As we start the wind down from the school year and look forward to the long summer holidays many youth organisations are likely to be gearing up to keep their members busy during the holidays, providing they have the help of enough safe and responsible helpers.

Pictures of 100 youngsters from Durham City Scout Groups enjoying a day on the river are great to see. Scouting endeavours to help youngster grow in safety and enjoy the challenges that the world may offer them later in life. Scouting is not the only youth movement attempting to be there for our children, all of them need support.

However, Scouting is dear to my heart because it is a movement based upon 100 years of inclusivity. Anyone can join, even girls, as one young lad told me in withering terms. Seriously, girls have been an integral part of Scouting for many years, the movement is all the better for them too. Many a group would have closed long ago were it not for them. Adventure knows no gender boundaries, why should it?

Folks may know that Scouting was established by Robert Baden Powell in 1907 following a test camp at Brownsea Island, near Poole in Dorset, the site of the camp is well marked for those who wish to visit. However, what may not be so commonly known is that the first official Scout camp was held less than 45 miles from Durham City, in August 1908, and took place just over the River Tyne at a place called Humshaugh close to Hexham, another idyllic spot.

More importantly young people in almost every country in the World belong to the same movement, there are no barriers to colour, race or creed, level of ability, none.

So what does that mean to kids in Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and so on? With the right support this, and other similar organisations, can help our children grow as human beings, to enjoy fun and games, to learn new skills – not least communication skills and social development away from the family home, and for those kids lessd fortunate unseen efforts are often used to ensure that they don’t lose out. Often the youngsters mix with people from the international family of Scouting at mass events held in Britain and across the world.

This movement is firmly about today’s youth, we have the greatest young people in the Country here in the North East and especially in Durham City and County. Worried about your kids always having their heads in Pokémon or staring blankly at a smart phone or computer screen? Why not encourage them to get active, they may even get a badge for computer skills, along with swimming, and dozens of other skills. Better still, go with them, keep an eye on them, from a distance of course, and help them all to have fun in safety, just like those Cub Scouts on the river paddling kayaks and canoes. It beats watching telly and you meet the greatest people.

Have a great Summer.



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