In response to several requests - a small section on - 'about the author'! Reluctantly - but so many people seemed to think I was some shadowy figure (or even a group of researchers hiding behind the scenes) - no, it's all just me! The photo isn't quite up-to-date :-) but I haven't changed much as those who know me will be quick to state!
My name is Leslie Smith, I'm a Brownie and Guide Leader based near Edinburgh, Scotland. I've been a Brownie, Guide, Young Leader and now Leader, all in the one District, and am the third generation of my family in Guiding - my Grandmother was a Guide and possibly also a Ranger, my mother was a Brownie, Guide, Pack Leader and Guider and is now a Trefoil Guild member, District Administrator and umpteen other roles too!
Until a few years ago, I had believed the stories about Guiding history I'd read in the old official history books and been taught by my unit Leaders (I'd no reason not to) and was passing them on to the girls in my units just as I'd been taught them and as the history books indicated - until a friend advised me that I was mistaken (thanks Debs!) She little realised what she'd done in that two-minute chat, as I then determined to find out for myself what the truth was. And - that's what I'm still seeking to do. And having started to uncover concrete evidence of a story significantly different to the one I'd been taught, I soon realised that I was by no means alone in believing the myths which appear in so many official history books - why wouldn't you? I also discovered that finding any accurate information on Guiding history on the internet was very much a hit-and-miss affair, with so many official and local websites all just copying verbatim the info on the WAGGGS and CHQ websites, without questioning or fact-checking for themselves.
So I decided to start a little website, in order to share what I had found, and to answer the constant pleas for more information which I found on the Guiding web forums I belonged to, especially for the 'answers' to the 'Traditions' badge clauses. And so the 'little website' I started has gradually grown, to cover more topics, and include more details, as I discover them, and as I have time to add them. And the more I investigate, the more I find, and as often as not, the more queries and contradictions I then uncover and have to investigate!
However, although many people assume otherwise, I am not, and never have been, a County Archivist in Guiding - I'm just an independent enthusiast, a hobbyist, and wouldn't want any confusion over the matter. I have no qualifications in archiving or in any related subject, and my day job is totally unrelated!
As well as an interest in the history, I also collect Guiding memorabilia, so a fair proportion of the badges and books which are pictured on the site actually belong to me - in other cases people have been generous enough to allow me to take and/or use photographs of items from their collections. I'm also very interested in 'music in Guiding' and involved in singing circles, and in teaching songs to Leaders and units. When time allows, of course, which given that I work full-time and run 2 units, isn't often!
I am happy to answer questions submitted through the 'form submissions' section - I will try and answer fairly soon, even if the first answer has to be "don't know but I'll check" so feel free to ask questions or raise queries you have discovered - and I'm always happy to correct any errors which creep into the site. However, as it is only me, there can be times when I'm away for a few days, or up to the eyes in unit activities, so please be patient and I will respond soon - or send me a reminder!