Sutton Coldfield Scouts Are Recruiting in Birmingham County
8th April 2019
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"Volunteering for Scouting is easier than you think" said TV adventurer and Chief Scout Bear Grylls .  "Whether you can spare an hour, a month or a day a year, there are hundreds of opportunities both behind the scenes and working with young people.  With full support and training you can experience the fun, friendship and adventure of Scouting for yourself, all on a flexible basis.  Volunteering today can make a positive impact in your community."   The Scout Association aim to offer challenge and adventure to all it`s members.  We believe in helping our young people fulfil their potential by working in teams, learning by doing and thinking for themselves.  We`re working to make Scouting available to all and we`re passionate about what we do.    An example of such one case study is 5th Sutton Coldfield Scout Group in East District.  "In 2013 the Scout section did not have any leaders for children aged 10 - 14 years old" said Alco Jensema, who is now the Scout Leader.    "This was due to the fact that the previous leaders had left and no replacements had been found.  In 2013 a number of Cubs were ready to come up to the Scouting section and a decision had to be made: either those Scouts would all disperse to different Scout groups or they would stay together and set up a new Scout group at the 5th Sutton Coldfield. The group struggled to find adult volunteer leaders.  Alan Underwood volunteered to support the group for a year to set up a Scout group".   Today, thanks to adult volunteer leaders,  5th Sutton Coldfield Scouts is a thriving success story with 3 Scout leaders and over 22 Scouts from all ethnic backgrounds from the local community.    The 5th Sutton Coldfield Scouts meet once a week at the recently refurbished Four Oaks Methodist Church.  It is adult volunteers who make the magic of Scouting possible for young people to give them skills for life.     “So, at the end of 2013", continued Alco Jensema, who is Scout Leader of 5th Sutton Coldfield, "Alan Underwood took charge of the Scout troop and started the weekly meetings. He made sure the Scouts got involved in all of the District activities and he arranged funding for the camping equipment which is required to run a troop.  Also, he started to encourage parents to get involved as helpers and slowly developed them to get more and more involved."   Two of these helpers Alan worked with are now fully-fledged Scout leaders, namely Alco Jensema and Karl Woodcock and they have taken over running the troop with Assistant Scout Leader Fraser Higgins.    "Alan put in a lot of work and stayed on a lot longer than the 1 year he promised at the start", said Alco.  "We are now 6 years later and he is still involved in the 5th Sutton Coldfield Scouts as Group Scout Leader".    Also does not think that it is the amount of work Alan has volunteered that is the most impressive but it is how Alan is able to motivate Scouts and leaders to be actively involved.    One example is the training of former Scouts who are over the age of 14 to volunteer as Young leaders and so enable the troop to become youth-led and youth-shaped.    "Alan is actually retired" explained Alco "but despite his age he is always actively involved with the kids and they all look up to him.    The troop have picked up the Scout skills they learned from Alan that they are now teaching the new joiners and the leaders how to do these and do not rely on Alan.  As a leader he always made sure you developed at a pace you were comfortable with but as a result of his enthusiasm you were always looking forward to do more."   Through the adventure of Scouting, young people get to take risks in a safe environment and have their first taste of responsibility.  We give young people experiences they`ll never forget.  The sort of adventure we offer is the chance to experience something different and the opportunity for young people to discover their potential.    When a Beaver Scout (6 - 8 years old) wakes up in the morning after a sleepover, or a Cub Scout (8 - 10 years old) has just got over her fear of heights by completing her first abseil - that`s adventure.  How about the adventure Scouts (10 - 14 years old) achieve in navigating their way round around 13 miles of the beautiful Cannock Chase on the annual Chase Walk with nothing but a map and compass - plus their training?  They learn vital skills like teamwork and leadership.    Similarly, how about the adventure of building their own rafts and then racing them across Powells Pool in Sutton park for the annual Joint District Sutton Coldfield Scout Raft Race?  We are preparing young people with skills for life.    All this is made possible by the efforts of our dedicated team of hard-working volunteer adults.  Our training scheme and one-to-one support ensures that each of our volunteers gets to make the best use of their skills and talents.    Our adults have a responsibility to make our programme fun and exciting.  They also make sure that it is safe.  Our policies, rules, codes of behaviour and advice on child protection and safety are there to ensure our young people stay safe while they enjoy themselves and learn.    "In Alan Underwood`s time so far at the 5th Sutton Coldfield Scouts", said Alco "he has not only made sure that the Scout troop were re-established but he also re-established the required administrative processes and structure.  This means that we now have a proper Scout group again which is on a financially solid base".   Sutton Coldfield Scouts are now looking for even more adult volunteers due to the significant increase in youth members across the District.  Scouting in Sutton Coldfield continues to grow at the fastest rate ever and the Scouts are seeking to recruit more volunteers.    "Scouting is the most successful youth movement the world has ever seen", said Chief Scout Bear Grylls "with a rich tapestry and a bright future".  Since Lord Baden-Powell founded the Scout Movement in 1907 it has gone from strength to strength, growing and developing into the global movement we know today.    "Scouting remains as relevant to the young people of the 21st century as we have been to those of the past", explained Bear Grylls.    "As adults in Scouting , whatever our role, we all have the responsibility of supporting young people in their personal development, encouraging them to actively engage with their community and empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.  This unique role we have in young people`s lives is both a challenging and rewarding task".  At  5th Sutton Coldfield Scouts, Alco Jensema knows the young people have been empowered by Alan Underwood`s Scouting abilities.     "Alan has really been a leader and a role model for the Scouts and leaders.  he is a key contributor to our community.  His enthusiasm and hard work is contagious, so much that we now see Scouts wanting to become Young Leaders so they can motivate kids in the same way Alan did."   The key is the continued recruitment of adult leaders for Scouting.  "To support you as an adult in Scouting", explained Bear Grylls, "the Scout Association provides training that builds upon your existing skills, knowledge and experience.  The training you will receive is intended to give you additional skills and knowledge to ensure that you can carry out your role to the best of your ability.    The Scout Association also seeks to offer development opportunities for adults and training is just one means by which personal development needs can be met".   Note:   Sutton Coldfield Scouts are recruiting!  Flexible opportunities available.  If you are interested please contact Ian Henery, Assistant District Commissioner for Development, Sutton Coldfield East District at or go to the website at

About the Author

Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Managing Director of an award winning law firm
Ian Henery Solicitors Ltd

Award winning poet and playwright

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