The largest Scout Group in Cork County had their Social Investiture in Clonakilty in May. Following a public meeting last October, the 20th Clonakilty Scout Group was formed, something which would not have been possible without the commitment of its 26 volunteer leaders.
Section leader of Scouts, Vicki Sherry, says it’s been a busy and fun two months for all involved. The Dublin native, living in Clonakilty for the past 12 years, was in the Girl Guides from the age of six until 19. “I grew up in Guides and loved it,” she says “we did a lot of travelling and learned a lot of life skills and I’m still friends with many of the people I was in Guides with.
“Scouts is great for developing kids’ social skills and independence and there’s a phone ban so all the kids get a breather from technology. When that’s taken away, what you have are 11-year-olds running around playing chase outdoors, something that doesn’t happen very often these days!”
At present, there are 24 Beavers (6-9), 18 Cubs (9-11) and 26 Scouts (11-15) in the Clonakilty group. Although it’s early days, all of the groups have gone on their first hike and an overnight camping trip away is planned for cubs and scouts before the summer break. The beavers will get to camp overnight in the hall.
“We taught the Scouts how to light a fire with flint and steel a few weeks ago and they’ll do their own shopping and cooking on the trip,” says Vicki.
The groups meet once a week in St Joseph’s NS hall in Clonakilty and when they’re not outdoors hiking or camping or orienteering, they’re playing games or learning how to use a compass, pack a rucksack or put up a tent.
Beavers get to go on lots of outdoor adventures – walks, treasure hunts, camps, litter-picking, parading on Saint Patrick’s Day, slumber parties in hostels or Scout Dens, and so on.
Cubs will be involved in planning and running some of their own meetings and activities. They take part in planning their own camps – for example deciding on the menu and doing some cooking on camp, and deciding which activities to do.
As with Beavers, the real adventure for Cubs is in the outdoors – hill walks up mountains, treasure hunts, night camps, hostel trips, and sometimes, overseas trips.
Scouts will be involved in planning and running Scout meetings and activities and may be invited to Group and Scout County planning sessions to give their input on planned events. Supported by Adult leaders – known as Scouters,– they take part in planning and running their own activities, programme and camps. They decide the menu, cook on camp, organise equipment and run activities – all in their Patrols. They learn about teamwork, about leadership and how to look after themselves.
Scouts get to go hill walking, partake in water-based activities, mini-expeditions, camps from one night to ten nights in length, community events, hostel stays, and sometimes, overseas trips.
When the children have met a set of challenges or have mastered a particular level in a skill they earn a badge to sew on their uniform.
It’s a great social outlet for any kid who’s not into group sport,” says Vicki.
“The Scouts have volunteered to help out this year with the Clonakilty Carnival and next year when we’re up-and-running a bit longer, we hope to get involved in various community groups and activities, like the Tidy Towns, beach clean-ups, that kind of thing.”
Enrolment will open again at the end of August/September and numbers are dependent on volunteers. For more information on enrolling or volunteering go to clonakiltyscouts.ie.