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Help needed . . . Columba Scouts member (clockwise from back left) Connor Griffiths (13), group leader Carolyn Griffiths, Kahlyn Scobie (12) and Eden Dickson (11) are looking for new leaders to join the group. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Waitaki’s Scout groups are on the hunt for new leaders.

Columba Scouts, Scotts Own Sea Scouts, and Puketapu Scouts are all struggling for leaders after losing support people in the past few months.

Puketapu has been hit the worst, with just three leaders for its 15 children involved.

Puketapu group leader Sandra Hawkins had been involved in Scouts for 40 years and while she had no grandchildren involved in the movement any more, she continued to do it for the love of it.

‘‘I don’t want to see Puketapu shut,’’ Mrs Hawkins said.

The group restarted in 2013 after a 13-year hiatus, and the keas section had recently started again.

Mrs Hawkins was looking for anyone interested in helping out, as was Columba group leader Carolyn Griffiths.

Columba has lost three leaders, including two longstanding helpers who retired, leaving the group to be managed by seven leaders.

Mrs Griffiths said while seven leaders sounded like enough, two leaders were covering two sections of the club — one was helping keas and cubs, and the other helping cubs and Scouts.

‘‘You can never have enough leaders,’’ Mrs Griffiths said.

‘‘When you’ve got 25-odd cubs, three leaders doesn’t cut it.’’

About 45 children were involved across keas, cubs and Scouts, and the programme was enjoyable and worthwhile for them, she said.

Group leaders often had skills and experience they could share with children — such as biking and climbing — but they could also be people who were just dedicated to helping out, she said.

‘‘This is what we’re trying to encourage now is any new youth members that do come on, we encourage the parents to become parent help for three or four weeks so they can see how much fun it actually is.’’

Being involved in Scouts benefited not only the youth, but also the leaders. Mrs Griffiths joined the Columba Scouts eight years ago, and it gave her courage in delivering the ‘‘out and about activity approach’’.

‘‘They can learn so many new tools. You’re giving adventure to the children, it’s giving confidence to belong in this amazing group affiliation.’’

Scotts Own Sea Scouts lost two leaders recently, and now had only five people helping out.
Group leader Quintin Orr said the group had no leader for the keas section at this stage, and the others were spread across cubs, scouts and venturers, looking after the nearly 35 youth members.

The lack of leaders had affected the group, as the others were already stretched helping out. Mr Orr was keen to hear from anyone interested in being involved. An interest in water activities was a bonus.

Anyone interested in becoming a leader should contact Puketapu Scouts at puketapu@group.scouts.nz, Columba Scouts at columba@group.scouts.nz, and Scotts Own Sea Scouts at scottsown@group.scouts. nz.