Editor: Campfire joy and precious memories for generations

Generations of children have enjoyed camping and visiting the siteGenerations of children have enjoyed camping and visiting the site
Generations of children have enjoyed camping and visiting the site
Among this city’s many unsung heroes is an army of men and women who offer something completely unique to thousands of our children.

They are utterly brilliant, they teach and educate as well as making sure everyone has the most fun – and they do it all without expecting a penny of pay.

Yes, I am referring to those merry souls who loved Girlguiding so much as children that they continue to help out and organise as adults. Their skills are a priceless gift to the younger generations. That’s before you even start talking about camps and trips away. This outdoor fun makes childhood so special, not to mention the educational elements.

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I have witnessed my own children’s bubbling excitement at being dropped off at Whiteley Wood Hall and, while looking forward to a bit of peace and quite back home, felt a pang of jealously at the mindboggling activities on their schedule.

We might laugh about stories of singing around a campfire but there is nothing old-fashioned about it. You only have to look at the joy on youngsters’ faces to see that the memories it creates in this technological era will be just as treasured of those a century ago.

These groups build unbreakable bonds, they appreciate what it means to be part of a team and they learn the true meaning of community, which in turn helps them to give back to those around them.

Yet it doesn’t come easy. It isn’t just time and enthusiasm that is dedicated to the young people and old buildings at Whiteley Woods, it costs a lot of cash.

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Now a huge amount of money is needed to restore the roof and I dearly hope our city will rally to this cause. I don’t doubt for a minute that there will be some cracking fundraising events taking place.

You only have to read the final quote in the story on Pages 8 and 9 to appreciate just what this site means to Sheffield: “We will do it. The alternative is to sell up and there are several of us who would lie down on the drive to stop that happening.”

What a perfect way to sum up the passion and spirit of these volunteers. Our children are so very lucky to have them, leading the way. Thank you to everyone involved in Guides, Scouts and the littler ones … you make a difference.

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