Volunteers crucial to future of Scout trips

Belper district Scouts who went in a trip to America
Belper district Scouts who went in a trip to America

A plea has gone out to help meet a “severe shortfall“ in the amount of Scout leaders, as Belper youngsters return from a trip of a lifetime to America.

Around 500 youngsters want to sign up for Scouting in Derbyshire, according to latest figures.

However, without adult volunteers to help staff at the 
sessions they are unable to benefit from the huge range of activities on offer.

With the help of their leaders, Belper & District Scouts – which is made up of groups from across the town and surrounding area – have just returned from a three-week trip to Missouri, in the USA.

The Scouts have had links with their counterparts in America for the past 25 years, which sees Belper Scouts go over there and American Scouts come here, staying with host families. The Americans first came over in 1985.

Section leader Matt Davenport, who helped organise the trip, said: “Without leaders the whole of this trip would have been impossible. Individual groups are struggling for leaders and others have big waiting lists.

“Through trips like this the Scouts develop so much more confidence, self-esteem, social skills and a lot of independence.”

The Belper youngsters had to raise hundreds to complete the trip and held events including a fundraising cycle ride at the Westfield shopping centre in Derby and a promise 
auction at the Stutts Community Centre in Belper.

There were 30 Scouts who wanted to go on the trip but only 15 were selected.

After two years of cash collecting, they headed to Missouri, but not without an eight-hour delay at Chicago airport due to a thunder storm, which grounded all planes.

Upon arrival, they took part in camps and activities and also visited New York, forming close bonds with their 
American counterparts after staying with host families.

The American Scouts will be coming to the UK for the Peak 2015 Scouting camp.

It cost £1,600 for each Scout to go on the trip, half of which they collected through 
fundraising, the rest they paid themselves.