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Why we need the Scouting movement now more than ever

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!

 

 

Notes:
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.

26 thoughts on “Why we need the Scouting movement now more than ever

  1. This is so true. My 2 eldest boys (age 11 and 13) are currently in Holland (with your boy i guess!) For 10 days with their scout troop . They are having such a great adventure and learning so much about themselves and what they are capable of. I can’t thank the leaders enough for the opportunity they’ve given them!

  2. hi
    I’m a Pack leader in Cape Town South Africa. I absolutely agree that cubs is a great way to introduce them to a world of opportunities and I’ve had the pleasure of many of my cubbies use their skills way after cubs – even if they don’t go to scouts.

  3. I too have a Son who is off to the World Scout Jamboree in July and I cannot explain how much Dylan has grown up and developed within himself since he joined the Scouts some 3 years ago. I highly recommend everyone to send their sons and daughters to Scouts. But it is only due to the fabulous Scouters who give their time and put so much into training of our kids that they have learnt what they have. Dylan is a proud member of 2nd Boksburg in South Africa.

  4. Fabulous article. I am a Scout Leader in the UK, also taking a unit to the World Scout Jamboree in July, Mum to two Explorers who have got so much out of it. The only thing I would add to is this….in my experience scouting has enabled young people to be accepted for who they are. When we selected young people for the Jamboree in my county I ran a discussion base. One of the questions I posed was – what keeps you as a teenager in scouting. So many young people said…. “Because I can be who I am. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to try to fit it in. I am accepted. ” That, in itself, is astonishing, remarkable and in itself is a massive endorsement of the effects of scouting on young people’s mental health. To be 13/14/15 years old and know that no matter what – you are accepted. In this day and age that is incredible powerful. I am SO proud to be part of this organisation and I know that we make a real difference in your people’s lives. I wish every young person had the opportunity to try it 🙂

  5. Same for Girlguiding, gives fantastic opportunities to have adventures. I joined at 5 years old and have had some of the best experiences of my life through Guiding.

  6. What a lovely post. As a cub leader myself, I really appreciate you articulating so well exactly what a child can get out of scouting. As a leader, I get exactly the same. I’m with them climbing, caving, team building and problem solving. I LOVE IT. So scouting is not just for children 💜💜👍🏻

  7. Love this. I am a den leader for my son’s Webelos den in USA. We just came back from an unplugged weekend at camp. While we slept in a cabin a lot of fun outdoors was had. There were 18 scouts from tiger to AOL present with 16 parents. We took a brisk morning hike to the local sportsmans grounds and back, the boys were then able to get some sledding in, some boys worked on achieving their whittling chips, but the bonds these boys share is great to see. I love being a scout mom and watching all the scouts so excited to earn their loops, pins, and awards.

  8. We do it for the kids and selfishly, for ourselves……so if you out there find yourself at loose ends, not loving your life, feeling that the world is a lousy place, come along to a Scouting Group near you and get involved….life becomes well worth living and you make it so for many others around you….!!!! SYIS (Sincerely Yours in Scouting) from Hong Kong!

  9. I started as a cub some nearly 40 years ago. I have stayed in the movement and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in it. I met my wife through scouting and my 3 girls are all in scouting and they have had the privilege to travel to different parts of the world by going on scouting adventures, one has been to the world scout jamboree 8n japan, one has been to Canada and one will be go8ng to Poland next year. I am proud to say that I am a scout and it is a massive part of my life.
    Keep sending your young people so that they can experience things that they never get the chance to do in normal day to day activities. Thank you.

  10. As an 82 yr old former CSL and ADC, mother to a 55yr.old who came through Cubs, Sea scouts and Venture Scouts and who is still a warrant holder, you can guess I am a fervent believer in this movement helping young people in so many ways.
    my grandson has been to everything along with his Dad and wants to find a group with whom he can advance his wish to become an adult leader, but he cannot yet commit to full time because of training at work.
    I when still have men who were my Cubs call out “hello Akela” when I see them in the village.

  11. Wow! Your Harry sounds exactly like my Harry & he was a patrol leader for Bulldogs too! We are 1st Rendlesham Scout Group (me Scout leader, Harry now an Explorer) and he is off on his first Scouting trip overseas as part of the Suffolk Contingent going to the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in July. Totally agree with your article, to me Scouting is even more important now than it ever was, getting young people outside, having fun, making friends and learning skills for life. Best £2 you could ever spend 👍

    1. Thanks Russell. I think for me one of the key things is that he does lots of things at scouts such as walking miles, camping outside etc. That he just would not do otherwise.

  12. Thank you! This is the kind of feedback we Leaders need to see/hear to know that our efforts are worth it. I’m a Cub Scout Leader myself and have long maintained that in an age when everyone is glued to one screen or another all day long, Scouting is the antidote, for young people and adults. It gives us all a chance to do less than ordinary things, to get outdoors, to test – and pass on – our skills and knowledge. Thank you again. And long may your son’s adventures continue!
    And if you feel inclined, I’m sure a Scout Group near you would gladly welcome another volunteer! 😉

  13. Scouting could offer opportunities to even more kids if there were more volunteers to help. As well as leaders, adults can help out less regularly in a wide variety of roles. Without the volunteers there’d be no Scouting. Can you help?

  14. This statement is repeated daily by parents of children who are in scouts worldwide. The benefits of scout go far beyond the survival and outdoor skills ie. in personal growth, financial management, teamwork, fairness in any endeavor, becoming a productive and successful member of society . In short it is a training course for adult life. One that everyone could use.

  15. My son who is 40 next week ( yes,where has the time has gone !) ,he started as a Beaver ,gone through all the sections including helping in different sections as a scout and Venture , he has now after many years of being Assistant Scout Leader is now the Leader.He has had so many wonderful experiences including selection for World Jamboree in 1995 which was fantastic. It prepared him for life and was always remarked upon when he presented his CV , it seemed much more important than other things on it. So very proud of him and his achievements.

  16. I was so great to see this lad having adventures and learning skills that will last him all his life. My grandson has done all this and got his Queens scout and Duke of Edinburgh awards. My daughter is also a scout leader and her skills and adventures have grown beyond all measure. Its a wonderful organisation to belong to long may it go on.

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