For the past year or so I have added a line in the scout programme about bringing a coat to scouts regardless of the weather. I’ve noticed the same sort of thing cropping up on the programmes of the other sections too.
I can quite understand how, on a beautiful summers evening, you might leave the house and decide that a coat won’t be needed; goodness knows I’m already heading in to work at 7:30 in shirt sleeves. I’m an optimist, but people who don’t arrive with a coat during any of our other British seasons confuse me greatly.
In winter when our typical temperatures hover around freezing we still see scouts dumped out of cars with no coats. Well, it’s warm in the car, isn’t it?
In autumn when it’s windy and damp we see scouts dumped out of cars with no coats. Well, there’s no wind in the car, is there?
In spring when the weather can be 20 degrees on a Tuesday yet full of wintry showers on a Wednesday we see scouts dumped out of cars with no coats. Well, there’s no unseasonable snow in the car, is there?
The problem with all this is a simple one. We don’t do scouts in the car, we do it in the outdoors.
We like to be flexible in what we do. This might mean running an activity outside the hall at very short notice. What if the International Space Station is passing overhead and it’s a clear (therefore cold) night? Perhaps we have to change our programme at the last minute?
One poorly dressed scout has an impact on the whole troop. They potentially stop us from doing what we want to do. If we do what we want to do anyway and a scout gets cold/wet, their parent complains. If conditions change fast and we end up with someone badly affected by the cold/wet then the rest of the troop is put at risk while we stop and sort out the poorly equipped. So it’s uncomfortable for one scout at best and dangerous for everyone at worst. You may think I’m being a bit dramatic but when you’ve seen a poorly equipped scout suffering from hypothermia at a scout camp it can have that effect on you.
So, parents, please make sure that in the warmer months your scout has a waterproof as a minimum and in the colder months they are warmly dressed and waterproof too.
And for anyone who wonders if I practice what I preach, you’re welcome to come and inspect my kit on a Thursday evening.
Stay dray and warm out there folks