Scouting is Suffering

Since Scout meetings have returned face to face, after the COVID 19 outbreak, the community needs more volunteers than ever. 

Sue Wardle, 1st Poynton Scout Group lead volunteer of 33 years, explains, ‘Scouting has always needed extra help, as the more leaders in a section, the more you can achieve with the kids and so greater the experience. After COVID, there is a much greater need to recruit volunteers as a lot of leaders didn’t return to face to face meetings and people seem to have found themselves busier than before.’ Unfortunately, because of this, Scouting sections, and even whole groups, are closing locally. Teaching and improving children’s outdoor skills and awareness, the Scout Movement is such an important organisation. Without the option to attend meetings, children would not be able to experience the warm, welcoming community and adventurous activities Scouting offers. Furthermore, children’s social intelligence and mental health could suffer, in that they would not necessarily have emotional support beyond that offered in schools. Neither would they build resilience by offering and receiving the views and opinions of others, that are so important in building character.

The sad truth is that society is becoming so much more occupied with work and earning an ample income, that widening our children’s skill set and experiences is no longer a priority. This leaves a minority, of adult leaders who are still committed to organising the activities that accomplish this, with such a heavy and unmanageable workload. But volunteering within the Scouting community isn’t just beneficial to the children. Sue, who currently runs a Beavers colony which, before Squirrels was created, was the foundation of Scouting, explains, ‘I enjoy running Beavers as 6–8-year-olds are so enthusiastic in all they do and soak up all the information and experiences.’ Therefore, volunteering for activities such as Scouting can have a positive impact on your own, as well as your child’s, mental health. 

For some, Scouting provides much more than a varied education. Children suffering from changes or difficulties at home and poor mental health, which is becoming an increasing problem, can find sanctuary in their local Scout groups. There they can share their experiences and find the help they need. Children from all walks of life attend and are welcomed into the Scouting community without judgement. Without the safe space Scout groups provide to local children, problems could go unnoticed, and therefore become even worse.

Lastly, Scouting groups across the country are significantly involved with the community, whether that’s raising money for charities, parading on Remembrance Sunday, engaging in seasonal festivities or completing hikes across the country. Without the volunteers, Scouts would not be able to attend these events, or represent their communities through their achievements. Scouting has been a part of British tradition for almost 120 years, and the thought of losing it because fewer people are willing to help is distressing. With technology the best it has ever been, Scouting should not be suffering the way it is, in fact, it should be thriving. Let’s not lose such an integral part of our communities through a lack of cooperation. As Sue concludes, ‘Scouting is important as it gives children individual skills for life.’