Scout rulers: ‘It’s best available non-paid activity in the world’ – BBC News

Image copyright PA

A shortage of leads has left thousands of children stuck on a waiting list to become Scouts, Beavers, Cubs or Explorers, the Scout Association pronounces.

Here, two beings to have donned the Scouts’ woggle and scarf describe the ups and downs of has become a volunteer.

Lynn Dredge, who leads her local Beaver group for six- to eight-year-olds in Surrey, tells she genuinely enjoys her role.

“You’re capable of doing thoughts you would have as small children but with your adult’s top on – you still get that stage of recreation, ” she says.

“We do sleepovers in the Scout hut and sing chants – all the old-time traditional thoughts which the minors love.

“Because we’re a village I sometimes understand old Beavers who are now grown up – they’ll speak ‘Hi Kingfisher! ‘ which is my scouting name.”

The 52 -year-old, a belief aide in a primary school, has led different groups for 16 years. She began as a mother volunteer after her son Stephen joined.

Image caption Lynn Dredge: ‘It’s about juggling life’

Now, she passes a weekly find during term-time that lasts for an hour-and-a-quarter, and proposals hearings with two other leaders.

To organise this summer’s term, “I met the other captains at the pub and within a couple of hours we’d strategy from now until July.”

Abseiling and knack shows

Each weekly evening has a different topic, where brats may be taught to tie knots, how to illuminate a campfire or discover computer skills.

And there are the excursions. A camp-out on Dorset’s Brownsea Island nature reserve and a festivity in Holland where Scouts meet counterparts from all over the world are on the orders of the day for Lynn’s Beaver Scout Colony.

“The adults are Scouts as much as the children, ” Lynn tells.

“If they move abseiling, or perform a expertise demonstrate, we do it very – I’d never ask them to do something I’m not prepared to do myself.”

On the shortage of voluntaries, she reads parents often “love the idea” of their children scouting – but that they are rarely prepared to give their own time.

Media playback is unsupported on your invention

Media captionScout Katie Ainscough tells the Today programme why the group is still important

“They forget that it’s run by volunteers, week in and week out.”

She said some mothers threw their children on waiting lists up to four years before they are old enough to join, especially for oversubscribed groups.

“A group in Ashford has to run two nights a week, of around 20 offsprings each, and there is still a waiting list, ” she says.

“I’ve had to tell mothers that unless you’re prepared to help we won’t be allowed to carry the group on.”

But she includes: “For the ones who say that they don’t have anytime to volunteer, I announce, it’s about juggling life.”


But with the activities run responsibilities. Training, health and safety rules and scheming can be onerous, some rulers say.

Jim Godden, 52, was a Scout leader in Bristol for eight years, but told me that he became “disillusioned” with bureaucracy by the time he left in 2015.

“I was a very active Scout, conducting a successful troop, ” he says.

“We regularly moved mountain walk-to, clambering, water-skiing, kayaking, biking and wild dive, among many other activities.”

But it gradually became more difficult to authorise acts with senior leaders, he tells, “even with the remedy levels of commander ability and adhering to all refuge factors”.

He lends: “The only space the Scout movement are actually move on is to attract those people who already had participated in adventurous activities.”

Jim adds progenies require “adventure and excitement, ” rather than sitting at a campfire singing songs.

He says some commanders are old-fashioned and “still see it from their ‘good old days’ when they were Scouts.”

For its part, the Scout Association said it was inducing it easier for those with limited time to join up by being flexible about how much occasion they can give and the sorts of the work of the session they do.

It says they are responding to people wanting “much more flexible volunteering arrangements” than in the past.

It articulated parties could take up administrative and trustee characters, as well as being group governors. They can help once a fortnight, month or period or at special events or camps.

But this has to be balanced with training governors, who with one other adult can be responsible for around 20 young people at a specific time.

Image copyright Scouting Association
Image caption Chief scout Bear Grylls helping youngsters with illuminating a flaming

Everyone who signs up has a criminal record check and an appointed to assess if they are suitable for leading.

After this, volunteers have five months to complete an initial training which includes indispensables like first assistance and leader training.

Once complete, they get a “Gilwell woggle” to reveal they are a learner leader.

But it can take up to five years to finish training and get a Wood Badge – the recognised insignia paid attention to adult scouters across the world.

It looks like two wooden balls stranded onto a skin thong, and is simulated on a necklace given out by Robert Baden-Powell’s at the first Scoutmasters’ training camp in 1919.

Lynn pronounces: “It sounds like a lot, but you fit in learning over the weekend. We all enjoy learning “their childrens”, but it’s about us memorizing too.”

Like it.? Share it:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.