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Sustainable Scouting in Horsham: Teaching and listening to our youth

Scouting has always demonstrated a great respect the environment, as laid out in our scouting values. However, West Sussex Scouting is now striving even harder. Horsham District Scouts are bringing together expertise and enthusiasm from across the region and creating a new Sustainability team in a new eco-drive.
In partnership with local organisations UK Harvest, West Sussex County Council (WSCC), Healthwatch West Sussex and Horsham Matters, Scouts from across the district are coming together in October at the District Campsite to engage in activities and to learn and lead the way in ensuring scouting continues to have a positive impact in our communities and for the environment.
Sal Dartnell, District Commissioner for the 15 Horsham Scout Groups, explained: “Scouting has come such a long way and is as vital now for our young people, in developing Skills For Life, as it ever was. The ‘leave no trace’ mantra needs to move on to ‘leaving the world in a better place’, stewardship to sustainability. The issues of today include overuse of single-use plastics, food production and waste, and water and energy use, but there are many more.  We believe that scouting is (and can play a pivotal role in) influencing the future direction of generations to come. Not only do we need to teach and lead our young people, we need to listen to them, which is why we are excited to set up this new Sustainability Team.
“This is going to be a core focus for West Sussex Scouts and for us in Horsham, and so we are launching our inaugural event on October 13th at out [sic] District campsite. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts, Leaders and Adult Volunteers of all ages from all Scout Groups have been invited to take part in the interactive and practical activities. We aim to engage and influence them to take away positive ideas and attitudes and changes to help impact sustainability in their own Groups”
WSCC Waste Prevention Team will run ‘sustainability circuit training’ on the day, which will involve games and activities investigating recycling and waste reduction. UK Harvest, a local food surplus charity and partner, will run an interactive vegetarian cooking session, and older scouts will aim for their outdoor cooking challenge to be ‘zero waste’. Considering wider sustainability issues, Explorer Scouts will be looking at upcycling and reusing wooden pallets donated by Covers. All participants will also have the opportunity to consider their own health and wellbeing, with Healthwatch West Sussex. Local charity Horsham Matters run will be joining us to raise awareness of the 5 food banks they run in our District and the night shelter.
Chris Lofts, West Sussex Scouts Team Lead, said: “We are empowering our young people to be leaders in their communities and networks from a young age, to inspire passion and motivation with knowledge and understanding while offering practical everyday ideas in scouting and at home. We are a youth-shaped team, our Scouts can lead their leaders, question processes, challenge what has become normal and convenient, and explore more environmentally friendly concepts.”
The event is set to be a huge success. If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved in scouting in Horsham District or with your local scout group, new volunteers are always welcome and there are roles to suit everyone whatever experience and time you have to give!  Please contact Hannah Miller on hmiller@horshamscouts.com to find out more.

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