Guiding members past and present aim for Gold at Rio

12 September 2016

Current and former Girlguiding members take centre stage at Paralympics in Rio

Amongst the Great British Paralympic team are Assistant Guide Leader Karen Butler competing in air rifle shooting, Brownie Leader in Training Ellie Simmonds in the pool, and former members rower Rachel Morris and swimmer Amy Marren.

The importance of athlete role models

Girlguiding research shows that role models like Karen, Ellie, Rachel and Amy are incredibly important to girls. Our recent survey found that 82% of girls aged 11 and up think women Olympic and Paralympic athletes are good role models for girls, while 65% of girls aged seven and up want to see more women’s sport on TV. The Paralympic coverage is a welcome continuation of the strong coverage of women's sport we have enjoyed throughout the Olympics.

Lack of choices in sport for girls

Our research also shows that as girls get older, they feel they are given less choice in sport than boys. One in three girls aged 11 to 16 say that girls and boys do not have the same choices in sport and exercise at their school. Guiding can play a crucial role in giving girls a supportive space in which they can give new sports a try.

Karen's journey to Rio

It was guiding that first brought Karen Butler into contact with her sport of shooting. She first gave it a try when working towards her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award with the Girlguiding group where she was a member. A few years later she was part of a group of Girlguiding members that went along to Stoke Mandeville for a ‘come and try’ session.

Rio 2016 sees the Assistant Guide Leader from 1st Stoke Gifford (St Michael’s) Guides represent Great Britain for the fifth year.

I’m looking forward to representing Great Britain in a sport I love and I feel very proud to be competing for my country at a Paralympics for the fifth time. - Karen Butler, Assistant Guide Leader

'I’d say to anyone if you want to try a sport, go for it. If you don’t succeed at first, keep trying. I’ve had plenty of low points during my shooting career but they don’t last that long.'

We're delighted to see these inspirational athletes competing in Rio. We wish them - and the rest of Great British Paralympic team - good luck. More than half a million Girlguiding members are cheering you on!