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The Thames Scout group has enjoyed a wide range of outdoor activities in the past, and it hopes to bring that adventurous spirit back to the youths of the town. Photo: SUPPLIED

Thames Scouts prepared to return

Be prepared, Thames – Scouts Aotearoa is looking to reopen its doors for the first time since Covid and a lack of volunteers forced its closure in 2020.

Local mum and former Scouts and Girl Guides leader Sarah Moffitt took to Facebook earlier this year to gauge interest in the reopening of the community youth group. She said Scouts was a valuable resource for the community, and she wouldn’t let it disappear without a fight.

“I want it to be there for my kids,” she said.

“And also, I have fun doing it. I’ve been through Scouts and Guides as a leader – I’ve been on three international trips [and] two national ventures, which is the 14-18 year old big national camp – I get enjoyment out of it too.”

Following a public meeting, Sarah found she had enough interest to begin the process of reinstating the group. She said the prospective volunteers also believed in the importance of scouting.

“I got quite a few who were like, ‘oh, I’ll just help out sometimes,’ but I’ve got a good bunch of people that hopefully can make this work,” she said.

“A lot of them are previous members of Scouts. One of them was a Cub leader overseas, she’s about to retire and wants to stay involved. Another person is about to retire and just wants the community involvement.”

Sarah said there was a misconception that volunteering would take a large amount of time and effort.

“We’re quite happy to have someone come in just as a parent help, or someone who might want to come in one night to teach one skill they know,” she said. “It’s not a full time commitment, there’s roles for everybody.”

Scouts is a worldwide movement aimed at everyone between the ages of 5 and 18.

Members can learn new skills and try outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking, abseiling and hiking, along with indoor activities like cooking and crafts. They can also make connections throughout NZ and
overseas through group camping events.

“Basically anything they want to experience or want to do, they can get that chance through Scouts,” Sarah said.

“The purpose of scouting is to empower youth through adventurous experiences to lead lives that make a positive difference.”

Sarah plans to have the organisation up and running again by term three this year.

“We are talking to the zone team and we’re getting everybody up to speed … [we will] start enrolling youth later in the term,” she said. “We’ll have a couple of open nights later in the term for parents and kids to come check it out.”

To get in touch or find out more, contact Sarah on 022 048 4031, or on the Thames Scouts Facebook page. 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Journalism funded by NZ on Air