By George! It’s time to Celebrate Scouting’s Patron Saint

Happy St.George's Day!

From the Scout Association –

Over the next few days Scout Groups across the UK will be preparing events to celebrate St George, the patron saint of Scouting.

Like Scouting, St George supports people of all backgrounds across the world. Not only is he the patron saint of Scouting, but also for England, Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark).
He's also the patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis (source: BBC). And of course, he’s a dab hand at dispatching any grumpy dragons that may be plaguing your town.
When asked recently about his patronage of Scouting, St George said ‘Scouting is a fantastic organisation to be involved in. The work it does with young people across the world providing them with the opportunity of adventure and developing new skills is something everybody should applaud.

'Recently I witnessed some Scouts being taught how to light a fire for the first time on camp. I admit the flames made me a bit nervous, ever since that thing with the dragon I’ve had a bit of an aversion to fire, but it was great to see how excited and inspired the young people were by this new skill they’d learnt.’ 

Queen's Scouts from across the UK will be celebrating St George and their achievements at the yearly national event at Windsor this Sunday. There they will meet the Chief Scout and a representative of Scouting's other patron, the Queen.

The Queen's Scout Award is the highest achievement in Scouting. To gain the award Scouts have to take part in a number of  activities, complete an adventurous expedition and prove their skills.

 Can't put it any better myself, so I won't!

Planning, Remembering & BP

When we worked out the Scout’s programme for the rest of this year, we noticed that Remembrance Day, 11th November, fell on a Troop meeting night. So we decided that this would be the theme for the evening and then left it at that.

Last night I started to look at some ideas of what to do during the evening. The first thing that came to mind was to print out the certificates of Remembrance for each of our Scouts who have been killed in wars from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s web site to put around the Hall. See the Troop’s Remembrance Site and an example of a certificate.

Then with this year being the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War, I thought I’d see if I could find what BP had to say about it. On the World Organisation of the Scout Movement’s web site, I found this quote that he wrote in 1917 –

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.

It is apparent that he found the whole idea of the Great War horrific and decided to make Scouting less militaristic and move towards an international outlook and promoting friendship through understanding. This, of course, is still very relevant today.

Then I came across this sound clip of BP talking about the start of Scouting in around 1930 – click here. In it he talks about Scouts being the world wide brotherhood that the movement has now become (perhaps I should substitute family for brotherhood, due the fact girls are now in many Scout organisations across the world). Quite fascinating to hear it all from THE Chief Scout.

So now I have my print outs, a couple of quotes from BP and I can tie the events of over 90 years ago to our Troop to bring home to our present Scouts that wars don’t happen to ‘other people’. I’ve still got a way to go before the night’s programme is complete, but it’s a start.

Has anyone out there in cyberspace, run an evening’s programme on such a theme? I’d be interested to hear what ideas you came up with.

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!


Positive Thinking

While I was working on something at my PC at work this morning, I was listening to the latest ‘Hour A Week?’ show by Cubmaster Chris.

Just listen to the last 10 – 15 minutes. Chris gets quite serious, but is so positive in what he says about us all volunteering as Leaders, you can’t help but feel uplifted! Give him a listen here or here.

Cubmaster Chris


Throughout the majority of my working life so far, whether it was at Asda or within the school where I now work, I have been involved in training. I’ve had to train people how to use checkouts, meat slicing machines, ovens, computers and the list goes on. And of course, I’ve been trained before I could train others. I’ve always enjoyed doing training as I’m learning something new. In fact, sometimes when there’s a timetable involved it gets more interesting. When Asda had to bring in the new Wal-Mart computer systems, I and some colleagues were trained in the systems over a two week period away from the store. When we came back to the store we had around three weeks to train all the staff, which I think was around 300 people. It was hard work, both the training we attended and the training we trained out, but it was fun and we did it successfully!

So with that background, why did I avoid doing my Scout Leader’s training for so long?

Well for one thing I think it was the way the training programme used to be. You would start at the beginning and work your way through right to the end. So the first thing you did, irrespective of whether you had walked in ‘off the street’ or been in Scouting for donkey’s years, was to be told about Scouting and its history and structure etc. I always remember that my Dad had to do the camping part of the training to get his Wood Badge, despite the fact that he’d been a Scout and run many successful camps in the past. So not wanting to be ‘bothered’ doing loads of training on things I ‘knew’, I avoided it. Quite how I kept my Warrant, I’ll never know.

Anyway, the Scout Association changed the training programme a couple of years ago to a modular one. This meant that provided you could prove that you’d done the work or got experience in that area, then you didn’t have to do the module’s training.

So after a bit of a kick up my backside from the District Chairman, I started to get myself sorted, attended a training surgery, got the majority signed off and booked myself onto the Group Scout Leader’s weekend training course. I did my ‘homework’ after the course and got signed off and was presented with my Wood Badge. I have to say I was most pleased once I got it!

So now I have to do at least 5 hours of Scout related training a year as part of my warrant review. Not a problem now!

Doing training whether it be first aid or how to do abseiling for example, is good for the Leader as it keeps them fresh and gives new ideas for their programmes and keeps the kids in their charge safe and sound.

So now I’m looking at doing an NVQ in IT to help my career and I’ve already done my Group Scout Leader’s course and my First Aider’s course this year, so I wonder what is next?

I’m Glad I’m a Scout Leader…

As you tend to be able to cope with the unexpected. For example –

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I’d run an option group for the kids at work on photography (bearing in mind I’m not a teacher). So I said I’d have a think about it and let the assistant head know. We were just back from the holidays and my colleague is off work after an operation, so I’m covering 2 jobs on 2 sites 6 miles apart.

However, the assistant head asked me again on Monday and asked in a way that implied that it was really needed that I do this session. So I said yes and then thought what to do.First thing I did was to look up the criteria for the Scout’s photographers badge! That gave me the ideas and I was sorted.

Today when it came to running the session, I didn’t get all the kids I was expecting and got one I wasn’t. Quick rethink to adjust for the new student who has slightly greater learning difficulties than I planned for and we were away. This particular student hadn’t initially wanted to do anything and was found hiding under a table. However, once we got going she had a great time and took some lovely photos.

So a quick bit of rethinking and the session was saved. You have to be able to think on your feet as a Leader, so this was a good opportunity to do so.

End result, happy students with nice photos, happy assistant head and relived Nick at job well done!


Apparently, I’m supposed to be on strike on Wednesday and Thursday over pay (or lack of pay increase)! Apart from a letter from UNISON’s HQ and one from the local branch, I’ve heard nothing. There has been no mention of it at work!

Having said that, I won’t strike anyway as I don’t think it’s right to strike in a school – it’s not fair to the kids.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens! We’ll see…….

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I’ve got a very busy couple of weeks coming up. Tomorrow I’m on a first aid course as all Scout Leaders must now have at least basic first response first aid training. On Wednesday I’ve got the District’s annual general meeting. The following week I’m on a two day training course for work. Then it’s our family camp to celebrate the Scout Group’s centenary! Phew!

The amount of planning and paperwork for the camp is quite big as well, but the camp itself will be great!

I’m sure someone once said Scouts was only an hour or so a week!!!

Windows 98

Sorting through my cupboards at work the other day, I found a load of still sealed Windows 98 discs along with some Windows 95 licences!

I haven’t played with Windows 98 for ages now, so I took one home, installed it on an old PC I’d got lying around and had a play. The thing I found was once it’s up and running and updated, it’s still quite useful! AVG anti virus and Firefox run happily as does OpenOffice (along with older versions of MS Office). So if all you need to do is surf the net and type a few letters its great.

The other good thing is that I have a couple of old games that won’t run on XP, so I can resurrect them!

I also tried Windows 95 on Virtual PC which was interesting. This was the operating system on my first PC bought in January 1999! I think the only things I have left from that PC is the speakers and the floppy drive!

One thing I won’t be trying is Windows ME (Mistake Edition!).

School 1978 v School 2008

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1978 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2008 – Police are called, Armed Response Unit arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. Mobiles with video of fight confiscated as evidence. They are charged with assault, ASBOs are taken out and both are suspended even though Johnny started it. Diversionary conferences and parent meetings conducted. Video shown on 6 internet sites.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.
1978 – Jeffrey is sent to the Head's office and given 6 of the best. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Counselled to death. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra funding because Jeffrey has a disability. Drops out of school.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's car and his Dad gives him the slipper.
1978 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2008 – Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mum has an affair with the psychologist. Psychologist gets a promotion.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover fireworks, puts them in a model plane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.
1978 – Ants die.
2008 – MI5 and police are called and Johnny is charged with perpetrating acts of terrorism. Teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during break and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.
1978 – Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.
2008 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.


Many a true word spoken in jest!

This was lifted from a post on the Edugeek site.

BETT & St. Pancras

Yesterday I managed to go to see the BETT show at Olympia in London. BETT is one of the largest educational IT shows in the world. We could have spent our IT budget very quickly there! In fact there is so much to see it is slightly overwhelming!

On the way back to Euston, we stopped off to see St. Pancras station.

09012008132 (Medium)

The photo is poor as it was taken against glass with my phone! The station is fantastic and is really worth a look!


That'll teach me! After writing about not using the internet yesterday, I came into work today to find there was no net! Seems that County had a major problem with its proxy servers.

I'll keep me gob shut next time!!!! 😉


Nice to see that the Prime Minister thinks that it is right and proper to award public sector workers an annual pay rise that is less than inflation.
That means, in effect, that I will be getting a pay cut!
You can be sure that when it comes to MP’s pay rises that they will be above inflation and they will get a huge amount of extras. Mr. Brown, I’m sure, will be pleased to accept his pay package.

The other thing about working for the County is that pay scales and details of pay rises are not exactly well publicised. When I worked for Asda, although the pay was poor and rises were poor, at least you knew what you were getting and when. There was no doubt about what and when you were getting.
I think the Council could learn a thing or two!