NOW I bet they weren’t prepared for this… When Lord Baden-Powell introduced Scouting for Boys on Brownsea Island at the start of the last century, it’s doubtful he would have seen this coming.

For the first time in the movement’s 104-year history, the number of girls joining the Scouts is outstripping boys.

In the 12 months to February this year, 4,330 girls signed up compared to 3,796 boys.

Female membership has almost doubled since 2005 and rose by a healthy seven per cent last year.

Mike Parkes, Dorset’s Scout county commissioner, said: “We have a generation of girls who want to do the same things as boys.

“The fun and adventure we offer appeals to the girls as much as the boys.

“The boys don’t like to be outdone by the girls, so it raises the bar for them.”

Mr Parkes said Dorset’s female intake had risen by six per cent in the last year.

The Scout Association first admitted women in 1976 and from 2007 it was made compulsory for all troops to admit girls.

However, the girls still have a long way to go before outnumbering boys in the whole UK movement.

Of the UK’s 500,000 Scouts, barely 13 per cent are female.

But in some parts of the country new female recruits are outstripping boys by more than two to one.

Overall, the movement is thriving as teenagers embrace the adventurous spirit.

Numbers of 14-18-year-old Scouts have more than doubled in the past decade.

Bear Grylls, TV explorer and Chief Scout, said: “Being a Scout represents all that is great about life - adventure, life skills and friendship - and it is no surprise that so many girls are wanting to be part of that.”

Dorset is in need of more adult volunteers to help with the county’s scout troops.

For more information call 01929 472374 or go to