Q&A with Scout Ambassador Ellie Simmonds
We spoke to Paralympic Gold medallist Ellie Simmonds about Scouting, why it’s so important to volunteer and why she’s thrilled to be one of our new Scout Ambassadors!
What motivated you to become a Scout Ambassador?
I want to learn more. I want to be adventurous and hopefully surrounding myself with adventurous people will help. I want to come on your weeks away and see what it’s like, to just be part of it. I want to raise the awareness that women can get involved and of how diverse it is, how anyone can get involved.
Who is your favourite Scout Ambassador?
I loved Steve Backshall’s Deadly 60 when I was a youngster. But I love Helen because she’s an athlete and she’s a woman, and I like Bear Grylls because I love his shows and how adventurous he is.
You have experience volunteering in a youth organisation, what’s the best bit about being a volunteer?
Giving back, meeting people and the social aspect - you just go and have fun - an hour of not thinking about things and just interacting. Seeing the youngsters change as individuals is amazing.
What’s the best skill you’ve learnt as a volunteer?
Leadership. You have to be responsible for the 25 children in your pack - the awareness that brings is a valuable skill.
Why is it so important for parents to get involved?
It’s nice knowing what your kids do, being with your children’s peers and seeing what it’s like. I think it’s great to give back and it’s really fun!
Which celebrity do you think would make a really good volunteer?
Probably Michael McIntyre, he would be so funny! I don’t know if he could control the kids though, I think he’d be one of them. David Attenborough would be really good to talk to, you know if you want a room that’s quiet and someone for them to listen to.
How important is it for young people to learn Scouting skills?
It’s really important! I think the skills you learn in Scouting will really help you succeed in life. It’s the confidence that will help you later on in life. Especially, the confidence to try new things – even if you’re scared! Speaking to a young girl this morning, she used to be scared of heights but now because of the opportunities that being an Explorer has given her, she’s not scared of heights anymore.
If you could have any skill, what would it be?
That’s a really tough question. I’d love to be able to invent a time machine. I’d love to press a button and just go somewhere without having to think about driving. I’d probably keep it a secret.
Tell us about your trip to visit one of our Cub Packs last year.
My cousin is a leader and she invited me. I was chatting to the Cubs and helping them making things. Then I played games with them, like Port and Starboard, which was really fun. I felt like I was one of them for the evening, just chatting and talking about my medals, generally just being part of it. It was really fun. I loved it!
Was there anything that surprised you about Scouting?
You always think that it’s going to be male-dominated and it was nice to see that there were girls as well. And how busy it was. It was packed - a room full of children having a whale of a time screaming ‘waaaaaah!’ That was really nice to see.
Young people today are facing lots of different challenges, what advice would you give them?
You are your own human being, live your life how you want to live it. You can’t compare yourselves to other people - we’re individuals. A lot of people compare each other, especially on social media. You see other people and you want your life to be like theirs. You think they’re living the ideal life but they might not be, they might just be showing that in photos. You see the Kardashians and how pretty they are and it makes you really conscious about your body. You sometimes wake up and think, ‘gosh why can’t I be thinner’ or ‘why can’t my legs be a bit longer’, but it shouldn’t be like that. Be yourself.