In praise of Scouts


In a few weeks time my 10 year old will be travelling to Snowdonia for a weekend of hiking, camping and being a boy.
And he’ll be doing it with a group of friends. So without me or his dad.
It’s kind of a big deal.

Sure he’s been away from home for a couple of nights on a school trip. But this is to Snowdonia. More than 120 miles away in the heart of Wales. Mountains and snow and cold and, well, lots of danger. And he’s 10.
But I’m sending him off on this crazy exciting adventure with Scouts and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous and trepidatious. But there are way more positives than negatives here. And if you could see the smile on his face when he talks about it . . .

British adventurer, TV presenter and Chief Scout Bear Grylls is on record as saying: “I got a sense of identity and a sense of belonging from scouts. My love of the outdoors started with scouting. It was a real confidence boost for me and opened a lot of doors.” THAT is what I want for my boy. Because, in this modern world things like learning how make and safely light a fire, how to descale and cook a fish on said fire, how to chop up logs and how to have a general appreciation for the great outdoors have been lost.

On Friday night the Scout group all built their own bivouac in the woods – bracken, ferns, a couple of plastic sheets – and then spent the night in it. How cool is that? What an amazing thing to do when you’re 10.
It poured with rain and his sleeping bag is proving impossible to get clean, but these are small issues.
Dan had an amazing experience.

In the words of Bear again: “As a young boy, scouting gave me a confidence and camaraderie that is hard to find in modern life. Kids in the UK need a sense of belonging and community more than ever. I’m proud to be the chief Scout in the world’s greatest youth movement. It is the biggest privilege I have ever had – more than [serving in] the SAS or [climbing] Everest”.

And those are the words I will remember as I drop him off with his sleeping bag, his walking boots and his waterproofs on his Big Adventure.


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10 Responses to In praise of Scouts

  1. Kathryn says:

    Scouting has been a huge part of our life for the past 8 years …… it has given the boys so much and as they have grown older (16 and 19 now) when you compare them with other kids of the same age you can really see how scouting has helped them develop….they just seem more independant, reliable, resourceful etc etc …we love scouts!!!
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  2. lauracymft says:

    Oh I hope he has an excellent time.
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  3. iotamanhattan says:


    Do you follow Kelloggsville's Blog? She's passionate about girl guides and scouting.

  4. K-Ville says:

    Wey Hey! It's a foundation for life. If you can build a shelter and sleep under it you can catch the high school bus easy peasy or catch the train to a uni day 🙂 It gives them confidence.

    PS The leaders tend not too lose too many of them to the bears in the process so don't worry too much 😉

    PPS Why are you trying to get his sleeping bag clean? He's a boy! It'll come back dirty and you'll just start the process all over again – just make sure it is properly dry. His clothes on his back will come back on his back and his clean clothes in his bag will come home clean in his bag! A camp tan is a badge of honour.

    PPPS Black socks, they never get dirty, the longer you wear them the stiffer they get, sometimes I think I should wash them but something inside me says oh no, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet 😀
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  5. My daughter has told me she is joining the scouts as they do way more cool things than the guides She is desperate to go outdoors and would just love making a shelter and camping. It is a great think for our children to do.

    I had a fab time in the guides many years ago including putting up a tent in the snow one year and lots of fire making. I still like to think I am good in a crisis !!
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  6. Erica says:

    Gave me a tingly feeling, absolutely agree, kids need this sort of thing. Erin's off to brownie camp at the end of the moneth, this will be a cosy affair indoors with sleeping bags but it's still two nights away and I'm bracing myself for a slightly more independent and confident version of her returning. The army cadet force is also a great follow on for clubs like this, both Alex and I took so much from it. Also, trepidatious is the best word I've heard this week.
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