As soon as my son was born I knew I wanted him to join Scouts. I probably looked into how old he had to be when he was around 6 month…. like you do with your first born!
So as it grew near to his 6th Birthday I knew it was nearly time to find out about Beavers.
I was terrified though….. The football tot classes were a failure with him running wild, not listening and he just wasn’t interested in football. Oh and then there was THE gymnastic class. We only did one of those, after the teacher told me in a most abrupt tone that he was “strong willed”. Although on the face of it that doesn’t sound too bad, she was basically telling me ‘Please don’t bring him again’.
I knew I had to make sure he had a good start. I contacted a couple of friends that had been involved in scouts in the past and explained about the problems we were having at school and home, and that he was being assessed for ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). I was reassured that the scout movement was incredibly inclusive and just to speak to the Beaver leader.
After contacting the local leader and finding out that he could start straight away I was both nervous and excited. I rang and spoke to the leader so I could fully explain about how loving, caring and fun he can be but also that he struggles and does have social, communicational and behavioural difficulties. He is undiagnosed high functioning and verbal but really struggles with social situations such as turn taking, winning and losing. So basically most people just think he’s a naughty spoilt brat, but once they get to know him people realise there is far more to and see that he is a complex little boy. My mind was put at ease within seconds of speaking to the leader and I knew that if he was going to start this was definitely the group for him.
So the day arrived and I dropped him off and they were preparing sandwiches for there Hike out to the local country park the next day. When I picked him up he was full of it and so excited to go back the next day! I was a little worried as he had never done anything like this before and he isn’t great with changes and new situations. He had another great day with a few little wobbles but taking all the new things into consideration I’d say it was a win!
Over the past few months there have been good sessions and some pretty bad sessions, but the leaders have stuck with him and have worked their socks off! I can’t even begin to express my admiration for them. After more than 12 month of being past from pillar to post by services that are meant to be helping him with his social skills we have been let down and failed by many.
Not Beavers though, they have stuck by him and us and worked so hard. The leaders are incredibly patient and hard working. The sessions at Beavers are perfect for working on his social skills. The programme is so varied and the kids get to do and experience things that they may not have chance to otherwise. I mean after all camping and the great outdoors is not everyone’s cup of tea! He has learnt so many new things and is always excited to go.
The past couple of weeks I have stayed and helped with sessions. It’s great because I feel I get to be part of it with him and get to see him slowly growing, each week it seems as though a small piece clicks with him. It is a slow process but I can really see how much it is doing for him. I feel I get to give a little back to the leaders by helping and just being an extra pair of hands.
So if you are thinking of trying Beavers, Cubs or Scouts I’d say go for it!!! If like me you are worried just ring your local group see if you can go along to a session. Try a few different groups to find the one right for your child. If you have any free time see if there is anyway you can help out.
It really is the best thing we have ever done!!