Scouting their way to success

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Danielle RESIZE

In a movement built on supporting others, it’s no wonder so many Scouts go on to do such meaningful work. We speak to some inspirational members about Scouting’s influence on their community-oriented careers

Danielle Chowdary – Teacher

Before moving on to Explorer Scouting at the age of 15, Danielle was a Young Leader at her brother’s Beaver Colony. Today, she transfers her Scouting skills into her teaching.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I enjoy working with children, wanted to be a teacher and have always thought making a difference in some way is important. Teaching is a job I can do that in.

What have been some of the most rewarding moments of your career?

Passing my NQT year, having my first classroom and class, positive feedback from parents and children, and when children who find learning challenging suddenly pick something up and are excited by it. The end of the school year is the most rewarding. There is a sense of achievement in knowing I helped these children through their learning journey. I look forward to finding out how they carry that on.

Which Scouting skills have been useful in your life and career?

Confidence, organisational and teamwork skills. Scouting helped me to take part and made me realise it’s OK to not be an expert right away.

What is the greatest bit of wisdom you learnt from a Scout Leader?

To be myself, make sure I do what I want to do, and that I can make a difference to other people by doing the smallest of things.

Kate Wells Resized

Kate Wells – Social, Emotional and Mental Health teacher

Kate attended her first, rather muddy, Scout camp at just three months old. Her dad was a Scout Leader/Group Scout Leader, and her mum an Akela. Following in her mum’s footsteps, Kate is an Akela today, alongside her work as a Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) teacher.

Which Scouting skills have been useful in your life and career?

Beyond the admirable skills of fire lighting and tent erecting, I’ve learnt leadership, problem solving and teamwork skills, and gained a great sense of logic. Most valuably though, I’ve learnt perseverance. This has been particularly useful in my career. As an SEMH teacher I have to problem-solve and think on my feet – being able to do this with a calm head is entirely due to my life in Scouting.

Was there something about the way those skills were shared in Scouting that left a lasting impression?

Repetition helps skills stick, but the hands-on ‘give it a go’ approach Scouting offers is a great tool for teaching. We learn the most through our mistakes; Scouting offers a platform to try something out. As a leader, I let my Cubs make mistakes.

If it doesn’t work out, I give them a bit more information or refine a skill, then let them try again, then get the joy of celebrating with them when they get it – that’s my favourite moment: the Cub that can’t, then suddenly can.

Did Scouting inspire you to contribute positively to society?

Definitely. I get a real buzz (as any teacher does) from seeing a child achieve something they couldn’t before. Scouting and teaching are the same in that respect; we get to pass skills, knowledge and values on to others. In Scouting we are able to play a positive role in someone’s childhood, shaping who they become and that was something I really wanted to be able to do full time.

What have been some of the most rewarding moments of your career?

When children join our school they often come with a tricky educational background and usually assume they’ll get the same approach when they join us. I absolutely love watching them realise that we like them and want them to be at our school, that this is a safe space where it is OK to make mistakes. Those mistakes won’t change our opinion of them, which isn’t an experience they’re familiar with.

Simrit Kudhail Resized

Simrit Kudhail – Medical student and photographer

Simrit Kudhail joined Scouts when he was six years old. Today, he’s qualifying as a medical doctor and works as a photographer to boot.

Why did you want to be a doctor?

Partly wanting to help people and loving science, but more than anything, I wanted to challenge myself. Scouting was all about challenging myself and I guess that mentality never left me.

What have been some of the most rewarding moments of your career?

Getting into med school was rewarding, but strangely some of my most rewarding memories have been when I’ve made patients laugh even though they were in pain.

Which Scouting skills have been useful in your life and career?

My interest in medicine started with my first-aid training, and my photography developed through my Scouts Speak Up training and work with the UK Media team.

Was there something about the way those skills were shared in Scouting that left a lasting impression?

Scouting taught me skills I could use in all aspects of life. Many school skills can’t be applied in the same way.

At university, I realised the difference Scouting had made – I was more independent than most, be it planning meals or having the confidence to chat to new people.

What does success mean to you?

I don’t like to define success as an end goal. I see it more as the small victories that make up a journey. That might be sitting down and doing two hours of studying without getting distracted.

Those small successes will (hopefully) get me to graduation, which will get me to my first day as a doctor, which will get me to whichever medical specialism I choose. 

David Barker Resized

David Barker – Charity CEO

Driven by a passion to do something meaningful, David Barker has worked in the voluntary sector for years. Today, he’s the Chief Executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK and District Explorer Scout Commissioner. Having joined as a Cub, he’s been a Scout almost all his life.

Did Scouting inspire you to contribute positively to society?

No doubt. Scouting gives you a sense of community. When I was a Cub doing a community project, clearing out the duck pond in the village or litter picking, that influences you.

Which Scouting skills have been useful in your life and career?

Leadership skills have been the key one. Many of the skills I use most I learnt through Scouting, from teamwork skills to knowing how to bring out the best in people.

What advice do you have for volunteers who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of balancing work and volunteering?

Prioritise. Focus on the things that matter the most. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant all at once – decide where you’re going to start first. Then get a really good team behind you. By surrounding yourself with brilliant people, you’ll become brilliant yourself.

What is the greatest bit of wisdom you learnt from a Scout leader?

Talk to young people as they are. Just be yourself – laugh, enjoy it, have fun. That’s why we do it; so we’ll be enriched, rewarded and hopefully make a difference. If we harness that, we can continue to be a powerful force for good in the world.

 

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