Scouting has been a strong part of Australian culture since the 1950s, and has grown to become the largest youth movement in the nation with almost 70,000 members.
Today’s Scouts still learn the same skills they did back in the early days – from knotting and camping to navigation and bush skills – but within groups that are dedicated to exploring a wide range of exciting outdoor activities. Canberran Scouts now engage in sailing, mountaineering, flying, skin diving and even ballooning, with The ACT Scout Balloon Team heading to Northam in Western Australia to represent us in the National Ballooning Championships this coming September.
Rick Goode, Chief Commissioner of Scouts ACT, says “At the moment we have approximately 2800 members, of which 1840 are youth. Kids aged 6-25 join Scouts as a way to learn life skills, make friends and develop resilience. As they move up in age, their responsibilities increase and adult involvement lessens. One of our mantras is youth leading, adult supporting. So as the youth member develops their own skills for doing things, the leader takes a step back, but is always there to support.”
Rick says kids usually join Scouts because they are looking for an adventure. Scout volunteers work together with the youth to decide which activities they will do, based around a particular theme that suits their level.
“We have many Scout Groups and activity teams spread across Canberra that undertake a range of activities depending on their interests. For example, our Sea Scouts Group in Yarralumla focusses on sailing and water activities, and we also have similar groups that meet at Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra. Majura Mountain Scouts focus on mountaineering and pioneering activities, and the Aqua Scouts travel to the coast a lot and have also been to the Great Barrier Reef.
“All the groups are very active in the local community, particularly on an environmental level. We have an Environment Commissioner who manages those aspects, and works with different environmental organisations to help bring Scouting in.”
The ACT Scouts have a range of exciting things planned over the next few months, including overseas trips for older Scout Groups to countries such as Norway, Iceland and Mongolia. The younger Scouts recently had their Cuboree event at Cotter Major Scout Camp, in which ACT Cub Scouts (aged 8-11) came together with Scouts from other states and camped for a number of days while engaging in various outdoor activities.
In August, Scouts ACT is running Sci Scouts – an annual program focussed on incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) into the Scouts program. This year it will be based at Camp Cottermouth, the ACT Scouts camping and accommodation centre in Cotter. 1800 are expected to attend.
Scouts rely on support from local volunteers, and donations/sponsorships from local businesses to help fund equipment for activities and events. The Lake Burley Griffin Sea Scouts were a recent recipient of a $500 grant as part of Curtin Community Bank® Branch’s 5th birthday celebration. Rick says the monies will be treated as a special purpose grant and go directly towards funding boats and equipment the Scouts need.
For more information, or to sign up for a Scouts group near you, visit Scouts ACT.
To learn more about Canberra Community Bank® Group grants, pop into any one of their branches in Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra or Wanniassa.