Q&A | Natalie White, SHQ Commissioner (Outdoors and Adventure)
This year we’re delighted to welcome Natalie White to the Scouts Scotland senior volunteer team as our first SHQ Commissioner (Outdoors and Adventure). We caught up with Natalie to find out why she is so passionate about getting more young people outdoors.
What attracted you to the role of SHQ Commissioner (Outdoors and Adventure)?
I have always had a passion for outdoor adventure, with canoeing, skiing, hillwalking and sailing being at the top of the list. So, I was drawn to the challenge of increasing the number of outdoor and adventurous activities that our young people can experience, from Beavers building dens to Explorers sailing around the West Coast of Scotland!
What do you hope to achieve in the role?
I would love to see all young people in Scouting experiencing real adventures, enjoying new experiences and creating memories that last a lifetime. I hope that we can enhance our support system so that our adult volunteers gain greater confidence in a wider variety of skills. Most of all I hope to see more children and adults outdoors more of the time!
Why is it important that young people have access to outdoors and adventure?
Having the chance to experience walking in mountains, climbing in a gully or canoeing down a river can have a big impact on how a child views the world and their place in it. We also know that there are many health benefits to being outdoors, emotionally, mentally and physically.
What is your Scouting background?
I worked my way through the Guiding Movement both in the UK and as part of Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD). I became involved with Scouts when I became a parent, volunteering in my sons’ Cub Pack before taking on the role of Akela. Nowadays, I volunteer for an Explorer Unit.
What do you enjoy most about being a Scouting volunteer (in any capacity)?
I love being a volunteer in the Scouts! I meet so many different people from many different backgrounds, and their experiences can help me to understand more about the world. Plus, I’m always learning new things! I love working with young people too; their honesty on what works and what doesn’t is always refreshing!
What role do you think Scouting has to play in shaping young people’s learning and development?
In a changing world, we need children to be adaptive, creative and imaginative. Being outdoors doing a diverse range of adventurous activities can really make a difference to a child’s development. It is also important that the next generation does a better job of looking after our planet and environment than we have. Spending time in the great outdoors helps children to learn about the world, nature and the human impact on it and if they have positive fun experiences they will be more inclined to love and care for it.
What is your favourite Scout activity and why?
Probably fire building. I defy anyone not to enjoy a good campfire! It is such a great way to end a day. I really love using Kelly Kettles too, and an evening activity is always exciting if you are getting to eat fresh popcorn that you’ve made!