The 1st St Margarets Scout Group is rapidly approaching an important anniversary in its history. For nearly 100 years young people, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, have been parading our streets, running stalls at local fairs, going away camping and hiking, singing songs around campfires and learning skills like First Aid, Fire Lighting, Fotography (sorry) and Fencing and generally having one good time.
But for all the fun it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Right from the start there have been problems in finding a headquarters. The initial meetings in 1919 were held under a street lamp but then moved on – to Shipman’s Garage behind the St Margarets Hotel, then Ballard’s Removals in Crown Road. During the 2nd World War the Group met at Twickenham Film Studios and afterwards at the White House in Marble Hill Park. Now the Group faces the grim prospect of being moved on again from their current 50 year home at St Stephen’s School.
There were also difficulties in finding leaders. Even in the less frantic 1920s many people found their life was just too busy to get involved. It was something the “Richmond and Twickenham Times” was aware off…
“It is not recruits who are wanted so much – although any number would be welcome – as officers and leaders. Here is an opportunity for men and women who lack an aim in life or wish to use their time to the best advantage. Let them help to create citizens…”
Leaders came and went. Some retired or just dropped out… Some went off to fight the war – and sadly some of them never returned. Some were drawn away by the demands of modern life and that particular problem continues to this day – the pressing need for new leaders. The stark truth facing 1st St Margarets now is unless new potential leaders present themselves by Christmas the youngest section, the Beavers – boys and girls aged between 6 and 8 – will close. Not for a week or two but forever. This is a loss not only to the Group who see the Beavers as the first step into Scouting and citizenship, but also to our community.
It doesn’t take much to become a leader – an hour or two a week, an enthusiastic and youthful view of the world, a willingness to have some fun and the satisfaction of seeing young people grow up around you. As long as you are older than 18 the rest is immaterial – gender (including gender reassignment), experience, ethnicity, background, political affiliation, religion and so on. There are a couple of short courses on ‘Safety’ and ‘Safeguarding Children’ to take and that’s it. The rest is fun…and it looks good on a C.V too! At present Beavers meet on Wednesday evenings between 5.00 and 6.00pm.
If you fancy a new and interesting purpose to your life please call Donna Wilson on GSL@istmar.org You will soon find that it is a goodly thing to do. As Socrates once said…
“No man goeth about a more goodly purpose than he who is mindful of the right upbringing not only of his own, but of other men’s children.”
— from Martyn Day