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Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 12:54 UK
Guides and Sea Scouts' centenary
Girl Guides (publicity handout)
The 100th birthday of Girl Guides are being celebrated with events in Norfolk

Norfolk's Girl Guides and Sea Scouts are celebrating their 100th birthday with activities on land and sea.

The county's 8400 Guides are honouring their movement with a number of events, including a 1940s camp at Gressenhall Rural Life Museum.

"We've got some wonderful parties planned for Girlguiding Norfolk," said Helen Green, county commissioner.

Four Sea Scouts from the county are sailing from Grimsby to London as part of the Sea Scout celebrations.

They set out for their voyage on Sunday, 23 August, 2009, on the 60ft (18.29m) vessel Thermopylae Clipper, which aims to put their seafaring skills to the test.

"I'm very excited about the trip," said Ollie from 1st Thorpe St Andrew Sea Scouts.

"At the Sea Scouts we learn kayaking, sailing, swimming, rowing and knots - it's great fun being out on the water," he added.

Norfolk's Sea Scouts are sailing on a special voyage

Continuing Norfolk's youth group celebrations, Girlguiding Norfolk have been tracing the history of their movement in The Historical Jigsaw project.

It has all been made possible with a grant of £25,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a pre-celebratory 1940s camp at Gressenhall Rural House Museum from 26 August - 1 September, 2009, has been developed with the funding.

"The camp, now in its third year, helps girls understand the heritage of guiding," she added.

"Norfolk's Guides came up with the idea and we said to them "This is going to be hard - no mobile phones, you're going to have to wear dresses, eat whatever is given to you, no chocolate," and so on, but the response has been absolutely fabulous!" she added.

It is predicted that around 50% of women in the UK have been a part of the Girl Guide movement at some point since its inception in 1910 and there are currently organisations in 144 countries around the world.

Something to rival

Guiding started in 1910 when Britain's girls wanted something to rival the Boy Scout movement.

"Lord Baden Powell spoke to his sister [Agnes Baden Powell] to help set up an organisation for the girls. It was hugely exciting at the time - girls were not allowed to put their hands above their heads or be themselves in any way," said Helen.

The Girl Guides then branched out across the UK.

"The first guiding in Norfolk took place we believe around 1915. Olive Baden Powell, Lord's wife, was 35 years younger than him and she helped keep the movement alive for girls to enjoy for years to come," said Helen.

"Guides used to work in small groups - the idea was to build up girls' confidence and self esteem through the activities they did.

"A lot of that was learned through camping, but the girls through the years have been a tremendous help in society, particularly during the both World Wars where they collected bottles, performed first aid and were 'runners'," she added.

Norfolk's Girl Guides

Norfolk's Girl Guides have around 8400 members, including 1000 adult leaders and unit helpers. Girlguiding Norfolk also has 800 girls on a waiting list wanting to join and is desperately looking for more leaders.

1940s girl guides
Girlguiding Norfolk are celebrating with a 1940s camp at Gressenhall

The special nature of guiding in Norfolk has been pivotal in its success and it has stood the test of time despite modern social urges.

"It's a chance for girls to have a 'girl's only' space and to do stuff you probably wouldn't do elsewhere," said Carol Bundock, president of Girlguiding Norfolk.

"When I was a Guide it was very much do what your Guide Captain said and it was a rigidly set programme, whereas now the girls have the freedom to decide what they want to do," she added.

"It's a chance to do things that you want to do, it's something you can't do at home," said Katie Chapman, a Norfolk Girl Guide.

Norfolk's Girl Guides are celebrating their centenary year with a range of events across Norfolk, including Seaside Sparkle for 8000 rainbows, brownies and guides at Great Yarmouth beach.

For more information, visit the Girlguiding Norfolk website.

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