Closing a Scout Group is never a good thing. It means that local kids have less places to go and things to do, there is a loss of something that has provided a service for the local community and there is the sense of failure. It also doesn’t portray a positive image of Scouting when this happens.
However, some good can come out of a closure.
At our District Executive on Wednesday night the formal closure of the Group that was very close to us was approved.
This Group which was about ten minutes walk away from us had been around for nearly 50 years and was sponsored by the same Church parish as us. They were our friends and friendly rivals! In fact, it was a standing joke when I was a Scout, that when out at camp, if we got into trouble and asked which Troop we were from, we would say their name and they would do the same saying they were us!
The Group was one of the very first in Britain to have a Beaver Colony, and so I am told, our then DC was summoned to Gilwell to explain what they were up to! Everything was ok and their Beavers continued long before they became an official part of the Scout Association.
By the end of 2005 the Group was in trouble, there were disagreements with the Church, there was a lack of Leaders and leadership and the Group closed. The idea was to put it ‘on ice’ until early 2007 when the position would be assessed and it would be seen if the Group could be restarted. In the mean time all the Group’s equipment was split up between ourselves, the Group that the Scout Leader had gone to and the District.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and things were ‘forgotten’ (for various reasons – I do have to be a bit vague here as I’m sure everyone will understand) until I said something to the District Chairman at the end of 2007. After a lot of arguments and messing around the Group was, as I said at the beginning, officially closed on Wednesday 🙁
One of the main sticking points was what to do with the Group’s financial assets. These would normally go to the District, but members of the closed Group wanted it to go other local Groups so the cash is used to the benefit of Scouts in their old area. After a LOT of discussion, it was decided to split the money 50/50 between the two Groups where the old Group’s Leaders had gone. We are one of them.
The good coming out of this sad event is that we now get some more money to enable us to get better equipment for our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. In fact some hiking tents have already been ordered!
So although there is no longer a Group in that area, kids from there come to us and we can provide Scouting for them with the aid of the old Group’s equipment and assets.