"Wouldn't be a visit to Gilwell Park without a bit of den building," the Scouts said
Kate Middleton knows it isn’t a day with the Scouts unless you get a little dirty!
During her visit to the Scouts’ headquarters on the outskirts of London on Thursday, the royal mom of three unexpectedly climbed into a den built against a tree alongside a little girl. The results? One of the best photos of Kate ever!
“It’s very waterproof in here,” the 37-year-old royal said as she hunched down inside and children ran around the set-up.
“Wouldn’t be a visit to Gilwell Park without a bit of den building,” the Scouts captioned the sweet image on Twitter, adding the hashtag #SkillsForLife.
The den had just been built by the youngest Scouts, the Beavers. They had tested whether it was water proof – and the results were almost a complete success.
“Three trials were dry, one was wet! We are very proud that it was three quarters there,” says Frankii Newbury, the early year’s pilot project leader. “[Kate] got straight in there with one of our Beavers and checked it out. It was wonderful and the Scouts absolutely loved her. The highlight was the Duchess, smack bang in the middle of it all, getting in a den — braver woman than I am.”
Kate, who was a Brownie as a young girl alongside her sister Pippa Middleton, spent time with parents, leaders and children taking part in trials for a new pilot program for the youngest Scouts. The pilot has been exploring the potential of providing Scouting to children between the ages of 4 and 6 as research has shown that the first five years of a child’s life are more important to the development, and future health and happiness, of a child than any other single moment in their lifetime.
Kate, a patron of the Scouts since 2012, joined in on a number of sessions with the kids, including activities to improve communication and teamwork such as boat building and balloon rocket assembling.
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Gilwell Park, which lies close to Epping Forest, is recognized internationally as the home of Scouting. Located on the edge of Epping Forest, it is a Scout campsite, training and adventure center, and home to the organization’s U.K. headquarters.
Before she left, Kate was set to plant an oak sapling to help mark the 100th anniversary.
For the outing, Kate dressed down in a red mockneck sweater (still available in a variety of colors at J. Crew!), black pants and boots. She completed the look with a khaki jacket and a red, white and blue U.K. Scouting scarf – which was tied with a friendship knot!
The garden was designed to encourage children to stay active and engaged and features stepping stones, hollow logs (to test balance and coordination), a waterfall and a stream that kids will be able to play in.
The project to create the woodland-themed garden was a “passion” for the royal, who has taken on a very hands-on role to add inspiration and practical ideas for the garden.
“To us, this is very much about childhood memories. We all spoke about our childhood memories, being outdoors and exploring nature. She was very open and has been hugely collaborative,” Kate’s collaborator Adam White previously told reporters.