MORE girls than boys have joined the Scouts for the first time in its 104-year history.
Nearly 5,000 girls joined the movement compared to 3,796 boys in the last year, latest figures show.
The news comes as The Scout Association published its annual membership figures for 2011.
It showed there are currently 66,576 girls in the Scouts- 4,330 of which joined in the last year – compared to 346,043 males.
Cambridgeshire topped the list of counties which saw higher growth in girl membership than boys in in 2010-2011, where twice as many girls signed up.
This was followed by Devon, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Durham.
And over the border in Scottish Highlands was the fastest growing location for girls.
It is the first time ever girls have overtaken the boys in the Scouts. But female youth membership has been rising for years. Since 2005 it has risen by 88 per cent and in the last year it grew by 6.9 per cent.
TV star Bear Grylls, chief Scout, said: “It’s great to see that more and more girls are signing up to Scouting and that the movement is continuing to grow as a whole.
“Being a Scout represents all that is great about life: adventure, life skills and friendship – and it is no surprise that so many girls are wanting to be part of that.
“It’s absolutely crucial though that more adults sign up as volunteers as well, to ensure that we can keep up with the huge demand.”
Scouting is the largest co-educational youth Movement in the UK. Girls have been part of it since 1976.
Numbers have grown for the last six consecutive years, with combined youth and adult membership passing the half million mark.
Total membership has grown 14 per cent since 2005 to 507,867 this year (2005: 444,059).
The impressive growth seen in recent years means that waiting lists to join Scouting remain at an all-time high. It currently stands at nearly 33,500.
Scouts are encouraged to become responsible members of their communities, reaching their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential development.
Abi Collier, an Explorer Scout,15, from Birmingham, said: “I love Scouting and we’ve got a great mix of girls and boys in my local unit. The opportunities offered to you every week are amazing – one week you could be abseiling down a cliff face, the next doing conservation work. You just wouldn’t be able to do anything like this anywhere else. I’d definitely encourage young people of all ages to join.”
Top 5 counties for higher growth in girls than boys in 2010-2011
Top 10 fastest growing Locations in the UK in 2010-11
1. Highlands and Islands – Scotland
2. Glamorgan West
3. County Armagh
6. Snowdonia and Anglesey
8. County Londonderry
9. North Yorkshire
Top 10 fastest growing Groups in the UK in 2010-11
1. 1st Culbokie (14th Ross and Sutherland)
2. St Barnabas (Pathfinder)
3. 5th Carrickfergus (St.Colman’s )
4. 11th Welwyn Garden City (Attimore) Scout Group
5. Kemnal’s Own
6. 21st Birmingham Sutton Coldfield U.R.C.
7. 1st Stainton
8. 1st Ovingham
9. 12/74th Leicester Scouts & Guides
10. 1st Corwen (Glyndwr) Scout Group
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