Girlguiding defends partnership with UK Army

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Online petition says Guides have gone against its founding ethos 

10th September 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Girlguiding won’t ditch a partnership with the UK Army despite a 1,400 signature online petition demanding a rethink.

The organisation has adopted the army’s leadership and skills initiative for girls aged 4 to 18 as a way to boost their personal development.

However campaigners say the tie-in goes against the charity’s aims and illustrates what they call the increasing militarisation of girls and boys clubs in the UK.

Many also believe the army promotes these partnerships as a recruitment tool.

The change.org petition calls for an end the sponsorship and has been signed by more than 1,400 people. The petition was started by Pippa Gardner, a Guides volunteer and adviser, and is addressed to Amanda Medler, the chief guide.

It states: “This runs counter to Girlguiding’s international and peace-orientated membership of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. It also contradicts Girlguiding’s stance that girls should not participate in war games or shoot at human-shaped targets.”

In response a Girlguiding spokesperson told TFN that it remained proud of the extensive range of activities offered to girls and young women.

“We're sorry to hear some members are disappointed in our partnership with the British Army,” they said. “Each partnership is developed to align with our strategy and programme of activities for girls and young women, both of which involve extensive consultation with our members.

“To ensure girls get the best experience possible from their time in Girlguiding, we seek partnerships that can add value and expertise to the key themes within our new programme of activities, of which leadership is one. The partnership with the British Army focusses on enabling girls and young women to develop their leadership skills.”

Emma Sangster of Forces Watch, an organisation which monitors the army’s recruitment practices, said: “The act of enlisting is only the final stage of the recruitment process.

“The armed forces know that, which is why they have a large and growing programme of youth engagement, with young children as well as teenagers.”