SCOUTING is booming in Perth, with so many kids desperate to sign up that Scouts WA is scrambling to find enough scout halls and volunteers.
Subiaco has a four-year waiting list for the woggle while the West Perth troop is looking for a new hall after the building it used was sold (it can stay till development gets under way).
“There’s no doubt that people want their kids to come into scouts, but we’ve got groups that are absolutely full,” Scouts group development manager James Maughmer told the Voice.
Scouts WA chief commissioner Larry Lucas says the organisation desperately needs more adults willing to help plan events and activities, supervise and fundraise.
He says volunteering provides busy parents with a great way to socialise while spending time with their kids.
As for the scout hall shortage, Mr Maughmer says “councils are not building halls in the way they used to”.
Instead of big spaces with sturdy floors and plenty of room to store gear, councils these days build “multi-purpose” function rooms that don’t always stand up to the rigours of scout games or crafting activities. Leases are shorter too, with the uncertainty preventing big retrofits.
Open spaces surrounding halls where scouts once did outdoor activities have been increasingly filled in with houses, shops and carparks.
Mr Lucas says the Barnett government’s directions 2031 blueprint—which aims to grow Perth by 500,000 new residents over the next 16 years—must include facilities and open space for activities like scouting.
“There’s a lot of change, there’s change everywhere and we understand that, but where are the kids going to go?” he asks.
He acknowledges the days of scouts having exclusive use of halls are “gone”. “We’re looking to partner with other organisations to share space,” he says.
If you’re looking to volunteer (or have a tip for a scout hall anywhere between West Perth and Mt Hawthorn) get in touch with Mr Maughmer on 6240 7712.
The organisation provides a certificate 3 training in business and volunteering will take up about four hours a week. And you’ll need police clearance to work with children.
by DAVID BELL