Girls rush to join Scouts

RECORD numbers of girls in Devon are joining the UK Scout Movement according to statistics for the last year released today. A surge of more than 20 new girl Scouts in North Devon and another 10 in Torridge District reflects the increases across the coun

RECORD numbers of girls in Devon are joining the UK Scout Movement according to statistics for the last year released today.A surge of more than 20 new girl Scouts in North Devon and another 10 in Torridge District reflects the increases across the county and means that over the past 12 months almost as many girls as boys in Devon have signed up to the adventure-based challenges of Scouting.Contrary to popular belief, Scouting is not just for boys. In the UK, girls have been part of the adventure since 1976 and this year female membership in North Devon and Torridge stands at 251. This means that girls now account for 17 per cent of all youth members of the Scout Movement in the districts. Female leadership is also booming, with women now making up around 47 per cent of all adult volunteers in the districts.Sophie Gallimore, an Explorer Scout from Torridge, said: "Scouting is great fun and I love being part of it. I joined because I wanted to try new things and make new friends, and I've helped build a plane, flown in one and hiked on Dartmoor. "I have also travelled to USA, Serbia and Poland with Scouts. There are quite a few girls in my unit and we all think that Scouting is a great way to develop a lot of new skills and do some amazing activities and events - I'd definitely recommend it to other people: girls and boys!"But it's not only female membership on the increase - the entire Movement, from 6 to 25 year olds, is expanding for the fourth year running. Total membership of the Movement across the UK stands at nearly 500,000, of which 698 are based in North Devon and 395 in Torridge. This has helped make Scouting the largest co-educational youth movement in the country.Sally Yeo, the Scout Commissioner for Devon said: "This is tremendous news and a reflection of the hard work put in by our volunteers to provide a high quality, exciting and challenging programme for young people across North Devon. The 31 per cent increase in the Explorer Scout section in Torridge is particularly encouraging, as is the fact that we have managed to recruit adult leaders to cope with the expansion."However, despite this impressive growth, demand still far outstrips supply and waiting lists remain at an all-time high due to the lack of adult volunteers.


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