Scouting all Asians!


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PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY: Haroon Adam (right) and Usman Umar (left) give up all their free time to helping the people of Dewsbury thrive and reach their best potential

PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY: Haroon Adam (right) and Usman Umar (left) give up all their free time to helping the people of Dewsbury thrive and reach their best potential

Historic association is searching for the next generation of scouts and leaders

For decades it has been the stepping stone for kids to achieve personal growth - the epitome of Englishness - as British a tradition as a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

And now, as Prime Minister David Cameron pushes British Values on an ever-diverse Britain, it is young Asians who are being called upon to earn their badges and ‘tie a knot’ with the Scouts.

In Dewsbury, one leg of the Muslim Scouts have been working hard to give over 50 children the advantage sin life which support interests and needs of young people.

An umbrella organisation within the UK Scout Association, the group has representatives and members all over the country.

Haroon Adam is one of the organisers and also founder of the Muslim-led initiate ‘Engage’ in Kirklees.

The group aims to bring people of all faiths together to stand against Daesh and prevent radicalisation, messages he promotes through his work with the scouts.

However, despite demand rising for membership with the Muslim Scouts, it is a lack of volunteers that is hampering any further progression.

Only girls are currently enrolled in the Dewsbury group with a waiting list of up to 40 boys.

Haroon is therefore appealing for more volunteers to get onboard to help the community’s young people, holding an open day for volunteers and parents on 10th April.

He said: “We have 30 to 40 boys wanting to join the scouts but we can’t cater to their needs because we don’t have enough volunteers. Hopefully our presentation will get peoples’ interest sparked.

“Our young people will tell volunteers about what they can expect from joining Scouts, and also ask parents if they want to be leaders.

“We already have a good group here yet we need more to help break down the stereotype that Scouts is only for non-Muslim children.”

He added: “I’m hoping all parents will get involved, mothers and fathers, as it gets them out of the house and this whole thing can become a family activity.”

Usman Umar, a fellow organiser with the Muslim Scouts, is a prime example of how volunteering can be done around you professional and personal life.

He has been a youth worker for 29 years, whilst also acting as a rotating chair of Dewsbury Engage, the secretary and treasurer for Dad’s Group, and chair for his local Neighbourhood Watch.

Despite so many commitments he said the Scouts are an important part of his life, beneficial to both children and adults.

He added: “It may seem like we’re doing it just for the kids but there are other factors to consider like trying to get parents out of the house and involved with their kids and the community.

“Parents get new skills, there’s a sense of belonging and British Values are promoted.”

The Muslim Scouts are open to young people, aged between six and 16, with sessions held every Sunday at Kick Off, Dewsbury, by volunteers.

Activities range from axe-throwing to bouldering; kayaking to archery and raft building to rope skills, plus much, much more.

A taster session for current members will run on 10th April from 12pm until 3pm, calling for new volunteers and parents to come on down, before an open day for prospective new members will be held in July.

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