A Volunteer’s Journey

///A Volunteer’s Journey
A Volunteer’s Journey2019-02-18T17:51:33+00:00

Here you will find the steps involved to becoming a volunteer and hear from a variety of existing ones about their own experiences.

The great thing about scouting is you can volunteer from aged 14+  (our volunteers range in age from 18 to their 90s). We know that a key to continued volunteering is not just the fun or opportunities, but also how well valued and supported each person feels.

You don’t need to have any scouting experience, your own children nor indeed any other connection with scouting – although all of that is fine too of course. You may even have a specific skill you feel you can contribute, anything from archery or accounts to zorbing or zoology!

All that you do need is to decide how much time in a week, a month or a year you feel you can contribute. We can then help you work out exactly what role is just right for you.

Please read the information below, and perhaps take a look at just a few of the current opportunities available

We would like to add a range of volunteer journeys to this page so if you are a Young Leader, a leader, an Executive Committee Member, a skills instructor or….  why not send us your story – some videos would be great for example!

What are the first steps in becoming a volunteer?2019-02-17T16:46:43+00:00

We are really pleased that you are thinking of joining Cambridgeshire Scouts, and our existing volunteers look forward to supporting you at each stage as you become part of the team. To become a Young Leader please see the information about the Young Leader scheme, for adult volunteers please read on.

  1. Initial enquiry – once you have made contact someone will be in touch for an informal chat.
  2. The right role – you will have the chance to discuss the time you can give, any skills you feel you can bring and any training required. This will mean that we can help find the right role for you.
  3. The paperwork – for most roles you will be asked to complete an Adult Application form (editable PDF or print friendly version) and a DBS check. If you are becoming an Occasional Helper the process is now complete. For most other roles the following also apply.
  4. Appointment Committee – some roles will mean you are invited to meet up with the local Appointments Committee. This is an informal meeting (no uniform or documents required) with a few local scouting volunteers who are there to make sure someone has explained the role you are taking on, and that the role is the right fit for you.
  5. Training Advisor (TA) appointed – you will be allocated to a local scouting volunteer who will meet up with you to work out what training is required.
How can being a volunteer benefit me?2019-11-16T16:43:04+00:00

Firstly being a scouting volunteer is great fun! You can help organise or support some amazing activities for the younger members, giving you a chance to help make a positive difference to your own local community.

As a member of scouting you will gain access to a range of discounts, designed to support you in your scouting role with everything from camping kit to days out.

Volunteering can  help you outside scouting too, especially if you make the most of the training scheme – in fact is externally recognised as a formal qualification through 4 different routes.

The skills and experiences you gain are invaluable, can enhance your CV and can be a real asset in everything from applying from college / university places to jobs. Not only will you have some great things to include in personal statements and on application forms but also some brilliant examples to use when answering interview questions, plus of course some ideal people to name as referees. Being a scouting volunteer really can help you stand out from the crowd.

Scouting is a national and global organisation, which makes it easy to continue scouting no matter where in the world life takes you and creates an ideal way to start meeting new people in your new community – whether that is when you go to University or move to another country.

Whilst no adult volunteer joins for recognition there is also a Scout Association Awards scheme

What scouting has done for us – the tale of two leaders with a 57 year age gap!2019-04-11T17:47:11+00:00

Scouting is truly something that spans the generations, as Cambridgeshire leaders Jess Lockwood and Poppy Gowler clearly demonstrate. Take a look at this article from “Scouting” magazine (produced nationally for scouting volunteers), where Jess explains why her career is flying high and Poppy explains how scouting keeps her young.

Poppy and Jess

2 new leaders, in a completely new Group2019-02-17T16:37:34+00:00

“We had both been involved in Scouting and Guiding as children. A daughter is in guiding and both sons are in scouting. Both of us travel for work and the children have other pursuits outside of Scouting. One of our sons has long term medical issues.

When we knew that we were moving to Papworth Everard, the first thing we did was look into Scouting opportunities. There was a waiting list for the new Cub pack, so we signed our eldest son up for it. Having completed his Chief Scout Bronze Award in Beavers elsewhere we were keen for him to continue with his Scouting journey.

Once our eldest was settled in Cubs, an email came out looking for Leaders to start up a new Beaver Colony. Lee used to support at their son’s previous Beaver Colony and was keen to get involved again. I said I would support him with this and we both put our names forward as potential leaders.

“I’ve put myself forward as the Beaver Leader” Lee told me,  as he came back from a potential Leader meeting. The next step was to go through the DBS process. He then stunned me with, so “Your role is down as Assistant Beaver Leader”! I wasn’t soo sure how I felt about this, but Lee had the confidence that together we could set up and successfully run a brand new Colony in Papworth.

A few months later we held a taster afternoon, with the support of Leaders and Beavers from 1st Fenstanton and Hilton – and with other potential new Leaders. I ran a nature sticks station and Lee built spaghetti and marshmallow bridges to go across a pretend river.

The next step was to bring together all of the new Leaders and to create a plan of action for the first term. I had some prior experience of programme planning and took this on. The other new leaders did not have any experience of scouting as an adult at all, so the road ahead was going to be a steep one for all of us – not only as new leaders but in a brand new Colony in a brand new Group.

If I’m honest the first term and a half was the hardest. The leadership team was new, Lee and I were new to the village, we had to rely on other leaders for first response support, we had to check and double check then check again that what we were doing was correct. I told Lee on several occasions “we can’t do this, we need to walk away!” However the great support networks that were in place were what stopped this from happening. More experienced Leaders from both 1st Fenstanton and Hilton and 1st Papworth were on hand to discuss concerns and support where necessary. Just four months after we started the whole process Lee, myself and 17 brand new Beavers were invested!

At the beginning of term 2, we decided to attend the first response course, and the time spent with Leaders outside of our Group helped inspire us further. We then signed up to two more days of training. We knew that we could cover the training in lots of different ways but for us the networking and face to face interaction was an important step in our journey. Without it we never would have discovered the wonders of Armpit fudge for example!

During the second term things continued to develop. Lee took the Beavers away overnight to both the District Sleepover and Papworth Beaver/Cub Sleepover. Lee attended Exec and District Leader meetings, feeding back to all leaders. Every term we held a Colony leadership team meeting which everyone attended, including the YL and AGSL.

During the first year, the team built strong links with the parents, by holding a space night family event and inviting them to join in when the Colony were out and about (District Night Hike, tennis taster, camp, visit to a farm, family ice skating trip) and even run nights (our Skipathon fundraiser was run by a very keen PE teacher parent!)

The Colony leaders team changed. Four original members remain, but in the first year three moved with their children to Cubs. We took on a Young Leader after only 1 term, and have recruited 1 new leader and 3 occasional helpers, with another potential leader due to join in September.

One of the events that had the greatest impact on both Lee and I was the joint Group camp with 1st Fenstanton and Hilton. Through this we were able to make really close links with another Beaver Colony. These strong links remain, having run a joint JOTA/JOTI event in October 2018 and planning 2 sleepovers together in 2019! It helps us all offer more opportunities without having to do twice the work.

This camp also made us want to take our Beavers on nights away more often. The weekend before Christmas, we ran an SOS Santa Sleepover where Lee gained his indoor nights away permit. He is looking to earn his camping permit this summer with a Pirate themed 2 night camp. The Colony will also be attending Beavers in tents (BiTS) prior to this.

We recently supported with the YL training weekend, as we wanted to understand the process better to be able to support their current and future YL’s the best we can. The Leaders all share the delivery of the programme. During planning meetings, each Leader signs up to run 1-2 evenings per term. Lee and I run many of the events, but the Section Assistants attend and take the planning and running of colony hikes for example.

Papworth Beaver Colony is now up to 24 Beavers, with a long waiting list.

In summary – what ever role you take on it may seem daunting at first but with the right help, support and encouragement combined with amazing opportunities and lots of fun it is something we suggest you try too! ”

Julie and Lee Jacques