Scouting in Ireland is very much an exciting and rewarding community for your child to get involved in.
Not only is it the largest youth organisation in the country, boasting over 42,000 members, it sees your child throughout much of their childhood, from 6-18 and even further if they wish.
Scouting Ireland aims to educate and develop young people through SPICES (socially, physically, intellectually, character, emotionally, spiritually).
There are scouting groups in all parts of Ireland, ranging in numbers depending on area. To locate your nearest Scouting group, check out their Group Locator.
Your little one can start off in the Beavers aged 6 and learn exciting new outdoor skills like camping and hiking and go all the way up to the Rovers at 18 where they can even travel abroad as part of the Explorer Belt.
Scouts can be an invaluable way for your child to learn social and life skills, from building a fire and putting up a tent to getting involved in the community around them.
Ger Malone, a leader from the St. Joseph’s Scout Unit (5th/10th Limerick) explained why he feels scouting can be so valuable for children: “The real enjoyment as a leader is to see kids grow up mentally and physically through scouting. It can be difficult at times organising events and keeping everyone entertained but to see scouts mature and learn through having fun and doing something they enjoy makes it worthwhile.”
There are five sections in scouting, and we will break them all down individually and take a closer look:
Lets start off by having a look at the different section involved in Scouting Ireland; from the Beavers all the way up to Rovers.
The youngest a child can enter the scouts is aged 6, joining the Beavers group.
Beavers range in age from 6-8 years old and at this stage, the emphasis is on working and getting to know new friends and the people around them, such as leaders.
Beavers are divided into groups of five children known as Lodges. Each person in a lodge is given a small responsibility in order to learn new skills, such as cleaning up after themselves and looking after whatever equipment may be in use on the day.
Leaders are known as Elders at this stage in scouting and are there to supervise and help the Beavers as they learn new skills.
Your child at this stage will be introduced to camping, and may have ‘slumber nights’ with their colony. On these slumber nights there are lots of fun games played, arts and crafts, and of course, hot chocolate, marshmallows and lots of great stories!
Cubs are aged between 9-11 years-old.
This stage of scouts is all about taking on new and slightly larger responsibilities, while containing to learn new skills and have lots of fun.
Cubs are divided into groups of six, known as Sixes, while the entire group is known as a Pack.
Each group of Sixes is lead by one particular leader, who is known as that group’s Sixer.
Scouts are aged between 12 and 15 years old and a group of scouts is known as a Troop.
The scout troop is then divided into groups called Patrols.
There are lots of really exciting events around the year for scouts as they continue to gain more and more skills such as responsibility and leadership.
These events include the Phoenix Challenge which is a four day event and is attended by scouts all over the country. Last August over 800 scouts attended the competition which was held at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains in Co. Waterford. To see what the scouts got up to, watch the video!
Venture Scouts are aged between 15 and 17 years of age.
At this stage, the Ventures are handed over the responsibility of deciding what they would like to do and are assisted and guided by Venture Scouters.
From great events such as Trizone and the Venture Scout Challenge, Ventures continue to learn and develop skills and get in contact with other Ventures from all around the country.
The Rover scouts is for those aged between 18-20 years-old - an age where big changes have taken place since Ventures such as going away to college, starting an “adult” job etc.
The aim of the Rovers is to allow you to continue the adventures and exciting experiences that come from scouting.
Rovers is much more flexible than other scouting groups as lives can become hectic - it’s up to the Rovers when, how and where they do activities.
Of course, at the core of Scouting Ireland are the scouting leaders. At the ground level all scouting leaders are volunteers and there is a comprehensive training system in place involving organisation, interaction with children, child protection protocols and of course scouting skills.
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