Rise in number of girl scouts

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MORE girls than boys became scouts in the UK last year, and Daventry is slowly seeing a similar trend take shape.

The Scout Association revealed last week that 4,330 girls and 3,796 boys joined between January 2010 and January 2011.

It’s the first time in the movement’s history that more girls than boys have joined in a calendar year. Older girls were first allowed to join in 1976 but since 2007 girls have been allowed in all age groups.

The Scout Association added that it now has a list of nearly 33,500 youngsters wanting to join.

Daventry district has a proud scouting tradition with more than 15 groups in the region. This year they celebrate 100-years of scouting in the town.

Chairman of Second Daventry Scout Group Ed Hibberd said: “We still haven’t got a tremendous amount of girls but we have seen an increase over the years. We have 25 scouts here and I would say around 25 per cent of them are girls. I think it takes a certain type of girl to become a scout because the activities can be tough.

“I know people try to compare it to girl guides but I think that’s relatively soft in comparison.

“The girls do enjoy it, and I think we notice that they enjoy it more when there are a group of girls within the group.

“They also enjoy mixing with the boys but usually need other girls with them too to stand up to the boys.

“It does create logistical problems when we go camping with making sure we have segregation and the right mix of adults but that’s the only difficulty we have.”

Despite the growth, boys in the scouts still outnumber girls by over five to one.

Total membership, which includes adult members, has grown 14 per cent from 444,059 in 2005 to 507,867 this year.

Eleven-year-old Kimberley Brown, from Amundson Close in Daventry, joined the Second Daventry Scout Group 10-months ago.

She said: “My friend asked me to go and it sounded like fun so I went along.

“We do lots of cool things like practicing doing knots in wood, lighting fires and cooking our own food. We also go camping and learn how to use compasses.”

“There are four girls in the group and we really enjoy it, I’m glad I joined.

Her dad Dale Brown added: “People say that girl guides is a bit boring and they don’t do a lot or get out and about, where as in the scouts they learn a lot of basic skills.

“It’s much better than Kimberley being stuck in the house so we are more than happy for her to go on the trips they arrange.”

The country’s chief scout Bear Grylls said he thought it was great that more girls were joining. He added: “Being a scout represents all that is great about life. It is no surprise that so many girls are wanting to be part of that.”