Interview with Dominique White, Group Scout Leader for 1st Madrid
How and when were the 1st Madrid British Scouts established?
1st Madrid British Scouts Group was set up in 2010 by a small group of dedicated parents, among whom was a Queen Scout and an overseas leader with experience in Belgium. Word got out and steadily the group grew until it became so big and successful that a second group was set up in Majadahonda to continue offering the Scouting experience to more families.
Who can join British Scouting Overseas?
Any bilingual child over the age of 6, ideally with a native English speaking parent; any adult with high level of spoken English.
What is the difference between Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers?
Beaver Scouts are the youngest group of children in Scouting and are aged 6-8 years old. Within the Scouts group, the Beavers section is called a lodge. Beavers carry out age-appropriate activities, earn badges and learn how to become Scouts in accordance with the balanced programme set out by The Scout Association.
A Cub Scouts Section is the second youngest group of children in Scouting and are aged 8-10 ½ years old. Within the Scouts group, the Cubs section is called a pack. Each pack is divided into Sixes, with one child being a Sixer and another being a Seconder. These roles help teach Cubs about peer management and team work. Cubs work towards badges that show their skills in diverse areas that are covered by the balanced programme set out by The Scout Association, from sports abilities to leadership challenges to craft, design and IT skills.
Scouts are aged 10 ½ to 14 years old. Within the Scouts group, the Scouts section is called a Patrol. There are six Scouts to a Patrol and they have Patrol leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders. Scouts are taught skills that they put to practical use. They are given tasks which they complete with guidance from adults only when necessary. Scouts are encouraged to think for themselves, to learn how to become responsible, respectful, fun-loving and caring young adults.
Explorer Scouts are young people aged between 14 and 18 years old and the aim of the section is to provide a flexible and active Scouting programme for adolescents and young adults, with an emphasis on personal challenge and adventure. A group of Explorer Scouts is called a Unit and is part of the District’s provision of Scouting.
With the support, direction and guidance of Unit leaders, Explorer Scouts are encouraged to lead themselves, design their own programme and work towards the top awards that Scouting offers, including the Queen’s Scout Award, the highest award in Scouting. Explorer Scouts are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities as part of their programme including traditional Scouting skills, such as camping, survival and cooking, as well as a wider spectrum of adventurous activities, from abseiling to zorbing.
Explorers also have the opportunity to be a part of The Young Leaders’ Scheme which develops their leadership skills and sense of responsibility, by helping to run meetings for younger sections.
What do you hope children will benefit from Scouts?
Scouting provides children with the opportunity to meet with their peers in an informal setting, away from school or Sunday school. The children work towards specific goals, are focussed, learn how to work in a team, learn by doing, have fun, share and are responsible. Scouts spend a lot of time outdoors, whatever the weather. Scouts do activities that are aimed at teaching them how to become well-rounded adults.
What kind of activities do you do?
At 1st Madrid we do a cross-section of activities, indoors and outdoors. We are always open to suggestions too. In the past we have visited the European Space Centre outside of Madrid, we have been to a donkey sanctuary, we have done several hikes, we have been canoeing and cycling. Every year we organize several camps for the older ones and one big camp for the entire Group. We have had overseas trips to Bristol and Northumberland. Indoors activities include scientific experiments, cooking, First Aid training and crafts.
Do you go on traditional camps?
Yes we do, mostly in the Comunidad de Madrid, although we have also been to the American Naval Base in Rota, Cadiz, for a jamboree. Our recent overseas trip to Northumberland was also under canvas… in March… in the North of England!
Can parents be involved too?
Scouting is mostly a parent-run, voluntary association. The more the merrier! Parents that are actively involved get training and advice by the British Scouts Overseas organization. It is a very well organized structure with local District Commissioners that oversee the different Scout Groups in a geographical area, training advisors, and a complete headquarters of staff that are eager to help out.