Volunteering Roles in the Village
Part 1 – Scouting
A recent article in the Daily Telegraph has made us think about the role of volunteers in the village.
The Scout Association serves about 400,000 young people in the UK. About 110 of those young people live in Maulden. They range from Beaver Scouts of 6 to Explorer Scouts of 18.
In the last few years, those adults have enabled those Young People to:
- go to Barcelona on a City Adventure
- go to Africa and build community housing for around 6 weeks
- raise over £3,000 for other local charities
- camp for over 40 nights
- go to Switzerland on a mountain adventure week
- go to Scotland for a fun filled week
- jump off cliffs into the sea
- climb walls
- cook food
- learn first aid
- learn to read maps
- learn team skills and social skills
- develop leadership
- and, much, much more
Adults are not paid, but they do receive some key benefits: recognition, training, support, and the incredible satisfaction of seeing Young People develop. Sometimes Adults get a little more recognition as well – one Adult Volunteer in the District (Ampthill and Woburn) received an OBE for her long term services, yet very few outside of Scouting would appreciate the dedication that was involved in that silent but important role.
Around 12 adults give their time and skills to support that. Sadly, many Young People are missing out because of a shortage of leaders in all roles. Around 38,000 children nationally are on the waiting list; a few dozen in the local area.
Adult Volunteers are not all “Leaders”, at least, not all in Uniform or putting up tents. (You can if you want!). The Scout Association locally needs people who can:
- do accounts (to act as Treasurers, or accountants or fund raisers)
- run events (for fund raising or transport logistics)
- look after buildings (as caretakers and cleaners)
- maintain equipment (as quartermasters)
- provide recruitment expertise and guidance to other leaders (on Group Executives, that provide oversight and common sense)
- teach specific and rare skills (such as mountaineering, or flying, or diving, or parachuting, or first aid, or shooting, or archery, and … well almost anything)
- deliver PR programmes and media engagement
- directly fund raise from sponsors and companies, either in cash or in kind (kit and transport)
Adults volunteers often ask the same few questions, and they are:
1. Do I really have the skills you need?
You don’t have to be an adventurer like Bear Grylls to get involved with Scouting. Do you have first aid knowledge? Are you good with numbers? Handy in the kitchen? Or are you a DIY whiz? We all have useful skills and you can volunteer and help in many ways.
2. What if I don’t have that much spare time?
Volunteering with us is easy, fun and flexible – how much time you give is completely up to you. Whether you help out once a fortnight, month or term or just at special events or camps, there is bound to be a role you can play, and no matter how you get involved, we’ll make sure you’re properly trained and supported.
3. What will I get out of volunteering?
As well as gaining externally recognised skills and having a brilliant time, Scouting also offers the chance to build on personal skills, like teamwork, confidence and leadership. A study found that over 90% of our volunteers believe that the skills and experiences they have gained through Scouting have been of relevance to their working or personal lives.
4. My child is in Scouting – is there anything I could do to help?
The short answer is yes. Many of our helpers and leaders are parents of our youth members because they’ve seen firsthand how Scouting benefits young people and want to give something back. It’s also a chance to spend more time with your children and learn new skills. Speak to your child’s leader to discuss how you might become involved.
5. Are there any age restrictions on helping out?
As long as you’re over 18, you can help out as an adult volunteer in Scouting. There is no upper age limit for adult volunteers. If you are aged between 14 to 18, there is the option of becoming a Young Leader.
Volunteering is not for everyone, but almost everyone can contribute a skill or experience. In the past we have had volunteers come in and show glass blowing and ambulance driving. We have adults who rarely meet Young People, but deliver on recruitment, fundraising, accounts (and websites!). There are adults later in life who help with events, catering and maintenance.
What time can you give?
For most people this is the big issue. Scouting solves that with flexible Scouting. A person who can give just one hour a month can do a great deal of good. Full Section Leadership probably requires 4 hours a week, including Admin and running evenings, with a commitment to around 7 days away at camp for the older sections. At the very top level there are a few “full time” roles at District and County level, plus a few paid roles in support and regulation.
In effect, there is no pressure to give more than you wish, and even that 1 hour is valuable.
Our local Scout District is Ampthill and Woburn District. They manage Scout Groups (beavers, cubs and scouts) in Harlington, Flitwick, Toddington, Cranfield, Marston, Barton, Ampthill, Aspley Guise and – of course – Maulden.
From 14 and older, Scouts are organised a little differently – the District has Explorer Scout Provision in Ampthill (Anomalous Unit), Toddington, Barton, and – of course – Maulden (Brocks Unit). All Explorer Scouts are technically members of one large District Unit, and share in each others’ activities, camps and expeditions.
Most importantly for many parents, A level students and University Applications, it is with Explorer Scouts that most 14 to 18 year olds do their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. These challenging and adventurous programmes really develop leadership and self reliance in Young People, and the local Scouts run a good DoE programme
So – no matter what your skills, age, or time pressures, could you find around 1 hour a month in some way to help Young People realise their potential?
other posts will cover volunteering for other local organisations with a presence in Maulden – please contact the website admins with any suggestions or contacts who could write a piece! We would like to cover the MSA, local elderly charities, and so on as soon as possible.