THE ranks of 1st Dromore Guides have been swelled by no fewer than 14 new members, leaders have revealed.

The new season kicked off on 15th September, following a very successful summer which saw some of the Guides enjoy camp fun in Scotland, while senior member Rebecca Irvine, from Magherabeg Road, travelled further afield to India.

Guide leader Diane Heanen explained how the members have been busy over the summer.

"Every summer we go camping, usually in Northern Ireland (i.e. Dunluce guide house, or at the Girlguiding Ulster Headquarters at Lorne near Cultra.) This year we got a grant and were able to go slightly further afield," she added.

Three leaders, five from the Senior Section, 14 guides and two babies (leader's children) headed off in August to Netherurd House set in the Scottish Border hills of Peeblesshire (just south of Edinburgh), a Scottish Guide activity Centre, where they stayed in a modern purpose built self-catering accommodation block called the Garden House.

Activities on site included zip-lining, rock climbing, orienteering, nature trails, canoeing (unfortunately rained off) and a day trip to Edinburgh zoo, and they stopped off at Deanes Castle and Country Park, Kilmarnock on the way back down to the boat.

"It rained pretty much the whole time, (thankfully we weren't camping this year) but the trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all," added Diane.

"Whilst there, all the girls completed their Holiday Badge and Outdoor pursuits Badge.

"The event was partly funded by 'The Big Deal' programme which is all about encouraging children and young people aged 0 through to 25 to get involved in making decisions that affect them and their friends and others in youth groups, schools, families and communities across Northern Ireland.

"Each year, guides and Senior Section members from all over Northern Ireland, have the opportunity to go to international camp. (i.e. large Guide camps, involving members from all over the world.) There is a selection weekend held in Larne each year, where many girls from over Northern Ireland attend, hoping to get picked to represent Ulster at the following years camps. This year the camp was held on the first weekend of October, and the girls are waiting to hear who has been selected for next summers' camps.

"Last year, one of our Senior Section members, Rebecca Irvine was selected to go to India on International camp. The camp was during the summer and she had a ball," said Diane.

1st Dromore Girl Guides, meet on a Monday night, and alternate between Dromore Methodist Hall, and Dromore Central Primary School. The girls are aged between 10 and 14. Leaders are Diane Heanen, Rachel Wright and Maureen Adair, plus there is plenty of help from the members of the Senior Section team (aged 15-25).

The Rainbows (aged 4-7) and Brownies (aged 7-10) also meet on a Monday evening.

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Girlguiding, and there will be many events arranged, both internationally and locally.