independent

Sunday 22 July 2018

12th Wicklow Scouts start a campaign for permanent den

Beavers Aisling and Aoife Haines and Elijah Rooney with their plan.
Beavers Aisling and Aoife Haines and Elijah Rooney with their plan.

Mary Fogarty

Bray's 12th Wicklow Scout troop is launching a campaign to get a permanent den.

The group held its AGM last Monday night, with guests Deputy Stephen Donnelly and Cllr Steven Matthews attending to show their support.

Leader Patricia McKenna said that they are very grateful to have the use of St Peter's Parish Hall in Bray, but they have an expanding waiting list and would love to accommodate more children.

They are putting together a Den Committee, who they hope will spearhead the campaign for a den by going after grants and fundraising.

Patricia said that they hope people with relevant expertise such as architects, accountants and others will come forward.

A parent who is a project manager and another who is a solicitor have already volunteered. The troop is currently operating with a waiting list of around 100. 'We would love to be able to open another beaver colony and cub pack,' said Patricia.

She said that children usually come in at the age of six and remain in beavers for three years. 'Unless you get the odd child dropping out, children on the waiting list have to wait until a group moves up to the next section,' said Patricia.

At the meeting, parents were given a presentation on the work of the past year and what to expect in the next couple of months.

Patricia said that Deputy Donnelly has been particularly helpful. She said that he is a former scout and was regional venture commissioner.

The 12th Wicklow troop had 13 members when they opened in 2011. They now have around 90.

Patricia said that the leaders are committed to the troop. With no outdoor space or storage, tents are dried out at leaders' homes and equipment stored there. They also spend weeks in total per year away on trips with the children and hours each week on hikes and shorter events.

Art teacher Clifton Rooney, who has a child in the troop, led them in a project to create a model of what kind of den they would like to inhabit in the future.

They estimate that a brand new den would cost around €500,000. 'That won't happen overnight,' said Patricia. In the meantime, they would like to lease somewhere with a small amount of outdoor space to call home. 'We want to open three to four nights a week,' said Patricia.

To get in touch to offer help, find 12th Wicklow Scouts on Facebook.

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