THE popularity of the Scouts is growing in Tunbridge Wells with more than 1,000 young people aged 6 to 18 involved with the movement every week.
The numbers of adults helping out has also increased, and this has enabled the Scouts to open new sections to meet the growing demand.
However, there are more than 200 young people aged 6 to 10 who are on the waiting list to join, so the organisers are looking to recruit more volunteers.
Paul Batchelor, a Beaver Leader at St John’s, became involved after his son Tom joined the group. He said: “I was nervous about becoming a leader, I was unsure what I was taking on, and I had doubts about being responsible for other people’s children.”
“But I have a great network of help and support around me and I have watched and learned from more experienced leaders,” he added.
“The whole leadership thing has been nothing like I expected – it’s been a whole lot better. It’s worth every second and I would recommend being a leader to anyone.”
District Commissioner Brian Hobden explains why scouting has become so popular: “It’s a youth-led organisation, young people get to shape their own scouting experiences, and this means we provide a programme that youngsters want to take part in.”
Over the last 12 months, 51 scouts went on a week-long camp in the Swiss Alps, among more than 3,300 overnight adventures.
They have been flying microlights and climbing mountains, while young members attended a weekend camp at Broadstone Warren, a scout owned centre on the Ashdown Forest, where they tried zip wires and a ‘jump of faith’.
The largest event in the Districts programme takes place in April when around 800 people celebrate St Georges Day – he was the patron saint of scouting.
Later in the year the younger members, Beavers and Cubs, visit the national headquarters of scouting at Gilwell Park in Epping Forest, to join other members from across Britain.
To find out more about volunteering with Tunbridge Wells Scouts visit www.tunbridgewellsscouts.org.uk