Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of free time, so when I wanted to volunteer I looked around for something without a regular time commitment, and being a warden at Wymondley Wood Scout and Guide Centre in Letchworth was something I could do. I only have to be available for 2 to 3 weeks a year and I get to choose the dates when the rotas are organised early in January. It also means that I have some contact with the Scouting and Guiding movements which I miss after all my years as a Guide leader.
Wymondley Wood is a residential centre used primarily by Scouts and Guides. It has been open since May 2003 and is just celebrating its 10th birthday. It is located between Willian and Great Wymondley with a building that can sleep forty two in full size bunks and sits within four acres of camp site with access to an adjacent 20-acre conservation area with mature woods, stream, pond and grassland.
A warden is responsible for making sure the Centre and grounds are well cared for, and treated respectfully by its users. There is also a team of committed volunteers behind the scenes making sure that the rooms are clean and repairs are undertaken promptly. There is a huge sense of pride in keeping the building and grounds as well maintained as possible.
I look forward to my wardening weeks with both pleasure and trepidation. It is a good opportunity to meet with other Guiders and Scouters from all over the country, as the Centre is very popular. Last year for example we had about 5000 visitors!
Generally things run smoothly. I enjoy calling in and checking the building and site, either on my way to or from work. The winter months are more challenging when it’s dark and cold outside but in the summer it is a wonderfully relaxing thing to do. The outside space is very attractive with a large landscaped field, hedges and young trees, and I often just stroll around enjoying the peace and quiet.
With the really good bits come the challenges, which can be from making sure parents’ and leaders’ cars do not damage the grassy areas in the wet weather, to washing and changing sheets on 40 bunk beds with two days notice in the middle of winter! I am also now far more familiar with the workings of Lincat boilers and industrial cookers which are the things that most users appear to struggle with!
My week always seems to pass by swiftly; I drop off the keys to the next warden and check the next date on the calendar. I am both pleased and relieved when another week has passed without incident and look forward to the next.
A post by Jacquie, NHCVS Director