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Scouting in Bognor Regis is best for fellow districts in county to follow

Pioneering work is being carried out by Scouts and their leaders in Bognor Regis.


County commissioner Robert Sawyer said the Scouting district which covered the town was the best in West Sussex at involving young people in its work.


“They are leading the way in West Sussex. They have got a lot of young people in leadership roles and, in the past year, they have had a number of members gain the Queen’s Scout Award. which is the highest award in Scouting.


“There are also five Scouts from here going to the jamboree in America.


“Especially on the youth side, there are one or two other districts that I would recommend taking a look at what is going on in Bognor Regis. It is somewhere that is going in the right direction,” he said.


The Scouting district of Bognor Regis is one of the smallest in area of the ten in West Sussex.


But Mr Sawyer said it punched well above its weight when it came to taking part in county-wide activities.


“They always support what we are doing. At a Go Beaver event recently, there were 100 from Bognor Regis out of 800 in all,” he said.


The popularity of Scouting around the town showed the movement was still relevant to young people as the 21st century progressed.


“Scouting is about finding your feet and gaining confidence in a safe place. They may not be able to find their voice but coming to Scouting enables them to do that,” said Mr Sawyer.


He made his remarks at the Bognor Regis and District Scouts’ annual meeting last week. The event at the Newtown Sports and Social Club saw awards presented to the leading Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers of the past year.


Tsunami Explorer Harry Mason scooped two individual awards and earned a share of a team award.


He was named as the young leader of the year and the Explorer Scout of the year as well as being one of the Explorers who gained the Bill Robinson Award.


Engineering student Harry, 17, said: “It feels really good to have won these awards. I’ve been in Scouting for about 10 years. It has given me more confidence.


“It’s all about meeting new people and it’s like having a second family.


“I like the activities, canoeing and climbing are my favourite ones, and being a Young Leader and helping to push the next generation of Scouts.”


He also credited Scouting with helping his ambition to become a product designer and engineering after he has finished his current course at Chichester College.


The Scout of the year award was presented to Daniel Boon, 13, of 1st Felpham Scouts.


“Some of my friends were in Scouting and I decided to join them about seven years ago,” he said. “I wanted to do something outside school with them.


“I like the activities, particularly sailing. I sail Toppers, which are small two-man sailing boats, off Felpham every Wednesday.”


The award was the second for Daniel after he won the Leaping Wolf award a few years ago when he moved from Cubs to Scouts.


Acting district commissioner Ken Poupart told the meeting: “The popularity of Scouting in the district does not abate and, unfortunately, as a result of this we have waiting lists in some parts of the district.


“The recruitment of leaders is, and always will be, a continuing difficulty, as essentially we are trying to take them from the families of the young people who want to join, and young families have demands of their own in today’s world.”


Some of the shortfall was made up by the Young Leaders who used their free time to put back into Scouting what they had gained in their earlier years, he said.


The number of Cubs, Beavers and Scouts in the Bognor Regis district is 578, the same as the previous year. They are helped by about 100 leaders.


The full list of award winners was: Beaver of the year: Caitlin McIntosh; Cub of the year: Evie Reed-Harman; Scout of the year: Daniel Boon; Young Leader of the year: Harry Mason; Explorer Scout of the year: Harry Mason.


Chairman’s Bowl: Christine Beckett; District Commissioner’s Award: Dave Morris; Bill Robinson Award: District Explorers; John Adsett Award: Caroline Summerfield: Chief Scout’s 25 year award: Rosemary Phillips, pictured right, 30 year award: Jean Hall; 50 year award: Carol Sayers.

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