Guides growth spurt takes the biscuit

JACQUELINE Scutt is proud to be a part of a small revolution that is sweeping across Australia.

The Lismore Girl Guide leader is among 6000 Aussie women helping to shape the minds of 20,000 children.

An Australian institution since 1909, the movement is gaining popularity thanks to population growth in areas such as Lismore, Byron Bay, Ballina, Casino and Kyogle.

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Membership is open to girls 5-17 years old and women 18 years and over, and each member must commit to the "principles of guiding".

The youngsters complete a range of tasks, including outdoor activities and serving the community, and earn awards and badges along the way.

Ms Scutt, who joined the movement in 1998, said guiding created characteristics that would follow her young charges into adulthood.

"It provides a values-based dynamic and flexible non-formal educational program for girls and young women in a fun and supportive girls-only environment," she said.

"Girls develop leadership skills and a sense of personal responsibility and a shared purpose to make the world a better place, to enable girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members."

Girl Guides Australia CEO Kit McMahon said guiding was growing in popularity outside of the country's major cities.

"There are some areas across Australia that are growing between 5-20% across the year - this is directly aligned to regional growth areas," Ms McMahon said.

" We are constantly aware of our need to be relevant and engaged with the local community to make sure that we are delivering our program in a way that meets the needs of our community."


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