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Getting the most out of youth

Discovering nature on a recent camp.
Discovering nature on a recent camp. / SUR
  • Youngsters on the Costa del Sol learn values and skills with the Fuengirola Scouts

Have you seen them? They've been spotted in the streets of Fuengirola, Benalmádena or Malaga, on mountain paths in Mijas, the Sierra de las Nieves or Granada, at the checkouts at Iceland, or cooking burgers on the beach near the Sohail castle. They move around in groups and they can be heard speaking English or a mixture of English and Spanish. Their ages range from six to at least 18 but they all have two things in common: a smile on their faces and a red and yellow scarf around their necks. Who are they? The 1st Fuengirola Scout group.

You'll usually find them on Thursday and Friday evenings at St Anthony's College, Mijas, their regular meeting place since the end of 2017, after moving from the Ark in Las Rampas, Fuengirola.

It was there at the end of last month that youngsters from all four sections and their parents got together for a review of their activities of 2018. Hikes, camps, expeditions, fundraisers... there was a long list of activities; but you only have to look at the sleeves of the youngsters to see that these special events are only a small part of a Scout's regular adventures.

Badges, carefully sewn in place illustrate their achievements, which yes, do include the classics such as lighting fires and tying knots, but also endless weekly activities which, as one of the Scout Association's taglines says, provide "skills for life", from sports and photography to crafts and cooking.

In fact it would be hard to find a more complete after-school activity... and Scouts comes with a set of values and a sense of belonging to one large family.

This particular Costa del Sol family is held together by a team of dedicated leaders who, as they all had a chance to stress in front of parents at the meeting, devote much of their time every week to the youngsters, planning the weekly meetings, not to mention organising weekend camps, hikes and trips.

The end result makes all their hard work worthwhile, they say, in the hope that their enthusiasm is contagious: the group currently has room for new leaders and helpers.

The 1st Fuengirola Scout group was formed 22 years ago and offers the British Scout Association progamme to boys and girls of all ages, from Beavers (six to eight year olds), Cubs (eight to ten and a half), Scouts (ten and a half to 14) and Explorers (14 to 18). The group, which also shares activities from time to time with the Spanish Scouts in Malaga, currently has six members in the Beavers section and 28 Cubs, who meet on Thursday evenings. The 16 Scouts and six Explorers, get together on Fridays, as well as numerous weekends throughout the year.

Watching over them all is Group Scout Leader Robert Troost who ran through some of the highlights of the last year, including the annual fundraising bag-packing session at Iceland and the chance to host a Scout on an exchange visit from Italy.

So next time you spot those red and yellow scarves around town, give them a wave - they're bound to be doing something fun.