Bigwigs Like Grylls Made UK Scouting Cool Again

While I was scouring around for snippets from fellow FB-er, I came across an article pinned by a fellow scout-FBer. The article is about how Scouting became cool again after some celebrity bigwigs took the helm of one of the most well-known youth groups in the United Kingdom.

As I was doing scouting for sometime in England many years ago, I did felt the sense and sentiments heralded by the scoutleaders that I used to meet up with in our local perish in North Hill about how uncool scouting is at times. This is especially obvious in rough places like the council neighbourhood where hoodlums had a penchant for disliking youths in uniform, or being just substantially indifferent from them.

I was equivocally sad or sympathetic that scouting in England, who was supposed to lead a role have had their own youth turning against them and their system. I could only see their Thursday meetups are nothing more than a pointless loafing parlour after school..but what made sense though, the Cubs are always in the full swing at least, thanks to their leaders who got some programmes running. The Explorers and Ventures are however, lost. It made some sense to me why teens after 15 are quickly losing interest in the movement.

I have left UK scouting for sometime now, and this article sounds promising – a true eye opener for where the roots of scouting in this world were originated from. I would be delighted to see some of reforms so that the TSA would still be standing as a versatile traditionalist with a mix of modern suppliment in their training programmes even though they need to compete with their cousins like BPA & WFIS.

Read on, an exclusive coverage on UK scouting brought to us by Guardian.

“The current chart success of pop group Scouting for Girls has nothing to do with it, we are assured. So what does explain the rapid growth in membership of the Scout Association, the movement founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell following the success of his Boer war-inspired instructional booklet, Aids to Scouting?

The Scout Association says that it has recorded its biggest growth spurt since 1972, with 16,568 new adult and youth members joining in 2009, taking the total UK membership to 499,323. Following the fifth consecutive year of growth, the Scout Association says it is now the largest co-educational youth movement in the country.

It might be tempting to link this success to the appointment of two high-profile chief scouts, namely Peter Duncan, the former Blue Peter presenter, and TV adventurer Bear Grylls, who succeeded Duncan last year. But there are other contributing factors, according to Simon Carter, a Scout Association spokesman: “There’s no point denying that both Bear and Peter have helped to make scouting cool again. But the origins of the growth spurt in membership goes back to 2002, when we undertook our first major programme review since 1967.”

The decision was taken, says Carter, to make the movement “more representative and dynamic”. Everything was reviewed – the uniform, training, image, and, crucially, the programme of activities offered. Badges for “street sports” and “circus skills” were introduced. Map-reading saw the introduction of a very modern satnav element. Out went the brown polyester trousers and “brown mushroom shirts” and in came cargo trousers and polo shirts. Important changes were made to existing badges, too. Even though the scouts went fully co-educational in 1990, some badges in 2003 still said “sportsman” on them. Today, a scout aged 10-14 (“beavers” are scouts aged six to eight, and “cubs” are aged eight to 10) will typically meet once a week and spend the evening playing games, cooking, learning first aid and going on “night hikes”.

Carter says societal changes have also played into the scouting movement’s hands. “Our culture closes down children in many ways,” he explains. “The rise of the ‘cotton-wool world’ has helped us. Parents trust us enough to let us care for their children and to take them off for the weekend to light fires and run around in the woods.”

And, yes, the Scout Association now even has its own Twitter feed. As yet, though, there’s no badge in tweeting.”

Source: Guardian UK

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