WHEN all around them seem to be losing their heads, the members of the 8th Kildare scout group from Maynooth are living examples of optimism as they push on with plans to build a new scout den.
As we go to press they are about to submit further information to Kildare County Council on their planning application to build their first permanent den at the Harbour Field.
“We already have E50,000 in the bank and we have a target to raise E50,000 this year,” said the unit’s leader, Peter Garrad.
Peter, a customer services manager with a Citywest based German manufacturer of welding products, is a busy man these days.
Apart from running the hundred person unit, he represents it on Maynooth Community Council, where he is not afraid to speak his mind when the occasion requires it.
The Maynooth unit is one of a number in the what could be described as the north Kildare county scout unit. There are units in Kilcloone, Clane, Sallins, Prosperous, Allenwood, Staplestown, Celbridge, Leixlip and Kilcock.
Unlike the much talked about economy, scouting is booming with many young people on waiting lists to get access to the units in their area. “There is a waiting list for our younger sections,” said Peter, when we met him on site at Maynooth Post Primary School, where the unit has been located for many years.
The Maynooth unit was set up in 1975 and owes its existence to the dedication of volunteer leaders like Bob O’Reilly, Cathal Gaffney, Tony Muldowney and John Dowling.
There are currently 27 leaders but the unit will be losing at least three to emigration shortly when Stephen Burnell takes off for the USA.
They look after 30 Beavers (6-8 years), 30 cub scouts (9-11 years), 28 scouts (12-14), around ten venturers (15-17) and a small group known as Rovers.
Many will be familiar with the younger groups but the Rovers, which used cater for those in the 18-21 group, now have people aged from 18-26. “The world is their oyster,” said Peter, who joined the unit in 2005, but had spent a number of years from 1969 to 1980 in the Dun Laoghaire 54th-88th troop.
The unit is delighted with the support it is getting from the community as it forges ahead with its plans to refurbish the crumbling Geraldine Hall and associated buildings at the Harbour Field.
The unit, which has spent E3,000 so far, has hasdan architect working for the last two years and put in its planning application last January
If permission finally comes, they expect the project to be built within six months after which they community will have a refurbished and historic facility because the scouts will be facilitating others groups at the location near Maynooth town centre. Peter said they will not have a full idea of the final costs until and if the permission is granted and the conditions are known.
Meanwhile there will be plenty of fund raising work for the Parents and Friends finance committee, set up in 2008.
They plan to repeat their successful July junior disco, possibly on 2 September, run a race night on 30 September, run a quiz in either October or November and do bag packing at Dunnes on Christmas eve.
While scouts enjoy themselves immensely, particularly over the summer season, they are regularly called upon to aid others. One of their projects is a regular trip to the St. Vincent de Paul’s Kerdiffstown House to help with carrying luggage.
Membership of scouting groups is usually temporary but most who enjoyed the scouts have fond memories of it.
The unit will be grateful for any help from past members in the coming year or two in particularly. “We would love to hear from past members. I would invite people to e-mail us if they are interested in becoming leaders or helping with fund raising,” he said. (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maynoothscouts.org)