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Being a scout leader is her way of giving back to the community, says Dr Timms.

Not only does she always do her best but scout leader Dr Nicole Timms, of Horsham Veterinary Hospital in Victoria, is always prepared.

“All three of my boys were involved with Scouts and about five years ago, the scout leader of our local group left. At that time I still had two sons in the group so I joined as their new leader. Surprisingly, both boys coped very well with this unexpected development.

“I had to squeeze in six months of basic training with Scouts Victoria so I was able to lead the group properly. I really like working with kids and enjoyed being a scout leader from our first meeting. I still enjoy it. Each meeting is different and we encourage our older scouts to lead the younger scouts.

“A typical meeting might be a session about first aid or we could have a construction night where we build various things. Learning to tie knots and ropes is still very popular. Scouts continue to earn their badges and Scouts Australia has recently updated the badges program. It’s a great way to give the children a goal to work towards and then reward them when they get there.

“There was a huge jamboree in 2019 with over 10,000 people in attendance. It was held at Tailem Bend in South Australia and felt like a small city had sprung into existence. The ground was limestone rock that made it nearly impossible to hammer in a tent peg. It was quite an experience.

“The next jamboree isn’t until 2022 so hopefully COVID-19 will be under control by then. At present, we’re not allowed to go camping and the kids are really keen to get out there—even the scouts who never enjoyed camping! We’ve also been forced to hold weekly Zoom scout meetings. I’m not overly technologically savvy so I’ve had a lot of help from my older children. The word is that soon we’ll be able to meet outside the scout hall in groups of 10.

“It’s fantastic to watch the scouts grow, work in a team and learn leadership skills. They gain self-confidence and learn how to overcome a challenge. Putting up a tent in the dark on rock hard ground is difficult but there’s a real sense of achievement once it’s completed. Scouting is also a great way for the kids to make friends outside their school group and mix with children from various backgrounds. 

“I really love being a scout leader and will continue, even though my sons have all outgrown it. It’s great fun and the kids really make me laugh. I like doing my bit and giving back to the community.”

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