Living life to the full starts with adventure – as over 9000 Cambridgeshire Scouts can tell you!
Each year the Scouts carry out a national census, to see how scouting across the country is doing. This year Cambridgeshire Scouts is celebrating as numbers have climbed to over 9000, growth of 3.6% in just a year.
Every week Cambridgeshire Scouts give 6,755 people aged 6-25 the skills they need for school, college, university, the job interview, the important speech, the tricky challenge and the big dreams: the skills they need for life. This is all made possible thanks to the 2,300 amazing adult volunteers who support and encourage the boys and girls to make the most of the opportunities scouting offers.
There are 114 Beaver Scout Colonies (for ages 6 to 8), 122 Cub Packs (for ages 8 to 10 1/2), 107 Scout Troops (for ages 10 1/2 to 14), 38 Explorer Scout Units (for ages 14 to 18) over 8 Districts across the county.
During the year the growth has seen scouting open a Scout Group in the new town of Northstowe and a Cub Pack at 2nd Cambridge (which embraces the diversity of the local community), whilst Beaver Colonies re-opened at 1st Needingworth and 1st Brampton – all thanks to some of the new adult volunteers.
Modern day scouting still includes all the traditional skills. After all if you want to sail you need to know your knots and what better way to catch up after a busy day at camp in January (yes really!) than to chat around a warm campfire. But scouting is so much more too. There are new sports like paddle boarding, that winter camp included a high tech “silent disco” and where else would you get the chance to ask a scout leader questions as he works on board the International Space Station?
2019 saw Scouts of all ages take part in thousands of Nights Away and for many of the younger ones this was their first night away from their families. Locations ranged from close to home through to Scouts and Explorer Scouts exploring as far afield as the USA and Canada. The County welcomed over 1,700 young people from around the world to CamJam at Huntingdon Racecourse, which saw Chief Scout Bear Grylls and Scout Ambassador Dwayne Fields fly in by helicopter.
A key part of scouting is about making an impact in their local communities. In the past year this has seen Cambridgeshire Scouts do everything from make and fill planters to display in their local village, litter picking, supported the Poppy Appeal, raising over £3,500 for Wintercomfort by sleeping out under cardboard for a night collecting tonnes of items for local Foodbanks and visiting care homes.
Across Cambridgeshire there are still over 1,000 boys and girls missing out on such exciting opportunities, simply because even more adult volunteers are needed to join the adventure. Roles are varied (from working with the young people to delivering First Aid training to adults or running a website to helping raise funds) and work for whatever time someone can spare.
Chris Ward, County Commissioner – “It is great to see yet another year of sustainable growth in numbers of young people and adults across Cambridgeshire Scouts, with more skills for life being learned every week as a result. We are working hard to dispel the urban myths around volunteering with scouting in terms of having to attend every week and for at least a few hours, as none of that is true in modern scouting. Even a few hours every now and then can make a real difference. With more adults we can welcome more young people – and do even more than we can already.”
Georgie Godby, Beaver Scout Leader, 1st Somersham – “I’ve just realised something. The reason I enjoy being a scouting volunteer so much is that I’m basically an overgrown Beaver Scout. I was never in scouting as a child but now….camping and messing about in tents? I’m there! Hikes in the dark? Bring it on. Campfires and silly songs? My song is sillier than yours. Cooking sausages or damper bread wrapped around a stick? I’ll even stand downwind of all the smoke. First aid training? Me first to be the casualty! So mainly, I do things that I find interesting and engaging and take the Beaver Scouts with me. So far they haven’t found me out!”
Jess Lockwood, Scout Leader, 1st Fenstanton & Hilton – “I really do put my skills down to Scouts – standing up and presenting, talking to people, working together, leadership, managing a team. From joining as a 10 year old to becoming an adult volunteer being a scout has been key to learning the personal skills they don’t teach at school. I use them in my work life every day.”
Rachel Allen, parent – “Scouting has provided my daughter with a huge number of opportunities, great activities and fantastic challenges. As a parent it has been wonderful to see her independence and confidence grow as a result, and to see her get so much enjoyment from it. “
Iris, Scout – “I think scouting gives the chance to learn new skills and try new things that you might not have otherwise done. Everyone is very friendly and up for helping each other. Scouts has given me valuable life lessons, and every day I use things I have learned in scouts. It’s great fun!”