Meet the Volunteer: Janie Jeffrey

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What makes Squirrel Scouts so special?

Squirrels is our newest branch of Scouts for 4 and 5 year olds. Squirrels get active, explore nature and have fun learning with friends, all while earning badges – just like other Scouts. It’s about promoting key skills like working together, communication, and language, as well as creativity and community awareness.

To support the roll out of Squirrels, we’re now calling for adults, including parents and carers to step forward as part of our #GoodForYou campaign, designed to support new volunteers. Volunteering with Scouts not only helps young people, but it is good for you too, supporting wellbeing and building skills for employment and education.

At the heart of Squirrels is the Leadership team who support the Squirrel Drey and empower young people to learn new skills, make new friends and to stand on their own two feet. No two weeks are the same, but the impact the Leaders make is always great. One person doing just this is Janie Jeffrey.

Read her volunteer 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 Janie Jeffrey
Role – Assistant Squirrel Leader
Group – Lauderdale Scout Group in the Border Scout District

Before taking on this volunteering role, I had never been part of the Scouting movement before! I had heard lots about it from many people including my husband, who reflects happily on his time as a youngster in Scouting but for me there was a lot to learn in starting this role. Thankfully, my son had been enjoying Beavers for a year before I took on my volunteering role so I was at least a little familiar with how meetings were run and badges were earned. 

Over recent years, within the Lauderdale area, there has been a waiting list for children to join Beavers. My four year old daughter was on this list back in January 2021 when me and a few other friends in a similar position, were asked by the Lauderdale Group Scout Leader how we felt about helping establish a new Squirrel Drey. I was mindful of how much my son enjoyed Beavers and was really keen for my daughter to be able to benefit from this as early as possible. I didn’t think it was fair to sit and wait for someone else to give up their time so I agreed to meet about what would be involved. Before we knew it, in February 2022 we were signed up and ready to begin welcoming a group of 4 and 5 year old Squirrels to begin their Scouting adventures! 

We are very fortunate to have a fantastic Scout Wood for us to enjoy outdoor activities and for most of the terms so far, this is where we have based ourselves. The Squirrels love having a campfire with toasted marshmallows or s’mores and the outdoor shelter area has allowed us space to explore with paints and crafts! Den building, hide and seek games, litter picks, bug hunts and making bindle bags are just a few of the many activities we have enjoyed so far. As the winter creeps in, we are back in the Scout Hall and are working on our brand new Lego-themed badge which the Squirrels are really enjoying. 

I really enjoy seeing all the happy little faces arrive each week, always so enthusiastic about the session ahead of them. We have watched our Squirrels grow in confidence over the time we have been running the Drey and for some we have even celebrated Moving On badges as they joined our Beaver colony. This of course has meant that new Squirrels have been welcomed to the Drey and we have also been very fortunate this term to have the support of two fantastic Young Leaders. 

Being a Squirrel leader has at times been intense and exhausting but it has also been a lot of fun! I really enjoy working alongside my fellow Leaders (who are also my good friend!) to plan sessions and come up with exciting ideas for the Squirrels. It is a team effort and no one is ever expected to plan, organise or run anything on their own. As an Occupational Therapist, I value the importance of activity participation and bring the experience of this to my role as a volunteer but there are no checklist requirements to become a volunteer in Scouting. Everyone has something to offer and without volunteer Leaders, our children would not be able to enjoy the amazing activities that Scouting offers. So, if you’re reading this and thinking “what help could I be?” The answer is “A big help”. Come join the fun! 


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 Borders District, the current vacancies include:

  • Explorer Leaders
  • Section Leaders – Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Section Assistants – Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Group Scout Leaders and Assistant
  • Occasional helpers
  • Executive Members – Secretary, Treasurer, Chair

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.

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 form which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.