This weekend was the Ruislip Eastcote Northwood family camp to celebrate 30 years of Beavers and 100 years of Cubs. I had a surprise though at the closing ceremony and was awarded my five year service award. It’s been an interested five years so I thought I’d examine it.
I’ve detailed before how I joined scouting aged 6 as a Beaver in 1999, but come 2011 I took the next step and took a warrant. Coming to the end of my time as an Explorer Scout, a few months before my 18th birthday I filled in the forms and sent them off. By already being a Young Leader it was inevitable that I was going to go on to become an adult leader. The appointment came through quicker than expected which is why I technically received my 5 years early. Although you only get a warrant from the age of 18, the membership database holds my start date as when my CRB check was applied for, four months before my birthday – they were slower in those days than the updated DBS checks we have now.
However, the first two years as a leader were rather intermittent. My birthday being July, I only ran a few meetings at the end of the summer term before heading off to uni in September. This limited what I could do so it was rare for me to don the uniform during my first two years, only really doing so for camps and large district events at weekends as well as a run of late summer meetings after the end of the term.
In a way, I fell out of Scouting a bit but my placement year allowed me to get back in to it. I returned to my family home to live and work and thus was able to run meetings again during the week. I remembered how much I actually enjoyed it, I was reinvigorated. I knew I couldn’t allow my final year to let me slip through the net once again so I had an idea.
I first met Soph at the end of our first year and we had begun our relationship at the start of our second, but because she wasn’t on a sandwich course like me, she stayed in Canterbury while I was working in London. It was this circumstance that led me to suggest she go and help with the local Beaver Colony (she is better with the youngest section whereas I prefer Scout section where you can do more adventurous activities). When I returned to Canterbury for my final year, and Soph stayed on for a Masters, I went along to Worthgate Scout Group and offered my services. This was what I needed to stay in the loop and it is something we need to encourage with all Young Leaders who may not take the warrant due to university.
It’s been a year since I graduated, and it has been a massive year for my Scouting life. I have been awarded the Queen’s Scout and taken up a new role as the District Youth Commissioner to ensure that the youth have a real say in how their Scouting life is shaped and run. I’ve finally got my hand on the adult training that really should have been done earlier and I am enjoying my larger voice in the wider Scouting community. I look forward to seeing what the next five years bring leading me to a 10 year service award, the one my father was awarded concurrently to me.