Cheering Scouts and volunteers from Eastleigh were on hand to greet Chief Scout, TV Star and adventurer Bear Grylls when he flew into the New Forest this weekend.
Over 500 Hampshire Scouts had assembled at Ferny Crofts scout activity centre to meet their leader.
Grylls, the star of Born Survivor, was a huge hit with the crowd and spent time talking to both scouts and adult volunteers, giving ‘high five’s and signing autographs as he went round the various adventure activities.
The former SAS man is currently on screen presenting his latest ‘survival’ TV series The Island on Channel 4 and he is touring the UK as part of his mission to inspire more adults to volunteer for scouting.
Speaking to Eastleigh News, Grylls described scouting as:
“A chance for adults to make a difference to their community
Scouting is driven by a rule of the universe that’s says, “when you give – you get”
You can ask any of these adult volunteers here – what they give they get in spades back.”
Bear Grylls was the youngest person ever to be made Chief Scout in 2009 and young people seem to be inspired simply by having him around.
The Chief Scout also told Eastleigh News that there are over 1,600 young people on the waiting list in Hampshire and over 40,000 across the UK because there are not enough adult volunteers to accommodate the current demand of young people wanting to join.
Adult volunteer Hannah Jacobs of 1st Eastleigh Scout group said:
“It’s nice to see the kids when the achieve something new.
Scouting is fill of opportunities to do things you would not normally do so it’s always good to see kids do new things learn new things”
Fellow volunteer Ollie Murray from Chandler’s Ford Explorer unit added:
“Its good to see them develop from coming in as a timid cubs or beavers then really developing through the values and activities that we teach.”
Chandler’s Ford Explorer scout James Elliot (16) said that new adult volunteers get lots of online help to organise activities
“I would encourage more people to join up its not as hard as it seems. You help young people and it’s great.”
Young Eastleigh scouts Harry and Henry, who were both wearing an impressive collection of badges told Eastleigh News that playing games and collecting badges were the best things about scouting.
Also taking part in the day’s activities was ‘serial adventurer’ James Ketchell, who is Hampshire Scouts Ambassador and the only person to have rowed the Atlantic, climbed Mount Everest and cycled around the World.
“Scouting is fantastic because it gives young people the opportunity to get out meet new friends to have fun go on adventures and build and learn important life skills.
As you can see from today Bear Grylls has brought fantastic credibility to scouting, you can see just how well he was received here to day.
It’s all about excitement and adventure and Bear certainly brings that.”
Ketchell says the support and encouragement the gets from the scouts motivates him while on his adventures and he is joining forces with another Hampshire scout leader to row the Indian Ocean next year.
You can follow the pair’s progress at nothings-impossible.co.uk or via twitter @captainketch.
For more information on volunteering as an adult helper click here
More stories on local scouts here