This article was originally going to be about one little lass. OK maybe she is no longer so little and probably never really was. However, as I started to think about what to actually write it became increasingly harder.
then I realised that there are more than one of our young ones that have gone on to inspire me in various ways.
They start with you as a young person — some of them very young. Sometimes they are shy, sometimes they are full of confidence, even as a new Beaver. I knew one young lad not so long ago that started in Beavers and on his first day he said “I know a game to play and I'm going to run it…. You play it like this.” And so he proceeded to organise the game and the other Beavers loved it. That lad is now at Uni and well on his way to a successful adult life. Then there is the Cub that came up to Scouts whilst I was running the Scout's section and, boy, was this lad hard work at times! But he eventually became one of our best Scouts and I have tried on a number of occasions to convince him to become one of our leaders.
This article is about those young people that have gone on to become my heroes in one way or another and so I guess it’s time to name a couple of them and explain why they make me so proud.
Let’s start with the lass that prompted this particular post, Bryony Alice Thiele — the one with the short (and I do mean short) red, or bright green, shorts. She had left Scouts a short while before I started because she had wanted to concentrate on her ice skating but she found that she missed scouting, especially having heard all the amazing things we had started to do. I asked if she wanted to restart and soon she was back with us, making our life sometimes hard, yet full of adventure. I personally got to help her through some of her lows and watch her on her many high points. Scouting is but one small part of what moulded this young lady, and I am but a small part of the scouting team that hopefully helped her, in a small way, turn out the way she is.
Bryony by the way, is driven and she enjoys life to the full. She has done pretty well academically and has always been sporty. It is one of her sports that has made myself and 1st Winnersh as a whole so proud of her. I think I was amongst the small group of people that got Bryony into climbing. Me, I climb, but will never be good. Bryony on the other hand, she climbs and could be very good indeed. Recently she took part in one of the UK’s big tournaments.
I guess at this point we better take a look at this tournament, what it’s all about and how Bryony did…
The UK's Deep Water Solo Climbing Competition once again took place on Exeter Quayside. Staged by the Quay Climbing Centre, the event last year attracted over 40 of the UK and Europe’s top climbers together, with over 160 ‘amateurs’ from across the country to compete in the two day event.
The competition taps into one of the fastest growing areas of sport climbing: deep water soloing. Climbers attempt to ascend routes on sea cliffs without using ropes, using the sea below as their drop off point when they can no longer climb. It is one of the most visually exciting and challenging areas of the sport.
Standing just over 7 metres tall and 12 metres wide is the competition wall, which has been built by leading climbing wall manufacturer, Entre-Prises UK. It boasts a 3 metre overhang and has been designed to enable three competitors to climb simultaneously on routes that will challenge even the most experienced athletes.
So Bryony entered and it’s at this point that I think we need to let her do the talking.
"At Deep Water Solo at The Quay I was hoping to top one out of the three routes in the qualifiers, and I ended up far exceeding that by placing 20 out of 49 and being 1 place/5 points off making the semi-finals! Absolutely chuffed, cannot wait for next year. It was easily the best competition I have entered so far. The people were great and the problems were right up my street. Luke Carter + Ed Perry were the best support team ever, and thank you Danny Haynes for all the coaching tips and Sierra Blair-Coyle for convincing me to enter — feeling proud."
We know that we are not responsible for this result, that is absolutely all Bryony and the amazing team she has around her. I look forward to seeing her possibly turn pro and get sponsorship. Even if she does not, she makes us all proud as she has gone out there and done it.
There is one other individual that I will mention by name in this article and I know we at 1st Winnersh had even less to do with this young ladies success. We were however part of her Scouting story and managed to keep it exciting enough that she went on to Explorers and Keith Gambles, where she really came into her own. This young lady was quiet, to a lot of extent she still is quiet, she is also a proper maths genius…. I never thought she was ever going to be much of an outdoorsy type of person and yet here she is at Uni, helping run an explorer pack and just completed her Explorer Belt. Lauren Bird has become one of my heroes as she simply, quietly gets on with it. I am also glad to say she has become one of my friends.
I have been able to watch her progress and can see that she has what it takes to inspire and help young people find themselves and become amazing adults.
Other than giving me a chance to reminisce, why have I written this article? Well my message to all of you out there, young or old, is take life and live it. If you have a gift, use it. If you want something, work hard at it and for it. Leaders, give your young people room to grow and they might surprise you and inspire you. Encourage and offer support and you will see that they often blossom and make you proud.