SCOUTS ON THE RISE

Lo­cal group biggest in the re­gion

Chinchilla News - - FRONT PAGE - Kate McCor­mack Kate.McCor­mack @chin­chillanews.com.au

THIS year may as well have been the Year of the Scout in Chin­chilla.

In 2018 the town scout­ing pop­u­la­tion ex­ploded with more than 40 chil­dren sign­ing up to be­come joeys, cubs, scouts and ven­tur­ers.

Chin­chilla Scout Group also wel­comed a hand­ful of adult lead­ers to the pack but there are two par­tic­u­larly de­voted par­ents who have made this year such a suc­cess­ful one.

For Leanne and Adam Fitzger­ald, be­com­ing scout lead­ers has al­lowed them not only to build upon a com­mu­nity pro­gram for Chin­chilla youth but to cre­ate their very own scout­ing fam­ily.

Adam first got in­volved with Scouts af­ter daugh­ter Sa­man­tha joined the Black­wa­ter group as a joey when she was six years old.

Sev­eral years later and the fam­ily has made the Chin­chilla Scout group a way of life, bring­ing new en­ergy into the old den which hadn’t seen much ac­tion in quite some time.

“A lot of par­ents bring their chil­dren to Scouts in the hopes of get­ting them off their com­put­ers and phones,” Mr Fitzger­ald said.

“Scouts is an ex­cel­lent way for kids to learn some vi­tal life skills and gain a bit of con­fi­dence. We teach a range of things, from how to make a sand­wich to how to change a tyre.”

The hard work and ded­i­ca­tion from Mr and Mrs Fitzger­ald shows in the Chin­chilla Scout Group num­bers alone.

Start­ing off the year with a hum­ble group of 30, the Fitzger­alds said the den was now home to 72 chil­dren, rang­ing in age from 6–15 years, mak­ing it the biggest group in the Dar­ling Downs re­gion.

This year the Chin­chilla Scout Group has taken on a num­ber of ex­cit­ing events and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing Clean Up Aus­tralia day, a re­cy­cling pro­gram, reg­u­lar vis­its to Il­loura nurs­ing home as well as a num­ber of chal­leng­ing out­door ad­ven­tures like white-wa­ter raft­ing and ab­seil­ing.

Next year is al­ready look­ing to be packed to the brim with op­por­tu­ni­ties as the Chin­chilla group ex­pands, open­ing up a ven­turer unit for older scouts aged 14–18.

“We couldn’t do what we do with­out the gen­er­ous sup­port of our spon­sors,” Mrs Fitzger­ald said.

“Apex, Chin­chilla Mc­Don­ald’s, Roma Fire and Safety, Ivan Hewett, Browns Car­pets and The Com­mer­cial Ho­tel have all played a huge role in get­ting our Scout Group to where it is to­day.”

The next sign-on for the Chin­chilla Scout Group will be held at the start of the school year, with sign-ups for joey scouts be­ing held on Tues­day, January 29.

Mrs Fitzger­ald urged adults con­sid­er­ing sign­ing on as vol­un­teers to come along as the Chin­chilla Scout Group is un­able to ex­pand num­bers with­out more adult su­per­vi­sors. There is no ex­tra cost in­volved, adults re­ceive com­pli­men­tary train­ing, blue card reg­is­tra­tion and uni­forms when they vol­un­teer to be­come scout lead­ers.

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on reg­is­ter­ing, con­tact Leanne Fitzger­ald on 0408 205 750.

PHOTO: KATE MCCOR­MACK

SCOUTS’ HON­OUR: Sa­man­tha, Leanne and Adam Fitzger­ald cel­e­brate the end of a suc­cess­ful year for the Chin­chilla Scout Group.

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