Thanks to around 2000 volunteers, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, 5150 boys and girls are enjoying scouting every week across Cambridgeshire.
Scouting volunteers provide opportunities for them to experience self-discovery through a range of fun activities and impact-driven initiatives, forming new friendships and making memories as they do so. This pandemic has also provided an unexpected opportunity for volunteers to learn new skills too, such as using some forms of technology they had never even heard of before!
Some of the amazing activities have included ocean adventures and missions to space, collecting for foodbanks, camping out in homes and gardens, cooking, baking as well as more traditional events such as campfires (all be it virtually) and hikes (with their families). Despite the pandemic the volunteers have also supported many young people to earn the highest awards in scouting, including two Queen’s Scout Awards, thanks to the support provided.
On the 22nd February Scouts around the world celebrate the birth of the founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell. As well as reflecting on the positive impact his vision has had, and continues to have, on countless generations of young people globally it is also used as an ideal opportunity to recognise all adult volunteers.
Chris Ward, County Commissioner, said “ We are changing young people’s lives at a time when they need us most, and the efforts of the volunteers have been incredible. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for the contribution they have made. It is exciting to hear of the planning taking place for returning to socially distanced face to face scouting, and especially to think longer term about being able to return to the outdoors activities and nights away that we have all missed so much.”
Some adults have also been recognised with major scouting awards for supporting young people, including Nigel Poulter ( County Treasurer) with the Bar to the Silver Acorn and Aidan Joy (Hinchingbrooke District Commissioner) with the Award for Merit.
The skills used in scouting are often valuable skills in the wider community too, and vice versa. George Devine, former Assistant County Commissioner and HQ Commissioner (International), was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (for community service in Fen Ditton during the pandemic) and also the highest adult honour in scouting – the Silver Wolf.
Louise Clover, Deputy County Commissioner (Perception) said “ As well as thanking our fantastic volunteers I’d like to thank our young people too. They have been “super heroes” in their own right as they deal with this complete change in their lives, and I’m probably as excited as they are about the adventures that lie ahead.”
Helen Rhodes, parent of a Cub Scout, said “Our leaders have been amazing. They have endeavored to keep the meetings going virtually, which has been wonderful for my son, who LOVES scouting so much and would have really missed it. George has enjoyed learning how to take care of hedgehogs, how to tie knots and all about Diwali. A fabulous, exciting array of activities that have kept him interested as well as connected to his friends. We have been lucky to enjoy many exciting events too, like the Minecraft virtual camp. We feel very lucky to have such wonderful volunteers. The pandemic, especially the lockdowns, would not have been as easy without this for my son, George. Many, many thanks.”
With longer days, improving better weather and the hope of restrictions gradually easing this is a great time to join scouting, as either a young person or as an adult volunteer (as well as working with young people roles are available to help with everything from websites to recruitment and fundraising to delivering First Aid training). There is also an exciting opportunity for businesses (or individuals) to support a countywide project for young people in scouting, by sponsoring a series of challenges later this Spring. More information and contact details at www.cambridgeshirescouts.org.
Source: Press release Cambridgeshire Scout Assn.