AFTER clocking up more than 30 years of service to the Scouts, Sheila Davies has learned to ‘Be Prepared’ for anything.

But it still came as something of a surprise when she was presented with a special award in recognition of her dedication to the cause.

Sheila was handed the Medal of Merit during a ceremony at Elderslie Scout Hall, where she has helped countless young people become good citizens.

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However, she reckons the greatest reward is being able to see the progress made by those who sign up for the youth organisation.

Sheila told The Gazette: “I’m into my second or third generation of Scouts now and it is wonderful to get to see some of the kids growing up to become lawyers or doctors.

“I always think Scouting gives them a great grounding for their life and career. It helps to make them better people.”

Sheila is a big believer in the Scout motto Be Prepared, which means members are ‘always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do their duty.’

The former Guides and Brownies leader first got involved with the Scouts when her son Mark showed an interest.

And she received her Medal of Merit from Donald Gordon, who was instrumental in convincing her to join the Scouting movement all those years ago.

Sheila, who is a nursery worker, admits she had no intention of staying with the organisation for so long but was won over by the lifelong companionship and community spirit that Scouting has to offer.

She said: “One of the things I love about the Scouts is that it is worldwide. When you see that purple badge, you can go up to anyone, anywhere, and step forward and shake hands.

“I remember being in a supermarket and spotting a group of lads buying groceries who turned out to be German and were here to stay at a Scout camp. They were going to have to take the bus back to the camp site with all of their shopping but I told them I had a car and would be more than happy to give them a lift.

“So there I was, with their Scout leader, on the way to a camp site that was 30 minutes out of my way. Where else would you get that?”

Each week, the Scouts helps more than 460,000 young people, aged from six to 25, enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future.

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They take part in a range of activities, from kayaking to coding, and learn practical skills such as cooking and first aid.

And, with no end in sight to her commitment to the Scouts, Sheila has a message for all of the mums and dads who have sent their kids to her group over the years.

She said: “I just want to say thank-you to all the parents who have trusted me with their children.”