3rd Washington Scouts has been giving young people skills for life since 1975. Back in 1974, the District Commissioner of Chester-Le-Street realised that there was a gap in provision in Washington New Town and sought volunteers to open new troops in Albany and Donwell.
Parents enrolling their children onto the waiting list at 1st Usworth were asked to take a leadership role at the new troops. John Addington, our Group President agreed to take on the role as Scout Leader and has been involved in the Group ever since. 3rd Washington held it's first official meeting on the 16th January 1975. 30 Cubs and 36 Scouts enrolled on the first night at an open meeting at Usworth Church Hall.
By the summer of 1975, the group had raised funds, bought a tent and begged and borrowed the gear needed to go to camp. The first Group camp was held at Moor House with both Cubs and Scouts attending.
The Group were initially based within Donwell School, however looking to expand provision of Scouting in the holidays, the Group moved to a local community centre.
In the late 70's, the Group was homeless after the community centre was condemned and numbers were low. 2nd Washington (at Albany) were struggling also and the groups merged. After a year working with 1st Usworth Scouts on their gang show, the Group found a home again at Blue House Lane Community Centre and started to grow.
After outgrowing the Community Centre, the Group moved to St Andrew's church in Concord in the early 90s where it has been based ever since.
Growth continued and the Group opened its first Beaver colony in 1997, the first time a provision for 6 to 8 year olds existed as part of 3rd Washington, just a few beavers joined the group at first led by Maureen and Malcolm Hitcham, but soon the section began to grow, moving from the small classroom in St Andrews Church to the main hall.
The Millenium and Beyond
In 2000, Eddie Wright (known as Kingfisher to our beavers) joined the group and with Lynn his wife took the helm of our beaver colony, with inspirational enthusiasm he inspired generations of beavers over 18 years with many memorable programmes, including building a 30 foot pirate ship out of pallets for a weekend camp. Sadly Eddie passed away in 2018 and will be remembered as an energetic, creative and lively man. His family continue to lead our St Andrews Beaver Colony.
The pace of growth dramatically increased from 2007 as the Centenary of Scouting and the presence of the World Scout Jamboree in the United Kingdom created huge interest in scouting. With Jonathan Chicken and Carl Hickman driving the ambitions of the group and a growing leader team of adult volunteers, the group was able to open a new scout troop in the West of Washington in 2008 and a cub pack a year and a half later. In 2012, the group opened a new beaver colony in Oxclose which completed the scouting family.
Jonathan took up the role of group scout leader as John Addington retired and Jonathan's dedication ever since has moved the group forward, including leading the group towards the purchase of 3 minibuses, many summer camps and many more events alongside his work as district commissioner and leadership in other roles in Durham County.
In 2014, explorer scouts (for young people aged 14 to 18) became a group provision rather than a district unit as it had been previously and the group opened it's first explorer scout unit in September 2014 with 18 members.
The dedicated volunteers in the group took scouting online in 2020 as the corona virus pandemic forced everyone to stay at home and the group continued to provide scouting to many of it's members, delivering incredible virtual programmes across all sections.