Meet Gabby, a Cub Scout Leader who has been a member of Scouts WA for just over 1 year.

 

How long have you been involved with Scouts?

I suppose I am a bit of a 'newbie' when it comes to Scouting. I dipped my feet into the Scouting pond in October of 2013 and was addicted! From the commencement of 2014 I was training and acting as a Cub Scout Leader. There is nothing like co-running a brand new pack for my first experience in Scouting. Needless to say, I am already planning my long term endeavours within the organisation.

 Were you a youth member?

Actually no. I grew up aware of Scouts but not having the pleasure of being involved personally. It was only when I researched for my own children that I became aware of the opportunities and lack of gender bias.

What made you decide to become a Cub Leader?

 Essentially, I was looking for something different for my own children to partake in, other than sport and music which they didn't seem to have too much interest in. I had looked into Scouting for a little while and was hooked by the ethos and opportunity for my kids to learn real life skills and adventure. When I was at the Royal Show I basically pounced on the nearest enquiries volunteer for the chance to see what was available. At the time the Group closest to me couldn't accept any more Cub Scouts as they were at their limit and in need of more Leaders. Being that I was finalising a teaching degree (and secretly hoping I'd get the chance to sample the fun of Scouting personally), I immediately put my hand up to volunteer!

What are some benefits for you of being a Leader?

Being able to enjoy the opportunties and experiences alongside my own children was definitely appealing to me and hasn't been a disappointment. Being a single parent I often felt anxious about undertaking many outdoor activities by myself and found the notion of safety and community in Scouting a great advantage. Being a Leader ensured that my children received a place in Scouts and opened doors for many other potential youth members which is really rewarding. I also love being involved in the designing of programmes and seeing them come to fruition. The accredited courses that you undertake to become a Leader are also great, especially as they were advantageous to my studies and future employability. 

What's the best thing about being a Leader?

Hands down that has to be the element of fun and the reward of seeing the children grow and enjoy the programmes. The youth members' refreshing and enthusiastic views of life are also contagious. Ultimately I get to be a big kid again! The broader spectrum of relationships created with like-minded adults has also been amazing. I've never felt as included and supported in a community group as I have in my short time in Scouts.  

What sort of things do you do with your Cubs?

The youth begin to learn more independence and their own leadership skills at this stage of Scouts, so we often seek their input to negotiate programme ideas and themes. The world is our oyster; whatever the theme or idea, there is always a way to incorporate it and make it work. The youth in Cubs get their first real experiences of camping and taking care of themselves without their families for assistance. They love being outdoors, active, working  together and exploring. In just our first year, some of the highlights included visiting an Air Force base, SciTech and Manjedal, as well as being involved in charity and community projects, meeting the fire brigade and the SES. Our Cubs practiced swimming, acting, first aid, bushcraft and campfire cooking. We also celebrated our Australian cultures and learned how to care for and live off the Earth.   

Tell us about one of your favourite memories of being a Cub Leader.

Wow, that is a tough question. There are so many to choose from already. Every memory is precious. However, completing our first year as a pack was definitely special to me. Being able to award the youth with their final achievement badges and Boomerang (badges), after the youth and adults have worked hard all year to earn them, was incredible. One fond memory that sums up what being a Cub is all about to me was during our Indigenous tribal camp:

- Watching the youth take responsible risks through eating bush tucker, playing outdoor games and acting in front of a crowd

-  Constructing their own didgeridoos, spears and humpies

- Working together to accomplish tasks and activities to ensure success

...and when they completed a mini 'Tough Mudder' [obstacle course/fun run] on the final day, they stood there covered from head to toe in red dirt and water with big smiles and laughter, asking if they could do it all over again.