We’ve recently welcomed five, yes five! new leaders, all of whom were invested officially by our District team. Want to know why our leaders volunteer?
Volunteering to help out with Scouts can seem daunting, especially if you know nothing of the movement. But there is lots of help to hand and every single person, bar none, can tell you tales of the amazing experiences they have had and how scouting grew in their heart.
Here are two testaments; the first from one of our brand new leaders and the second from a leader who was with us for 18 years.
Being a new Cub Leader
What a great first term!
Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into when I first volunteered to be a Cub Scout leader. All I knew was I wanted to be more involved in our local community, having spent far too long focusing on work and all the stresses and strains that come with that!
With two young children, I felt that Beavers/Cubs/Scouts might be something they would enjoy in the future, and I remembered enjoying it myself. So when I saw an advert for a leader I thought, rather tentatively, maybe now was the time and sent a quick Facebook message to get in touch.
The current team were welcoming, open, and honest in my trial sessions and the cubs themselves were great fun. You literally cannot think about work or indeed anything else when you are surrounded by such fun loving, inquisitive, balls of energy! It really quickly became clear to me that I’d enjoy the process of leading the cubs, helping them learn about the world and helping them mature as young people. It was also clear that I’d get as much out of it as they would!
On that note, I wasn’t the most adept of cubs (!), and I didn’t spend too long in scouts, so I was quite nervous that I would be ‘shown up’ once I joined. Nothing could be further from the truth as there is a boat load of assistance and guidance available from your fellow leaders new and old, the scouting association, and online resources. Without fail I am learning something new almost every week, as are the cubs, and we are thoroughly enjoying it.
Overall, it’s been a great experience, and I’d recommend that anyone who is ‘on the fence’ as I was, just take the plunge. You won’t regret it.
18 years as a Cub Leader
I have been the “Akela”, or Cub Scout Leader (CSL) for nearly 18 years, and now think that someone younger should take on the role before I need a Zimmer frame. Why this long? …because we (the team) enjoy it so much. The best antidote for a really awful Monday at work is to spend an hour and a half with 24 smiling faces – however mischievous (although cub age kids can be noisy and sometimes overly enthusiastic they are rarely dull, and mischievous is, for me at least, quite entertaining) doing a fun activity and completely, for an hour and a half, forgetting about everything else.
As leaders you can plan and dictate what programmed activities you do without any external interference, although there is plenty of help with resources.
It is pretty necessary to have a team of leaders – ideally three. The current leaders gladly assist with a transition period, and In fact there are plenty of offers of help, both from our parents and from other leaders within the Group, as it is important to the Group that Cubs succeeds. We also have regular help from young D of E helpers.
The commitment for a cub leader is a one and a half hour meeting once a week during term time, with very occasional other weekend activities. We currently do a weekend camp in July. All of this is flexible, in the sense that it doesn’t have to be on a Monday night, and if there is a team of leaders you wouldn’t need to be able to attend every week.
When you get to enjoy it, and it becomes a regular fixture, the time invested hardly notices even in a busy week.
The rewards are poor financially – this is a volunteer role; but in volunteering your time you are doing your bit for the community, which feels good, you will meet loads of parents of children the same age as yours, which can be a great benefit, but more than anything you will have a lot of fun with some great young people, helping them learn a few skills that they won’t get from school, and every now and then you will see them achieve something amazing, which will make it worthwhile.
Edward was one of those Cubs that didn’t seem to have many friends – a bit shy and retiring. When he went up the climbing wall at Walton Firs like a human fly I was genuinely amazed, as were the other ten Cubs watching him. He suddenly achieved legend status and all the other Cubs wanted to congratulate him and “Big him up”. His confidence went from zero to ten in an hour, and his grin lasted the rest of the weekend.
We held a bring a pet night a while back, and Archie brought in a frog in a glass fish tank – he said it was an American frog, described what it ate and how to look after it etc. He was so convincing that I didn’t realise it was a plastic frog until someone told me a few days later – he was awarded animal carer badge and entertainer badge.
These are memorable events but there are loads more – the age group of cubs at 8-10 never cease to amaze me in how resourceful and amusing they can be – but mostly how enthusiastic they can be.
If you are even vaguely thinking about volunteering some of your time at Cubs I can thoroughly recommend it. Come along if you’d like to know more about it – absolutely no strings attached.
Further info on ‘why join?’