Elaine Hayes has made history by becoming the group’s first Female Group Leader. We we asked Elaine what she can bring to the table, read on to find out.
Firstly Elaine, all of us here at the Online Team would you to congratulate you on your election and wish you all the best in your tenure as Group Leader.
1. Most of us know you very well but some people may not so tell us a bit about yourself.
For the lucky people who haven’t met me yet, what can I say. I was born & bred in Newry Co. Down and all my family are still in the north. I, unfortunately don’t get home as much as I would like but I’m going to try get home soon before my family forgets what I look like. I’ve two sons, Adam & Dean, whom I’m extremely proud of and who both are involved in scouts. Dean is also a member of our Pipe Band and never has his drum sticks out of his hands. Adam is coming back as a leader which is great also. I’ve settled so well in Waterford mainly because of the Scouts and De La Salle GAA. I’ve made some fantastic life long friends along the way and couldn’t say enough good things about being apart of it.
2. What does it mean for you to be Group Leader of a group with a long and fruitful history?
I have to say I’m delighted to be Group Leader and to be the first female Group Leader is a wonderful achievement. I do find it quite daunting at times but relish the challenge as it keeps me on my toes. I’m settling in so far and I have to say the support from the leaders has been great. It’s a big group to be involved in but the leaders are a great bunch and easy to talk to and get on with, long may it last.
3. What are the top three things you are going to change/develop within the group?
I’d like more interaction between all sections. I’d like to see more joint weekends not just all Cubs, Scouts etc. but Cubs & Beavers all the way up. By haging joint weekends, the kids will get to see and interact with the sections they maybe moving into and also the leaders in those sections. It also alows the leaders to mix more which would be my second point. Because we are a big group we have a wide range of leaders young and old, and the range of knowledge isn’t getting to be used to its full potential.
By getting the leaders together we will get the chance to put faces to the names on the email list. I’d love to see more leaders hikes not just meetings on the Group weekend. A few good strolls around the Comeragh Mountains would be great, ones we can all manage too.
My last objective would be to bring in more leaders on the whole, both from Scouts/Ventures to past members. De La Salle Scout Group is 90 years old next year and we have had such a positive influence on children & adults alike that it would be great to utilise it to its full potential. By bringing in past members and scouts who have transitioned to adult members will be beneficial to our future development and I can only see us from going from strength to strength.
4. What is your most cherished scouting moment?
My most cherished moment in scouting would have to be when my eldest son, Adam and his team won the Pheonix in Castle Saunderson. Adam had a broken collarbone and they where a woman down, poor Niamh had tonsillitis. The moment they got called out as the winners, goosebumps went straight down me. Micheal Shinnock, may he rest in peace, handed Adam the Pheonix and I had tears in my eyes, it was an overwhelming, wonderful experience. What thrills me more than anything is that the team have remained friends and four of them have or are coming back as leaders. The positive influence and drive they had still stands to them and scouts has taught them to be grounded, level headed and exceptional individuals, that they can accomplish their goals by working together and helping and supporting each other through any challenges they have. This isn’t just achieved in competitions, it’s done all the way through the scouting journey both as children and adults alike. The bonds we get to develop are for life.
5. How do they put the figs in the Fig Rolls?
I’m not sure but as long as there’s a large mug of coffee to go with them, I really don’t mind!
6. With the advent of social media and the migration of most things online, how do you think the role of Group Leader changed in recent years?
The role of Group Leader has become so much more public with social media and I have to say finding a neutral balance with social media would have to be made. You have to be conscious of what you say and what you do because it can be taken in so many different contexts it can be difficult to find a healthy balance.
On the whole though, social media is a fantastic tool to recruit and develop our group. It’s also great for the parents to see what their children have been doing and taking part in. Most parents, including myself, collect our kids and ask how they get on and the day it was great. You get home with a rucksack full of dirty clothes, a good sign a good weekend was had, and they get showered and feed and then they’re out cold for the remainder of evening/night. Our social media page on Facebook shows up to date photos of most weekends and activities they’ve taken part in including hikes and achievements that most kids take in their stride and they make no issue of what they’ve done in beavers, Cubs etc. To be fair scouting also teaches kids to be humble and well mannered and getting their badges are great rewards for their accomplishments which they all wear with great pride.
7. Where do you see the group in 5 years?
In 5 years I’d love to see Faithlegg being developed but we have a lot of fundraising to do to accomplish this. A lot of work has been done already like levelling the field but the den itself needs an overhaul and I’d like to achieve that or at least set up a good foundation for it to be achieved. It’s going to take a lot of time, effort and commitment to achieving this goal but I’m sure the whole group would like to bring Faithlegg to the next level.
8. Who is/are going to be your Assistant Group Leader/s?
My Deputy Group Leader is the infamous David O Neill (Neillers). He’s been around for a while and is a venture Leader also. What can I say, he’s easy to get on with and a good laugh but to be fair he’s quite a lot of experience as deputy which is great to have. He’s also great for arranging taxi’s home!
9. What made you want to become Group Leader?
I went for Group Leader because I had the time to to the job. It’s no easy undertaking as I’m beginning to discover but definitely not all bad. My sons are growing up fast and I found I’d like something to challenge me and the opportunity came up. Unfortunately due to health reasons, I can’t work and the scouts has always been my saving grace to keep me sane, it’s also grounded me and I’ve made great friends within the group so I’d like to give back by giving my time over the next three years. I’ll do my best in my new role but I will also be remaining in my Cub section as much as possible as the whole reason I’m in scouting is to be a leader. Another quality I have is I’m good at talking to people and and I’m quite sociable ( I can hear John O Donoghue laughing histerically already!).
10.Finally, what’s your go to accessory for a weekend of camping?
My necessities on camping has to be good strong coffee and plenty of it and a spare mug mine always goes missing ?