Greenock is Flying High
A record numbers of girls locally are joining the Scout Movement according to statistics for the last year released today.
A surge of 104 new girl Scouts, an increase of 85% on last year, means that over the past 12 months Greenock District has reflected the national trend of almost as many girls as boys have signed up to the adventure based challenges of Scouting.
Scouting for girls? Yes! 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 total female membership locally stands at 315. This means that girls now account for 26% of all youth members of the Scout Movement in the district. Female leadership is also booming, with women now making up around 64% of all adult volunteers in the district.
16 year old Sara McCaig, an Explorer Scout from the local Finnart Unit said: “Scouting is so much fun and I love being part of it. I joined because I wanted to try new things and make new friends, and I’m even off with my Group to the Danish Centenary Jamboree this summer. There are quite a few girls in my group and we all think that scouting is a great way to develop a range of skills and participate in some amazing activities and events – we’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 50,000 are based in Scotland. This year we’re seeing the largest number of Members in the UK for seven years. This has helped make Scouting the largest co-educational youth movement in the country.
With adventure at its core, Scouting helps young people achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. Over 200 activities, including adventure glider flights, water skiing, rock climbing and water zorbing, are offered by Scouting around the UK, so it’s no surprise that more and more young people are joining the Movement.
Last year there were more than 30,000 young people aged between 6 and 25 waiting to join Groups across the UK. Despite The Scout Association managing to open up almost 13,000 places nationwide thanks to 2,600 new adult volunteers across the UK offering their support (the highest amount of new adult recruits since 1996), this year’s national waiting list has actually risen to more than 33,000. Fortunately with new groups opening and existing groups opening extra sections the Greenock District’s waiting list is minimal.
Chief Scout Peter Duncan said “Adults who volunteer get just as much out of Scouting as young members. Not only is it really rewarding to see young people having fun and getting to try out new things, but adult volunteers get to participate in these activities as well and they are being active members of their community. Also, volunteers aren’t just giving something back to society, they are getting the opportunity to develop transferrable skills such as leadership and motivational skills. If you look at it this way volunteering is much, much more than a hobby or an extra-curricular activity and we can see from current data that even more adults are adopting this view – with our biggest growth in adult membership for twenty years.
He added: “However, despite this growth we always need more volunteers – our waiting lists are still stuck well over the 30,000 mark and we want to make sure all young people that want to take part in Scouting can do so. I’d encourage anyone who is able to volunteer to do it – it’s a fantastic experience.”
Specific local achievements –
Greenock and District are positioned 3rd in the UK for growth out of over 1000 groups with membership rising from 1068 to 1303, an increase of 22%. This has been achieved by building up existing groups and opening up groups to meet local demand. One of the Groups in the District which has seen remarkable growth and appears in the UK table for growth in 4th position out of over 8,000 is the 85th Group based in Inverkip and Wemyss Bay. The 85th has increased its numbers from 94 to 191 by opening sections in Wemyss Bay to add to its strong base in Inverkip.
One of the new groups in the District is at Quarrier’s Village.
Dr Martin Buchan, one of the Leaders from Quarriers Village, said: “I thoroughly enjoy being a Scout Leader. I got started because I wanted to become involved again in scouting after a 25 year gap at a time when a brand new Beaver colony was set up in my village. I don’t think there is a ‘typical’ Leader, everyone has their own way of doing things, but I think all Leaders can learn a lot. I really value the skills I’ve picked up while I’ve been doing this which have proved very important for me- skills that I’ve then been able to use at work as a consultant knee surgeon . It’s also tremendously rewarding to see how much young people enjoy Scouting and how much they are actually learning each week.”
District Commissioner, David McCallum, attributes the growth in numbers in Greenock and District to the sheer enthusiasm of the adult leaders, and the activities on offer. He explained that each month 4 adults come on board what he describes as ‘a winning team’. Parents of young people in Inverclyde also realise that getting their children involved in Scouting or other youth movements is the way ahead to a better start in education and life experience. We have a first class skill base amongst our adult leadership team, and our 16 Groups in Inverclyde are ready to take on the challenge of more young people coming to join our adventure.”
To secure a place for your child call 01475-522531
For media enquiries and interview requests please contact:
Peter Bennett 01475 630676 : 07808 130443 – moc.loanull@ttenneBFP