by Cara Liddle
The Scottish Scouting movement could be in serious risk if attitudes do not change in the near future.
With more and more campaigns being raised to get children off the streets and involved in organised activities such as sports or scouting kids are still being turned away by troops.
Upon initial investigation the issue seemed to be that sexism is still prevalent within the scouting movement as Julie Rolland, 10, from Dunfermline discovered. ” My older brothers are in the Scouts and I always felt left out when they were going to camp. So my dad took me along to see the leader and ask if I could join too but they wouldn’t have me, because I am a girl.”
Darrian Wilson, leader ( Akela) of the 68th cub scout troop in Inverkeithing, Fife has also expressed his concern over the situation, although he believes there are very different reasons for the decline in numbers.
“My own cub pack has a waiting list that stretches well over a year, girls and boys alike, this situation with gender refusals is nothing to do with sexism within the troops themselves, but outside factions.
You have to remember that scout leaders are all volunteers, here we are lucky to have three female leaders on our staff. Other troops are not so fortunate. Without female leaders legally we could not take girls camping or other organised activities. It is awful the abuse that some of our leaders, myself included face because we choose to work with children. I myself was a scout and this is why I got involved. It’s disgusting that so many people choose to believe that anyone who works with a child has some other motive”.
Caitlin Hunter, 15 from Inverkeithing is a member of the 68th Scout Troop and has been involved in scouting for five years. ” I love my troop, I’ve done so much with them the past few years, I was in the military tattoo in Edinburgh last year and this year I went to Denmark where else would I get the opportunity to do stuff like this. It’s a shame that other girls don’t or rather can’t get involved.”
Although Scouting was originally set up for boys there is currently 155 countries with internationally recognised National Scout Organisations. This includes more tha 28 million Scouts, youths and adults, boys and girls in 216 countries and territories.
According to legal guides there is no restriction to a male leader leading activities within the hall, but other excusions must be supervised by leaders of both genders.
Helen Morton also of the 68th added “We do not have girl cubs and boy cubs, we simply have cubs. Girls and boys are equally capable of enjoying the benefits of Scouting. However if there is going to be calls for any changes we always need more leaders and less prejudice towards those people who are willing to help “get the kids off the streets”.