The Crystal Palace Rally
by Dorothy Crockerİ 2000

Thanks so much to "Cookiequeen", who shared this story with the Guiding Mailing List! Dorothy Crocker, who wrote this story, passed away in 2005 - but I know she wouldn't mind having her work re-published here.

Girls are in a circle. Divide them into four parts as below and briefly practise the actions they are to do when they hear their part mentioned in the story read by the narrator.

Parts and Actions:

Crystal Palace - stand, hands overhead, fingertips touching to make a roof, elbows stuck out to sides
Robert Baden-Powell  - stand very straight, salute with right hand to forehead
Boys - jump up and yell, "Hurray!"
Girls - jump up, pump arms and shout, "Girl Power!"


Almost 100 years ago, across the ocean in England, lived a man named Robert Baden-Powell. He was very famous. He had been the leader of English soldiers in a war far away in Africa. During that war he had discovered that Boys could be very useful and do things that grown-ups could not. But when Robert Baden-Powell returned to England he found lots of Boys who got into trouble or were bored because they had nothing exciting to do.

Do you know what Robert Baden-Powell never even thought about? He never once thought about Girls! What he did think about was writing a book. He called his book, "Scouting for Boys." It was full of information about things he knew Boys were interested in. It was also full of things Boys could do, especially outdoors, like cooking over an open fire, tracking animals, sleeping in tents and even under the stars.

Lots of Boys read Robert Baden-Powell's book, Scouting for Boys. They got together and did the things he suggested in the book. They called themselves Boy Scouts and often got a man to help them.

One day in 1909, Robert Baden-Powell invited all Boys anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales to come to London to the Crystal Palace for a rally. A rally is a big gathering, something like a parade and a party together. The Crystal Palace was an enormous building all made of glass. That's why they called it the Crystal Palace. It was an exhibition building in a park. It was so big that trees grew inside it.

Robert Baden-Powell wondered how many Boys were calling themselves Scouts. That's why he had the rally at the Crystal Palace. He knew they would be excited about going there. He was absolutely amazed when 11,000 Boys turned up! They all paraded past him and saluted him and the other important people who were with him. He was very pleased to see all the Boys. But then - right at the end of the parade, came an even bigger surprise. About 24 Girls! Robert Baden-Powell had no idea that Girls had been reading his book, Scouting for Boys, and trying out the same exciting things as their brothers.

Some Girls had even written him letters. They hadn't signed the letters 'Jane' or 'Sarah' or their own names. They just signed their initials, hoping Robert Baden-Powell would think that Boys had written the letters. That's exactly what he thought. Those Girls were pretty smart.

When the Girls marched past, Robert Baden-Powell stopped them and said, "Who are you?" The Girls answered, "We're the Girl Scouts." "There aren't any," he said. "Oh, yes, there are," the Girls said. "We're the Girl Scouts!"

One Girl said, "Please, sir. We're the Wolf Patrol of the Girl Scouts, and we want to do Scouting just like the Boys."

And that's how Girl Guides began. Robert Baden-Powell asked his sister, Agnes, to set up their own organization. He called them Girl Guides. And from that beginning, with those brave Girls, has grown the wonderful worldwide sisterhood of Guiding that we all belong to today.

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