Monday, October 31, 2011

No cotton wool here



Give your kids good old fashioned fun and adventure that’s more than just camping and biscuits
What do Bert Newton, Jamie Durie, Peter Garrett, Dick Smith and Sir Jack Brabham have in common?
They were all Cub Scouts in their younger years.
Last week I wrote about the importance of children learning life skills such as self-defence, but just as important is also getting kids outdoors.
There have been many articles written about how today’s children are wrapped in cotton wool, or being watched over by helicopter parents, and this can cause any number of problems.
Parents are so worried about their child’s self-esteem that they praise them continuously, won’t let them make mistakes and do everything for their children from tutoring at the age of six to taking down the back yard swing after one knee scrape.
However, studies have shown that this can lead to your children becoming less resilient, have an inflated sense of their abilities and unable to cope with failure.
If we worry about our children constantly, we are actually raising them to be anxious and unadventurous.
Then what sort of world would we live in without girls like Jessica Watson, indigenous role models like Tania Major, sporting heroes like Casey Stoner and Lleyton Hewitt, and Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Mark Donaldson all of whom have be awarded Young Australian of the Year.
In my circle of friends, I see this trend swinging back to the old days as parents give their children the room to explore, fight their own battles between friends and siblings, ride their bikes to school (on their own) and let their adventurous spirit run free.
Another way to get kids to become adventurous (and away from the screens the gadgets) is to join the Scout Association (and its sister association Girl Guides).
Run entirely by volunteers, Scouts and Guides offer young people friendship, fun and adventure, as they have done for the past 100 years.
The Association’s fundamental aim is to encourage and promote the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people.
It achieves this through progressive self-education programs which focus on initiative, teamwork and co-operation, as well as community spirit and service.
Ultimately, children who are actively involved in Scouts or Guides develop leadership skills and the opportunity to achieve goals, improve communities, grow in confidence and develop skills to be their best.
Scouts is open to both boys and girls and is divided into age groups with Joey Scouts for age 6-8; Cub Scouts age 7-11; Scouts age 10-15; Venturer Scouts age 14-18; Rovers age 17-26; and Adult Leaders.
Since 1996, all members of Girl Guides have been referred to as Guides. 
The younger girls (formerly Gumnut Guides aged 5-6 years, Brownie Guides aged 7-11 years, Girl Guides 11-14 years, Ranger Guides 14-18 years and Rangers 18-25 years) wear the same uniform as their older sisters and do similar activities at an age-appropriate level.
Children and young adults aged from 6 to 25 can join at any stage of Scouting and participate in a program that encourages them to grow through adventure by experiencing new challenges, making new friends, building confidence, taking responsibility for themselves, and being provided with opportunities to explore their own abilities and interests.
All adult members who are involved in the Scout Movement undertake an extensive background history check and are required to be a holder of a blue card issued by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
For more information visit www.scouts.com.au or www.girlguides.org.au

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