straight onto Brownies!

MrsCarriePooter Tue 28-Jun-11 12:41:50

This is Girlguiding UK's equality and diversity policy so I would definitely ask the Guider again and ask to speak to her Commissioner as the next step.

pinkthechaffinch Tue 28-Jun-11 12:42:53

Beavers then

TickTockPillow Tue 28-Jun-11 12:45:43

Beavers still doesn't start until age 6 and even then not many girls go (the OPs DD might be fine with that by why should she wait a year and not be able to join the girl's group if that's the one she's prefer)

Funtimewincies Tue 28-Jun-11 12:45:55

Get her to Beavers and I'm speaking as an ex-Brownie Guider grin!

NotJustKangaskhan Tue 28-Jun-11 12:49:10

I've heard of it happening before (though it was priority given to member of the church the Cubs/Scouts were held in rather a synagogue - and my friend who called was openly mocked by the person on the other end for not being a Christian) though I don't know the legality of it so emailing the head office sounds like a great start. Personally, I am a little surprised as there is already the Jewish Girl's and Boy's Brigade (surprised as in why do they have a Jewish only Rainbows/Brownies when there is already a Jewish only scouting-type group. It seems silly for them to do that to me).

Also I would like to recommend St. John's Badgers if you have a group local, starts at 5 and everyone is welcome.

TickTockPillow Tue 28-Jun-11 12:51:32

She is too young for Beavers - they start at 6.
I do agree with NotJustKangaskhan though - it wouldn't be that great to join a group where you are made unwelcome even if they were forced to accept her by the disctric leaders so looking at other groups might be good.

MumblingRagDoll Tue 28-Jun-11 12:51:50

YANBU and peronally I would kick off big time.

Funtimewincies Tue 28-Jun-11 12:59:42

If she's 5 already then it's not a huge wait for Beavers. If you're happy with a religious environment then Girls' Brigade start at 4, I think.

However, Rainbow/Brownie/Guide units are not allowed to put children of one religion ahead of others of another (or none) who've had their names down longer.

lizzieloubee1 Tue 28-Jun-11 13:11:19

Some Rainbow/Brownie/Guide units run as what are known as "Closed, sponsored". This means that they are funded in some manner by an organisation, usually a church/mosque/synagogue/boarding school and that the unit is only for girls who attend the above. So if this unit is a closed, sponsored, then they don't have to accept your daughter.

HOWEVER, if it is the only Rainbow unit in the locality, commonly known as a District, then I think they have to become Open Sponsored, meaning that although they are still linked with the church etc, they can accept other girls.

It is quite possible you live near enough to another District that has an open Rainbow unit. There are three districts in my smallish town. If you PM me I could help you find a local unit.

RainbowGuides Tue 28-Jun-11 13:15:06

Just had an email from the count sec and she has said what chrisrobin has said. This particular group is a closed sponsored unit so it is only open to people connected to the sponsoring synagogue.

Pff I still think this is unfair!!

My DD is very much a girlie girl and wouldnt want to be in Beavers.

paisleyII Tue 28-Jun-11 13:20:29

you have my sympathies - i was organised and when dd was 5 1/2 i put her on the local waiting list for brownies which i was told starts when they are 7 - our local one is meant to be really good and is in a church. i was sent a form to fill in and said the opposite to you - pretty much that they gave priority to christian kids as they take part one sunday a month in a church service and give priority to church going kids (the form asked if you regularly went to church). i think that is bang out of order for a synagogue to do that,i hate it when these houses of faith split people up like that. needless to say we never heard back from them, dd is now 8 1/2 and such a shame as she would love to go. (dd is only 1/2 christian as i am a jew)

WizardofOs Tue 28-Jun-11 13:23:57

Why don't you investigate starting your own Rainbow Group?

ENSMUM Tue 28-Jun-11 13:25:31

There's not much you can do about it then... other than volunteer to be a leader and open a new unit. Sounds like there's a shortage in your area.

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