RESIDENTS across Worcestershire looking to do something new in 2014 are being urged to consider volunteering for the scouts, which celebrates its centenary this year.
Right across the county, shortages of adult helpers has meant lengthy waiting lists for youngsters wanting to join the ranks.
Currently, in Herefordshire and Worcestershire there are 93 Beaver Scout Colonies, 107 Cub Scout Packs, 95 Troops, 24 Explorer Scout Units and eight Scout Networks. Despite that, last year there were still 439 young people sat on the waiting list.
The organisation has now put a call out to all potential leaders and volunteers for help in the opening of new colonies so those missing out can join the adventure.
Usually, people start out as an assistant before they move on to become leader and then a manager.
Over the last 100 years, the Scouts have become the biggest UK mixed youth organisation and has around 520,000 members across the country and a waiting list of around 30,000 want-to-be members.
It offers a way for young people, between six and 25-years-old, to have fun, make friends and express their creativity while they experience the outdoor world and create memories to last a lifetime.
It offers its members opportunities to take part in a diverse range of activities from kayaking and abseiling to overseas expeditions and photography – some members even learn how to fly a plane.
Leaders also join in with the fun and adventures too and all have the opportunity to try things from archery to canoeing down the River Severn to visiting the International Scout Centre in Switzerland.
And World Scout Events give young explorers the opportunity to interact with others from around the world and on return share their experiences and bring no ideas back to benefit their community.
In a study of people already volunteering for the Scouts, 90 per cent of them said they gained skills which had been useful in their working and personal lives.
The organisation offers free training for all of its volunteers.
A different independent survey conducted by the association showed how volunteers made a huge difference to the lives of young scouters.
Of the 2,000 asked, nine out of ten parents said how worthwhile and beneficial scouting had been for the development of their children’s social skills, teamwork and independence.
Some of the work in the local community undertaken by Worcestershire scouts in the last year included repairing a farm’s fence with the help of a DIY store and litter-picking in villages and town centres.
This year, an explorer scout unit will be going on a ten-day cross-continent expedition to get their Explorer Belts.
The group will travel through a country of their choice and complete a series of community projects while they meet local people and learn about their culture and ways of life.
Simon Carter, The Scout Association’s assistant director, said: “Modern scouting requires volunteers from all walks of life.
“To make sure we can give as many young scouts an adventure as possible we need volunteers to work with us.
“People think volunteering means you have to give something up but in fact it enriches your life immeasurably.”
The costs of a scouting membership is around £30 but it can vary between groups.
Visit www.hwscouts.org.uk or call 0845 300 1818 for more.