Mitchelstown chief scout awards
Last weekend brought with it a very memorable weekend for local scouts, as the Chief Scout visited the 29th/30th Cork Mitchelstown Scout Group and presented three Chief Scout awards as well as other awards.
The girls and boys from the Beaver, Cub, Scout, Venture and Rover sections, along with their leaders, welcomed the Chief Scout of Ireland, Michael John Shinnick with a guard of honour.
The Chief's belief and respect for the value of young people in society was clearly demonstrated when he called on one member from each section to assist him in opening The Brigown Scout Field. This is a portion of land for activities and camping beside the hall.
Without the most generous help and efforts of Pat (R.I.P.), Sheila and Patrick Dwane, this expansion to the facilities and indeed the original hall would never have become a reality. The new facility is to be used as an outdoor training facility for all scouting skills.
Group leader Willie Ahern thanked the Dwane family, John White for originally proposing the idea and Matt Cahill, the group's caretaker, for keeping the grounds and hall so beautiful.
First on the agenda in the CBS Secondary Hall was an investiture of scouts and leaders into the scouting family. The Mitchelstown Group, prior to this special ceremony, had their neckerchiefs removed and placed on the association's flag, ready for them to make their promise! Upon making this vow to help others and the community, they were formally welcomed into the group by Willie Ahern.
Following Willie’s brief opening remarks when he outlined the days significance, Teresa Lucey the Cub Section Leader, read a piece she had written as to what it meant to be a leader in scouting. She beautifully summed up the reasons why adults volunteer in scouting - a commitment to helping young people be the best they can be, while having fun and adventure. Teresa’s perspective was all the more important as she spoke both as a parent but also as someone who had no prior scouting experience, scouting being one big family, with the largest number of adult volunteers in the country.
The leadership of the group has vast experience and decades of service. A few of these people had reached significant milestones: Liam Fitzgerald was presented with his 20 years service award and Jack Noonan was presented with his 30 year service award.
These two individuals have, and continue to have, a profound influence in scouting and the group was delighted that their years of dedication was recognised. Scouting relies on adult volunteers to deliver its programme and to run the organisation. However, there are some people who never wear the uniform but still are a vital part in the background of any group. One such person, Matt Cahill, the Mitchelstown Scout Hall’s caretaker, was presented with a crystal clock by Martin Flahive in thanks for his continued hard work and dedication to the group.
Chief Scout Michael John, presented Sean Hyland of Samco Engineering and his company with The Scouting Ireland Community Award. Sean, a former scout, is no stranger to volunteering and his support is greatly appreciated.
Meritorious awards at bronze and silver levels were also presented. Bronze was awarded to scout leader Andrew Dineen and to beaver leader Margaret Hussey and cub leader Liam Fitzgerald and group treasurer were awarded silver. They were awarded these for their service, dedication, commitment and hard work.
While the days main stars were Keith and Lisa the Chief Scout Award recipients, the day offered the group an opportunity to go back to its roots and recognise one person whose contribution to scouts ensured that the group still thrived today.
For the first time in North Cork, a Scouting Lifetime Award was presented to Jack Noonan. Jack joined the Group in 1977, and helped with fundraising before taking over as Chairman and Group Leader with Pat Dwane when the group was going through a period of change in the early 80’s.
Jack’s dedication and hard work for the group allowed it flourish. While he no longer actively scouts, Jack remains the Group Quarter Master. A true scout and gentleman to the core, Jack proudly displayed his various other awards as the Chief Scout presented him with this special award. Everyone in the room was hugely appreciative of the lifelong commitment Jack made to scouting and many of the youth members were in awe of Jack.
For the Chief Scout recipients it had been a bit of a wait, but if only added to significance for them and their families. Unfortunately Ethan O’Brien the third recipient couldn’t be there on the day. The Chief Scout Award is the highest a youth in scouting can earn.
It represents years of work, learning vital scout skills, helping in the community, displaying leadership and teamwork to younger members culminating in a special project unique to each scout, their experiences and interests.
Ethan O’Brien, joined as a scout as did his brother Adrian and sister Ellie, their mother Maureen, a member of the South Eastern Mountain Rescue also served time as a leader in the group. Ethan’s project was to design and construct the unique gate at the Brigown Scout Field beside the hall.
The first recipient on the day was Keith Fitzgerald, now a Venturer in the group. Keith began as a Beaver, always marked for great things, Keith enjoys all elements of scouting, he chose to investigate quads, both for agriculture and sporting and their potential uses in scouting. Keith regularly goes quadding with his father Ger.
Lisa Ahern, daughter of Group Leader Willie Ahern, followed in her brothers footsteps in earning her Chief Scout Award, studying her family tree and putting together a comprehensive history which will be a treasured asset to her family for years to come. Lisa is the first in the group's history to achieve this high honour.
Before she undertook to do her Chief Scout Award, Lisa has another distinction to her name, as one of the first female scouts in the group. Among a group of trail blazers, Lisa, Valerie Moloney, Trish Keogh and Sarah O’Callaghan (along with others) asked for scouting in Mitchelstown to take in girls a number of years ago. Excited by the challenging and adventurous programme offered, neither they nor the group has ever looked back.
The Chief Scout presented Keith and Lisa with their Chief Scout pendant, a piece of marble with the World Scouting Logo, a badge and certificate, praising their efforts and being the embodiment of the scout law and something the assembled Beavers, Cubs and Scouts should endeavour to emulate.
Before the refreshments, the group took the opportunity to present Willie Ahern with an engraved crystal plate in recognition of his invaluable contribution to scouting. With almost 40 years of leadership, he has risen to be one of the most respected names in Irish scouting. His name brings awe to the faces of youth members, his advice is sought by leaders everywhere and his boundless enthusiasm is an inspiration to all. Following a group photo and treats for the youth members, the leaders and special guests went to The Hunter's Rest where they chatted about scouting over a delicious meal that included a marvellous cake baked by Margaret Moloney to mark the occasion.
The 29th/30th Cork, Mitchelstown Scout Group wish to thank Matt Cahill for having the hall and grounds so immaculate for the occasion; to the C.B.S. Secondary for the use of their facilities, especially John White who ensured everything was set up and taken down on the day; to Dave Mulcahy for the amplification and to the staff of The Hunter's Rest for a delicious meal and excellent service. The day's events only go to highlight the joy and adventure that is scouting. Boys and girls from 6-26 years old are welcome to join and take part in the adventure. Those interested should contact Willie Ahern.
Thursday 10th October 6:18pm