Kate Middleton was also a Scouts volunteer when she and Prince William lived on the island of Anglesey in north Wales during the first couple years of their marriage
Kate Middleton reporting for Scouts duty!
The mom of three, who was a Brownie as a young girl alongside her sister Pippa Middleton, paid a visit to the Scouts’ headquarters on the outskirts of London on Thursday to see the youth movement’s new program for 4 and 5 year olds. For the occasion, 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 red, white and blue U.K. Scouting scarf – which was tied with a friendship knot!
The 37-year-old royal was greeted with a bouquet of flowers upon her arrival and sweetly leaned down to listen as a boy proudly showed off the multiple badges adorning his sleeve.
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“She’s used her experience as a sailor to help them with knotting,” a local Scouts source told PEOPLE at the time. “She’s been involved in managing games and joining in art and crafts activities. … We also pitched tents indoors in one of the sessions, and she remembered pitching tents.”
She also became a patron of the organization in 2012, helping to raise volunteer numbers.
On Thursday, Kate spent time with parents and leaders and children from three areas of the U.K. who are 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 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.
“She is a complete natural in this situation it felt so natural and it was very much her comfort zone,” says Frankii Newbury, the early year’s pilot project leader. “She engaged with each of the children and cared what they were there to do and what experience they’ve had. She has been a volunteer so she understands just how wonderful scouting is for these young people.”
Newbury added, “It was nice for her to experience that vision again, that appreciation for what scouting does was refreshed for her.”
Her visit dovetails with her ongoing mission to see how the early years of children — and their parents and careers — can be supported.
She was also shown around some of the historic locations at Gilwell Park — which is marking its 100th anniversary this year — by some older Explorer Scouts who will be heading to the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia during the summer.
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.