The Woodcraft Folk

I read an article this morning about the Woodcraft Folk taking young people aged 11 / 13 (depending where you read) to the demonstrations about the proposed rises in university tuition fees. The article I read was in the Daily Telegraph (but I can’t find it online – p16 of the paper though!) or a much shortened version in the Evening Standard.

Now it’s all well and good to protest against things that you disagree with, but I don’t think that taking young people who are that young to protests which have a very high chance of violence breaking out is very clever. Having taken groups of Scouts to London in the past, I know it’s hard enough keeping everyone together normally, let alone in a protest where things could go wrong at any moment.

The Woodcraft Folk are, to quote from their website

A movement for children and young people, open to everyone from birth to adult. We offer a place where children will grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other.

Sounds good. But there are a couple of issues I have with them.

First of all, it might be worth while mentioning that I may be a little biased against them, based on the one time I met some Woodcraft Folk. I was on summer camp as a Scout and we had gone somewhere for the day (no idea where) and we came across these scouty type people who obviously weren’t Scouts. We said hello to one of their leaders and asked who they were. The leader replied along the lines of ‘ Woodcraft Folk, don’t you know your Scouting history?’ and stomped off! So, being the mature Scouts we were, we immediately renamed them the ‘Flower Fairies’ and proceeded to take the mickey out of them (out of their hearing of course!).

So please feel free to carry on reading and let me tell you about my reservations about this organisation, but please take a look at their website, have a read and make your own mind up!

They started in the 1920’s and to quote them –

Just after the First World War one of the leading figures in the Scouting movement broke away from what he considered to be its militaristic approach…

Now I find this a bit odd as in 1917, in the middle of the Great War, Baden-Powell was horrified at the thought of all the men who had been Scouts being slaughtered on the battlefields (this was no longer the type of war he himself fought, but a highly mechanised one) and he wrote –

The roots of Scouting have grown among young people of all civilised countries and are developing more each day. It might be thought that if in years to come, a considerable proportion of the future citizens of each nation forms part of this brotherhood, they will be joined by a bond of personal friendship and mutual understanding such as has never existed before, which will help to find a solution to terrible international conflicts.

So Scouting itself was becoming an organisation dedicated to peace and friendship amongst countries. Indeed in 1937, the World Conference resolved –

The Conference resolves that the International Committee be requested to do all that it can to ensure that Scouting and Rovering in all countries, while fostering true patriotism, are genuinely kept within the limits of international cooperation and friendship, irrespective of creed and race, as has always been outlined by the Chief Scout (Baden-Powell). Thus, any steps to the militarization of Scouting or the introduction of political aims, which might cause misunderstanding and thus handicap our work for peace and good will among nations and individuals should be entirely avoided in our programmes.

(see here).
So the Scouts were hardly militaristic even then. The Woodland Folk seem to have a huge chip on their shoulders about the Scouts and similar organisations. The leader who spoke to me and my fellow Scouts is a case in point, but so are the Oxford Woodcraft Folk.

On their webpage it asks –


Camping, making stuff, building rafts, archery, abseiling, singing, high ropes, rock climbing, making brilliant friends, putting on shows, helping others, doing lots of really cool stuff?

Sounds good to me! But then asks –


Marching, saluting flags, uniforms, bossy adults?

Marching – Scouts are not known for square bashing, that’s the Cadets. We do a bit very occasionally, on Remembrance Day (and badly!), for example, but that’s it.

Saluting Flags – OK guilty as charged. But there is nothing wrong in showing respect to the symbol of your country and what it stands for.

Uniforms – Guilty again. But what is that young girl on your webpage wearing? Oh, it’s your uniform!

Bossy Adults – Erm I’m lost here. It doesn’t matter what organisation you belong to, some leaders / adults are going to be bossy, shouty, annoying, kind, helpful or inspirational.

The other thing is that I’m not too sure about their politics. I’ve said before that Scouting should be apolitical (here and here), but should engage our young people to take an interest in the issues that affect them and should converse with all political parties.

But isn’t that what the Woodcraft Folk are doing by attending these protests? Well no. They are taking a particular side and not engaging all parts of the political spectrum. In fact a lot of the protests just annoy many people and reduce the sympathy for the students and potential students!

Yes, talk to the politicians (of all parties) and get the young people to raise their concerns, but don’t take them to demonstrations where it is possible they could get hurt. Indeed there is a report in the Telegraph of a 15 year old girl being ‘beaten up by the police’ & ‘.. they broke her foot..’. Now that’s not good and deserves some further investigation, but can you imagine if I’d taken a Scout and that had happened?? Not worth thinking about.

So there you go. As far as the Woodcraft Folk are concerned, for me, the outdoorsy stuff is brilliant, they need to get rid of the chip on their collective shoulder about Scouting and engage in politics but stop being Political.

Please, though, make your own mind up!

Safety Culture

Of late various organisations, like Scouts, schools or local councils, have been stopping various activities due to ‘health and safety’. The more ridiculous examples of this has been schools stopping kids playing conkers in the playground to the stopping of the centuries old tradition of cheese rolling.

The reasons for this rise in the ‘health and safety’ culture is twofold – stupidity and money!

A lot of the problems come from people’s stupidity. So for example, they will try to go walking in the wilder upland areas of, say The Lake District, Snowdonia or Ben Nevis, for example, without proper route planning or being properly equipped for the conditions. They then have a problem or the weather suddenly changes for the worse and they are stuck. So they have to call out the Mountain Rescue service, which like the RNLI on the sea, is run by volunteers, to sort them out.

The money part comes from the culture that has grown up that if there is an accident that someone is to ‘blame’ and they must pay a financial penalty. Here it is the problem of the ‘no win no fee’ injury ambulance chasers, sorry, lawyers and their ‘if there is blame, there is a claim’ slogans.

All this has ended up that youth organisations and schools are reluctant to run activities or trips in case something goes wrong and they get sued to bits.

As a Scout on a camp, I cut my hand with a bow saw and needed some stiches. My parents were very understanding and after ensuring I was ok asked if I was going back to camp! I did. However, if it were now and not 1984, they could have turned to my Scout Leader and told him that he and / or the Group were going to be sued for compensation. Of course if that were that case, they wouldn’t have got too far as it was my own fault as I hadn’t secured the wood properly as I was told!

Now of course at this point I need to say I am all in favour in doing things correctly and safely and that with any risky activities all possible precautions are taken. But that is the point, that although risks are taken, the potential problems have been though about (so you have a safety rope when rock climbing then?) and measures are in place to prevent them or people know what to do if something goes wrong.

With all this in mind, it’s interesting to read that the Government have commissioned a report into this and it’s about to be published (it could be an interesting read!). The idea being to cut down on the ‘no win no fee’ litigation and remove some of the unnecessary legislation.

Hopefully, when published, it will be acted upon and the fear of kids being injured while playing conkers in the playground (I never remember getting an injury while playing conkers, other than a sore knuckle from being hit by a conker!) and the school being sued can be removed.

Someone Needs to Re-read His Scout Law

I was looking at the Scout Association’s website this morning and an article on the front page caught my eye. It seems that National Chairman of The Ugandan Scout Association David Bahati, who is a member of the Ugandan Parliament, is the author of a Private Members Bill which calls for the death sentence for repeat practicing of homosexuality.

The UK Scout Association has issued this statement –

Statement on Ugandan Private Members Bill


In mid-January, Headquarters became aware of a Private Members Bill being tabled in the Ugandan Parliament by David Bahati MP, who is also the National Chairman of The Ugandan Scout Association.

We noted that the legislation being proposed appeared incompatible with our understanding of Scouting’s values and principles. Our immediate response was to raise the matter directly with the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) who have responsibility for coordinating Scouting on a global level.

Following these representations, and progress thus far, we are now issuing a formal statement that details the latest position in the development of this issue:


Since the mid-1990s, The Scout Association has been clear and unequivocal in our equal opportunities policy and practice especially regarding sexual orientation, as befitting our role in contemporary society.

We are recently aware that the Ugandan Parliament has received a Bill that calls for the death sentence for repeat practicing of homosexuality. This Bill is presented by a Ugandan MP (David Bahati) who is also currently the National Chairman of the Uganda Scout Association. In terms of our own policies and understandings, we find the Bill not only discriminatory and contrary to the sanctity of life, but also completely incompatible with our interpretation of the values of our worldwide Scouting Movement.

We have already drawn our grave concerns on this to the attention of the Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and we are subsequently aware that the issues are now subject both to WOSM’s direct engagement with the Chief Scout of Uganda (Mrs Maggie Kigozi) and to ongoing global consideration by members of the World Scout Committee.

We hope that the bilateral and very positive educational and solidarity projects that have been fostered for many years between Scout Groups in the UK and Scout Groups in Uganda on such matters as health and community development will not be prejudiced or compromised by this situation; we await the formal and public response from the Scout Association of Uganda and from WOSM, whereupon we will review our position.

Alan Craft, Chair of Trustees,

Derek Twine, Chief Executive

23 February 2010

Now two things come to mind. First of all he needs to remember the forth part of the Ugandan Scout Law

4. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.

His bill is hardly friendly is it?

Second, the Ugandan Scouts need to drop this nasty piece of work as soon as possible. Again on the Mission page of their website it states –

The mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world (my italics) where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.

Hmmm, can’t really build a better world if you want to go around executing a proportion of the population because of the way they are.

It’s good to read that the SA have raised this with the WOSM, but it will be interesting to see how they respond and what, if any, action they take. This kind of attitude has no place in today’s society and in Scouting and indeed never has done!

Behind the Stereotypes…

The following was posted by Charlie Roper on his blog. I wanted to make a reply, but as it’s limited to 140 characters, I thought I’d use my blog to put my own thoughts down.

Every young person has had the experience. Whether it be the local shop attendant eyeing you suspiciously or an adult crossing the street to avoid your path; every young person has been a victim of unfair judgement by the society we all live in.

Many argue that this is the fault of the media and the way it portrays teenagers. The media focus is on youth drug addiction, vandalism, knife crime, unprotected sex as well as many other issues that can be seen in a negative light. This has led some people to perceive young people in a bad way often leading to stereotypes and gross generalisations.

The media plays an important role in creating public opinion, and this can lead to creating policy and law. Therefore, it can be argued that if there is a misrepresentation of young people, and that the view is inaccurate, there is a danger that the policies that are created in the future will not address their needs. Negative media stereotypes can also influence young people directly. Young people can be discriminated against or treated in a suspicious manner because of the views these stereotypes have lead too.

Shouldn’t young people be embraced by the community they live in rather than be alienated by it?

Behind the stereotypes, teenagers do achieve and inspire. There is a lot that we can teach and that older generations can learn. Just because the minority of teenagers carry out pathetic incidents does not mean that a generation has to suffer because of it. A generation is being stigmatised as promiscuous, unhealthy and violent.

Is society giving teenagers a hard time for no real reason?

Charlie is an Explorer Scout and I’m guessing that he’s around 16 / 17 and lives somewhere near London (I stand to be corrected). He is one of the Scouts that attends events when a ‘real Scout’ rather than a Leader or someone from Gilwell is needed. He’s been on TV when Bear Grylls was appointed as Chief Scout, at the Stop the Water Tax campaign and recently at the political party conferences talking to the political big cheeses!

Charlie does make a very good point. A lot of the perception of young people is down to what is read, heard or seen in the media. The story ‘15 Year Old Smashes Car Window’ is more likely to be in the news  than ‘15 Year Old Raises Money for Local Charity’ for example. And these are the types of headlines that lead to the poor image of young people.

However, young people (as a total group) have always a bad image in the view of the media and the older generations. Think of Teddy Boys in the 1950’s, Hippies in the 1960’s, Punks in the 1970’s and so on. My generation was treated with the same suspicions in the mid to late 1980’s (was it THAT long ago??). And now parts of that same generation I belong to are ‘Tut Tutting’ at today’s young people.

The idea that the few will always ruin it for the many will always be true. You can be talking about teenagers, football fans, rail enthusiasts, people drinking in a pub, the list is endless. And of course, it’s always the bad behaviour that is reported over the good. It’s always the minority that tar the majority with their brush.

For every gang of ‘hoodies’ seen hanging on a street corner, there are many, many more young people at their martial arts club or football club or at Scouts – you get the idea, but it’s the intimidating gang that sets the tone and image in people’s mind. I know that when I was 16, I kept clear of the gangs that were around as I knew they could be trouble.

So is it the perception created by the media that all young people are ‘evil’ (I exaggerate somewhat of course!) the whole point? Not necessarily. Part (a smaller part I grant you) of the issue is the attitude of some young people, that they can do anything they want and hang the consequences. There is a lack of respect for people who are not in their own age range and are authority figures. Some, and again I say this is a minority, young people believe that they know best, everyone else is wrong and they can do what they want and when they want. And this is in part due to their bringing up and the values they inherit from their parents. If ‘little Johnny’ is allowed to get away with ‘murder’ in the home, then he will think he can do the same in the ‘real world’. This then leads back to a minority of young people causing problems which are then reported in the media, which is all the majority of the population hear about young people etc. Vicious circle.

Charlie says that teenagers achieve and inspire. Yes they do. Charlie himself is in a great position to change the attitudes of the ‘great and the good’ by being able to talk to them. He is an articulate teenager who is interested in getting politicians to do things for young people and their communities (Stop the Rain Tax). Just look at Mike Perham who sailed around the world age 17 – a better, braver man than me! But closer to home, the Explorer Scouts who come to help out at our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are doing this because they enjoyed their time in these sections and they enjoy helping out. They may even earn a badge or two (sorry, Group in joke!). They are all great people who inspire the younger members of the Group. But what I do know is that they are liked and respected and they go against the stereotype. Who knows they may even become Leaders.

It’s just a shame that these are the young people whose stories are not covered in the media, it’s the minority that cause the problems and thereby cause the perception.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Are you under 20? Please let me know what you think.

Scouts, Water, Drains and the House of Commons!

Scout Groups who own their own buildings have been hit with a new charge from the water regulator OFWAT and the water companies. They will now be charged for the disposal of rain water which runs into the drains and sewers on their premises. Some Groups, it would appear, are now being charged over £500 a year and this constitutes, along with the actual charges for water to their headquarters, to around one third of their total yearly budgets!

The Scout Association have, quite sensibly, been campaigning along with other charities to try to stop this policy and to ensure that a social tariff is introduced for all community and voluntary groups. You can read all about it here.

One of the things planned is to lobby MPs, next week on St. Swithun’s Day. As part of this the idea is to get as many Cubs and Scouts there to participate in the event at Westminster Hall. Which is where the problems started!

The House of Commons authorities tried to cancel the event as the Cubs are ‘not old enough to vote’! Obviously this has upset and annoyed a lot of people, not least as MPs and politicians in general have a poor image at the moment! One MP said –

All constituents, regardless of age, should be free to lobby their MPs.

Quite right too! However the new House of Commons Speaker has over ruled the decision and the Cubs and Scouts will be able to attend the event!

The Speaker welcomes the visit by the Cub Scouts to the House of Commons on July 15 and has given permission to allow them to meet MPs in Westminster Hall.

All this has two very obvious points. First is the financial implications to Groups who will suddenly have to find hundreds of pounds to pay out (I’m sure I read somewhere it could be £1000’s for a couple of Groups!). It’s hard enough for these Groups to finance and maintain their own buildings without having to suddenly pay out loads more money for no tangible gain! I am kind of glad we don’t have our own premises when I hear of things like this!

Secondly, what image does it portray of our political system if young people who are not old enough to vote are not allowed to make their point to politicians at Westminster? It could have put them off voting or trying to get involved in making their local communities better places.

At least one of these issues has been resolved. Let’s hope a sensible outcome is achieved for the water billing issue.

The European Elections

EU_Flag What’s that got to do with the price of kippers??? Er, sorry Scouting?

Now as I’ve often said, party politics and Scouting are a big no no. However engaging our politicians with issues relevant to young people and Scouting is a sensible thing.

With the forthcoming European Elections, the WSOM have issued what they are calling their ‘Purple Manifesto’ to be given to European politicians. The main aims are –

• Empower Volunteers
• Better Social Inclusion of Young People
• Strengthen Global Partnerships for Development
• Remove obstacles to Scouting
• Make employability of young people a priority in European Union (EC)
• Integrate young people in shaping Europe

Good ideas, but I wonder how many candidates and then MEPs will actually read it? To be honest, I wouldn’t know which MEPs represented me (we get 6 for our region) if they ran past my house shouting ‘woo hoo I’m your MEP’!

I’d love to think this document will make a difference, time will tell.

The Reply

Well, my union have apologised over their dodgy cartoon!

UNISON Letter edit (Large)

It reads –

Your complaint about the cartoon in the most recent issue of UNISON Labour Link has been passed to me – I am very sorry that you found the cartoon offensive, and I can assure you that there was no intention to denigrate the Scout movement. On looking at it again, I can see how this could be upsetting – please accept my apologies.
The brief for the cartoon was to illustrate the very serious threat to the pensions of many UNISON members posed by David Cameron and George Osborne, hence the idea they are picking the pockets of low-paid workers. In the original sketch we didn’t pick up the detail of the dress, which I don’t think contributes anything to the political message.

So there we go. I just wish people and / organisations wouldn’t use Scouting for their own political ends. We are apolitical and intend to stay that way.

Scouting and Party Politics – NO!

They do not and should never mix. We can engage with our politicians to ensure that the things we care about, whether it be knife crime or the environment, for example, but Party Politics are off limits.

The Scout Association have got it right in the past by getting Scouts to talk to the politicians on things they care about, but they have done it by talking to each of the major political parties.

It is also not on for political parties to use Scouts to make cheap political points.

I am a member of the UNISON union and today I got their quarterly magazine. With it came the magazine that members who donate money to Labour party via the union get. I don’t normally get this as I pay into an apolitical fund. However, it has gone to all members of the union as they want to make some point or other. Yawn, I’m not really bothered!

What does bother me was this cartoon (click on it to see the larger version) –

Scout Unison (Large)

In it you can see the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, asking a man for money, while the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, picks his pocket. They are clearly dressed as Scouts.

You will pardon my language, but this makes me bloody furious! How dare they use the image of Scouts in a bad light to score cheap political points and make them look like thieves?

I rang the union to complain and the lady I spoke to wasn’t sure who I needed to speak to, but she has said she will let me know.

I then gave the Scout Association a bell as I thought they wouldn’t be too impressed and I was told to get in touch with the Assistant Director Marketing and Communications. I was right and he isn’t very pleased and will be complaining to the union as well.

UNISON should know better than this. They go to great lengths to ensure they are ‘correct’ in every way (over the top sometimes if you ask me!) and yet they let this slip through. The union I belong to and pay money to for the privilege, is having a laugh at my expense and the expense of all the Scouts in the country and indeed the world. As usual it doesn’t matter what good Scouting does, they must feel we are an organisation to be mocked and portrayed in a negative image.

AngryBaring teethAngryBaring teeth

I’m waiting to see what they have to say for themselves and also what the SA has to say. I’ll keep you posted!

I’m now going to lie down and think calming thoughts…………

My Country’s Flag

800px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom_(3-5).svg This is the flag of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


This is the flag of England which is part of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Tomorrow, 23rd April, is St. George’s Day. St. George, is the patron saint of England, Ethiopia, Georgia amongst others and the patron Saint of Scouting. On the Sunday closest to St. George’s day, Scouts in the UK take part in a parade in their town or village, attend a church service and renew our Promise.

The parade is normally (in England certainly) lead by a Scout Band, followed by the UK flag and the flag of England (St. George’s Cross) and then each of the Groups or sections with their own flags.

However, one of our local Districts has been told not to parade with either the UK or English flags! You will have to forgive me if I am deliberately vague here, but I can’t get into specifics.

The reason for this is one of the areas they are parading through has a predominantly Asian population and offence doesn’t want to be given to the local population!

The problem is that the UK and English flags have been used by far right and racist organisations and now have the ‘wrong image’ within the Asian community.

However, this stance offends ME. The Scouts of this District have been parading with these two flags for many, many years without causing offence. They are our national flags, the flags of this country. How stupid to say you can’t parade with your own country’s flag in your own country! I could never see this happening in Canada or the USA, for example, where they are proud of their flags and what they represent.

At my District’s parade on Sunday, we will have the UK and English flags at the head of our parade and we will be proud to parade behind them!

Accepting Disabilities

483px-Wheelchair_symbol_svg As I work in a school for children with special needs, I guess I am slightly more aware than most, about people with special needs, whether they are learning or physical disabilities. I’ve written about this before (here and here) and I am quite confident that if anyone with special needs came to join my Group, we would be able to welcome them. Indeed one of my earliest memories of my time in the Cubs was that one of the other Cubs had his leg in ridged callipers all the time. He was never treated any differently from any of the other Cubs and I seem to remember he could run faster than me!

A couple of weeks ago, the BBC had a new presenter on its children’s channel CBBC. Cerrie Burnell was born without part of her right arm. This has lead to at least nine official complaints to the BBC that she was scaring toddlers! Apparently one parent wrote this on the BBC’s message boards –

I didn't want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter's mind and possibly caused sleep problems.

Some people need to join the real world! A person without part of their arm is not scary, honest!

My best friend’s Dad was born without a left hand and the first few times I met him I don’t think I even noticed! I remember asking my friend why his Dad didn't have a left hand and the reply was ‘Dunno’ & it was left at that. He never let the fact he didn’t have a left hand bother him and in fact he didn’t know what he was missing as he’d never had one. From my point of view he just lived his life and never let his lack of hand define him. As an aside, he was our Group Chairman for over 19 years.

People with disabilities are not scary and children will accept the fact that they may be slightly ‘different’ without batting an eyelid. So the parents who complained to the BBC need to grow up.

Barack Obama, Cub Scout

Apparently, something is happening in the USA today……!

Just after the American Presidential election was over, I noticed that the Scout Association had put out a story about the new President having been a Cub in his youth and so I put up a post about it.

Today ‘Matt’ has added a comment to say that the SA have done a press release to coincide with Mr. Obama’s inauguration. I thought I’d double check to see if it was a genuine story (no reason it shouldn’t be, but you never can tell), so I gave the Info Centre a ring and they put me through to the press people. It is a genuine press release and the chap I spoke to said they put it out to have a different twist to the inauguration and to show to potential Scouts the range of people that have been in the movement.

So at the risk of repeating what’s already been written as a comment, here’s the press release –

You don’t have to be a Scout to lead a country but it helps…

Today, Barak Obama becomes the latest in a long list of world leaders who gained their first taste of leadership at an early age as Scouts. The first US President to have been a Scout was JFK and since then eight Presidents have been either Scouts or Scout leaders.

President Obama’s Scouting began when his family moved from his birthplace of Hawaii to Indonesia, where he joined Gerakan Pramuka; The Indonesian Scout Association. Rully Dasaad, a childhood friend of Obama’s, picks up the story, ‘He was a good hearted kid. We played together every day during that time. We joined the Scouts together, [there] we learned how to use rope for building a camp tent, went climbing and did many other things…’

The story is the same across the political world with Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, John Major, Harold Wilson, Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic), Horst Kohler (German President) all cutting their leadership skills in the Scouts.

President Gerald Ford said: ‘I can say without hesitation, because of Scouting principles, I know I was a better athlete, I was a better Congressman, and I was a better prepared President.’

It’s not just Presidents that seem to have benefited from Scouting, 11 out of the 12 people to walk on the moon were Scouts including the first two people on the moon, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.

The Scout Association spokesperson, Simon Carter, said: ‘It is no coincidence so many talented people have been Scouts or Scout leaders. With over 200 exciting and challenging activities available in the UK, Scouting provides almost unlimited opportunity for young people, and the adult volunteers who support them, to push themselves and develop the skills they need for life.”
About Scouting

• A more comprehensive list of Scouts who have gone on to be household names or leaders in their field is included at:

• Adventure is at the core of Scouting, and the Association passionately believes in helping their members fulfil their full physical, intellectual social and spiritual potentials by working in teams, learning by doing and thinking for themselves.

• In January 2008, The Scout Association introduced 40 new badges, including Snow Sports and Health and Fitness badges, bringing the total number of badges available to over 200. No other youth organisation offers such a range of challenging or exciting activities, available in a safe, supervised environment.

• Over 200 activities are offered by Scouting around the UK, made possible by the efforts of 100,000 voluntary adult leaders. This has helped make Scouting the largest co-educational youth Movement in the country.

• The last time the Movement showed a growth of this size was in 1987, when a whole new age range, 5-8 years (Beaver Scouts) was added to the Scouting family.

• One of the challenges that the Scout Movement faces is finding more volunteers to plug the current gap. At present there are nearly 32,000 young people on waiting lists.

• Adults working in Scouting contribute in excess of 295 million hours of voluntary work each year to their local communities.

• Worldwide Scouting has 28 million members both male and female and operates in nearly every country in the world.

One final thought, still nothing on the BSA’s web site – how odd.

Barack Obama was a (Cub) Scout!

I’ve just been on the Scout Association’s web site to look up some information on something I’m doing this weekend and I decided while I was there to look at the news section. In there was this article about Barack Obama being a Scout when he lived in Indonesia. From his age I guess he must have actually been a Cub Scout however.

So I thought the Boy Scouts of America must be making a big thing of this fact. So I went to their web site and found nothing! In fact the last news item they had was from September.

I must admit I found this quite strange. The SA are always very good at positive publicity and are quick to point out ‘famous’ ex Scouts. I also know the BSA are extremely proud to say that of the 12 men to walk on the moon, 11 were Scouts!

So are American Scouts aware that their next Leader was a Cub Scout? Or in fact George W Bush was a Cub Scout as well (I didn’t until a few minutes ago!)?

When Scoutmaster Jerry wrote this on his blog or Scoutmaster Steve started the ‘Buttons for President’ campaign, I wonder if they knew? I also wonder if Mr. Obama can live up to those values? Time will tell.

A New Candidate!

It appears there is a new candidate for the US President. Buttons the Radical Boy Scout is standing as well!


So if you're in the US vote Buttons, you know there's at least one candidate you can trust! 😉

Wonder if he has a cousin in the UK for our next general election?

All Change Please

As I’ve been blogging more and more, I’ve noticed that the majority of my posts have been Scout related. And as the people who have been good enough to link to me from their blogs are also Scout related, it made me think that the majority of them aren’t all that interested in me waffling on about trains etc (correct me if I’m wrong someone).

So I’ve decided to spin off the non Scouting bits to Nick’s Other Ramblings Blog and keep this on just for Scouts. All the previous content will stay in place here and the other categories will survive as well and I may duplicate some posts on both. But generally non Scouting related stuff will be on number 2.

Lets just hope I can cope with two!


Scouting & Politics

After my post below about the Scout Association going to the party conferences to raise awareness about young people’s issues with our politicians, comes this interesting post from Clarke on his Scoutmaster blog.

Although he quotes the BSA’s rules, it applies to any Scout no matter what country.