Two years ago I bribed my son into going to Scouts – yes that’s right I paid him £2.
I’d spent months badgering him to go and he flatly refused so my only option was cold hard cash.
Predictably after just one session he loved it and within two weeks he was setting off on his first camp.
So what can this 100 year old organisation offer children of today who have never lived in a world without Google and take iPhones for granted.
The appointment of Bear Grylls as Chief Scout ten years ago changed many people’s perception of scouting.
Gone was the image of little boys in smart uniforms doing good deeds and in came adventure, excitement and the chance to learn life skills, for girls and boys.
And that is exactly what Harry has found, in just 24 months he has learnt survival skills, knife skills, how to start a fire, cooking, public speaking and first aid. He’s tried climbing, archery, crossbow, fencing, shooting and sailing and don’t get me started on how thrilled I was when he came home having done sewing and ironing.
As well as the more practical skills he has also learnt resilience, problems solving, using initiative, communications, leadership and understanding social responsibility.
He camped out in the cold Yorkshire winter, not for the faint-hearted, and this summer took part in an expedition camp where he was dropped on the Moors and had to find his way to a base-camp some 10 miles away.
This is the child who will happily spend hours on Fortnite and usually has a phone permanently attached to his hand.
This hasn’t changed, but pluck him out of his bedroom and into a field where he can run, climb, get filthy and try new things something happens.
Scouts gives him an outlet to burn off energy, have a good laugh with his mates and get a taste of real, not simulated, adventure.
So rather than being an out-dated organisation Scouting today is more crucial than it has ever been. It is a prescription for our technology-reliant youngsters craving real adventure and along the way supplies them with much needed life skills.
Next year Harry will travel to Holland for his first overseas camp and last week he was appointed patrol leader which he was thrilled about. He’s keen to continue his journey onto Explorers.
So parents dig deep – bribery is an ugly word but it was the best £2 I’ve ever spent!
Harry is a member of the 14th Keighley (Haworth) Scouts and none of the above would happen without the dedication of the fabulous volunteers and leaders who give their time for these boys and girls.