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Uncertain future . . . St Patrick's cubs and keas and leader Beryl Aker are looking for some new people to take the reins. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Oamaru’s St Patrick’s scout group – founded almost a century ago – is facing closure because of a shortage of leaders.

St Patrick’s group leader Graham Keep has called on the next generation to step up and take the lead to prevent the closure of the scout group.

And he has set a deadline of the end of the school term for them to do so.

“Unless we come up with some new leaders by the end of the third term, we’ll have no option but to close,” he said.

The passionate community campaigner has volunteered for Scouts for 45 years.

He and Beryl Aker have done their best to keep leading St Patrick’s kea and cub groups, but, with a combined age of 147, he said they could not continue forever.

They had recently recruited new leaders, but two had gone on maternity leave.

And while there are several parent helpers, the Scout Association requires at least two fully warranted leaders in each section.

“We really need three or four leaders,” Mr Keep said.

“We need someone in the 25 to 45 [age] bracket, and we need someone who’s committed.”

The St Patrick’s scout group is based at the Scout Hall in Fleet St.

If it closed, the nearest Scout group would be either Columba Scouts, at Awamoa Park, or Scott’s Own Sea Scouts, at Oamaru Harbour.

“It is important to maintain this facility for the benefit of Oamaru North End families,” Mr Keep said.

At present, St Patrick’s has a kea club and a cub pack.

It has the potential to grow to offer a scout troop, but it needs leaders to do so.

Leaders would be required at weekly meetings and camps at least once a term.

Mr Keep said it was a rewarding role – and a lot of fun.

Anyone interested in becoming a leader should contact Mr Keep on 027 434-4947.