I started my journey in Scouting back in 1996 as a Cub, when I was just a mere 8 years old. I struggled a little to start with, but within a few months I was striving! Once I had finished Cubs my family moved home, so I moved to a Scout Troop closer to our new home. I knew A LOT of members through school, other clubs and drama groups etc.
After these years in Scouts, I was approached by the District to see whether I would like to join this brand spanking new section called "Explorer Scouts" and I became one of the first members of "Nomad Explorer Scout Unit".
I realised I was gay at an early (ish) age, around 12 years old. I officially came out to my parents at the age of 16, but whatís this got to do with Scouting I hear you say? Well just before I came out to my family, I had a few months of ups and downs and finally confided in my Explorer Scout leader for someone to rely on and a be a role model to me.
I then started as a Young Leader at my current Scout Troop and I was taken in with open arms. After a year of being a Young Leader, I came out to my Scout Leader (now Group Scout Leader) and again was accepted by her. This open minded way of life was VERY overwhelming for me and now at 26 years old no one batters an eyelid...this is how it should be!!
I can't thank the people in my Scouting journey enough: Dave, Phil, Debbie, Arthur, Heidi, Clare, Peter Ö THANK YOU XX
I Found out about FLAGS 3 years ago when I joined them at London Pride and I have never looked back since!! Iíve now met my life long partner Joe through an event last year, now 10 months down the line we are living together and ready to spend our lives together!
If I have learnt anything in Scouting, it is that itís an OPEN and DIVERSE organisation, to be me and believe in myself.
#SCOUTPRIDE #SCOUTING4ALLAuthor: Mike Preston