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Thursday, December 7, 2023

First Muslim Scout group in district seeks volunteers: ‘lend a hand, make a change.’

If you’re familiar with the concept of Scouting, you will know that the movement was founded by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 on Brownsea Island in Dorset. Baden Powell was concerned about the moral values of young people and decided that involving young men in activities designed to help others would create a better society for everyone.

Scouts volunteering at the food bank Image: Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts

Roll on 116 years, and the scout movement is going strong. The movement included young women and girls in 1976, and then, UK scouting took on a multicultural persona with the birth of the Muslim Scout Fellowship in 1999.

Today, the1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts is the first Muslim scout group in their district (Heavy Woollen) with a waiting list so long that new members could wait almost three years to participate. Speaking to Khadijah Bint-Aftab today, it is clear that the demand for Muslim Scouting has reached an all-time high.

Scouting in the Muslim community has seen remarkable growth over the last two decades. Khadijah said, ” Muslim values and scouting go hand in hand and encourage young people to be the best person they can be.” Through Scouting, young Muslims learn new skills, develop their personal and social lives and become more compassionate citizens of their communities.

Canoeing and Kayaking Image: Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts

The 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts run in unison with the Asquith scouting group. The Anssar Scouts became their own entity because most Muslim children are not available for weekday evening sessions. Therefore, Anssar Scouts run a troupe on Saturdays. They also provide Scouts with halal meals; otherwise, the ethos and practices are the same down to the necker or necktie.

So much so that a young man, Abdurrahmaan Dhorat from the 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts, is fundraising with the Asquith Scout group to attend the 25th World Scouting Jamboree in South Korea, where 40,000 Scouts from all over the world will gather. The Jamboree is a World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) event that happens every four years – if all goes well, the Heavy Woollen representatives will touch down in South Korea in August this year.

There’s little doubt that Scouting is the way forward, but just like all great projects, it takes many hands to make a difference, and the 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts are calling for more volunteers to come on board. Khadijah concluded, “We need more people – from cooks to outdoor experts, admin help and project managers – to expand the group.”

The 1st Heckmondwike will open its

Abdurrahmaan Dhorat is attending the World Scout Jamboree this summer Image: Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts

doors at the Al-Hikmah Centre, 28 Track Road, Batley WF17 7AA, on Saturday, 20 May, between 2-5 pm. No previous experience is required, and training will be provided, with plenty of behind-the-scenes roles available.

Volunteering with the 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts can be done weekly or ad-hoc – any help is better than none.

Ansaar Group Leader Abdul Latif said, “I volunteer to give our next generation skills for life and confidence and make them into go-getters and doers.” Abdul and Khadijah give up their time to provide a range of activities from public speaking to outdoor skills, planting trees or budgeting.

If you want to lend a hand and make a difference, come along to the Al-Hikmah Centre on Saturday, 20 May and meet the 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts.

You can help shape the future of young people and, in turn, our communities future. Don’t miss this chance to be part of something special; be a volunteer – lend a hand, make a change!

For more information or to register your interest in volunteering with 1st Heckmondwike Ansaar Scouts, click the link http://Bit.ly/JoinHWDScouts

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