Hundreds on waiting list to join Brownies
BUDDING Brownies are being put through their paces in a three-day camp to find out just what it means to be part of the long-standing movement.
The girls, aged between seven and 10, make up around 600 in Gloucestershire who are on the charity's waiting list to find a unit in the county.
At the end of the camp at Deer Park in Cowley, the girls will take their promise and become fully-fledged Brownies.
Leader Helen Welsh said that a shortage of volunteer leaders meant girls were having to wait to join a Brownie group.
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She said: "In Gloucestershire we have around 2,800 Brownies but also hundreds on waiting lists who would love to join but, because of a lack of spaces or not enough leaders, can't get in yet.
"To begin to address this, we invited lots of girls on the waiting list to become Holiday Brownies, taking part in an action-packed programme at our county camping site and activity centre at Cowley, at the end of which they will make their Brownie Promise in front of proud parents and friends."
The camp is the first of its kind in Gloucestershire and may be rolled out more widely next year, if it proves successful.
During the three days, the girls will undertake activities such as grass sledging and rope climbing challenges, learn to do crafts, as well as learning the Brownie story. The programme has been devised and led by a group of university students, who completed their training as leaders.
Charlotte Moore, 20, from The Reddings, Cheltenham, is one trainee leader, who is helping at the unit where she was once a Brownie – 18th Cheltenham.
The Leicester University student said: "I've been helping out for six years, but it's normally during term time.
"If parents can only spare time during the school holidays, they can be part of the Holiday Brownie scheme.
"It's working around the parents."
As Holiday Brownies they have been wearing bright purple T-shirts, but once they make their promise they will be given the traditional Brownie uniform.
Holiday Brownie Eliza, seven, from Leckhampton, said: "I heard about the Brownies when I was in reception class. There are really nice leaders and fun games."
Maya, seven, from the Park area, who was celebrating her birthday, added: "It's fun getting to know everybody. We have been enjoying ourselves."