Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go back to your childhood? I do all the time and in a weird way this last week I have been able to. Going on Cub camp with my oldest son brought lots of memories flooding back of camping and all the activities that are planned for these trips. The main reason I was asked to attend this trip was primarily because I am able to drive a mini bus, without this it would have been very hard for the cub group to get away this year.
Its been nearly 28 years since I have last done anything with the Scout movement and going back as a professional I was amazed to now come back and look at the whole situation from a different perspective. There was also many things that I was not prepared for and could not imagine. Such as the energy and commitment that is needed to make it through a week with 26 Cubs and Scouts all fighting for attention or missing home. Cooking a simple evening meal that took several hours to prepare, and washing up! what can I say also took several hours and water fights.
What I did not expect though was to be thinking about these tasks in such detail. Such as how many people still wash up? many know how to load a dishwasher and struggle with the concept of standing at a sink and playing with the bubbles in their hands. Something that once they have experienced enjoy doing! Or more complicated is sharing a bedroom with other people! If you come from a big family you may be lucky enough to share a room, but for those that don’t, sharing can either be a positive experience or a nightmare.
Big Society is used as a term for more people to become involved in projects in their local community to save money for the government but for everyone to take responsibility for their own community. Scouting has been a way of doing this for over a 100 years and works with boys and girls and providing opportunities that young people may not have had an opportunity to do before. I know that as a child I would not have had the holidays that I did if it was not for scouting. I would also not have done as much volunteering and working with different groups and communities if it was not for Scouting.
This last week has been an eye opener and a great way for me to complete some positive work with children that are keen to learn and be respected. I wont lie it has been hard, and I have never experienced feeling this tired for a very long time. But stepping off the mini bus and being cheered by the Cubs and Scouts and being thanked by their parents made every day worth it.
My training and experience even came into use, as tensions rose within the group as it will do. I could not leave and ignore the behaviours and sat the young people down to address the behaviours. A positive outcome followed by a positive last night, with a camp fire, songs and marshmallows and a brilliant experience. Which for many young people is so needed, and if you have time look up your local group and offer your support. For many young people this is a great way to escape their normal routine, and provide them with learning opportunities all young people need to grow and develop.