Group Photos Have Arrived

Last week I posted that we’d had our photos taken as the whole Group. Well, I finally got my hands on them today. And very good they are too!

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The Group’s Leaders and Young Leaders (I’m the one right at the back).

We all clean up well don’t we?

You can see the rest of the photos here.

When I looked at the photo of the whole Group, it made me stop and think for a minute. The person that is ultimately responsible for all those people, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Young Leaders, Helpers and Leaders is me! I need a lie down……!

Future Podcasts

After putting out two podcasts in the space of less than a week, I’ve decided to pace myself a bit more and also plan ahead a bit.

One of the things I’ve thought of talking about is the whole Scouting programme in the UK. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that by revisiting all aspects of the programme, it will refresh it for me and help me in my role as a Group Scout Leader.

The second is that my perception of the people who read the blog and listen to the podcast are mainly from outside of the UK. So a question for you all out there, would this be interesting to you?
My thought would be to break it down into talking about Beavers and Cubs, then Scouts and finally Explorers and Network. Also I would probably talk about each of the sections as each country tends to do its own thing on ages, mixed Scouting etc.

The other thing that interests me is the use of language in the podcasts. I’ve noticed that I’ve slipped up a couple of times and said things like ‘me blog’ instead of ‘my blog’. Does this confuse or irritate? The other thing is if I were to say that we’d been doing x over a weekend and ‘now we’re all knackered’ would you know what I was on about (answer at the bottom)? These are examples of the way that I’d talk in ‘real life’, so I’m interested to know.

My plan is to put a podcast out once a fortnight or so and to keep them at a reasonable length of around twenty minutes.

I’m enjoying doing these podcasts and I hope people are enjoying listening to them and as I get more practise the quality can only go up!

Please let me know your thoughts on the above questions. Leave a comment on the blog or you can email me at the address given on the podcasts or at nawbus (at) If I’ve emailed you in the past, you’ll now know that I have at least three different email addresses but I use them for different things and for putting on here, Google’s email has much better antispam filters!


Definition of ‘knackered’. If I say I am knackered, it means I am tired. If I say that the radio is knackered, for example, it means it is broken.
Knackered comes from sending old and tired horses to be slaughtered in the knackers yard!

Scouting Websites part 2 (Podcast)

Podcast number 6. Here’s the second podcast about Scouting websites. I thought I’d get this done while it was still fresh in my mind.

The sites I mention are – image

Group Photos

On Friday evening we did something that the Group hasn’t done for nearly 50 years! We got all the Beavers, Cubs, most of the Scouts (not their meeting night) and the Leaders together and we had our photos taken as each section and as the whole Group.

One of the Beaver’s Dads is a professional photographer and he agreed without hesitation to take them. After he finished he also said that we could do whatever we wanted with the photos without and cost or copyright implications! This is very generous as professional photographers don’t normally give up their photos. Hopefully we’ll be able to arrange it so that Group members will be able to get a copy of the photos for themselves.

The only downside is I’ve got to wait until later in the week to see them!

The other thing we must remember to do is to make sure we put names to the faces. There would be nothing worse than the Group Scout Leader in 50 years time looking at these photos and not knowing the names of everyone there.

Scouting Websites (Podcast)

Podcast number 5. I thought this time I’d talk about creating a website for the Group, Troop or Pack and include what I hope are some helpful tips.

podcast The sites I mention are-

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.

Do a Good Turn Every Day

As my job is an IT technician, whenever anyone outside of work’s computer throws a hissy fit, needs work or just plain dies, I get a call. It can be family, friends or friends of family!

But the thing is, no matter what I do, I never ask for money. Of course I’d never ask family or friends, but I suppose I could for friends of family etc. BUT, I never do. One reason is if someone asks for help, I don’t like asking for money (I am British after all and these kind of things are somewhat ‘vulgar’ don’t you know?) and the other is that people do stuff for me and never ask for payment, so why should I?

Occasionally I may get some chocolates (always appreciated), but that’s it. In fact the only time I can think I’ve had some money from anyone was when I sold a PC to my sister a few weeks ago as hers had died. But that was mainly as I was letting her have a whole new system. Another time I set up my sister-in-law’s new PC and she let me have the old one. Nothing much wrong with it, so I wiped it and it’s going to my Mum so she can manipulate as many photos as she likes, when she likes, without getting in my Dad’s way on his PC!

What made me think of this is that one of the cleaners at work has a grandson who has been give a nearly new laptop. It was bought in August by a man who passed away just before Christmas and his mother gave it to this young lad. However, it had no discs, manuals or any info about passwords so they couldn’t do anything with it! I’ve wiped it, done a new install of Windows and I’m in the process of running ALL the updates Sleepy and installing the programmes that he will need. But she’s asked me a couple of times now how much do I want and each time I’ve said ‘nothing’. This is partially as I’m doing it at work between other jobs so it’s not really taking up my time and partially as I’ve found that it’s always a good idea to keep well in with people like cleaners and caretakers at work as you never know when you will need a favour from them!

The point of all this (Finally I hear you scream), is that it reminded me of the Cub Scout Law –

A Cub Scout always does his best,

thinks of others before himself

and does a good turn every day.

OK, that was the version I learned when I was a kid, it’s now –

Cub Scouts always do their best,

think of others before themselves

and do a good turn every day.

The bit that sprang to mind is the ‘does a good turn every day’ line. Doing a ‘good turn’ has always been a part of Scouting and even though it’s not mentioned as such in the Law and Promise (the ‘help other people’ part of the Scout Promise is probably closest), it’s still a good concept to keep to in day to day life.

Imagine how easy it would be if everyone followed this simple law! Doing your best, thinking of others and helping them – WOW what an amazing idea!

So I’ll keep doing my IT support free of charge and helping others, but if anyone wants to give me the odd choccy, I won’t say no!


As with most things in life, insurance is necessary even for Scout Groups. As a Group we have bought, over the years, plenty of expensive kit. Tents, cookers, tables, craft stuff etc. all costs money and if there were a fire at the Hall, for example, then it would all need to be replaced. Therefore we have insurance!

Irrespective of whether the kit is insured or not, it can be replaced.

When Leaders are doing Scouting activities, they are insured by the Scout Association. But not for very much. However, Leaders can get additional insurance for a small extra cost.

Last year, our Group decided to take out this extra insurance for each of the Group’s Leaders. If people are going to give up considerable amounts of their own time to run meetings and events for our young people, then it’s not too much to ask that the Group increases their level of insurance. At £7 per person, it doesn’t break our bank.

If your Group appreciates their Leaders then give them the extra insurance!

RSS Feeds

The RSS feeds to this blog are provided by Feedburner, which means that iTunes can pick up when I’ve put a new podcast out. However, Feedburner was taken over by Google some time ago and now Google wants to move the feeds over to their service.

When the switch is made it could mean that my feeds go a bit odd for a while, so please be warned!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!


Well, that seemed to work ok without any fuss. I’m impressed! 😉

However if anyone does have any issues with the RSS feed, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

1911 Census

The 1911 Census was made available online on Tuesday of this week and I’ve had some fun looking through it.

So far I’ve managed to find the details of my maternal Grandmother and her parents and my paternal Grandfather’s parents (he wasn’t born then), but the other two are alluding me for the moment. It’s interesting to read a form that they filled in nearly 100 years ago.

While I was looking, I thought I’d look up our Troop’s first Scoutmaster. Although he only lasted a few months, he was our first Scoutmaster and I think I now know why he didn’t stay with the Troop for very long. He moved to a town a couple of miles away to be a ‘lodgeman’ which judging by the number of lodgers he had in his house meant he ran a B&B.

I also looked up two of the Scouts who were killed in the Great War. Aly (Alfred) and Colin Jackson were 16 and 14 respectively and they both worked on a pot bank (a pottery factory). They lived at a different address then to the one recorded when they were both killed in WW1.

It’s all fascinating stuff and it make the names seem more ‘real’. I now know where these people lived, what their jobs were and more about their families. I’d like to find out more about the Scouts, but it is quite a time consuming and expensive business, so the family records come first! However, I will keep dipping in every now and again to this interesting resource.

A New Blog to Read

I’ve just come across the blog ‘Cub Scouting is Coool!’ which is by a Cub Scout Leader in Sweden.

I camped with a group of Swedish Scouts at the International Friendship Camp held at Kibblestone in 1992 and a great bunch of people they were too. So this will be an interesting blog to follow with another countries take on our great movement!

The Scout Association on YouTube

For some time now the BSA have produced adverts to promote Scouting in the the USA and I found out about them by reading Scoutmaster Steve’s blog.

YTHowever, I’ve often wondered why we never did the same (cost I guess), but it appears that we now have an official YouTube Channel.

It looks like they are putting up some of the positive coverage in the media and also some in house produced videos. It’s only just started, so there isn’t a lot there yet. Take a look!

Updates and Observations

Leading on from my last Podcast, a few things have come to mind.

One thing I completely forgot to talk about, was what I had achieved in the last year as a Leader.

First of all, I earned my Wood Badge! This was many years coming but well worth it.

I then had to take on the running of the Scout Troop from April for the rest of the year. A bit of an interesting experience to be thrown back in the deep end after almost three years of not running the Troop, but it seemed to go well. The Scouts carried on coming and at the beginning of this year the numbers are up and the kids are enjoying themselves. So I am passing on a reasonably healthy section.

All the Leaders planned the Family Camp which we had in May, but I had the ’pleasure’ of dealing with most of the organisation and paperwork. And I’m pleased to say it was a great weekend. A true example of teamwork in action.

My blog seemed to be read by more and more people as the year went on and lots of people have been kind enough to make comments. This in turn has lead to me gaining new friends from all over! I also had the great honour of being asked to appear on Jerry’s Scoutmaster Minute Podcast. That was a very enjoyable experience and we talked for three times longer than the actual show lasted! Hopefully we’ll be in a position to have another chat this year.
This, of course, lead to me doing my own Podcasts which people seem to be enjoying. I just hope I can keep coming up with interesting topics from a UK perspective.

On the Podcast I talked about me completing the annual Census and paying Capitation fees. On Tuesday, I had an email from our District Commissioner saying we were the first Group to complete the Census again! I understand from  our treasurer that the Capitation cheque is going off today, so we should be first with that as well. Of course, I’m now going to have to widen all our door frames so I can get my head through! Open-mouthed

On the subject of Census etc. I asked whether Scouts in other countries do anything similar and I was told. You do! But here’s the thing, I always thought that each Scout organisation in each country, although members of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, did things their own way. And to an extent they do. The BSA has strange terms like ‘Webelos’ and ‘Dens’ which sounded most odd to my ears. Where as I go on about Scout Groups and Group Scout Leaders, which are just as unusual to American Scout’s ears.
BUT, no matter what ‘regional’ variations we may have, at the basic level we’re all doing the same thing. We all are trying to, as the The Scout Association’s Purpose of Scouting puts it –  ‘promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.’

As an example, here is the Scout Law as originally written by BP (third revision actually), the current one from the UK and the USA.

BP's Original



A Scout's honour is to be trusted

A Scout is to be trusted

A Scout is trustworthy

A Scout is loyal to the King, his country, his Scouters, his parents,his employers and to those under him

A Scout is loyal


A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others

A Scout is friendly and considerate


A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other scout no matter what country, class or creed, the other may belong

A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts


A Scout is Courteous

A Scout has courage in all difficulties


A Scout is a friend to animals

A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property


A Scout obeys orders of his parents, patrol leader or Scoutmaster without question

A Scout has self-respect and respect for others


A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties



A Scout is thrifty



A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed








and reverent

Different wording, essentially the same meaning. Which ever country we live in we are all heading in the same direction and doing the same things. Whether it be meetings, paperwork, Law and Promise (Oath), camping or climbing as examples.
International Scouting, different but the same!

An Interesting Troop Meeting

Tonight was the first time since April I wasn’t in charge of our Troop. Our Assistant Cub Leader has now officially taken over as Scout Leader. The Assistant Scout Leader and I dropped a very subtle hint to him about taking over as SL at an Exec meeting back in October and he warmed to the idea and agreed!


Now obviously, he’s come up with some new ideas and does things slightly differently from how I would do them. It’s also different from how the previous SL did things, but that’s good. Change is good. Even tonight when it was mainly a games night, just to get the Scouts back into Scouting gently after the holidays, he came up with a couple of ideas that I would never have thought of!

I hate to say this, but the whole atmosphere was different tonight as our most ‘challenging’ Scout wasn’t there. We understand he’s left to join the Air Cadets and we’ve all said that we hope that it is the making of him. They are a lot more strict with discipline than Scouts and that is to be expected in an organisation with very strong links to the military. I feel sad that we weren’t able to help him calm down and become a better person (a horrible phrase I know but I can’t think of a better way of putting it!), especially as he was always very keen to do all the activities. However, I wish him good luck and hope he enjoys his time in the Cadets.

The Troop has a new (and better) Leader (I’m the first to admit I’m not the greatest SL), it’s a new year and it’s a new start for the Troop. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store and I’m sure the Scouts are going to have a great year.