Three of a kind!
With the news that over 25% of the UK Scout movement is now female, 25 years on from when girls first joined, we caught up with three unique Explorer Scouts from Haverhill, Suffolk who have very different ideas about the future.
Kate, Sophie and Flora are three sisters with a difference. For one thing, they are triplets, all aged 16. But the other is that they all Explorer Scouts and love the adventure that Scouting gives them.
Since getting involved in the movement as Cub Scouts, at the age of eight, they have experienced some incredible challenges from trips abroad to taking part in 24 hours of non-stop activities. Now in Colne Valley Explorer Scout Unit, they a pretty good idea of the difference Scouting makes.
‘Most people think Scouting’s for boys,’ says Sophie. ‘But that’s not the case anymore. Everyone is friendly and everyone treats each other the same. Sometimes people think girls just like girly things, but I love doing a whole range of things. That’s what Scouting offers.
‘When we were Cubs in 2nd Haverhill Sea Scouts we were the first girls to join. But then others joined too and the boys got used to it. Now it’s just not an issue. I would say to any girl my age that if you want a break from your GCSEs, relax with new friends and learn new things, then Explorers is for you.’
But what have the girls learned along their Scouting journey? ‘It’s made me more sociable,’ says Flora, ‘and I’m much more confident now.’
‘I used to be quite shy as a person,’ says Sophie, ‘now I find it easy to talk to different kinds of people.’
Kate thinks long and hard about this question. ‘I think it’s taught me about teamwork,’ she says. ‘When we went kayaking, I had to swap places with someone else while still on the water. That required a lot of teamwork!’
‘The best thing I’ve done in Scouting,’ reckons Flora, ‘was our trip to Holland. We raised money ourselves from things like bag packing and it was hard work, but it was worth it. Once we got to Holland, every day we did something different, from raft building and kayaking to rock climbing, trying an assault course and visiting a theme park.’
Sophie meanwhile really enjoys that games you can play, particularly a wide game called Spotlight she used to play in Scouts. ‘You had to crawl across a grassy area without getting caught in the beam of a leader’s torch. It sounds silly, but it was really exciting!’
While they might look alike, they each have very different ideas about their future. ‘I’d like to be a music teacher,’ says Flora. Kate meanwhile has her sights set on a career as a paediatrician. Sophie hasn’t made her mind up yet, but at 16, there’s still plenty of time to decide.
All of them share a great sense of fun, a down to earth attitude and optimism about the future. They really are shining examples of what Scouting can do.