First I must start by saying I have a great interest in both the Scout Association and the Guide Association. Following several years as a member of a Scout Troop, in my early adult life I became a Scouter, first running a Troop and then the Group, serving on the District Training Team, writing and producing a Gang Show, and serving on the District and County Executive until my work life became so busy I couldn’t give the time needed. I then transferred to the Guide Association becoming County Music Advisor for 10 years prior to going to Theological College. I’ve acted as Sponsoring Authority for several Scout Groups and Guides Companies and am now Vice President of a local Scout District. So this morning’s report on the radio was of great interest to me.
More girls than boys joined the Scouts in the year January 2010 to January 2011, according to a report on BBC Radio 4. 4,330 girls and 3,796 boys joined during this period. In 2005 1 in 9 members were girls but that has now risen to 1 in 5. Total membership of the Scout Association is now 507,867, a rise of 14% since 2005, of which 66,576 are girls.
In might be thought that with this increase in the membership of girls that the Girl Guides would have suffered but the converse is true and Guiding continues to flourish with half a million members of which 100.000 are Leaders.
Both the Scout Association and the Guide Association are in need of additional leaders to enable more boys and girls to enjoy the fun of Scouting or Guiding and the great benefits which derive from membership. For example the Scouts have a total waiting list of 33,500. If every person who benefited from their membership of the Scouts or Guides could volunteer to help these worthwhile organisations there would be no problem and then every child who wanted to join, could do so.