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A small but very active cadre of the most well-known youth organization in the world, the Milton Scout Group were duly delighted when they learned that their request for a grant for camping equipment had been approved by our Trust. The Scouts’ Group Leader, Sarah Leslie, told us that she was “over the moon” when she heard the news. Sarah explained, “When it comes to money, small Scout Groups like ours live a very hand-to-mouth existence, so if we receive any funding like this, you simply cannot believe how much it means to us.”

The Milton Group’s Leaders had intended to increase the number of outdoor camps in which their charges were engaged this year, but lack of adequate cooking equipment was frustrating their efforts. The grant from the OMCT, however, has allowed the Group to purchase a Dutch oven, a pie maker, a large frying pan, and various other utensils. Sarah said, “We were thrilled with our grant and the cookware. Our Scouts were super excited to unpack it and work out what everything was and how to use it – and even more excited to actually cook with it!”

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When asked what she thought about the future of Scouting in Otago, Sarah replied that she was “encouraged” by the growth of her particular Group over the past three years and looks forward to more growth next year as the Leaders attempt to get the “Venturers” up and running. (In ‘Scout speak,’ Venturers is the next age level up from Scouts, i.e. 14 to 18 year olds.) “It’s great to see so many young people getting out and giving new skills a go,” Sarah told us. “We are proud just to be a part of it.”

Now the Milton Scouts Group have many trips planned throughout 2019. Their first will be Founders’ Weekend at Waiora Scout Camp, followed by a ‘bush survival’ weekend. Next, local camps will be organised prior to the Regional Camping Competition in October, and finally, the Scouts’ Jamboree at the end of the year. The team then kick-off 2020 with a camp at Mystery Creek in Hamilton. All-in-all quite a change from where they where. Sarah added, “We look forward to this [cooking] equipement being utilized by newly joining Scouts for many years still to come.”

W.Bro. Colin Weir, Master of Lodge St. John No. 461 Scottish Constitution in Milton visited the Scouts’ H.Q., where they demonstrated their new equipment ‘in action’ by cooking marshmallows over campfires set on the grassy area outside their premises. Colin dryly observed, “Yep, the marshmallows cooked perfectly – as indeed did their lawn.”

John Wren-Potter

Useful links
Scout Groups in NZ:     www.scoutgroupdirectory.co.nz/milton-scout-group/
Scouts New Zealand:    www.scouts.org.nz
What is Freemasonry:  www.lodgestpatrick.co.nz

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