On the Scout for new leaders (not necessarily Bear Grylls!)

On the Scout for new leaders (not necessarily Bear Grylls!)

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If you thought scouting was just about knots, woggles and oversized shorts, then think again.

Raft racing, survival camps and participating in Ely’s Remembrance Day Parade are just a few of the activities the thriving 3rd Ely Scouts pack have taken part in this year, with a trip to France planned next summer.

Scouting’s more popular than ever – but the group’s in urgent need of more volunteers.

Scout leader Brian Calvert is appealing for civic minded individuals to get in touch so that the pack can continue to run its huge array of activities, aimed at boys and girls aged from about 10-and-a-half to 14.

After seeing a similar call for help four years ago, Brian joined the 3rd Ely group – and has never looked back.

“I’d been a Scout many years ago, and thought it would be fun to get back into it now as an adult. I’d help out for a few hours once a week, but after a while, I really got into it and started doing more.”

The group’s very proactive in the local community and members aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They’ve taken part in projects to tidy up a sensory garden, clean up open spaces and participated in litter picks.

“It brings a real feeling of pride to give back. Then we take part in events like Aquafest where they get to build rafts and race against each other on the river, or parading through the city at Eel Day and St George’s Day.”

The group decides together which activities they’d like to do. As well as traditional scouting pursuits like outdoor cooking, making fires, navigation and first aid skills, the adventurous pack takes on different challenges. Last week youngsters had a go leading dogs around a course during a dog agility session in Stuntney.

Rhys, 12, said: “Scouting is brilliant and allows you to do things you’ve never been able to do before.”

Meanwhile Aron, 11, said: “Scouts is full of great adventures. We get to spend time with friends we already know and make new friends.

“Some of the best things that I have done are the camps – including survival camps where we had to build our own shelters and cook our own food in the wild – as well as being introduced to new activities like tomahawk throwing and bushcraft.”

Every other year, the group travels to Europe for its summer camp. Next summer, they’ll be heading to Le Mans in France for 10 days.

Brian said: “There’s so many opportunities to take part in fun things – but it’s all on your terms, you only put in the time that you want to.

“I’ve also found that all of the volunteers in Scouting are really nice people, taking part in it for the same reasons, and in my first four years I feel like I’ve made some life-long friends already.”

The 3rd Ely Scouts meets every Wednesday evening during the school term.

Volunteers are given full training and support. You don’t need to have previous experience or an outdoor survival specialist to apply (although Bear Grylls types are certainly welcome too!).

For more information contact Chris Beale at dc@elydistrictscouts.org.uk