Saturday, 31 July 2021

Scouts revived after 16 years thanks to volunteers

A SCOUT group is to be revived after 16 years.

A SCOUT group is to be revived after 16 years.

The 1st Sonning Common scouts will start again in January, meeting at the scout headquarters in Baskerville Road on Tuesday evenings after the cub pack meeting.

It will complete the scout group after the beaver colony was resurrected last year following a 17-year absence.

Karl Taylor, a joiner, will take over as scout leader and will be assisted by Nicola Lunnon and Felicity Cooper.

Initially there will be up to 10 scouts in the pack but this number is expected to rise as former cubs and new children join. Mr Taylor has a daughter moving from the beavers up to the cubs and his son will join the scouts.

Penny Edwards, who has been akela of the cub pack for 10 years, said: “It’s fabulous — the children are so excited that we’re going to have the scout troop as well.

“It’s immensely important because the children were leaving the cub pack and just drifting.

“At age 10 to 14 is when they need something to focus on to help keep them on the straight and narrow. The scouts encourage them to think of other people and to be prepared for almost anything.”

Mrs Edwards’ husband Graham, who has been group chairman for three years, said the scout group had been disbanded because there were not enough volunteers.

This meant there was no continuity for the children so when they were too old for the cubs they joined scout groups in Reading, Nettlebed and Stoke Row.

He said: “It wasn’t satisfactory and a lot of children gave up because their parents didn’t want to be ferrying them all over and they didn’t want to go to places where they didn’t know anyone.

“It wasn’t acceptable in this day and age for any child. We fought and fought for people to volunteer their time, which is the big issue with scouting.”

Mr Edwards said the new volunteers would be visiting other scout groups as part of their training.

He added: “It would be nice eventually to see some of our scouts go and do international scouting but that won’t be for a few years.

“We want to have a wide range of activities for them to take part in. We will be looking to get them dragon boating and kayaking — nice adventurous stuff rather than what people perceive as scouting, like kindling wood and tying knots.”

“Scouting has progressed and isn’t stuck in the Twenties. I’ve had people go out to Uganda to help build libraries. The whole movement has progressed significantly since I first joined 40 years ago.”

Volunteers are still needed for both the scouts and cubs.

Mr Edwards said: “People say they can’t do every week but it’s fine if they can do two or three nights a month and someone else does a couple of other nights. That’s what it’s all about. Even if it’s one night a month, that’s better than no nights. They get all the training. All we demand of them is their time.

“At the moment, if Penny’s ill we have to close the cub pack down for a week while she gets back on her feet.”

Mr Edwards said Mr Taylor was “in it for the long haul” because he wanted somewhere for his children to go rather than be out in the village.

He added: “Within 18 months we’ve gone from having a stand-alone cub pack to having a beaver and scout group. It’s very exciting.

“We’re back to full strength, which is absolutely brilliant.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering should call Graham or Penny Edwards on 0118 948 3223 or email graham.edwards31@virgin

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