Outdoor adventure thrill sees record waiting list for Cumbrian scouts
Adventurer Bear Grylls has joined Scout leaders in Cumbria to issue a public plea for volunteers as the waiting list for young new recruits in the county hits an all-time high.
While young people are often painted as device-addicted, technology obsessed, social media junkies, Cumbria appears to be bucking the trend.
Figures from this month’s Scouting in Cumbria census, released today, reports that 281 youngsters across the area are hankering for a space in their local groups.
The ‘Bear Grylls effect’, movement away from traditional gender stereotypes, and a desire for digital detox are just some of the factors which leaders believe have contributed to demand outstripping supply.
It comes as the local branch of the association also reports a record number of adult volunteers - more than 1,000 - on its books.
There are now 3,412 young people involved in Scouting in Cumbria. Including adult volunteers, total membership today is 4,426, up by 32 per cent in the last decade.
The association puts the success in the growth of the movement down to changing with the times to meet the needs of modern members - young and old.
Eddie Ward, county commissioner for Scouting in Cumbria, said: “Our adult volunteers today seek much more flexible volunteering arrangements than in the past so they can fit it around their busy lives.
“Many adults who are signing up with the Scouts have a limited amount of time to donate to us, and so we need more volunteers as a whole to accommodate the continued demand for Scouting among young people.”
Mr Ward is urging the adults of Cumbria to consider giving their time.
He said: “I am calling on adults who want to make a difference to the lives of young people in their communities to give scouting a go.
“We know that not having enough time is the main barrier to volunteering among adults, which is why we want to make it easier by offering flexibility in a range of roles from scout group leaders to administrative and trustee positions.”