This year has been an interesting one for me. As my first year as Group Leader draws to a close, I have quite a bit to reflect on.

The Group has had a few challenges over the past year and all have come through successfully thanks to the wealth of knowledge and experience from the leaders in the group.

Throughout the year, I’ve met quite a few characters through the training I’ve taken part in and through it all, these people and the huge support from the leaders in my group have pulled me through no matter what. It has been an intense year, especially since the Group is celebrating 90 years in scouting and the negative media attention took away from the group’s great work and the activities we provide for the youth in our care. We seem to be coming out the other side and in the last months, I’ve had two fantastic weekends in Faithlegg with brilliant weather.

Our first weekend was with Castlemartyr Cubs & Scouts. This was unfortunately our first camp of the year as Scouting Ireland had put a ban on camping indoors due to fire safety regulation, so both weekends involved camping under canvas. I got to see first hand, five new cubs experience their first overnight experience and there was one or two wobbles, but they all stayed the full night and conquered it with grace. The following morning, the sense of accomplishment on their faces reminds me of why I’m in scouting in the first place. Yes, there’s loads of paperwork to get bogged down with, managing such a large group is like juggling too many balls at times, but when it comes together, it really makes it all worthwhile.

There are quite a few characters in our group with varying personalities, but they’re the best bunch of leaders anyone could ask for. My second weekend was our Group weekend “Camp Nócha” which Emily Ennis was Camp Chief, and it was absolutely brilliant. The weather certainly helped but, Emily’s ideas coupled with the help of many leaders, especially Billy Collins was what made it work so well. The pioneering from the scouts, tent pitching and of course, our infamous water slide made Saturday a day to remember.

We finished the day with an investiture and presented our new Neckerchiefs that Paschal Guilfoyle had sourced for us. Everyone was delighted, especially George Kavanagh as he is our longest serving and active leader in our group with over 60 years under his belt. He took the honourable position of presenting the neckerchiefs to members as well as cutting the cake, having him there front and centre is exactly where he should be after all the years he’s put into the Group.

It’s moments like this that reminds me of the impact De La Salle Scout Group has had and is still having on our community in Waterford for so many years. We have generations of families coming through but also many families starting at the beginning of their Scouting journey. The wealth of knowledge that has been passed on to our youth is vast, but what’s irreplaceable, are the memories that the kids have made over these weekends, all the weekends before and those to come. The bonds they form often last a lifetime, as what they get to experience, outdoors freedom, camping, cooking etc doesn’t cover the joy, the tears and most of all the confidence building that each child gains at their own pace.

Overall, this year has been hard at times but it has been a very worthwhile experience, that I have thoroughly enjoyed (despite giving out on occasion). I look forward to the summer to come with our scouts in the Phoenix Challenge and to the new scouting year in September.

Yours In Scouting