Aileen Hesketh, District Explorer Scout Administrator

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Volunteer stories

Our volunteers are our superstars. They make Scouting happen at a local and regional level. But what makes them volunteer? Next in our series please meet Aileen Hesketh, District Explorer Scout Administrator (and District Badge Secretary) at the Craigalmond Scout District2022 see’s the 20th anniversary of the Explorer Scout Section. What better time to turn our spotlight over to a volunteer who supports Explorers. 

So how and why did Aileen get into Scouting, what does she enjoy and why does she recommend you should give it a go too! Read her story and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.

Name – Aileen Hesketh
Group/DistrictCraigalmond Scout District
Role – District Explorer Scout Administrator – DESA – (and District Badge Secretary) 

My time in Scouting
I was a Girl Guide when young and it was always something I thought I’d return to when I was older. However, when starting work as a new graduate engineer at Ferranti in Edinburgh, I happened to have a proactive Group Chairman and enthusiastic Scout Leader in my department. Between them, they managed to persuade me to become an Assistant Cub Leader at the 71st Haymarket Scout Group. Since that time, I married the Scout Leader, who is our current District Commissioner (DC), opened two more Cub Packs at the 71st and then did a spell as a District Cub Leader.

I took a break when changing career, although joining the Scout Active Support Unit (SASU) gave me opportunities to remain involved when I could. 

More recently, I’ve had time to spare (not something you mention lightly to a DC) and my husband quickly found me my current roles. So that’s 38 years of Scouting so far. 

Why do I volunteer? 

The rewards I gained from volunteering in Scouting have always outweighed the time and effort I contributed. Scouting gave me an escape from work, taught me new skills and introduced me to lots of new people, many of whom have become lifelong friends. It offers flexibility in the type of role you can choose and level of commitment you can give. My involvement has certainly evolved to complement the ages and stages in my life. 

What does a DESA do? 

The answer to that is as much or as little as you want. My remit covers a range of administrative tasks supporting the District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC), mostly using the Online Scout Manager software to communicate with Explorers and all the associated adult helpers. In addition to that, I have trained some Young Leaders, taken to the hills with Explorers on their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Expeditions, helped with their DofE training on Zoom, interviewed Explorers for camp selections and cooked sausages on Corstorphine Hill. In some ways, I’m the spare adult that can be called upon when extra help with Explorers is needed. 

The role of DESA certainly works well for me now. It doesn’t take up too many hours and I can choose when to sit at the laptop and do it. I enjoy interacting with the Explorers on an occasional basis and know that anything I do to help the DESC is one less task for him. 

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

Why not take get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities. We need your help.

Volunteers make Scouts happen at a national level as well as a local one. From our Chief Scout and Chair of our Board to the incredible volunteers who support young people as leaders and occasional helpers at our local groups, these are just some of the superstars who’ve stepped up to inspire a generation.  

We’re proud that Scouts is a volunteer led movement. That’s where you come in. 

There are lots of ways you can get more involved with Scouts as a parent, carer or family member. From helping out occasionally on a family rota or playing a vital role behind the scenes, to stepping up as a leader, our volunteering activities are as varied as you.

We’re talking tidy uppers and tea makers, session planners and Zoom navigators, fundraisers and treasurers, and all round team players to support our young people.

The good news is you shape what you do and the time you have to give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).

Across the Craigalmond Scout District, the current vacancies include:

  • Group Scout Leaders
  • Occasional helpers
  • Scout Leaders 
  • Cub Leaders
  • Beaver Leaders
  • Assistant Section – Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts –  Leader

What to expect:

  • * A warm welcome
  • * Flexibility to get involved in a way that works for you
  • * Easy access to training and resources online
  • * Friendly ongoing support from local volunteers

* No two weeks are the same, but the impact you make is always great. You can read some role descriptions here to help you decide.

Make a difference, volunteer today

To find out more about helping out, speak to the leader at your local group or use our volunteer enquiry from which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Let’s find the right fit for you

Share your contact details and select the opportunities you’re interested in below. We’ll pass them on to the appropriate member, who’ll be in touch shortly:

Enquiry form

Have you recently joined an Executive Committee or keen to be part of one? If you have, thank you for taking on this key role to support Scouting in South East Scotland. The Scouts’ Trustee Introduction training provides really useful information on the role(s) with clear objectives broken down into 3 bitesize modules.

It’s independent learning, so you don’t have to attend a course to complete it so its flexible to work around your other commitments.

What’s the real impact to volunteers? 

Whether you are a Network Member, parent of a child in Scouting, or someone who is totally new to Scouting you’ve come to the right place.

One of the biggest myths about Scouting is that Groups are closing down due to a lack of young people wanting to become Members. Nothing could be further from the truth; Scouting in the UK is a growing Movement and we currently have 30,000 young people on our waiting lists simply because we do not have enough adults to help out.

Research has shown that volunteering has a hugely positive impact on the lives of those who volunteer in the charity sector. In aid of Volunteers Week we want to recognise the incredible work that Scouts volunteers do. Whether you’re a Group Scout Leader, Occasional Helper or an As-Often-As-You-Can-Er!

According to the research, the majority of volunteers reported having improved life satisfaction (70%) and self-esteem (66%) since beginning volunteer work, as well as having reduced feelings of loneliness (42%) and stress (33%).

Nearly two thirds (65%) also said that since beginning volunteer work they have developed useful employability skills; with 59% saying they feel more confident and 54% feeling more motivated in their jobs.

UK Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd said, ‘I’m acutely aware of the importance of the millions of volunteers in the UK who give up their time every single day to help others. With the majority of volunteers saying they feel more motivated, confident and more skilled as a result of the work they do with us, it’s not just those they’re helping who benefit.

Steve Reed, Shadow Minister (Civil Society) said, ‘A huge congratulations to the community heroes who deliver Scouting locally, week in, week out. Employers should do all they can to support their staff to volunteer with such fantastic organisations like Scouting. Not only does it benefit the communities they are based in, it leads to healthier, more motivated workforce.’

Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts. Email our Scouting Support Officer or fill out the form and we’ll be delighted to start your journey today.

Why help?

There are many reasons why adults choose to volunteer for Scouting. Here are some that existing volunteers have given:

  • To give something back to the community
  • To support the Leaders
  • Because volunteering is a ‘good thing’
  • As an enabler, so the Leader can do more
  • To spend more quality time with your child
  • To develop your own skills
  • To enjoy and rediscover adventure for yourself