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Kingston - Leander Sea Scouts

 

BRITAIN has always been rightly proud of its maritime heritage, built up over centuries as an island nation and with the traditions of the Royal Navy encompassing the achievements of Drake, Cook, Nelson and dozens of other charismatic and talented naval commanders.

But those great men and the examples they bequeathed to following generations have been built from the bottom upwards - from young men and women who have learned about the sea and seamanship from their earliest years before often serving with the Royal Navy, the merchant fleet or simply taking their places aboard the myriads of coasters, fishing smacks and other maritime craft that surround our coastlines. And, increasingly, in the present day, enjoying leisure activities aboard private pleasure craft of all shapes and sizes.

We are fortunate locally to have one of the most successful sea scout operations in the land in the shape of Leander Sea Scouts, based at 92 Lower Ham Road in Kingston.

The scout troop was founded in 1908 following the publication of 'Scouting for Boys' in the early months of that year. The first scoutmaster was Erik Robinson, the son of a well-known local marine engineer, which may have had something to do with the group becoming sea scouts over time.

In fact, it was in 1912 that the troop began its sea scouting activities with its first boat - a 32-foot cutter with 12 oars - which was presented to the group by the great grandson of Captain Francis Grove RN to mark the centenary of the date when he joined the Royal Navy. Captain Grove enjoyed a successful career in the Navy and commanded HMS Leander at the start of 20th century - which explains the group's name.

The mission for Leander Sea Scouts is to inspire, encourage and prepare its members for adventure afloat and to develop the skills required for self-reliance and respect for others.

The troop has been extremely successful over the years and has an impressive list of achievements - which might account for the fact that, although it caters for youngsters aged between 6 and 18, all sections are currently full and there is a waiting list for would-be joiners. The Beaver Colony is for boys and girls aged 6-8; the Cub Pack for youngsters aged from 8 to 10-and-a-half; the Scout Troop has boys and girls from 10-and-a-half to 14-and-a-half whilst the Explorer Scout Unit is for young people from 14-and-a-half to 18.

Leander is one of only a hundred Royal Navy recognised groups in the country and offers a large fleet of canoes, dinghies and gigs in which youngsters can learn rowing and sailing.

There are obviously numerous advantages for young people from joining a group like Leander because of the opportunities to make new friends, to learn new skills and to participate in activities that they would otherwise not be able to access. But an important side effect of joining the sea scouts is to learn respect and discipline from an early age - valuable skills which many may think are sadly lacking in some of today's youth.

If you would like to learn more about Leander Sea Scouts, visit the website at www.leanderseascouts.co.uk.



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Aug 9
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