Scout Ambassador Anita Rani helps Cubs learn skills for life
We’ve been chatting to radio and TV presenter Anita Rani about having no fear and why she thinks Scouting is so valuable for young people from every background
Anita Rani, one of our Scout Ambassadors, spent last Monday evening at Gilwell Park, on the edge of Epping Forest learning skills with Cubs from 27th Chingford. After a quick introduction, Anita and the Cubs played team games, learning about trust, cooperation and teamwork, before finding out about different methods of firelighting. Whilst the Cubs tried out their new skills, Anita talked to us about Scouting.
Why are Scouting skills so important?
Scouting skills could be life-saving! I wish I’d been a Scout because there’s a group of eight-year-olds behind me who have way more skills than I do.
Scouting skills are vital for young people because Scouting teaches them to push themselves and gets them out of their comfort zones. It’s about team building, learning skills, forming new friendships and challenging themselves; they’re doing things you wouldn’t ordinarily do in your life and you certainly wouldn’t do in school. It’s stuff that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Why should young people from different backgrounds join Scouting?
It takes you out of your normal life; you get to meet new people from different walks of life, you learn skills and it challenges you. You make new friends, you go on adventures, what’s not to love?
I think it’s vital that young boys and girls join the Scouts, particularly if you live in the city, because it gets you out in the countryside with some fresh air in your lungs. It lets young people hang out with people from different walks of life, learn skills, have adventures, and just be a better person for it.
Why is it important for adults to volunteer with Scouting?
It’s important because we need people from local communities to get out and encourage kids to do something completely different, to challenge themselves. It’s great fun and brilliant for adults volunteers too. I’m having a great time with this bunch.
What do you love most about Scouting?
I love being in the outdoors, hanging out with really fun people and not being cooped up or sitting in front of a screen. I’ve just met the most fun group of eight to 10 year-olds and we’ve bonded instantly; we’re having conversations instead of watching telly or YouTube. This is what it’s all about.
What surprised you the most about Scouting?
I guess the variety; everybody’s from different walks of life, not everyone’s from the same school, that’s really nice. They all get on so well, I’m really surprised at how much fun they’re all having, and it’s effortless. It seems like everybody’s bonded and they’re very caring of each other. I think as adults we forget what it’s like to be eight and hanging out.
If you could have any skill what would it be?
There are so many skills I’d like to have! I’d like to be able to speak every language, that’d be really good. It would be good to know kung fu. All the skills that you learn in Scouts; lighting a fire would be a pretty good skill, I can’t do that. It would be pretty good to fly and I would also like to be able to transform myself into a monkey and disappear into the trees.
How can Scouting better prepare young girls and boys for their future?
I think this is the main point about Scouting. To have experiences outside of school, beyond going on holiday with your family, doing something that makes you feel independent – I think that’s the key here. They’re being treated like adults and they’re not being patronised. They’re given tasks and team building exercises and they’re working together to figure them out. They’re forming new friendships. What Scouting can give young people is invaluable.
I went camping and mountaineering when I was younger and absolutely loved it, and it’s no coincidence that now, even though I live in a city, I’m working on Countryfile. I still love getting outdoors.
Sometimes the world can be a scary place; what advice would you give to the young people in Scouting?
Have no fear. Carry on doing what you’re doing. You’re being taught these wonderful life skills that will help you to overcome challenges and help one another get through things together. You’re being taught to challenge and push yourself to do things that you never thought you could. These are all amazing skills that will put you leaps and bounds ahead of other people when it comes to life.
Read our Q&A with Scout Ambassador Ellie Simmonds.