Sunday, 7 October 2007

Scaling the heights

As regular readers will know, the eldest of my little monsters is a relatively recent addition to the Beaver Scouts. This is the section of the Scouting movement open to children between the ages of 6 and 8 and a bit before they move onto the Cubs.

And a very happy little Beaver he is too.

Today saw his introduction to another favourite activity, the wall climb. Our local Scout hut has an internal wall with irregular shapes all over it which can be used for scaling the 15’ (give or take) height. Naturally the climbers wear safety harnesses to prevent accidents if the foot or hand holds are lost during the climb.

I took the eldest monster along and decided to stay just to offer a little encouragement if needs be. He can be a little hesitant about undertaking stuff like this.

Anyway I was chatting to some of the Scout leaders who were on tea making duties when the organiser of the morning’s activities wandered over and asked whether I would mind helping out with getting the children into the safety harnesses before they started their climbs.

I am known to the leaders at the Group, having helped out with previous activities (escorting a group at the World Jamboree back at the end of July and helping clear the grounds around the Scout Hut a few weeks ago of some rather vicious bramble bushes – I still bear the scars) but I didn’t expect this.

I was happy to help out but have to admit to being a little apprehensive to start off with.

Firstly for being directly responsible for the safety of lots of other people’s children, I’ve never put anyone into a safety harness before. And secondly because a lot of the parents had stayed in the hall to watch their offspring scale the wall. You can imagine the feeling when you were being closely observed and could sense that my slight fumblings would be magnified in the eyes of those observing.

Of course everything was fine, putting the safety equipment onto the children was straightforward and they all had great fun. If it had been difficult no doubt I wouldn’t have been asked.

But I did wonder afterwards that in these days of litigation, health and safety rules and CRB checks whether as a ‘civilian’ I should have been asked (and indeed agree) to help out in the first place.

But perhaps that’s also one of the highlights, the fact that I could.


Lord Higham-Johnson said...

Do you happen to know if the girls' equivalent are also known by this moniker?

ThunderDragon said...

Wow, you have a climbing wall inside your hut? That's so much better than my local scout hut [where I have recently started as a non-warranted leader]!

Without 'civilian' help, Scout groups would not be able to run. They need the help from the parents - it is the only way that they can function. That you are both a parent of a Beaver, a face known by the leaders, and not alone with any of the children means that the group is fully covered. Before they climb, the appropriately trained person leading the activity would have checked the harnesses anyway.

That you are helping out your local group is great - more parents should. ALL Scout groups need more help. I hope you keep it up!

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