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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Guides 'want advice on safe sex'
Guides
Guides want to learn how to survive in the modern world, a survey says
Girl guides, best known for skills such as starting fires, want to learn about safe sex and assembling flat-pack furniture, a survey suggests.

Teenage members are also asking to be taught how to write a CV and speak more effectively in public.

Some 80% of 16 to 25-year-olds in the movement want safe-sex advice and 93% want guidance on how to manage money, according to a survey of 1,000 guides.

Girlguiding UK boss Denise King said it was important to "stay relevant".

'Standing up'

In an effort to challenge pre-conceptions that the movement is old-fashioned, members have taken place in a nationwide X-Factor-style talent contest called Guiding Star.

SKILLS WISH-LIST - AGE SEVEN TO 10
Surf the web
Name 10 European countries
Ride a bike
Care for a pet

The winners will perform at a concert for 20,000 people in Manchester.

Ms King said: "We are interested in helping young women gain confidence for life and we have to stay relevant to do that.

"We talk about issues with parental consent. We are not school and we are not in the home. We offer informal education."

'Adventure'

She added: "We are also still offering traditional activities. We still go to camp, but former members might not recognise it.

"The types of tent we use now are so much lighter and the camps are focused on activity and adventure, such as water sports, that wouldn't have been available in the past."

AGE 10 TO 15
Prepare a healthy meal
Change a light-bulb
Say hello in foreign languages
Stand up to boys

Of the 16 to 25-year-olds questioned online for the survey, 55% said they needed to learn more about flat-pack furniture, with 84% wanting to gain more confidence at public speaking and 85% asking for better life-saving skills.

For members aged 10 to 15, the biggest priority - mentioned by 79% - was being able to cook a healthy meal.

'Goalposts'

The traditional skill of pitching a tent was chosen by 71%, followed by "standing up to boys", selected by 68%.

Among the youngest guides, aged seven to 10, learning the green cross code was most popular, with 79% opting for it.

AGE 16 TO 25
Practise safe sex
Write a CV
Hold on to a job
Plan a holiday

Meanwhile, 75% wanted help with "cyber surfing".

Chief guide Liz Burnley, said: "As the UK's largest youth organisation just for girls and young women we prioritise giving girls the skills, experiences and opportunities they need to reach for new aspirations and succeed in the modern world.

"But these goalposts don't stand still. Which is why we constantly ask our members what they think, so that we can continue to be truly relevant to tomorrow's young women."

Earlier this year, it was announced older guides would be trained as "peer educators" to teach others aged between 10 and 25 about such things as sexual health and binge drinking.

The movement mainly includes girls aged between 10 and 14, but some stay on into adulthood.

About 10 million people worldwide are members, of which 500,000 are in the UK.


SEE ALSO
Guides say 'let's talk about sex'
03 Jan 07 |  Education
Ex-Girl Guides chief gets honour
16 Jun 06 |  West Yorkshire
Girl beats odds to be star Guide
29 May 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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