The De La Salle Scout Group, the longest established Scout Group in Waterford, nominated Pat Murphy, one of its longest serving members, as Group Leader at a specially convened EGM on November 17th 2020. The Group would like to offer a special thanks to our first female Group Leader Elaine McMahon who took on the top job in 2017 and hands over a well structured, ambitious unit to Pat.

Pat joined the De La Salle Scout Group in 1963 when he and his family moved to Waterford and he has been a very active meme of the Group since. Pat has held various positions in De La Salle over the years including being the Scout Leader of the 13th Waterford for almost ten years and later he did a stint as Venture Leader. Under Pat’s leadership both of these sections were very successful and delivered a very adventurous scout programme. Pat has also been a member of the Group’s Pipe Band since 1967 and for many of those years he has been its Pipe Major/ Leader in Charge. 

Pat also held various other positions in Scouting over the years. In his six year period as Regional Commissioner for Waterford and South Kilkenny in the early to mid-eighties he totally revolutionised the activities and supports provided to the ever increasing number of Scout Units in and around Waterford City. 

Pat was also National Treasurer, Field Commissioner, Assistant Chief Commissioned and member of Scouting Ireland CSI National Executive Board and following the amalgamation  of Ireland’s two Scout Associations, which Pat worked on for four years, he was a member  Scout Ireland’s National Management Committee until he retired from National Scouting. 

For the past fifteen years Pat has concentrated all of his efforts on developing and making the Group’s Pipe Band the success it is today and despite what will be a heavy work load as Group Leader he will continue his involvement in the band.

Over the years Pat was a member of Scouting’s National Trailing Team and is a fully qualified Leader Trainer and he wears the four wood badge beads with great pride. Pat’s contribution over his many years involvement has been recognised with the presentation of many scouting awards including the Silver Wolfhound  which was Scouting Ireland’s CSI’s  highest adult award.

Pat’s contribution and successes in Scouting have also been recognised in Waterford and he has been presented with various awards by the Waterford Youth Committee.

So with all of Pat’s experience in Scouting and the experience he has gained from his professional life he is well equipped to lead the Leadership team in De La Sale and to guide the Group through what will be the many challenges ahead in these uncharted times.

When we caught up with Pat during the week, we asked him a few questions.

What does it mean to you to be the Group Leader of De La Salle?

It’s an honour to have been chosen by the leadership team in De La Salle to be their Group Leader and in taking on the position I’m very aware of all of the work that has been done by all of my predecessors. Over the years, De La Salle Scout Group was the envy of  all other Scout Groups in and around Waterford City and this was the result of all of the hard work of all of the leaders who have served in De La Salle over the years. I hope I can do my part to restore De La Salle to the dizzy heights of its past.

What made you want to become Group Leader?

Unfortunately the Group found itself, rather suddenly, without a Group Leader in the middle of September when my processor, having served her term of three years, decided to resign. In the weeks and months that followed the Chairman approached, without success, a number of possible candidates. As things were not good in the Group and as Covid 19 had effectively closed it, after much consideration and given that I had the experience and the necessary skills set and the time to do the job, out of loyalty to all those that had put so much into the Group over the years I could not stand by and see the Group fail now so I decided to let my name go forward.

What are the three things you are going to change/develop in the Group?

The first thing we must do is get scouting activities up and running again. So within scouting Ireland’s guidelines for scouting with Covid 19 in mind I will work with the various Section Leadership teams to get their young members back scouting. I also want to see Faithlegg reopen and be available to our young members, unfortunately due to protracted building works it has been out of use for way  too long. The Group must also register with the Charities Regulator and as a result of this, how we managed the Group in the past will change and the new structures will have to be fully implemented.

Where do you see the Group in five years?

To be honest it’s hard to look that far forward just now given where we are with Covid-19 etc. But having said that I would hope we will have a happy and effective Scout Group where all of our young members and adults will be happy and will be enjoying the experience of scouting. I would hope that during this period we will also be successful in finding a young positive thinking and enthusiastic person who will take on the Role of Group Leader and bring the Group forward.

Who will you appoint as Deputy Group Leader?

I’m going to give this a bit of time before deciding. Ideally it will be a younger person than me who might be prepared to take on the role of Group Leader in the future.

What is your most cherished scouting moment?

Well, there were many moments that I was very proud of in my scouting life to date but I guess the one that stands out the most is playing with the pipe band and with other scout bands from across the world, to an audience of in excess of thirty thousand scouts and Leaders at the World Scout Jamboree in England in 2007 to mark the hundred anniversary of the founding of scouting in 1907.

How do you keep warm on St Patrick’s Day?

With great difficulty but I would say it helps to wear lots of layers.

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?

Well to date I have seen minimal evidence of the use of social media  and online  etc. in De La Salle but having said that I will embrace anything and everything that will help make our jobs as leaders easier on the road ahead. 

Finally what’s your go to accessory for a weekend of camping?

Well, I think my many years of camping have probably come to an end but I would say good footwear and wet gear with a good sleeping bag and mat would have been my items of priority when camping.