Jim's journey with Scouts full of fun

Jim Clark who has received nine Scouting awards for his dedication to Scouts and particularly to 1st Merimbula Scouts.
Jim Clark who has received nine Scouting awards for his dedication to Scouts and particularly to 1st Merimbula Scouts.

Jim Clark is looking to retire from Merimbula Scouts after 28 years but his involvement with the scouting movement goes even further back to 1963 and his youth.

In talking with Jim there are a couple of aspects that have underpinned his long association with scouting; a sense of fun and a love of the outdoors.

"I joined the scouts in 1963 in Victoria, it was fun and my mates did it. We built sand yachts and raced them. The scout hall where I was, they were building an overpass," Jim said.

He goes on to explain about the huge muddy embankment from the overpass to the road below.

"One day I got onto it with a piece of tin with the front edge turned up. I went straight down, across the road at the bottom and in through the double doors of pub, still on the tin," Jim recalled with a laugh.

In 1964 he attended the Scout Jamboree at Dandedong and met Lady Baden Powell, wife of Lord Baden Powell who started the scouts. It cemented his love of the fun and excitement associated with the jamborees and he went on to attend another three, all in Sydney.

"They've been standout events, really challenging but fun. We were crawling through 500m of mud, throwing paint bombs at one another. There were 14,000 kids at the 2001 jamboree in Sydney," he said.

But Merimbula has its own event which Jim has organised for 20 years, the annual Anzac Day bike ride.

Jim Clark in uniform.

Jim Clark in uniform.

"We go to Canberra do the Dawn Service, get dropped about 20km out of Canberra and the kids ride back to Cobargo. It's 240km through the bush but we break it down into three bits," he said.

"A lot of the young teens get a real boost when they do it. It teaches breaking something down into steps, can make what seemed impossible, possible."

The group includes Scouts from Cobargo and with parents and helpers the group can be almost 50 strong.

"I don't think kids change. They have the ability to scare, to shock and surprise you; I love it. If you can be part of it, it's great," Jim said adding that he couldn't have done it without the support of his wife, Nancy.

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Nancy and Jim's retirement and upcoming move away from the Bega Valley will leave a big hole in the Merimbula Scout movement although Jim's son James is a leader at Merimbula.

Jim has had numerous roles with Scouting. He started as trainee Scout Leader and progressed to Leader. He has been Group Leader for 1st Merimbula since 2018. He has received nine Scout Awards including Service Decoration for five, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years' service.

1st Merimbula Scouts/Venturers has three current leaders, 10 current Scouts (11-15 year olds), seven Venturers (15-18 year olds) a supporting committee but it is in the need of more leaders.

Group secretary at 1st Merimbula Scouts/Venturers Kerry Bourke said Jim was one of a kind but if anyone was interested in becoming involved in 1st Merimbula Scouts and giving time towards the youth of today she would welcome a call on 0438 065 304.

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