Leader of the pack 50 years on

A WARRACKNABEAL woman who has dedicated her life to guiding children’s development, confidence and leadership skills was commended for her long service. 

After 50 years, First Warracknabeal Cubs and Scouts Akela (Leader) Glenyce Liersch still giving to her community. 

Warracknabeal Primary School Teacher Susan Knorpp with the help of Cubs and Scouts parent group organised a luncheon and presentation for Mrs Liersch at the community centre to celebrate her years of volunteering on Sunday. 

Mrs Liersch said she was touched by the celebrations and was excited to catch up with some old friends she had made through Cubs and Scouts. 

Girl Guide leaders, district Scout leaders, the district commissioner, and the Cubs and Scouts attended with their families. 

Born and raised in Ararat, Mrs Liersch started her career as a cubs scouts leader before turning 20 in 1967.  

She had just finished at teachers college the year before and had applied for a position at the Warracknabeal Primary School. 

Before Cub Scouts, she had a background in Girl Guides, where she moved on to the highest position as a Queen Guide. 

Upon moving to town, she found out the First Cubs and Scouts were in need of a leader, and so she was asked by another Scout leader to take on the Warracknabeal packs. 

She accepted the position in February of 1967, and stayed in the position before temporarily moving to Britain to teach and travel through Europe. 

En route back home she spent a short while in Horsham in 1971, before getting engaged to her husband Kevin Liersch who came from a Warracknabeal farming background. 

After getting married she was asked to come back to Warracknabeal, and so took on the position again, where she has been since. 

Mrs Liersch, with a primary school teaching background, said she has always enjoyed working with children and seeing them grown and develop. 

“I enjoy working with children; even though I work with children all day. When I work at school I work with the youngest children. At Cubs they’re from eight to 11, so they’re a bit different. I enjoyed the challenge,” she said.  

“The benefits of scouting are so great, the things you do in scouting are for life, they’re life skills.”

She said it’s heartwarming seeing young people gaining confidence and trying new things, the otherwise would be afraid of. 

“I had a little boy the other day he had to write a thank you letter for a test. He thanked me for the help I gave; he thanked me for giving him the confidence to do things which he did not think he could do. That almost makes me cry,” she said. 

“He’s now going on to grey wolf, the highest awards in Cubs, he didn’t think he could do it. But I told him he could do it and helped where needed.” 

She said Cubs and Scouts teaches children a multitude of skills. 

“The skills Scouting provides, it’s an all-round skill. We do the physical, we do the craft, we develop kids emotionally. We teach them to be respectful, help other people, believe in themselves. A lot of cooperation and team work, treat others the way they’d like to be treated. We talk a lot about empathy and understanding. We teach them to follow rues. It doesn’t matter if you don’t win; just have a red hot go.” 

Mrs Liersch has seen many generations of children go through cubs scouts; including her own children, where her daughter Tara went through guides and become Queen and son Rarl went through
Cubs Scouts and Venturers.

“The leadership skills they’ve gained is fantastic; and the friendships they’ve gained are great too.” 

She said she has made many life long friendships through her journey as Scout leader. 

“I have made some fantastic friends, the leaders I’ve worked with have become personal friends.” 

“You work so closely with them that they become friends. I was very touched, I didn’t know who was coming (on Sunday).”

At the celebrations on Sunday First Warracknabeal Scout Leader Leigh Cooksley spoke about the massive contribution Glenyce has provided the community. 

“Warracknabeal would not be what it is today without you,” Mr Cooksley said. 

“You have always been there, week in, week out and managed to do this while managing all your other commitments. 

“Two hours a week for 50 years is 5200 hours. But as all leader know with camps, organising activities and programs, meetings and the like, the number is doubled. So nearly 10, 500 hours. 

“Two hundred hours a year for 50 years. Over 10, 000 volunteer hours to scouts, and probably the same for the SES. You truly do live the values of Scouts Australia.”