Petition launched after members claim partnership with military runs counter to the Guides’ peace ethos
The Girl Guides are braced for a backlash after signing a high-profile sponsorship deal with the army.
The controversial move has been attacked by some of the group’s 500,000 members as well as pacifist organisations, who claim the decision by Girlguiding, as it is now known, to accept sponsorship for an initiative involving members as young as four runs counter to its inclusive, peace-orientated ethos.
A petition on the change.org website protesting against the deal has been launched by Pippa Gardner, a Guides volunteer and former trustee, who is dismayed that members only learned of the sponsorshipin a newsletter. “Nobody knew it was coming.There was no consultation,” she said.
The army already sponsors a Cub Scouts badge, but its partnership with the Guides represents a ratcheting up of how it promotes itself to children. Over the August bank holiday weekend the army deployed recruitment vehicles and stands to at least one Guides event. Pictures posted on Facebook show young girls posing next to army vehicles while holding up “Army, Be the Best” posters.
Critics of the army’s decision to sponsor the Guides’ leadership skills builder initiative dismissed it as a PR stunt and pointed out that many human rights organisations, including the UN, are critical of the way the military targets potential recruits at a such an early age.… Read more