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Name: Claire McAroe
Age: 25
Claire McAroe
Where and when did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering with Scouting Ireland in September 2007.
What inspired you to get involved?
I joined Scouting as a Beaver Scout when I was 6 years old and kept on going through all of the sections. Being involved in scouts taught me so much, gave me so many life skills and helped me become the person I am today so it seemed natural to continue my involvement in such a great organisation to help other young people reach their full potential.
What does your volunteering involve?
I am involved in the Venture Scout section (15-17 year olds) which involves weekly meetings, various activities from hiking and camping to environmental work and much more- whatever the young people want to do themselves. I am also an adult trainer and a member of the National Management Committee of Scouting Ireland.
What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
Anyone can become a Scouter- we learn with the young people and acquire so many skills over the years so a background of Scouting is not required. Outdoor skills are obviously important but are so easily learned. The need to be patient with young people and to successfully motivate them are by far the most vital qualities. Effective communication skills at all levels. A willingness to commit to living by the Scout Law. Being a good role model is something I aspire to achieve.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering and what has been your highlight?
I enjoy watching young people achieve through Scouting. Be it earning a badge through hard work and determination or by entering into the working world and for them to be head and shoulders above the competition because of their involvement in Scouting teaching them the skills employers look for in individuals. Some of my highlights have included watching young people achieve their Chief Scout Award, complete their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and achieve the Explorer Belt- one of Scouting Irelandís most difficult and coveted experiences for a young person.
Why would you encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer and what advice would you give them?
I could talk about employability and how having something like volunteering looks great on your CV but the reason I would encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer is the experience. I have given a lot of time to Scouting and donít regret it for a second. I absolutely love it- I wouldnít be doing it otherwise. Become a Volunteer because you enjoy it- become a Millennium Volunteer because itís nice to be recognised for those countless hours youíve given up and not even realised the value of what you do. The only advice I would give is remember to manage your time and balance it effectively- you can only give as much as you are willing to and the second you stop enjoying your volunteering then you need to stop and think why, itís not supposed to be hard work- thatís what your 9-5 is for. Seize the opportunity to grow as a person!