There are over 31 million scouts worldwide and more than 100,000 scout leaders in the UK alone, offering experience, enjoyment and endless opportunities to young people ranging from ages 4 to 18. I have been a part of this community for over 8 years and in that time have taken part in a multitude of trips and activities, from evening beach cleans to hiking and ziplining in the Swiss mountains!
Personally, my experience with scouting has been one that has developed life-skills, allowed me to meet new people and make some great memories. As a young person, I believe that today, the opportunity to be outdoors and spend time with others is an essential part of growing up and a much-needed break from the ever-growing grasp of technology. The ability to relish in nature and develop new skills is one the most important aspects of life regardless of age.
At the beginning of June, a group of explorers (the oldest scout section), aged 14 – 18, went to Bude for the weekend. It was a fantastic weekend with plenty of walking, swimming and kayaking on the sunny coast of Cornwall! The trip was topped off with a Cornish pasty and an ice cream for lunch on the Sunday, followed by the fatigued journey home. This is but one example of the many exciting adventures we get up to all the time.
Since the age of 7, I have attended the local group, Weymouth South at the hut on Rylands Lane in Wyke. With more than 150 young people, weekly meetings are held for one of 5 sections.
The ‘Squirrels’ are the newest section and have children as young as 4 years old participating in fun indoor and outdoor activities.
On the 10th of June, Weymouth South celebrated its 80th anniversary. This was a momentous event for the group as it provided an opportunity to reflect on all the great achievements that have been made over the years as a community, celebrating the history of the group and what is to come. To mark the event, Weymouth South has also fundraised to place a defibrillator near the hut.
Working towards badges is still a vital part of being a scout and provides as an incentive to achieve and work hard. Badgework involves a wide range of indoor, refined crafts such as cooking and playing an instrument; outdoor work such as pioneering and caving; and more knowledge-based, real-world skills such as first aid and navigation.
But the adventures don’t end there! In July 2022, a group over 30 scouts and explorers embarked on a 10-day international trip which took place across Switzerland and France. After a long coach journey, we arrived in sunny Switzerland at the International Scout Centre and enjoyed a week of attending scout festivals, visiting the local areas and more, before travelling to France for a day in Paris and a trip to Disneyland! This brilliant journey, alongside the many others we have attended over the years, provided us with the opportunity to develop independence, meet new people and create memories that will last forever. And is that not what being a scout is ultimately about?
In my opinion, scouting is one of the best opportunities out there for young people, being one of the most important and influential aspects of my life growing up, as it is for many who love to be active, spend time with others or even just be outdoors. Being within nature is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle mentally and physically; why not make it as enjoyable of possible? In a world where academic capability is highly valued and technology is rife, the great outdoors is sometimes undervalued. Scouting may just be the perfect break from the busy lives we lead.
“Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.” Bear Grylls, Chief Scout
Written by Jacob McCulloch, All Saints CE Academy