I don’t think I’m what you expect a Cub Leader to be. I’m not “outdoors-y” for one thing; whenever my wife and kids drag me up the side of a mountain or into the woods I’m normally cold, a bit reluctant, and secretly afraid that the walk is going to end at a gingerbread house and I’m getting shoved in the oven. I’m not a dab hand with a knot, can’t pack up tents very well, and I’ve never started a fire (at least, not on purpose).
My kids, however, loved being Beavers and now love being Cubs. They can do all the things I can’t and have benefited enormously from the experiences that scouting has given them. That was why, with a bit of nudging from both of them, I decided to volunteer as a cub leader. “None of it happens without volunteers”, I thought, so I’d better pitch in. Since then though, I’ve fallen in love with scouting in a way I never expected to and think that joining Cardiff 61st is the best decision I’ve made in a while.
I’ve had fantastic support from everyone at the 61st, despite being a bit of duffer at times, and made some brilliant new friends. I’ve done a few things that I didn’t think I could and also discovered that there are a lot of things that I can do that are just as much a part of scouting as I thought knots and tents were. Whilst I might not be a stereotypical scouting person, I am definitely a stereotypical geek and I’ve had an amazing time sharing my fascination with science and engineering with the Cubs.
We’ve mapped the solar system and beyond, searched the skies for constellations in the form of mythical creatures, tested an endless array of paper gliders, and learnt to speak in code. I’ve also learnt how to read a map properly, play dodgeball (badly), and that a game of rock, paper, scissors can be more emotional than any cup final when the honour of your six is on the line. To be honest, sometimes I wonder if it’s me giving up a couple of hours on a Monday to do stuff with the Cubs, or the Cubs giving up a couple of hours to do this stuff with me.
The point is, it would be easy to write a long-winded essay about the incredible work that all the leaders do to give the kids at Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts these opportunities and experiences. It would be easy to remind you none of it happens without volunteers giving up their time and energy and expertise. It would be easy to ask you to “do your bit” or something like that.
But none of that is what I want to say. What I want to say is this – I never imagined becoming a Cub leader, most people I know can’t believe I am a Cub leader, sometimes I can’t believe I’m a Cub leader, but I am.
And it is brilliant.
So, even if you think you’re not a “scout-y” person, if you’ve got a little time to spare and a passion or two to share, I’d urge you to give it a try. You cannot possibly be worse at dodgeball than me.