If you’ve seen the ‘Scouts Made Me’ video featuring some of our ambassadors, including Bear Grylls, Steve Backshall, Helen Glover and Ellie Simmonds, you’ll know the long-lasting impression that Scouts has had on some of our country’s most celebrated names.
Real-life examples of the positive impact that our weekly Scout meetings have on young people exist much closer to home than you may realise. And this month, one Explorer from Berkshire will take aim with the Archery GB squad at the European Indoor Championships in Slovenia all because of Scouting.
It marks another milestone moment for 15-year-old twins Ollie and Fin Hicks, now Explorers at Loddon, who developed a passion for archery from the first moment they picked up a bow at 1st Twyford Scout Group.
“Not long after joining the Scout Troop, Ollie and Fin had the chance to learn archery,” recalls mum Charlotte. “To 11-year-old boys this was an exciting opportunity, and it is fair to say that very soon they were hooked, wanting to attend as many sessions as possible. They were really fortunate to have Scout leaders who were prepared to share their enthusiasm for the sport and give up their time to teach the Scouts. They attended the national Scout archery competition as part of the 1st Twyford Team who came home with a selection of silverware.”
David Holland, South Berks District Explorers (DESA) and County assessor for archery, picks up the story: “From there, the twins joined the Bowmen of Warfield archery club in Bracknell, continuing to learn the art of barebow shooting and joining their junior squad’s winter coaching programme,” he says. “Once the club was allowed to re-open following the first Covid lockdown, the boys immediately picked up their bows, using their free time to hone their skill. As archery competitions resumed, the boys started to enjoy competing. They have diversified into Field and 3D archery, as well as target, and medalled in all disciplines.”
While both twins have continued to rise through the ranks, Ollie has established himself as a particularly exciting emerging talent. Last year, he gained his Junior Master Bowman award, as well as adding to his collection of competition medals. His personal bests have not only improved but they’ve been good enough to take national and world records, understandably catching the eye of Archery GB.
At December’s National Indoor Championships, Ollie took gold in the Junior Gents Barebow, with his brother Fin taking bronze – a real family success story. Ollie also secured bronze in the senior competition after a series of head-to-head matches.
Starting 2022 in style, Ollie took another world record for Barebow Junior Men in January, shortly after being named in the Archery GB squad for February’s European Indoor Championships.
“If it weren’t for the enthusiasm and commitment of Zed (Peter Rogers) and the other leaders at 1st Twyford Scouts neither of the boys would have pursued archery as a hobby, so it really does all stem from scouting,” says Charlotte.
Ollie adds: “I get a real buzz from archery and love the competitive aspect of it. Without the opportunity I had at Scouts I might never have experienced it. Thanks Zed and 1st Twyford Scouts.”
Zed himself concludes: “It is always easier to be enthusiastic about something when you enjoy it and being able to help develop that love of archery at the start with Ollie and Fin was a pleasure for all of us at Twyford and I know we all look forward to hearing about even more success in the future.”
The European Indoor Championships take place from 14-19 February in Laško, Slovenia – and we hope you’ll join us in wishing Ollie the best of luck from all at Berkshire Scouts.