Joining at Sun Run
I’d heard about Sun Run and the Malvern Challenge in very glowing terms, so seeing as I had a free Saturday afternoon and evening whilst in London for the weekend with Julie and Francesca (who were seeing Take That), I pinged Paul Trott (CC for Gloucestershire) an email and asked if I might join them for Sun Run.
I think they were a little nervous, but they needn’t have been, as I had a fantastic time meeting and chatting to many of the 1,600 participants and leaders and the volunteers that make it happen.
Described to me as ‘more Glastonbury than Gilwell’ the event strikes me as being incredibly well-run and achieving a great balance for older Explorer Scouts and Network members. There is a blend of music, fun activities and the night-time 26 or 13-mile 'runs' for the more energetic.
Twins Robert and David Stevens were Venture Scouts in 1983 when they first set the event up, and they continue to run it today with a core team including their former leader and many of their fellow Venture Scouts from back in the day, supplemented by others who have joined along the way.
The site is used over two weekends, the first one being the Malvern Challenge (for 3,000 Scouts and younger Explorer Scouts), and the second being the Sun Run (primarily for older Explorer Scouts and Network members). Be sure to put the dates in your diary and think about going next year – I certainly hope to check out the Malvern Challenge next time.
My journey by train from London to Cheltenham was also something of an everyday adventure, with more people than usual asking me about Scouting.
I was particularly struck by a conversation with Tom, a young teenager, who was with his mates at Cheltenham station going back home. He asked me which Group I was a leader with, and went on to explain that he had been a Beaver, Cub and Scout but had left in part because he was bored and also because of peer pressure.
We chatted about where I had been for the afternoon and the activities the Explorer Scouts got up to, and he mentioned that he had heard about them and was thinking of getting involved again. It left me dwelling for the first part of the journey on how many other Toms are out there just waiting to be asked to join us or to re-engage?
The rest of the journey was also eventful, but for different reasons, as our train was invaded at Twyford by revellers returning to London from the Henley Regatta after a day out.
Many thanks to all of you who have commented on and offline on the subject of the cost of training, especially for new volunteers. I am taking up many of the observations and suggestions for further consideration.