Sailing, gliding, diving, hiking, climbing and of course camping – just some of the fun activities the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts of 1st Littleport Scout Group have been up to in the past 12 months. Add to this baking, acting, sleepovers, den building, dementia-awareness raising, and community activities such as litter picking and delivering Littleport Life, and you’ll see why so many of Littleport’s young people want to join.
Back in 2016, the waiting list for the youngest section – Beavers, aged 6 to 8 – was so long that leader Julie Double – known in Scouting as Dove – opened a second group for Beavers.
That was soon full, too, and the young people loved making new friends, getting out and about, going on camp and trying new things, including climbing at Cambridge Clip n’ Climb, exploring Duxford Imperial war Museum to earn their Air Activities Badge, and even spending a night sleeping with the fishes at Hunstanton Sea Life Centre.
Lots of the six-year-olds who joined the new Colony are now approaching the age when they move up to Cubs – which is for those aged eight to ten and a half – and just this summer a second Cub Pack opened to accommodate them. Dan Seaman – known as Akela – has run the Pack for two years and is helping new leader Chris Twinn (Rama) establish a new Pack. The set up has gone well and the Cubs have so far enjoyed team building activities, earning their athlete activity badge, and hiking around Ely. ‘I really liked when we make toys, such the boats that we floated on water,’ says Bethany, aged 8.
The highlight of the summer term, for old Cubs and new, was a sailing taster evening in June. This was a first for Littleport Cubs as a group and was a great evening. The Cub leaders extend thanks to Ely Sailing Club for making this exciting event possible. ‘The new Cub Pack has allowed us to open a route into Scouting for a number of Littleport children who weren’t Beavers previously,’ Dan explains. ‘It has been gratifying to see how the new pack get to know each other and form friendships.’
Scouts – for those aged between 10 and a half and 14 – has also seen a surge in numbers to 24. The Troop is lucky to be able to use the Ryston Estate for outdoor meetings and camps in return for some forestry care, including building owl boxes for nesting birds. ‘We had a woodland camp in February – it was great!’ said Oliver, aged 12 and leader of the Troop’s Cobra Patrol.
There is also the opportunity this summer to travel with other Scouts from the Ely district to Le Mans, France for 10 days of activities, including hiking, boating and finishing with a trip to DisneyLand Paris. Stuart Cree – known as Skip – has run the Troop for the past two years and is keen to make sure the Scouts get out and about as much as possible. ‘Scouting is a confidence-building exercise, learning through doing and having fun at the same time. Life has no remote – you have to get up and change it yourself – and that is what the Scouts are doing!’
Mike Philbey – known as Jester – has been the overall leader of the whole group since 2006. He believes that getting into the outdoors and learning new skills is what attracts the young people, although he is keen that the Scouts learn the importance of community work too.
Inspired by a love of the outdoors and keen to inspire the younger generation to look beyond a screen for entertainment, the leaders seek to teach new skills, offer the chance to try new activities and, most of all, offer friendship and fun. The leadership group is supported by an Executive Committee of parents and leaders, who recently organised a family day out at Thetford Forest for Scouting members and their families, which consisted of a session of Battlefield Live, games of cricket and rounders, den building and a big barbecue. ‘My children love the opportunities that Scouting gives them: they have fun, meet new people and develop a sense of awareness about their community,’ said dad Darius.
New helpers are always welcome – you don’t have to commit to a weekly session – or if you have a hobby or expertise in an activity or knowledge of a historic period or social issue that you would be willing to come and talk about with the young people, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fridays 6 – 7.15pm
Contact Dan on email@example.com
Contact Stuart on firstname.lastname@example.org