Today is known as Founder’s Day in the Scouting movement as it’s the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting. 2017 also marks 110 years of Scouting! So I thought I’d talk a bit about what Scouting means to me. 🙂
I started scouting in 2007 when I joined Cubs, and left scouting last September as I couldn’t keep up with it as well as starting a-levels, so in total I’ve spent 8 years of my life in Scouts and what an amazing time that’s been!
One of the most prominent things that comes to mind when thinking about Scouting and what it means to me and for all the millions of other scouts around the world is the word ‘discovery’.
Obviously, scouting provides a doorway through which we can have access to the outdoor world and explore more about the place where we live but alongside that, it gives young people a safe environment in which to discover ourselves; who we are and how we fit in with the world and society.
That’s something that I’ve really valued throughout my time in Scouting, because the inclusive atmosphere at my local scout group made feel comfortable enough to be myself and develop as an individual and I’m really grateful that I had this opportunity growing up. It’s definitely helped to shape me as a person and taught me invaluable skills such as communication and respect which are often lost in the hustle-bustle of modern society. Most importantly, it’s given me a more positive outlook on life as I know that even if I’m faced with challenges that seem impossible, there is always away to get through them with perseverance and hard work.
Despite being a girl in a scouting movement that is predominantly – but not exclusively – made up of boys, during my time in scouts I didn’t once feel that I couldn’t – or shouldn’t – do something just because of my gender. The opportunities and experiences scouting gave me were some of the best of my life – from attending Gilwell 24 and being surrounded by thousands of other scouts from around the UK and further a field to hiking up mountains in Austria and volunteering as a Young Leader and helping other young people get the most out of their time in Scouting. However I know that young people in other countries may not have the chance to experience this so I’d like to say that I hope that as the scouting movement grows, it will help young people in countries where society is not equal or inclusive to have some of the experiences I’ve had and be given equal opportunities to discover the world around them and develop as young people, regardless of gender, religion, race or sexual orientation.
Although I am not currently a member of the scouting movement, I will never forget what it means to me and one day hope to get back into scouting and help young people get the most out of the wonderful association that I love.