560 young people, from every District, were able to take part in the first large scale county event since the pandemic began, and certainly made a splash in the process! We hope you enjoy the short video (thanks Owen!) at the end of this page, showing just some of the fun enjoyed.
Despite having to work around some remaining restrictions this did not prevent the volunteer team from delivering 6 days of fun packed water based opportunities, made possible thanks to the support of the Paxton Lakes Sailing Club providing an ideal location.
40 Beaver Scouts were able to enjoy a taster session of a few activities provided by some of the adult volunteers. 280 Cub Scouts and 240 Scouts were given training and then able to take to the water on their own. There was the chance to paddle kayaks or canoes, sail dinghies or build rafts (to then paddle across the lake).
James, a Scout from 1st Histon, said “I loved sailing in the dinghy – I felt so independent.“
Mimi, a Cub Scout from 1st Little Paxton, said ” You can actually feel the water, like if you fall in it doesn’t come up saying “game over” you can actually get back on and do it straight away”.
The young people were accompanied by 100 adults, some of whom also got the chance to get afloat – all made possible by 27 instructor and 17 “shore support” volunteers.
By taking part 243 young people completed a “Time on the Water” badge session and earned a Paddle Sports Stage 1 badge, plus 195 of them earned their Sailing Stage 1 badge. Between them they enjoyed 390 hours of dinghy sailing, 166 hours of rafting and 486 hours of canoeing and kayaking!
The activities provided the chance to learn new skills, make new friendships, discover the power of team work and create memories that will last a lifetime. Even ending up in the water, instead of on it as planned, provided the opportunity for some to realise that making mistakes is actually ok and what matters is what you do to next.
Simon Keen, organiser, said “ The smiling faces all week just say it all. After the pressures of the pandemic, and in particular having had to meet up on-line, it is fantastic to see young people and adults back out doing activities like these. Who knows, maybe we have even inspired a future Olympian or two!”
The event also introduced the Water Sports Active Support Unit, which is aimed at volunteers keen to share their skills in such areas but also to support adult volunteers to earn their own permits so even more young people can take part in their local areas. Oliver Griffin, Cub Scout Leader at 1st Trumpington, said “The Cub Scouts had a fantastic afternoon sailing at Paxton Lakes, No one got wet (at least not unintentionally – a few of them dunked their heads overboard!) and I even got the chance to practise my dinghy sailing. A huge thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible”
One afternoon those on site were also joined by a team from local TV news, providing a lot of excitement from the participants when they realised they would be appearing on TV screens in homes across the region that evening.
Chris Ward, County Commissioner, said “Scouting is not just for young people to get outdoors and learn new skills. It is also about adults having fun, passing on knowledge and making a positive difference in their local communities. We know not everyone will want to get their feet wet, but that’s not problem as we have a role for everyone – from note takers to tea makers as well as those who haven’t got a clue how to help but just know they want to.”
To volunteer either contact your local Scout Group, or get in touch with us and we can help you find the right role for you.