an article from the West Sussex scout database


"We are only leaders

We are only leaders - we are not experts – we are your next-door neighbours – we are not perfect we are parents just like you. We don’t have any more spare time or energy than you do, we all work full time and juggle out families and our schedules and try to keep it all together as best we can.

The only difference between us is that we believe passionately about what Scouting has to offer. So much so, that we contribute our time, our efforts and our talents to help our children - and your children - grow in Scouting.

We complete authorisation forms, budgets and records and fill our homes with boxes of paperwork you will never see. We are required to take 13-20 hours training in our first year as well as planning meetings every month so we can meet our greatest challenge – providing a variety of programmes and activities which meet the needs and interests of very individual boys and girls. We try to involve parents who want us to understand that they don’t have the time to drive on outings or help at meetings. We rejoice in the generosity of others.

Sometimes we find ourselves going in too many directions – we run out of steam – we have memory lapses - communication lines break down – time slips by – but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. So many evenings we spend on the phone seeking help and advice from other leaders when disappointments or problems occur. “How do I hold my Scouts attention?”. “How do you cope with Scouts of different skills levels?”

Our dining tables are covered in bits of rope, menus, permission forms and record cards for each and every member of the Group. A couple of them won’t show up and don’t think to call to let us know – sometimes we feel unappreciated.
Yet these boys and girls can fill us with pride at their determination and accomplishments. Their smiles and laughter fill up a room, and when they say “thank you” it makes it all worthwhile. We help these boys and girls build relationships. Some struggle more than others. Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly….all these traits are encouraged by the Scout Promise and Law – and sometimes we too must learn these lessons over and over again with the Scouts – but we are willing to keep learning.

Please be patient if we appear distracted or frustrated or overwhelmed at times. Forgive us if we are not always the kind of Scout Leader you would be - if only you had the time. Instead, provide us with your encouragement – a kind word, a thank you – or offer us your help. Keep us always in your thoughts and prayers.

We are, after all, only mentors…role models…leaders…volunteers who have made a Promise to give these young people, your children, the most precious gift we have to offer – the gift of time."