More than 1,250 youngsters and leaders descended on the Black Country Living Museum to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouts.
Dubbed The Wildest Birthday Party Ever, children enjoyed an action-packed day out at the museum, with boat rides, a visit to the school and trip down a mine.
The event on Sunday kicked off proceedings for the organisation’s centenary celebrations. Mark Bache, assistant county commissioner for the West Mercia Cub Scouts, has been involved with cubs for more than 30 years.
He believes that despite the amount of games and gadgets available to youngsters nowadays, cubs is still as strong an institution as ever, and offers essential learning, fun and adventure for children. He said: “We’ve had lots of things going on and we’ve kicked things off with a bit of a party.
“They had a tour of the museum, they went in the school, in the mine, they have done all of it.
“For me, it’s about giving young people fun and adventure. We do all sorts of activities. The weather was a bit overcast but it was been warm enough for us and stayed dry which was the main thing.
“It was fantastic, the kids had a brilliant time and it was a great way to start our centenary year. We have our County Camp in July, which is called Jungle Jam 100, and there will be lots of different events at local clubs over the year.
“Our activities will finish for the year on December 16, when we’ll be renewing the promise. Scouting is the West Midlands is huge and we do some amazing things. We have also teamed up with Dudley Canal Trust and are taking 800 young people and adult volunteers through the tunnels under Dudley.”
Alex Peace-Gadsby, chief commissioner for England, hopes the centenary celebrations draw attention to the cubs, and inspire more youngsters to get involved.
She said: “So many great things are already in place. We’ve got some fantastic partners providing days out for cubs across the UK and there’s a brilliant new website packed full of resources to help make it an unforgettable year.
“By our reckoning, there will be more than 5,000 thanks events, adventure camps and Promise parties.
“The anniversary represents both an opportunity and a challenge.
“It’s a great opportunity to inspire young people to stay to the very end of cubs and make the jump into Scouts. I’m so impressed and grateful at the way volunteers are using the year to provide an even more adventurous programme for our young people, with plenty of opportunities for camping and sleepovers – exactly the sort of thing that keeps cubs coming back for more.
“Whatever we do for Cubs100, we mustn’t let this opportunity pass us by. Rather than celebrate behind closed doors we need to give the world a taste of the special fun, magic and optimism that has made cubs such an incredible success over the last 100 years.”
There are around 150,000 cubs aged between eight and 10 in the UK.
Cubs forms the middle section of a Scout group, with the Beaver colony below and the Scout troop above.
There are seven challenge awards in scouting, with categories being Outdoor and Adventure, Beliefs and Attitudes, Community, Fitness, Creative and Global.
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Activity badges are awarded for demonstrating skill or achievement in a particular subject which may be an existing hobby or a new area of knowledge.
There are currently 34 different badges available. Cubs take part in activities as diverse as kayaking, abseiling, expeditions overseas, photography, climbing and zorbing. They also learn survival skills, first aid, computer programming, or even how to fly a plane. Organisers say it’s a great way to have fun, make friends, get outdoors, express your creativity and experience the wider world.
Scouts develop skills including teamwork, time management, leadership, initiative, planning, communication, self-motivation, cultural awareness and commitment.
West Mercia Cub Scouts covers Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire. For further information, visit here.