Cubs get adventure-plus

JUDITH LACY
Last updated 15:46 09/05/2012
CUBS008
ROBERT KITCHEN/FARIFAX NZ
SECURE AS: Cub Charlie Higgison, 8, learning to tie knots. He says Cubs is "very, very cool fun''.

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Ashhurst Cubs reckon they have got the lot – they even sing about it. And it seems Ashhurst children agree.

Ashhurst Scout Group has a waiting list to join – two kids for Cubs and six for Scouts.

Three dads restarted the group four years ago after it had been in recess since the early 2000s due to a lack of leader support.

Dairy farmer Ed Jackson, teacher Wayne Higgison and research scientist Adrian Walcroft were taking their boys to the Whakarongo Scout Group. They noticed a good number of the kids were from Ashhurst and in a case of "I will, if you will" the trio did their leadership training.

They are all still involved, joined by the fourth warranted leader William Douglas.

With an eye to the future of the group, there are also two trainee leaders and parent helpers.

The lyrics of the Cubs' song includes a line about being strong and true.

"At Ashhurst Cubs we've got the lot, working for a badge or doing a good deed, all we do will stand us in good stead."

As Mr Jackson, or Totara as he is known at Scouts, goes through a recent list of activities it is like an adventure directory: rock climbing, raft building, kayaking, bushcraft, ice carving, trolley derby.

They also do badge work and participate in events such as the Ashhurst Christmas parade and marching behind returned soldiers at the Anzac Day dawn service.

The leaders have decided to limit the size of each pack to 18 as it is a manageable size which can be split into three patrols.

Kids usually have to wait no more than a term to join as there is natural attrition with children moving on to sports or leaving the district.

Nationwide Scouting numbers are growing because, Mr Jackson says, the movement gives kids a sense of belonging.

"They get a lot of excitment and enjoyment out of it because they are doing activities they don't do at school."

Activities are adventurous but safe.

Kids today are more wrapped in cotton wool than they used to be. Scouts takes away some of those layers so children can experience life more, he said.

The values held by Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell, including the "be prepared" motto, are still relevant today.

Mr Jackson was a cub, scout and venturer in Ashhurst.

"To me it seemed right to start the group back up again."

His son wears the burgundy red scarf with white trim that he wore as a boy.

Mr Jackson said parents had inquired about the group starting a Kea pack, but volunteers are needed to step up to run it.

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The group tries to keep the fees low which is made possible by fundraising.

The Ashhurst Scout Group is holding a barn dance, The Battered Hats, on May 19 at the Village Valley Centre, 7pm. Tickets, $10 adult, $5 child, $25 family, from Cafe Fusion or at the door.

- Manawatu Standard

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