Adam Hodson, Sutton Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts, is in a celebratory mood. “Our Scout membership has increased by 15.3% in the last 12 months”, he said. ” Sutton Coldfield is the fastest growing Scout District in Birmingham”. Adam, an engineer by trade, had previously been a Cub and Scout as a lad and rejoined the Scout Movement as a parent helper to support his son, Jacob, who qualified for one of the highest awards in Scouts, namely the Chief Scout Gold Award. “I wanted to put back into Scouting what I had got out of it when I was younger”, said Adam “and I did this as a parent helper and then as a Scout Leader because I enjoyed it so much”.

Adam went on to qualify for his wood badge after an intensive period of training and then as Scout Assistant District Commissioner. “We are all volunteers. To be a Leader you must qualify for the wood badge to symbolise that you have been properly trained to provide quality Scouting skills and experiences for young people”.

In recent times, Adam has helped organise the Sutton Chase Walk, a lengthy hike over the beautiful Cannock chase involving map reading and navigation skills with a map and compass plus an international activity camp in The Netherlands. “I really enjoyed the Chase Walk”, said Adam, “because it`s traditional scouting skills. I was very proud of our young people. They learned how to navigate using a map and compass over 12 miles across challenging terrain. Some of the Scouts were as young as 10 and a half years old”. All those who completed the Chase Walk were awarded with their Chase Walk badge and Scout certificates. The international camp in The Netherlands between 31st March – 9th April, 2016saw 57 Scouts, 5 Explorer Scouts and 13 Leaders travel to Buitenzorg with day trips to Amsterdam and Arnhem, a chef’s activity badge cooking day plus canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, Scouting skills and archery activities.

“It was hailed a huge success” said Dominic Williams, Assistant Scout Leader with 16th Sutton Scouts who meet at St Chads Church Hall in Hollyfield Road, Sutton Coldfield. “it was the best camp any of the Scouts,Explorers and Leaders have ever been on, with the exception of a World Jamboree”.

The international aspect gives Scouting a special appeal and many Scouts now travel abroad during their time in the Scout Movement. Scouting is about being with friends, as part of a team, participating fully in the adventure and opportunities for life.

Adam Hodson believes in the importance of making good memories for the young people of Sutton Coldfield. “We all worked extremely hard”, said Adam “and everyone had a fantastic time, made new friends and will hopefully remember the experience for many years to come”.

Adam and his Leadership team were not content to rest on their laurels after The Netherlands. Immediately on their return to Sutton the Scouts competed in the Birmingham Scout County Air Rifle Shooting Competition at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton. This year Sutton Coldfield came second and 10 Scouts represented the Royal Town with 4 Leaders to manage the teams.

It was no surprise that Adam, because of all his hard work, received an award at the St George’s day Celebrations in Sutton Park this year. “I was proud and honoured to receive a Chief Scout`s Commendation for good service that was presented by the District Commissioner Nigel Speakman”, said Adam.

Dominic Williams is a member of the Sutton Coldfield Scout Leadership team. The Scouting Leadership team in Sutton has flourished”, said Dominic “by being gelled together under Adam`s leadership. Adam set the bar with his first District Scout camp as Assistant District Commissioner by encouraging us all in our abilities as Leaders to deliver fun Scouting-based activities over that camp weekend, with each Scout group getting to know each other. It was simple but effective”.

To keep the international theme going, Adam then played a major role in hosting Sutton`s first ever interactive Chinese Calligraphy Workshop and Exhibition at the Philip Baker memorial hall in Douay Road Sutton Coldfield. Corporate sponsors were Wing Yip Wholesale and Ying Wah Travel in Birmingham`s China Town, the British Chinese Project and the Chinese Community Centre in Birmingham plus the Wylde Green Neighbourhood Forum. The whole event was organised by New Hall Councillor Alex Yip who said, “In sharing cultures and history through fun interactive and educational projects such as these we hope to further break down barriers between integration and discrimination. It bridged the gap between the West and the East”.

The free event included the chance to learn Chinese culture, try your hand at writing characters to spell your name in Chinese with the help of expert Chi Zhang, origami and an exhibition of Chinese art. Terry Wood, Chair of the Wylde Green Neighbourhood Forum added, “It`s great to see local organisations all working together in Sutton Coldfield to improve the local community”.

The Scout Section is for young people aged between 10 and a half and 14 years. Scouts are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities as part of their programme. Participation rather than meeting set standards is the key approach and for the scout who wants to be recognised for his or her achievements there are a number of challenge awards and activity badges. Scouts take part in a balanced programme that helps them to find out about the world in which they live, encourages them to know their own abilities and the importance of keeping fit and, finally, helps develop their creative talents. It also provides opportunities to explore their own values and personal attitudes.

“Being outdoors is important ” added Adam, “and half the Programme is given over to taking part in both the traditional Scouting skills, such as camping, survival and cooking as well as the wide range of adventurous activities, anything from climbing to yachting”.

According to Adam, Scouting helps you learn lots of new and amazing skills, make new friends and earn badges along the way. “Being a Scout in Sutton Coldfield is a very rewarding life experience”, he said. “From archery to abseiling to survival skills, Scouting gives you the chance to get stuck into loads of activities that you wouldn`t normally get the opportunity to do. Going to a Scout meeting is a chance to meet up with your mates, have a laugh and do lots of exciting activities. You`ll meet adventurous people just like you who want to do something a little different. Above everything else, Scouting is all about enjoying yourself, whatever you are doing! As a Scout in Sutton Coldfield you get to explore the big outdoors and travel to new places and try new things. Sounds better than being stuck in the house with nothing to do? Not many people know how to navigate at night, how to build and race a raft or make bread twists and cook over a campfire but you soon will!”

In the coming months for Sutton`s Scouts is the football tournament at Wyndley Leisure Centre, raft race at Powells Pool, a cooking competition, expedition challenge in Derbyshire and Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet. The final word must go to one of the parents of Adam`s Scouts.

“Absolutely cannot thank the Scout Leaders enough in Sutton Coldfield”, said parent and Assistant Scout Leader Nick Taylor, whose son goes to 16th Sutton Coldfield Scouts. “What a fantastic opportunity you have given our kids. BRAVO Sutton Coldfield!”