Young Leader Series: How to balance work and Scouting while making a difference

How To Balance Work , Scouting And Make A Difference

Calum shares his experience as a Young Leader and how it helped him land his apprenticeship

Calum has been a Young Leader for 7th Moreton Cubs since he was 14-years-old, now 17 he has recently been appointed Deputy Youth Commissioner for Merseyside. Not only is he balancing his time between Scouting and his job, but this year he also played an integral part in helping to plan YouShape.  

How did you get involved in the Young Leader Scheme?

I liked the idea of becoming a Young Leader so that I could keep in contact with my old Scout Group. Initially, it was a good way to stay in touch with leaders that I’ve known for over eight years. When I became an Explorer and first started the scheme I ended up being a Young Leader for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, because I didn’t know what section I wanted to work with. I felt Cubs for me was a good balance of games and adventurous activities, so I decided to stay with that section.

I really enjoy my role! My Group uses Young Leaders incredibly well and I’m seen as one of the key leaders. This means I’m involved in all of the Programme planning and I sit on the Executive Committee to share a young person’s perspective.

How can Scout Groups use Young Leaders effectively?

Most Young Leaders have some degree of Scouting experience from their time spent in Scouts and Explorers. They are able to demonstrate essential Scouting skills like fire lighting and planning hikes that can be shared with younger sections. To utilise these skills and experience better, adult volunteers should treat them like they would a new volunteer who has joined Scouting to make a difference. They shouldn’t just be shoved to the back to make juice and biscuits. They should also be invited to work in partnership with the adult leaders to plan evening sessions and share their Scouting knowledge.    

How do you help your Cub Scouts to shape their Scouting?

Over the years I’ve learnt that eight-year-olds want to be active, so I think doing activities like the snowball fight is fantastic! This activity requires Scouts to write their Programme ideas down onto a piece of paper, scrunch it up into a ball and throw them at each other. It gets everybody active and moving and helps to break up the evening by injecting fun into it. This has worked better for me than getting them to sit in a room and hold a discussion.

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As a leader you need to have fun too! If you’re not having fun then the Scouts you’re leading will pick up on that. I like to go around the room and sing, be loud and generally quite energetic, which helps to make the evening even better for the Cubs. It brings a great energy into the room.

How did being a Young Leader help you land your apprenticeship?

My role requires me to develop customer relationships and being a Young Leader has helped me develop how I talk to people, share my opinions and views and my presentation skills. I’m able to articulate myself to different age groups because through Scouting I have been exposed to a variety of different people and experiences.    

How do you handle balancing a job and Scouting?

I have to balance work, study, Scouting and a social life, however Scouting teaches me how to manage my time. Naturally you make time for the things you enjoy. Young Leaders do need to remember that Scouting is one hour a week, sometimes, especially, during exam season; it’s ok to take a step back. Young Leaders play an essential role in the running of the night, however the flexibility of being a Young Leader means that the leadership team will be able to cover your duties.

What do you enjoy the most about being a Young Leader?

I really enjoy seeing a shy young person join Cubs and leave with lots of new friends and a newfound confidence. I’ve seen this happen over the years and to be a part of the team that makes this happen is amazing. To know that I’m part of the reason why they come and leave with a smile on their face is incredible. 

What advice do you have for Explorers who are thinking of doing the Young Leader Scheme?

Go for it, it is loads of fun! If you’re a part of Scouting, someone is making the experience fun for you, so by doing the Young Leader Scheme you’re able to make it enjoyable for somebody else.

Find out more about the Young Leader Scheme and how you can get involved.

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