MEMBERSHIP of the SCOUTS in Dunfermline District has risen by nine per cent in the past 12 months, faster than any point in the last 80 years.
A surge in youngsters joining up has taken numbers in the area up from 944 to 1,030 – and that increase was during the pandemic when normal activities were disrupted.
However, in true Scouting fashion, they adapted and their efforts to keep members involved were rewarded in more ways than one.
Callum Farquhar OBE, acting district commissioner for Dunfermline, explained: “I was absolutely delighted that Scouting in Fife was recognized in the 2021 Fife Civic Awards for their innovation in rapidly moving online and keeping youngsters fully engaged throughout the pandemic.
“Scouting in Dunfermline continued to operate, mainly outdoors, thanks to our amazing volunteer leaders and, as a result, our numbers remained strong.”
The awards were held at the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline recently and praised the Fife heroes who went above and beyond for their community during the pandemic.
At the event, certificates were presented by the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, and the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Robert Balfour.
The Scout movement’s annual census has shown there are almost 35,000 Scouts in Scotland and 420,000 across the UK, with membership numbers rising fast.
The increase in youngsters, aged between four and 18, joining up in Dunfermline district is giving more kids the chance to enjoy the open air, try different activities, make friends and learn new skills.
The importance of the great outdoors for physical and mental health became more apparent during the COVID lockdowns and recent research has shown that the benefits of Scouting extend far into adulthood.
Callum added: “By the time Scouts reach 50-years-old, they are 15 percent less likely to suffer anxiety or mood disorders.
“Recent evidence has suggested that children and young people’s mental health has suffered substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Scouts offering a valuable opportunity to help young people develop a support network.”
However, as membership numbers increase, and 185 young people are waiting to join, more adult volunteers are needed.
Callum explained: “Volunteering with Scouts is very rewarding, fun and good for you.
“For anyone wanting to meet new people and learn new skills, I’d encourage you to volunteer with the Scouts.
“We have a range of roles available – from running activities for young people at a weekly meeting through to doing maintenance on Scout group buildings a couple of times a year: whatever you want to do, we have a volunteering role for you.”
Those interested can find out more information at www.scouts.org.uk/volunteer