This article perfectly illustrates the benefits of Scouting and its ability to allow young people to grow and develop.

 

Written by Jane Hutchinson it was published in the Melbourne Weekly on the 13th June 2012.

 

Environment cubsWhen my daughter came home from her first Cub Scouts’ camp a couple of years ago, I could have sworn she walked a little taller. Head held high and eyes shining she beamed: “I  lit a fire and cooked dinner all by myself!” She had just turned eight.

In this age of tiger mothers and helicopter parenting, it made me think how important it is to let our kids take risks and responsibilities. While letting an eight-year old light a fire carries some risk, it occurred to me there’s more danger in stifling a child’s growth by not letting them test the boundaries of their abilities.

Cubs cyclingIn the two years since that first camp, my daughter has done all kinds of things she probably wouldn’t have experienced with her slightly over-protective and not-very outdoorsy parents. She has been sailing, canoeing, hiking, camping in sub-zero temperatures at Mt Dandenong and has even mastered squeezing her sleeping bag back into its case – something I still struggle with.

She has neither drowned, suffered hypothermia nor set herself alight. In fact, she has thrived to become an independent individual who’s up for any challenge. Much as I’d like to take sole credit, I think scouting has had something to do with it.

The scouting movement has certainly changed from when I was a Brownie in the 1970s. In those days, Cubs and Scouts were boys only, while girls became Brownies and Guides, who busied themselves with things like housekeeping and stamp collecting. Being more diva than domestic goddess – even then – I managed to accumulate just three badges in my entire Brownie career: the Singer’s, Actor’s and Jester’s badges.

I wish I’d known about Gang Show, the Scouts’ annual performance spectacular that’s been going for 60 years. In this week’s cover story, we talk to some of the 200-plus Scouts and Guides from across Melbourne who are putting on this year’s show. It’s another fantastic opportunity scouting gives kids to  take risks and grow – no matches required.

To read the newspaper article about Gang Show click here.