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Bear Grylls: Why I became Chief Scout

TV adventurer Bear Grylls has been named as the youngest ever Chief Scout. The 34-year-old said he wanted to encourage more adults to volunteer so the 33,000 youngsters on waiting lists could join Scout groups. Grylls has presented TV programmes such as Man vs Wild and Born Survivor.

Bear Grylls and Jo Whiley
Bear Grylls was talking to Jo Whiley on her Radio 1 show

Why should people be scouts these days?

It's just a great chance for kids to get out there, follow their dreams and grab life and go for a bit of an adventure. Scouts provide a great framework to kids to find that in a good, safe, fun environment.

Were you ever a scout?

I was, when I was about eight. I remember turning up on day one as a scout and I was told, 'Here's one match and one sausage. Now cook it'. And I was thinking, 'There's no way this is going to last long'. Then they taught us how to build a fire. I get so many kids coming up to me now and they say, 'How can I learn to do some of the stuff you do on Born Survivor?' And the truth is, the basis came from scouting.

Do you know the scout's promise?

Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls lives on a barge in the River Thames and in Wales

I'm learning it. I'm learning it. I had it dropped on my head so many times as a child. But I'm only on day one of the job. All I know is I want to have loads of fun with loads of scouts.

How many badges did you have when you were a scout? What badges did you get?

I was actually quite a bad scout, is the truth. I think if somebody had told me when I was aged eight or a scout leader that I'd end up as Chief Scout, they probably would have fallen over laughing. But I was a kid with not a huge amount of confidence and it gave me that confidence that I could go for these things. Life's a journey. We build up bit by bit.

Did you ever cheat to get any of your badges?

No. But do you know what? There are so many badges kids can get nowadays. There are like 200, from rafting to snowboarding to rock climbing, paragliding, even cooking, photography. So it's amazing. I'm super proud.

What kind of music are you into?

You've given me so much grief about this. It's because once I came on Radio 1 and said my favourite band was Abba and you've laughed at it ever since. I've come more prepared this time. As head of the Scouts, it should be either Scouting For Girls or I've got a son called Marmaduke, so we could do the Marmaduke Duke.

Bear Grylls was talking to Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley



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