By Emma Kent

It’s minus 1°C and I’m standing in the pitch black night, ice crystals forming on the ground around my feet. Around me, dark shapes move stealthily in the night. Nearby, a candle burns in glass jar, the glow brightening the gloom. One of the dark shapes gathers speed and begins to approach the candle at speed.

A torch light flickers on, “Leo!”, shouts the torch bearer. The light goes out and the shape disappears into the darkness again.

Suddenly, one of the dark shapes swoops and the candle light is extinguished! I’m in total darkness. The torch light flashes around and picks out one of the dark shapes, writhing round on the frosty ground…

…Of course the dark shape is writhing round, giggling his head off, screaming “I got it! I got it!” whilst the torch bearer is stamping his feet in frustration, because he missed out on illuminating Bill who was racing in to try and blow out the candle unseen.

This was a wide game being played by a group of Scouts in the grounds of a school in Hitchin and I was helping them to earn their Outdoor Challenge award.

Back inside, I pour all the kids a drink of hot blackcurrant to help them warm up from their adventures outside on a frosty night. We talk about the badges they want to achieve this term. They are also trying to decide a new patrol name. Each young person presents a pitch they have prepared for their choice of hawks, bulldogs, wolves or eagles, before the troop votes on the new patrol name.

This is the volunteering I do. It’s supposed to be two hours a week but really by the time you put in training, planning meetings, administration, camps, day trips and then troop meetings, it’s probably an average of four. But the chance to give something back to my community and to help these young people be the best version of themselves they can be makes it all worth it. I’ll be proudly contributing at least 150 hours to Cundall’s 2016 initiative to achieve 40,000 hours of volunteering which has been set to reflect on 40 years in business – how will you contribute?

Follow my Scout group on twitter @6thHitchin and find out what our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts get up to on a Tuesday night. Find out more about how your children can get involved at scouts.org.uk – there are programmes for boys and girls aged 6 – 18.

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Emma Kent, Volunteering

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