Call for more volunteers to support increasingly-popular Scout and Guide groups
PUBLISHED: 11:59 16 August 2018
It is a tradition which has taught youngsters confidence-building and the love of the great outdoors over the past few decades.
But due a rise in popularity in Scouts and Guides over the past decade more volunteer leaders are needed, according to the Scout Association.
The claim comes as thousands of Scouts and Guides meet this week at the Norfolk Showground for NORJAM 2018.
Andrew Thorp, Scout Association spokesman, said: “The general picture all over the country is that we have more volunteer adults involved in Scouts groups than ever before but the rate of growth of young people joining is up.
“The nature of volunteering has also changed. Because of people’s jobs and lives people are volunteering in a more flexible way. You need more people to do the same roles.
“If more adults and young people became volunteers more young people could join. Across the UK the waiting lists for members have grown every year for the past few years.”
He described Norfolk and Suffolk as a big Scouting counties.
Mr Thorn added: “They are thriving and growing and there are great things going on.”
As of January 2018, there were 9,069 and 8,583 members of the Scouts in Norfolk and Suffolk respectively.
Just over 600 people were on the waiting lists to join groups in each county.
There were 2,400 and 2,365 adult volunteers in Norfolk and Suffolk Scout groups respectively.
Despite the movement “bending and flexing” with the changing times, Mr Thorn said it stuck to its ethos of teaching confidence, teamwork and communication.
Activities have moved on over the decades, from learning about woodcraft and knots to learning about digital media and astronautics.
Mike Gooderson, leader of the 46th Norwich Scout Group, said: “Being part of the Scouts gives young people life skills and helps them develop.”
Dr Emily Archer, deputy director of media and communications for NORJAM 2018, and Rainbow section advisor, said the situation was similar in Girlguilding.
She said: “There are more young people wanting to join groups than adult volunteers.”
Visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/get-involved/ or www.scouts.org.uk/get-involved/