Community, commitment and culture
As a parent, you are keen to get your child involved in after-school clubs and activities to keep them busy, make them happy and help them develop interests and skills outside of the classroom. Clubs also foster a child’s sense of commitment and willingness to participate in local communities. Sports organisations and clubs get the most publicity, but if you are looking for a well-rounded community club, joining one of the scouting groups in Doha could be ideal for your child.
British Scouting Overseas
English-speaking boys and girls ages six to 18 years from all backgrounds are welcome to join the Doha group of the British Scouts. The 1st Doha Scout Group is a member of the Scout Association and participates in the same programme and activities as UK-based scouts. Scouts work towards badges, and activities in Doha have recently included paddleboarding, sailing, wakeboarding and a kid-safe SCUBA diving experience. Activities vary from group to group and encourage volunteer work, independence, teamwork and environmental awareness. Traditional scouting activities such as pioneering, knotwork and general survival skills, including cooking, first aid and camping, are also emphasised.
Most groups—Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers—meet at Compass International School (Madinat Khalifa or Al Gharaffa campus) for one hour a week. Explorers have also met at the Museum of Islamic Art but venues may change from time to time.
Fees are QR 300–350 per term, plus a QR 185 joining fee and QR 150–225 for a welcome pack. All the money goes towards the activities as the group is run by parent volunteers. Trips, camps and some activities are usually charged separately. Waiting lists are long so it is worth applying in advance of your child’s sixth birthday.
Boy Scouts of America
“Prepared. For Life.” The motto for the Boy Scouts of America gives you an idea of the aims of the organisation. Steve Connor, the Doha Pack 3497 Cubmaster, believes scouting provides boys with an opportunity to learn valuable life skills, social responsibility and moral guidance all while having fun. It is an interactive programme, and the values of the organisation are codified in the Cub Scout Law: “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.”
Boys from five to 10 years old can join the Cub Scouts. After that they graduate to the Boy Scouts. Meetings are held on a weekly basis in smaller age groups called dens—Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear or Webelos—and the whole pack gathers monthly for larger family events. Age-appropriate activities are fun but challenging and promote character development and physical fitness. For example, boys have recently built their own boats and cars to race against each other and participate in group activities, such as overnight camps. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts progress from rank to rank, learning new skills as they go and gaining awards. Each award has its own requirements which become more challenging to match relevant skills and abilities.
All nationalities are welcome, and the only two requirements for joining are age and parental involvement. Parents are required to participate in at least one pack event during the year. The cost is QR 700 per year which includes all activities, supplies and books. A uniform is extra but can be purchased locally.
American Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts is an amazing opportunity for girls aged five to 18 to build confidence, learn skills, make lifelong friendships, work as a team and be part of an organisation that is empowering girls all over the world. All girls living in Doha, regardless of nationality, are welcome. The groups, organised by age—Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Ambassadors and Seniors—usually meet twice a month, with location and timing varying by troop.
Girls with varying personalities and skills are given the opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs. They also work on skill-building projects throughout the year to earn badges, with service playing an important role in the chosen activities. Girl Scouts are involved in community work, helping animals and volunteering at Hamad and Sidra hospitals and at Bayt Aman (a medical care facility for expatriate labourers recovering from illness and waiting to return home). They also hold events with the US Army and Air Force and committee events such as a Father-Daughter Dance and Pinewood Derby.
Information on registration and joining fees are available from Jennifer Robertson-Jones, Committee Chair at email@example.com.