Duchess of Cambridge 'wants her children to join Scouts'
The Duchess of Cambridge would like her three children to join the Scouting movement when they are older, according to her guide for the day.
The Duchess was speaking during a visit to the Scouts’ headquarters in Gilwell Park in Essex to hear about plans to welcome children as young as four into the movement.
Beaver Scouts, aged from six to eight, are currently the youngest, but a pilot scheme called Hedgehogs has been launched for children aged four and five.
Kate was given a guided tour by a group of four teenage Explorer Scouts including 17-year-old Tahseen Patel from Blackburn.
Miss Patel said afterwards: “She was interested in the early years and how you learn things in scouting that you don’t learn in school and elsewhere, like you learn way more things in scouting.
“And how she wants her children to grow up in the scouting movement, not just in school, because she tries doing things at home but there’s only so much you can do and you need to build relationships with other people.”
Asked if Prince George had joined the Scouts, Miss Patel said: “He hasn’t yet, but she said she’d love him to.”
The Duchess and husband William have three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
Miss Patel added that Kate wanted all of her children to join.
She said that if George joined the Scouts “he’d be like a little ambassador”.
George is currently aged five, too young to join Beaver Scouts.
Charlotte is three and Louis is 11-months-old.
Kate got inside a den built by Beaver Scouts while on the visit, and the group tested if it is waterproof by pouring water onto it.
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Frankii Newbery, 29, who is helping to develop the pilot scheme for younger children, said: “The duchess, braver than I am, got straight in there with one of our Beavers and had a whale of a time.
“She was straight in there and just thoroughly loving it, it was just fantastic to watch.”
She added: “She was very interested in the premise behind the early years, interested in the fact we’re currently reaching out to disadvantaged areas and trying to reduce the attainment gap between areas of more privilege and children who probably have less engagement at home.
“That was something she felt very passionate about, as we all know she’s very interested in early years.”
Kate also joined Scouts in boat building and balloon rocket activities, which aim to improve communication and teamwork.
The pilot scheme for the new younger Scout section was announced late last year, with 20 locations across England initially taking part.
Kate planted an oak sapling to mark the 100th anniversary of the site during Thursday’s visit.
Scouting currently reaches 473,000 young people between the ages of six and 25 in the UK.
Gilwell Park includes a Scout campsite and adventure centre, and welcomes thousands of Scouts, schools and youth groups each year.
She also painted her right hand green to add a palm-print leaf to a painting of a tree with younger children.
As she left, she told Explorer Scouts: “It’s been a wonderful experience.”
The Scout movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell.