Scouting about for a new leader

Neil Hunt, Jodan, Daniel, Ryan, Zoe and John Wilson welcome Hannah, at left, into the 2nd Ararat Scout Group. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

Neil Hunt, Jodan, Daniel, Ryan, Zoe and John Wilson welcome Hannah, at left, into the 2nd Ararat Scout Group. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

ARARAT - The 2nd Ararat Scout Group is in the mood for change with 80-year-old John Wilson looking to pass the baton to a new generation of scout leaders.

Officially, Mr Wilson is the Group's Registrar and is also the Leader-in-Charge while the only current Cub Leader, Belinda Graham, watches over the growing Cub Pack.

To have a meeting, the Scout Association needs to have a qualified leader in charge. Ideally, he or she also has an assistant and one or more adult helpers, usually parents of the children in the Cub Pack or Scout Troop.

If there isn't a qualified leader in attendance, then officially the meeting has to be cancelled.

Mr Wilson said finding adult helpers has never been a problem, but Belinda is the only qualified Cub Leader and it would be good to have someone alongside her to offer help and fill the position when he is absent.

"Because our assistant is not always available, I have stepped into the breach, because I refuse to consider the possibility of kids missing out on an afternoon or evening's fun due to a cancelled meeting," he said.

"I can't help feeling that there must be some people 'out there' who would be prepared to don a uniform and become leaders.

"All they have to do is purchase a shirt - the group provides the rest, including training course fees."

Mr Wilson said training for the leadership role isn't what it used to be, with applicants given the opportunity to undertake e-learning from the comfort of home.

The newly invested Hannah

The newly invested Hannah

"Learning is done online rather than having to spend a series of weekends attending a centre somewhere," he said.

"They don't have to be parents of children in the group - in fact they don't have to be parents at all."

Mr Wilson wasn't even a parent himself when he joined the fold in 1944 - 70 years ago. If that fact alone doesn't prompt you to think twice about picking up the phone and giving Mr Wilson a break, nothing ever will.

"Scouting is excellent. It isn't linked to any football club, study club or church group, but it does all of those things," Mr Wilson said.

Anyone who would like more information can contact John Wilson 5352 7319 or Belinda Graham 0400 514 582.

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