Bear in the air: the next chapter
In the sixth part of his mission to visit Scouts across the UK, Chief Scout Bear Grylls took to the skies this weekend for a whistle-stop tour of Wales and the West Midlands.
In a jam-packed trip by helicopter to 16 different locations, he met and inspired thousands of Scouts. He also heartily thanked existing adult volunteers and called for more to help deliver adventure to the thousands of young people waiting to join Scouting.
Challenge and adventure
The tour kicked off at Operation Bald Eagle, an annual activity camp for Scouts from Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester. In Evesham, 500 Scouts – and one Chief Scout – competed in various physical challenges to win the coveted Bald Eagle trophy.
Meanwhile 4,500 Scouts congregated at the biggest ever Two Counties Activity Day in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. They took part in the highly competitive Bear Challenge, which included a contest to find the fastest fire-lighter.
In Bridgnorth, Shropshire, Bear spoke to 1,400 Scouts and 500 parents and leaders during an adventurous afternoon of climbing, backwoods cooking, zip-wiring, caving and tireless necker-signing.
Bear’s trip to St Fagans, Cardiff saw 2,000 Scouts take part in a variety of adrenaline-charged activities such as abseiling, rock-climbing and zorbing.
They also took a moment to teach Bear the art of the diabolo (pictured).
15-year-old Hannah, an Explorer Scout, said meeting Bear was unforgettable: ‘It was a fantastic experience. Bear Grylls is great; he’s got time for everyone.’
Mark, an Explorer Scout aged 16, agreed: ‘Bear Grylls really brings Scouting to life.’
Other weekend highlights included car mechanics at BrumVenture 2012 in Worcestershire, canoeing at Llyn Brenig Sailing Club in Snowdonia, the highest sailing club in the UK, and boating off Barry Island.
On Bear’s visit to meet Explorer Scouts in Swansea Bay, organiser Steve Jones from Sketty Scouts said: ‘It's great having Bear here, Scouts see him on television but to meet him in person, doing the things he does on the TV is so inspirational.’
Bear himself was also overwhelmed by the tour: ‘It’s amazing to see hubs like this of thousands of young people, full of hope and aspiration, learning incredible skills. I’m here to encourage them but I always come away feeling inspired.’
Scouting urgently needs more adult volunteers to allow more young people to join these adventures. In the regions Bear visited, 3,200 young people are waiting to sign up.
Bear commented: ‘One of the big messages of this weekend is to encourage adults to volunteer a little bit of their time. It’s crucial that more sign up as volunteers, to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to join.’
If you’ve been inspired to join Scouting by Bear in the Air, tell us about it.