Farmers’ boy scouts are not a suitable option for families seeking to expand their family farm or become more involved in farming, a new survey has found.
The survey, conducted by the Australian Farming Association (AFA) and the University of Queensland, found that the most common reasons for parents wanting to opt out of the sport were the cost and the perceived stigma attached to the role.
“There is no doubt that the AFA is keen to get more farmers into the sport,” said AFA chairman and chief executive Tim Roddick.
“[The survey] is the first time we’ve polled farmers about the role of the scout, and the results are very interesting.”
While more than 80 per cent of the respondents said they would support the role, most were also unhappy with the role’s perceived negative impact on their children.
More than three-quarters of the farmers surveyed were unhappy with how the role was perceived, with just a quarter of those who were positive in their perception of the role saying it was positive.
The findings were consistent with a survey released earlier this year by the Farmers’ Association of Australia (FAA), which found that farmers were unhappy about the perceived impact of the boy scout role on their kids.
According to the FAA survey, more than two-thirds of respondents said that their child would be happier without a scout.
Some parents who were not happy with the scout role said they had never participated in the role before and were not sure if they would participate again.
Mr Roddack said the survey findings were an opportunity for farmers to learn from the experience of other farmers.
For the first year of the new Scout Association program, parents will have to apply to the National Scouting Association to join.
Parents who are members of a scout group or have been a member of a Scout Association for a minimum of four years will be able to join the program, which starts this September.
But some parents are concerned that there are few resources available to help them with the new role.
“This will be the first step of getting farmers into a Scout role, but it’s not the end of the journey,” Mr Roddicks said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or call the Samaritans on 116 123.