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Welcome to the website of Stewart Watkiss.

I’m a Data Centre Manager, a STEM Ambassador, an author, a first aider, an assistant Cub Scout Leader and most importantly a husband and father of two children.

You can find out a bit more about Stewart Watkiss.
Any comments or suggestions contact me using my email form.

Latest Blog Entry

Why I Scout! - Shirejammin' at home challenge

On top of my job, family and computing interests I’m also an assistant Cub Scout leader and a member of the District Executive Committee (Charity Trustee of the Scout District). During the current Coronovirus / Covid-19 pandemic we are unable to meet face-to-face but scouting is still happening through virtual conference sessions I am running on a weekly basis and executive meetings which have moved to Zoom.

The local Scout County are also running challenges for members young and adult, including this weeks’ leaders challenge “Why I Scout”. So here’s my story and the reason I am involved with Scouting.

Previous Experience of Scouting

I have been a Scout throughout my youth. I joined the Cubs when I was 8 (they didn’t have the younger Beaver section in those days) and continued up to Venture Scouts (now known as Explorer Scouts). As an explorer I used to help out at the Scout troup (what would now be a Young Leader) and when I went to University I became an assistant Scout leader near my halls of residence. I countinued scouting briefly after leaving university but the meeting night clashed with other activities and due to my other volunteering with St John Ambulance I left scouting for about 15 years.

Why I came back to scouting

I rejoined scouting thanks to my son. He was the one that made me realise what I’d been missing the last few years.

My son joined the local Beaver Scouts, which is something I’d encouraged as I remembered how much I had got from being in Scouts. It was when he moved up to Cubs and I took him to his first Cub camp that I realised that I still had the Scout inside me wanting to get involved. Although I’d never been to that campsite before, the moment I arrived I was transported back to my own experiences of Cubs and Scouts and the fun I’d had.

It actually started with trepidation of dropping my son off for his first camp but when I dropped him off and the Cub leader had him help making a campfire that’s when I realised I didn’t want to drop my son off for a weekend; I wanted to be there with him enjoying the experience myself.

So that was it. It also happened that the group was short of leaders and at the AGM later that year I put my name forward to “help out”. Initially I was planning to be a sectional assistant but after my initial meeting with the training advisor I changed that to assistant cub scout leader. Three and a half years later and I’ve now completed the requirements for my Wood Badge (Scout leader training programme) and I’m still very much enjoying Scouting.

My only regret is that I didn’t get back involved years ago.

What do I get out of Scouting?

Scouting for me is about enjoying the experience as much as giving back to my local community and supporting the young members. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, learn new skills and have fun doing so. It’s also great to be able to provide opportunities for the young members and to see them learn new skills and develop in confidence.

Being a scouter is being part of a huge family with members all over the world.

Scout Leader Training location
Scout Leader Training Location

My future in Scouting

Scouting can take up a lot of time (Spoiler alert – it’s more than 1½ hours per week).

Although I am able to find time for scouting, due to family commitments over the last year I have been finding it harder to attend the regular Cub meetings. At least I was prior to lockdown, during lockdown I’ve been running regular meetings for the whole group including the Beavers and Scouts as well as my Cub pack.

One of the good things about scouting is that there are lots of other opportunities for different roles either hands-on with the young members or providing support to those that do. I think my involvement in Scouting will be changing in future I am confident that I will find a suitable role that allows me to continue being a part of the scouting family.

What I’d say to others

If you are wondering whether Scouting could be for you then I suggest you don’t delay and find out today. Get in touch with your local Scout group or through Scouts website. There are always positions available as the more adult volunteers that are involved the more young people that can be supported and the better the opportunities for our youth members.

Scouting hasn’t stopped during lockdown, although it has changed temporarily. It would be a great time to get involved and learn more prior to resumption of normal face-to-face meetings.

Although it can take up lots of time it’s an enjoyable experience. If you can’t make every week then there are opportunities to be an occassional helper or to help behind the scenes in supporting the activities.

Also see

See the following YouTube video for another ShireJammin Challenges I’ve completed.

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