In our series delving into Telstar scouting in Luxembourg, Chronicle.lu turns to the Cub Scouts, represented on this occasion by Kira Stewart, Section Leader of Mowgli Cubs pack.
Within Telstar, there are four sections: Beaver Scouts (aged six to eight years), Cub Scouts (aged eight to ten and a half years) , Scouts (aged ten and a half to fourteen years) and Explorer Scouts (aged fourteen to eighteen years).
Chronicle.lu: How many Cubs are there in Telstar?
Telstar Cubs: We have 23 cubs (age 8-10.5 years) in Mowgli cubs and 18 cubs in Baloo pack, so a total of 41 cubs, with roughly one third girls. There are many different nationalities but we all speak English together.
Chronicle.lu: And how many leaders are there?
Telstar Cubs: We have 6 leaders for Mowgli cubs and 4 leaders for Baloo cubs; however, some leaders are leaving cubs this February when their children move up to Scouts.
Chronicle.lu: Do you find it difficult to attract young people to your Telstar group, or is it, in fact, the opposite, i.e. a waiting list? (Not Beavers) What percentage of your Cubs graduate and come up from Beavers, and do many come in without any such background?
Telstar Cubs: We have a waiting list for both Cubs packs which are always full. About a third of our cubs have moved up from Beavers (age 6-8 years) and the rest are new.
Chronicle.lu: As is it difficult to attract leaders too?
Telstar Scouts: It is more difficult to attract leaders than cubs! Since Cubs meet on a week night at 18:00, it is sometimes a rush to leave work on time to get to Cubs. Some leaders are parents and some have no children or much older children, but all enjoy scouting. Each Cub pack has a main leader or “Akela” and Assistant leaders and altogether we plan, run the meetings and email the parents. After lots of hard work, the leaders generally socialise together outside of scouting as close bonds are formed.
Chronicle.lu: How often do you meet, and where? Do you break over the winter / summer months?
Telstar Scouts: At the moment the cubs groups meet on Tuesdays (Mowgli) and Thursdays (Baloo) from 18:00 - 19:30 at the FNEL Headquarters in Cents. This is a wonderful central location outdoors with a covered shelter, field, forest and firepits. We have meetings during schoolterm and break over school holidays.
Chronicle.lu: What indoor and outdoor activities do you normally do, and what is the balance?
Telstar Scouts: We aim to stay outdoors as much as possible but, due to the cold, we do land up indoors for December and January and possibly on some other “bad weather days”, but normally Scouts are prepared for all weather conditions and try to stay outside! Indoors we would play games, do arts and crafts, acting, etc. Outdoors, we do map reading and orienteering, build shelters, cook on fires, learn knots (Pioneering), learn new sports, go on hikes, learn about road safety, learn first aid and put up tents and play many energetic games and much more based on our cub scout badge requirements.
Chronicle.lu: What major events do you have planned for this (academic) year? Will this involve meeting up with other troops, etc.? And do you meet up with any of the other Telstar groups?
Telstar Scouts: Every year we start the year with a Telstar Group camp which has all sections from Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. In May there is normally a District camp for Northern Europe region. This year it was hosted by Telstar in Luxembourg and next year it will be in Belgium, near Brussels. We also arrange a few day outings on the weekend – this year we went to Grottes de Hahn and Eurospace Centre with both Telstar cub packs combined. Next year we plan to do a walking sound trail together.
Chronicle.lu: What will having your own (Telstar's) premises mean to you and your Cubs and leaders?
Telstar Scouts: We have really enjoyed the FNEL premises but it will be wonderful to finally have our own scout hut. It is based right next to the forest and river which can make for some exciting activities. We may also be able to camp there and have all our equipment stored at the same location.