Andy Sissons – Grand High Meerkat
Andy Sissons, should need no introduction, but we’ve allowed him one anyway, as you can see his passion for Damboree is deep-seated, but after a while we had to let someone else have a turn with the soapbox .
“My name is Andy Sissons and I am one of the two UK Scout Association Technical Advisors for Nights Away. I am also a Scout Section Leader.
When I was a child, my Dad was a Scout Leader. He always said my Brother and I were Scouts long before we were ever Cubs. When he went on camp, we went on camp. Back in those days money was tight and the Scout camp was our family holiday.
I was a little younger than Beaver age when I first remember being on camp with him. I really do remember the freedom it gave and the fun and laughter, the games, the sounds made by everything that moved, the smell of the mornings (bacon and damp grass), the total darkness and a billion stars.
I have never lost the passion for being ‘under canvas’ and all I ever wanted to do when I became a Leader was to enthuse youngsters so they too appreciate the great outdoors and want to look after it as their own.
In this ever restrictive world, I do want kids to still be able to experience this freedom. I want them to open the tent door on a beautiful sunny morning and have their breath just taken away by the sheer beauty of what they see. (Even if that is at 4 am! )
When the Scout Association rules changed in 2015, it received quite a lot of negativity from many leaders who didn’t believe Beavers should be allowed to camp. There were people who wouldn’t accept the changes and some who still oppose it.
The Beaver Damboree is our way of making the concept of Beavers Camping so big that nobody will ever again doubt how awesome these little creatures and their Leaders are.”