FEATURE: “Adventure is at the heart of all we do” - celebrating 90 years!

High Green Scouts in 2016
High Green Scouts in 2016

The Queen isn’t the only one marking a whopping 90-year milestone this year.

In 1926 - following the relocation of his current troop - local cub master Tom Whittaker decided to form 105th High Green Scouting troop.

High Green Scouts in 1953

High Green Scouts in 1953

Tom would almost certainly be thrilled to know that, almost a century on, his group - which today boasts over 100 members - is still going strong. It’s seen many changes over the years, including opening its membership up to females over a decade ago, but one thing that is very clear is that the adventures haven’t stopped for a minute.

“Adventure is at the heart of everything we do, it’s the single most important thing that sets the Scouts apart,” explains Tom Hague, who has been assistant group Scout leader with the troop for the past seven years.

“Through adventurous activities, we aim to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential.”

Tom joined the troop as a Beaver when he was six, moving up to Cubs at eight, and Scouts at ten-and-a-half, before becoming an adult volunteer when he reached 18. His own Scouting adventures have taken him to France, Italy, Switzerland and have even seen him take on a month-long trek through Nepal.

If two people are up for the same job, being a Scout can stand out on your CV

Tom Whittaker

“It’s great fun,” confirms the 25-year-old.

“In the last 12 months, our Scouts have cooked, hiked, played rugby, been sailing, camping and rock climbing, tried caving, shooting, sewing, Zumba and earned badges in fitness, first aid and fire safety.

“Our ethos is to create adventure for young people in High Green, and that’s exactly what the 105th Scout Group does.”

And Tom is quick to point out that, in addition to adventure and fun, the Scouts provides youngsters with valuable lifelong skills.

High Green Scouts in 2016

High Green Scouts in 2016

“We’ve actually heard employers say that if they have two candidates up for the same job, who are matched in almost every way, but one of them was also a Scout, they’d choose the one that was the Scout,” says Tom, who works as a construction engineer.

“It’s not surprising really. It stands out on a CV for all the right reasons; Scouts have a great understanding of team work, they have initiative to work alone or in a group and understand the importance of self-reliance. They’ve learned vital life skills that will benefit them through all kinds of different applications and jobs.

“Our Scouts take part in an active but balanced programme that helps them to find out about the world in which they live, encourages them to know their own abilities and the importance of keeping fit and helps develop their creative talents.”

And Sheffield is the ideal place for a Scouts group like 105th High Green, that loves to get out in the great outdoors.

High Green Scouts at the 90th anniversary party, in 2016

High Green Scouts at the 90th anniversary party, in 2016

“We have so much countryside right on our doorstep here - we’re really lucky,” Tom says.

“Whether it’s going rock climbing, hill walking or camping, we don’t have to venture too far for the environment we need - from crags to local campsites. The Scouts provides the opportunity for young people to do lots of things they might not otherwise get the chance to do.”

And the fun doesn’t have to stop when you turn 18 - as Tom knows all too well.

“As an adult volunteer, you get to take part in the same activities and enjoy all the same fun,” he smiles.

“It’s social time, for kids and volunteers alike, as much as anything else.

“We’re always seeking new adult volunteers; we have waiting lists for each of our groups - Beavers, Cubs and Scouts - and more volunteers would allow us to take more children on.

Each of the groups meets in High Green once a week - the Cubs on Thursdays at 6.30pm, the Scouts on Wednesdays at 7pm and the Beavers - of which there are two colonies - on Wednesdays at 5.45pm and Fridays at 6.30pm.

And it’s great to share a birthday with the Queen. The troop held an open day last month where it invited all current members, plus as many past members as it could track down, to attend and celebrate.

“We had people travelling from far and wide to join us, which was great,” adds Tom.

“We had a BBQ and there was lots of memorabilia been passed around. I don’t think a lot of our younger members truly got the significance of a 90th anniversary, so it was a real eye-opener for them, to chat with past members and find out a little more about the history of the group.

“It was a proud day for everyone. For 90-years-old, I think it’s safe to say we’re in really good shape.”

FACT FILE

Are you bursting with energy and ideas? Then perhaps you’d be interested in volunteering to join the 105th High Green troop as an adult volunteer.

The troop promises to support its new volunteers every step of the way, and you don’t need to have been a Beaver, Cub or a Scout to join.

“We have young people out there eager to start Scouting and we need your help to accommodate them,” said a spokesman for the troop.

“We need volunteers to enable us to keep operating the way we do, and for us to grow and develop as a group.

“No experience is required for any of our roles and we offer flexible volunteering.”

Visit 105th High Green Scouts