The Duchess of Cambridge revealed that she’d like to have a family full of Scouts during her visit to Gilwell Park yesterday at the Scouts’ headquarters, where she learned about its pilot project for early years involvement and helped mark the Park’s 100th anniversary.
Tasheen Patel, an Explorer Scout, who helped give Kate a tour of the Park’s facilities revealed afterwards to ITV that Kate was keen to have Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis join the Scouts.
“She was interested in the early years and how you learn things in scouting that you don’t learn in school and elsewhere,” Patel said.
“[She] wants her children to grow up in the scouting movement, not just in school, because she tries doing things at home but there’s only so much you can do and you need to build relationships with other people.”
The Duchess revealed that she’d love for Prince George to get involved soon, as he’s reaching the age of enrollment.
“She said she would like them to go into the scouting community because she loves what it stands for – that it’s a very open and inclusive way into life,” said Lauren Noble, another tour guide.
Kate was a Brownie in her childhood, and has volunteered with Scouts since her marriage. She previously volunteered with the local Scouts near Anglesey, Wales.
The early years pilot project was announced in November 2018 “to explore the potential of providing Scouting to children between the ages of four and six,” per Kensington Palace. There are 20 pilot projects operating around the UK.
“The new pilot will see Scouts test its exciting programme of activities – which currently reach 473,000 young people between the ages of 6 and 25 in the UK – to younger children, equipping them with the life skills and values of teamwork, leadership and resilience.”
Frankii Newberry, one of the pilot program’s developers, told ITV that Kate “was very interested in the premise behind the early years, interested in the fact that we’re currently reaching out to disadvantaged areas and trying to reduce the attainment gap between areas of more privilege and children who probably have less engagement at home.”
She continued, “That was something she felt very passionate about, as we all know she’s very interested in early years.”
During her visit, the Duchess took part in activities designed for the early years pilot project, including balloon rocket assembling, alphabet adventures, and model boat building, all of which are designed to help with teamwork and communication skills.
Outside, Kate spotted a den that some of the children made, and walked over to have a peek inside. She was overheard asking the kids if they had ever camped outdoors before “with the animals and the owls” and told them that it might be fun to try.
The Duchess climbed into the den with one of the Scouts, and they tested its waterproofness by pouring water on the roof.
“It’s very cosy in here,” Kate said.
“The Duchess, braver than I am, got straight in there with one of our Beavers and had a whale of a time,” Newberry said.
“She was straight in there and just thoroughly loving it, it was fantastic to watch.”
A group of teen Explorer Scouts gave Her Royal Highness a tour around Gilwell Park and pointed out some of its landmarks, including a massive oak tree called the Gilwell Oak, and a faith garden.
“She was really interested in the values of different religions, particularly caring for people, helping to bring people together from all over the world, tolerance and how that is reflected in Scouting,” said Liran Dror, one of the teens, to The Telegraph.
Remarking on Kate’s visit to Gilwell Park, the Chief Executive of Scouts said that, “to have such a high-profile visit is a huge honour and will make so many people involved in Scouting in the UK and globally very proud.”