Scouts and Guides get kids outside
Parents look to Scouts and Guides to get kids outside again after lockdown
Posted on 23.11.2020
Scouts is having a resurgence, with many groups around Sydney reporting waiting lists as parents look for activities to get their children outside and off screens.
While Scouts is smaller than its 1970s peak, it has been growing its membership across Australia for the past few years and now has more than 14,000 youth members ranging in age from five to 25 across NSW. Sister organisation Girl Guides is also growing, with 4422 members in total across NSW.
The 1st Balcombe Heights Scouts in Baulkham Hills is one of a number of groups across Sydney that has had a waiting list for the past few years, driven by demand from new members and a shortage of adult leaders.
Group leader Tim Uidam said Scouts ran virtual meetings throughout the COVID-19 lockdown but there was a surge in new membership inquiries this term now that it was back face to face.
“I always ask parents ‘what made you interested?’ and they say they just want to get them off the iPads to go and do stuff outside, especially after COVID,” Mr Uidam said.
Mr Uidam said Scouts had “definitely changed with the times and for the better”. For example, while many people still think of them as “boy scouts”, Scouts has been co-educational for 50 years and one in three members are girls. It’s also multicultural and strives to be inclusive of children with different learning needs.
Scouts Australia issued an apology to survivors of sexual abuse in 2018 after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and says child safety is at the heart of the modern organisation.
More recently, Scouts updated its program including its famous badge system so that the children can set personal goals rather than following a prescriptive list, while also strengthening the outdoor education at the heart of the movement.
Scouts and Guides both updated their promises in recent years, with recruits no longer having to pledge loyalty to God and the Queen.
“Parents are telling us they want young people to have more than just school smarts – they want them to be resilient and respectful and feel that they have a place in their community,” Ms Francis said.
For more info about scouting in Queensland, go to: Scouts Queensland (scoutsqld.com.au)
Have a story to tell or news to share?
Let us know by Submitting a News Story