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Seasonal message from Chris, County Lead Volunteer

Date: 22nd Dec 2023 Author: David Briston

WSJ Unit 18 heading home: August 2023




Season’s Greetings from Chris Ward, County Lead Volunteer, Cambridgeshire


Dear Cambridgeshire Scouting colleagues,

It’s been a brilliant year for Scouts in Cambridgeshire; you are all doing such amazing work to bring new and exciting experiences to young people that really build their Skills for Life.

A 10% growth in youth membership brings us really close to 6,750 young people, which is where we were in 2020, before the pandemic. We have welcomed nine new Squirrel Dreys in 2023 and there are now more than 300 Squirrels in Cambridgeshire; this is a whopping 70% increase on last year. It is encouraging that nationally 30% of new Dreys are in new communities and 60% of Squirrel volunteers are new to Scouting. Don’t forget to let me know if you want to start Squirrels in your Group. 

Across Cambridgeshire, we have seen many Group and District camps and activities, not just in the UK but also in France, Canada, Korea, Spain and the Netherlands. It’s great to see international trips part of the programme again. 

There have also been fabulous County events for most sections. Don’t worry, we are planning to include Squirrels for the first time next year, so watch this space! 

Beavers in Tents offers a first Night Away for six and seven year olds, as well as an opportunity for Colony Leaders to appreciate how a Nights Away experience can become reality for their Colony. The County Challenge Days, for nine and ten year olds, introduced the Cubs to a wider range of adventurous activities, at a time they are planning their move to Scouts.

The Big Splash at Paxton Lakes Sailing Club is our mega water activities event, which this year provided more than 300 young people from most sections with water activities such as Bell Boating, Rafting, Sailing and Canoeing. For Explorer and Network two half-week sailing expeditions on the Norfolk Broads allowed them to develop sailing techniques, navigation and team work skills, adding a new dimension to the Big Splash event.

The 25th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea turned out to be a different experience to that our five unit leaders, 12 International Service Team volunteers and 45 young people were expecting. However, in spite of the challenges, it was an amazing Jamboree for everyone involved. Truly the trip of a lifetime, with many friends and long lasting memories made.

 Looking forward to the New Year, it is only 16 weeks to go before we embark on a transformation in the way we all volunteer for Scouts. To provide more young people, and the ones we already have, with Skills for Life, we all agree we need more volunteers.  To achieve this, we want to make volunteering with Scouts easier and more fun. The three key areas for change are to provide a warmer welcome for everyone, deliver a more engaging learning experience for adults and simplify how we volunteer together. All of this will be supported by new easy-to-use digital tools, which will go-live around the end of April. 

Your County and District teams have been working hard to make sure we are ready for these important changes. Further information is set out in the December 2023 County News. If you feel you need to know more about this and how it will impact your role in Scouts, please get in touch.  

 It is an exciting time for Scouting and I would like to thank you all for everything you do. It is volunteers like you that make Scouts happen, providing new experiences for young people whilst also having fun at the same time.

Your commitment to preparing young people with Skills for Life is truly amazing. You should all be extremely proud of everything that you have achieved. 

 I wish you and your families a happy and peaceful festive season and may the New Year bring fresh hope for all of us. 

 Yours in Scouting


County Lead Volunteer

Cambridgeshire Scouts

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls