Utilising the natural resources in their area is an important part of being a scout. Members of the 12th Ballyboro Scouts Club are no different in that respect, and hope that their use of the River Shannon at Lanesboro will bring even more success.
Last year for the first time ever, its members were the only midlands side to participate in the Scouts Liffey Descent, which saw them take the silver medal back to south Longford, following the grand finale.
“This year we are hoping to go one better and take home the gold medal,” Leader Junior Hannon smiled.
The club, which was established in 1994, has gone from strength-to-strength since its inception, and recently their members completed another kayaking course in preparation for their big event.
It has been a summer of fun-filled water events for the 12th Ballyboro Scouts Clubs. Aside from last week’s event, which saw over 30 members take to the shores of the River Shannon, members also took part in sailing and Canadian Cruises courses and those who complete the kayaking course will receive certificates in level 2 kayaking.
Six leaders at the club also completed a Power Boating Course this year, and they in turn will now pass on those skills to the club’s members. “These activities get the kids out and get them fit,” Mr Hannon added.
“The River Shannon is a fantastic resource right here on our own doorsteps and we sometimes take it for granted. I love to see members outside and involved in activities because it really does get them away from the stresses and strains of the world.
“It also provides them with an opportunity to make new friends and this year we paddled out to an island at Lough Ree, stayed there for the night without any tents or anything and paddled back the next day. Everyone agreed that it was a brilliant experience and that we can all survive without Playstations, TV and such likes.”
For 18-year-old Aaron Kelly, the kayaking course was an opportunity to “get out into the fresh air” and further improve his skills in the area.
“I have been with the scouts now for eight years; I started off in Cubs and now I’m in Rovers,” he explained, adding that once the Leaving Certificate results are revealed this week, he intends to study computers in Galway.
“The thing about the water activities is that they give you a boost; I’m getting outdoors and getting active and that is brilliant. Water sports are also a brilliant alternative for people who don’t excel at GAA. Kayaking and water sports in general are brilliant and I think that the 12th Ballyboro Scouts Clubs is a great organisation.”
Junior Hannon has been at the helm of the club since its establishment in 1988. “The benefits to organisations such as ours can never be undermined,” he said, adding that he watched members grow more confident with each passing week.
“We have amenities like the Shannon here on our door step and water sports are fantastic. There are always kids for whom the GAA is not for them and so water sports provides the perfect opportunity for them to become involved in other sports and reap all the benefits of being outdoors.
“Water safety is also important and all members are taught about the dangers of the water and the importance of always wearing a life jacket.”
Daniel Mullooly (14) will enter his second year at the community college in Lanesboro in September. For him kayaking is “a very important skill”.
“I did Level 3 last year and that was a big step up from Level 2, believe it or not,” he added. “Despite all this, kayaking really is a team effort and it teaches you all about the importance of a team attitude.
“It makes you realise that when we are out on the water, we have to keep an eye out and mind each other. It also helps you to develop your hand/eye co-ordination and most importantly, you have to use your head!
“I completed in the Scouts Liffey Descent last year and it was amazing; for me kayaking is a very important part of my life.”