At a ceremony in Dooleys Hotel, Waterford, on Friday, March 3rd last, the De La Salle Scout Group and Scouting Ireland paid tribute to two of its longest-serving adult leaders. George Kavanagh of the well-known electrical family was celebrating 50 years as a Macaoimh leader with De La Salle. The Macaoimh (or Cub Scouts) is scouting’s section for 8 to 10 year olds and in 1966 George was involved in the establishment of the very first Macaoimh Pack in Waterford City – the 3rd De La Salle. Thanks to George’s drive and determination the section was hugely successful and provided an excellent beginning in Scouting to many hundreds of young people in the city. That success continues to this day and George remains actively involved where his stories, songs, love of wildlife and unique character still combine to make him an exceptional leader. The Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland, Martin Burbidge presented George with the Cuchulain award on the night. This award is the highest honour the association can bestow on an adult member and is reserved for leaders who have shown the highest commitment to both scouting and the communities in which they are based.
The second recipient of the Cuchulain award was Billy Collins, Scoutleader of the 7th De La Salle Scout Troop. Billy who is a well known employee of Waterford Crystal, was honoured for his exceptional commitment to scouting for over 30 years. Billy was a Macaoimh Leader in the 7th Pack for 20 years and has been the leader of the 7th Scout Troop for the past 11 years. Few leaders have been on more hikes, camped in more wild places, sang at more campfires or been a bigger inspiration to young people and fellow adult leaders than Billy. The Chief Scout also paid tribute to the families of both award recipients and especially their wives, Antoinette and Breda without whose support George’s and Billy’s contribution would not have been possible. Speaking at the event, Group Leader, Owen Riordan congratulated both George and Billy on their awards. He said their outstanding commitment and that of the many other adult leaders in De La Salle are what has driven the success of the Group from 1928 to this day. He expressed his hope that young people in 2006 would see what a difference and contribution youth leadership can make and that they would be inspired to follow their example. Owen also presented George with the group’s old CBSI flag in recognition of his 50 years of service while Alan Parle presented him with a sword on behalf of the 3rd Macaoimh Pack.