Inspirational young Cub wins the hearts of North Wales Scout group

By Raspberry Jim,

A group of children posing for a group photo in the Snowdonia mountain range

A young Cub with complex learning difficulties has won the hearts of his leaders and fellow Scouts in Conwy.

9-year-old, David Hughes, from Betws-y-Coed has Autism & Dyspraxia, but this hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest and taking every Scouting opportunity in his stride.

A recent mountain activity weekend saw David stun his group with his can-do attitude and determination. 

Nine Cubs from 1st Gwydyr Scouts headed deep into the heart of Snowdonia for a weekend of exploring the abandoned slate mines.

Accompanied by two leaders and two members of the recently formed Conwy District Adventurous Activities Team, the Cubs explored the underground tunnels of the quarries and learnt about the history of slate mining.

A young boy and his friends posing for a photo is an old slate mine in the Snowdonia Mountain range

David, who has been with the group since joining as a Beaver at six years old, was not deterred by any of the activities, including the two and half hour walk through the mine to the surface of the mountain, he revelled in the experience.

The weekend was packed full of tasks that many of his fellow Cubs would have found challenging and David completed them all with a smile on his face.

Hazel Barclay, Group Scout Leader of 1st Gwydyr, who was one of the Leaders on the weekend said:

“Each and every Cub there faced big challenges, it was tough for them all. David truly stunned us with his steadfastness, courage and determination. He always wore his bright and positive attitude.  It is an absolute pleasure to take him on these trips.

“Of course, some challenges are bigger for David than for some of the others, but he just gets on with it, grinning his lovely big smile all the way, never uttering a word of complaint and enjoying every single moment! To the other Cubs he is just one of the pack.

“David was at his best on the mountain weekend – he loves being outdoors, exploring places and learning about nature.  He’s full of knowledge and his different view of the world makes us see things in a different light.  He always asks amazing questions – the curiosity and interest he has in all sorts of things is incredible.

“When he first joined Beavers, our Beaver leader and her team worked really hard with him to help him join in the activities. We usually dedicated one leader just for him.  As he’s got older, he manages the activities better but sadly does struggles sometimes as he finds the acoustics in the hall quite distressing.

“We’re currently talking to the Church who own the hall to see if we can fundraise and apply for grants to have some sound-reducing work done on it, not just for David, as we have a number of other autistic children and children with different needs who really suffer because of the noise.”

Ray Barnett from ADC Activities who led the weekend, said:

“David is no different when given the chance. He took part in everything and completed all the activities with good humour alongside his Cub friends. David and all the Cubs kept their promise and “did their best”. We are so proud of them.”

David’s mum, Gemma, knows that his disabilities have never held him back, she said:

“He just needs to be given the chance to try, and that is exactly what ScoutsCymru have given him. He absolutely loves going on the weekend trips and taking part in the various activities. The leaders don’t see him as a task, he is just another one of the Cubs and it has created an environment for him to thrive in.”

ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.