In almost 50 years as a leader, Jackie Starr has seen more children than she can count come through the doors of Scout halls.
But she has invested three who are particularly memorable. They are her daughter Susan, granddaughter Stephanie, and as of last Thursday, her seven-year-old great granddaughter Annabelle.
“It was a really proud moment for me,” Mrs Starr said.
“I’ve seen so many kids over 48 years with Scouts but it’s really very special when it’s one of your own.”
Staring down the barrel of her half-century, Mrs Starr said she has no plans to hang up her scarf yet.
There are at least two more children she needs to invest before she may even consider it. They are her other great granddaughters, Serenity and Sheeva.
"They told me I’m not allowed to retire until the other two are in but I don’t think I’ll be ready even then,” she said.
“I’ve always said, ‘the day I don’t enjoy it anymore, I’ll hang up my hat’, but that day hasn’t come yet and it probably won’t for a while.”
Mrs Starr first became involved with Scouts in 1969 when she was 17-years-old and living in western Sydney.
“I was jealous of what my brothers got to do [in Scouts] so I wanted to get involved too,” she said.
When she moved to Junee, she wanted her four daughters to have the same experiences as her son, so in 1990, she fought for daughter Susan to be invested as a junior leader. Today Susan continues as the group’s treasurer.
In 2000, when Stephanie turned eight, she joined her mother and grandmother as a Cub Scout. Now that Annabelle is seven, there was never any question whether she would join. Though what attracted her to Cubs was different to her forebears.
“I get to play poison ball and go on camps,” Annabelle said.
Even as Scouts groups around the country struggle with diminishing numbers, Junee’s chapter boasts 160 regularly involved children. They have even had to put on more leaders to help meet the demand.
“[Scouts] is different to what’s on offer by sporting clubs or after-school clubs,” Mrs Starr said.
“Sporting clubs are seasonal but Scouts is all year long, and it’s teaching life skills, leadership, teamwork, things that will put them in good stead for the future and that you can’t really get anywhere else.”