The UK Programme – part 2 (Podcast)

Podcast number 8. Finally got round to talking about the Scout section of the UK programme.

Explorers and Network section programme to follow soon (less than a month!).

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Pancakes at Beavers and Cubs

Our Beavers and Cubs had pancakes at their meetings last night, as it was Pancake Day on Tuesday and most of them were cooked by me!

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Action shot

The Beavers are too small to reach the cooker and to have them around hot oil is probably not a good idea either. It was a shame the Cubs weren’t able to make their own pancakes, but time was against us.

We did want to do pancakes with the Scouts last Tuesday, but a couple of our Leaders were not able to make it due to work commitments, so it was not to be. Next year maybe.

You can see that as I was cooking, I am wearing the high visibility safety neckerchief. We are nothing if not safety conscious! This was sent to us from a badge company and we all thought it is quite amusing.

Honesty

I forgot to bring my lunch to work today, so had to pop out to the local shop to get some. My food cost £2.19, so at the till I handed over £2.20 and received 81p in change! I told the assistant he’d given me too much and handed back the 80p. He told me I’d given him £3 and tried to give me the 80p back. No I said, I gave £2.20 and gave the money back, which he reluctantly accepted.

His reaction and the look on his face said that he thought I was mad in giving the money back! He was most insistent that I was wrong. The odd thing was that I was getting the feeling that he and the other people in the queue were thinking that I was wrong in giving the money back!

A Scout is to be Trusted.

International Visits

During the summer of 2007 members of our local Explorer Unit went to Canada to camp with some Canadian Scouts. This year marks the return visit by the Canadians. This camp will have been in preparation for 12 months when it actually happens.

Last year I was asked if I could help out arranging the camp and I said yes.  So last night we met and were discussing where we are at the moment. There are about 20+ Canadians coming over in the summer and we have one of our local camp sites booked and also one in London. Some transport is arranged (I’m borrowing a minibus from work) and so is the catering. The main thing to do is fundraising. These type of camps cost a lot as our visitors want to see a lot of attractions and we will have quite a lot of people from this side camping as well. However, plans are well advanced and money shouldn’t be an issue!

It looks like our guests and our Explorers are in for a good time.

I suspect there will be more on this subject as the year progresses. Stay tuned.

A New Podcast is Coming (honest!)

I’ve just realised that it is nearly a month since I did a podcast talking about the Beaver and Cub programmes. The Scout one will hopefully be coming this weekend.

I know that you’ve all been desperate to hear the next instalment!Nerd

A New Badge

During our Centenary last year, we decided to have a badge to commemorate the fact (you can see my original post here). These badges were given out to all members of the Group and any old members we knew about.

We decided that the badge was too good to only use for a year so we have decided to keep it.

The two Leaders who originally designed it have have done a slight redesign to reflect the fact that it is no longer our Centenary, but it still pays tribute to our beginnings in 1908.

 

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This new version of the badge will be given to our new members from now on.

A Visit to Gilwell

Carol and I have just come back from a visit to London and one of the things we did was to visit Gilwell, the spiritual home of Scouting.

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Considering how often I visit London, I’ve never been before, so I decided to make amends this time. The site itself was quite quiet with one group of Scouts doing some water activities and another doing some climbing. There didn’t seem to be anyone camping, which seemed odd as it was half term and all the schools were off.

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Anyway, we saw the bust of BP that the Mexican Scouts gave to Gilwell, BP’s caravan, the Bronze Buffalo which the BSA presented to Gilwell to commemorate the Unknown Scout who inadvertently helped start Scouting in the USA, the Buddhist Temple presented by the Scouts of Thailand and the window to commemorate 100 years of Scouting, which has my parent’s names on it. We also saw the Gidney Cabin which the Copeland Cabin at Kibblestone is modelled on.

The slight downside was that I couldn’t buy myself a Gilwell neckerchief as the chap who had the keys to the store was off site!

Later in the week we had a trip around Westminster Abbey and among the thousands of important and famous Britons buried and commemorated there is a memorial to BP and his wife.

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Photo from Johnny Walker’s Scouting Milestones Pages

I hadn’t realised there was a memorial to them there, but the memorial on the floor and the Scout and Guide flags make it quite obvious! You are not allowed to take photos in the Abbey, which is why I’ve borrowed the above photo.

Today is Founder’s Day

Today, 22nd February, is Founder’s Day for Scouts or Thinking Day for Guides and Girl Scouts. It marks the birthday of Baden-Powell and, coincidentally, his wife.

Today is the day we remember BP, his life and work. The WOSM have issued a small video of BP to mark Founder’s Day (it’s quite amusing too!).

International Scouting

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This week has had a bit of an international flavour for me. I’ve have an Email from Scouter Jeremy in Canada, a couple of emails from Lotta who is a Cub Leader in Sweden (and I’m going to send her some badges tomorrow), I had a good chat (hooray for Skype!) with SM Jerry in the States, read and contributed to the blogs listed on the right and Tweeted and used instant messaging to ‘talk’ to a few other people in the USA.

None of this would have happened if I was not a Scout – ‘A Scout is a Member of the World Wide Family of Scouts’ – indeed.

However, one thing does slightly bother me. Emailing Lotta made me realise that she speaks and writes excellent English. I, however, do not know a word of Swedish. I did know a few when I camped with some Swedish Scouts in 1992, but these were mainly the more ‘colourful’ phrases and I’ve forgotten them now. I don’t have any working knowledge of any other languages to be honest Embarrassed.

But looking at the list of blogs on the right, they are all written in English. I do come across blogs and web sites written in languages other than English and Google’s translation site is very useful here. But this doesn’t always translate correctly. The idea of a site or blog can be got, but it’s not the same as being able to read it in the native language.

English is spoken by so many people around the world, that there is little need for people in countries that speak it natively to learn any other language, sorry if that sounds arrogant.

So to anyone reading this whose native tongue is not English, thank you for reading and I hope I’m not being too obscure some times.

Anyway, back to the positive, I’m able to speak to, chat, read and interact with lots of people from different countries and cultures. What could be better and more enlightening?

Badges

Just recently we’ve been having issues getting hold of badges for the sections in the Group. Our local supplier hasn’t paid their bills to the Division, so they haven’t been supplied with any more badges.

To get round this problem, one of the Assistant Scout Leaders in the District has offered to be the District’s Badge Secretary. This means that once a month we place an order with him and he gets the badges for us.

I collected our first order last night. It amounted to over 700 badges for the three sections at a cost of £120! WOW! I knew we were getting a bit behind as we couldn’t source them, but that was quite impressive. The thing is the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are earning more awards and I know there will be another big order at the end of the month. This proves the kids are working hard at the moment which is very impressive.

Leaders Meeting

One of my jobs as a Group Scout Leader is to hold regular meeting with all the Group’s Leaders. However, I haven’t been doing them recently. In fact the last one we had was 2002!

In my defence, other than myself there have only been around 2 or 3 other Leaders in the Group in this period, so they haven’t really been necessary. Today, we have around ten and this doesn’t include the Young Leaders. So last night we had our first one. We had an overview of where the Group as a whole and each of the sections are at, discussed getting Gift Aid from weekly subs and Leader’s training. One of the frustrating things is that we can’t start the new Leader’s training yet as all their paperwork has yet to go through (references are outstanding). On a positive note the Assistant Scout Leader is close to finishing his and gaining his Wood Badge and the Beaver and Cub Leaders did their first aid training last weekend. I can get the new Leaders to look at some of the online stuff in the mean time.

We also talked about having another family camp next year, which means getting the bookings made now and about having a BBQ for Leaders again in the summer.

Quite a productive meeting and yet it lasted only an hour and a quarter! I wish we could get some of the District meetings to do the same!

Badge Blanket

Scout Leaders are renowned for collecting Scouting memorabilia, especially badges. The traditional thing to do is put them on a blanket which is used when camping. There is always the competition to see who has the most badges or the most rare, but everyone is interested to see who has what.

I’ve been using mine this weekend as I spent most of Friday night and Saturday asleep on the sofa as I decided to have a temperature and feel generally rottenSick!

My blanket is old, made of wool and a bit of an heirloom as it started out as my Grandpa’s from when he served in the RAF during WW2. He then passed it on to my Dad who used it when he went camping before he had a sleeping bag and he passed it onto me. As I used to have loads of old badges lying around my Mum suggested sewing them onto the blanket. It’s actually quite warm and great to wrap around myself when I’m at camp or dying of lurgi at home!

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Showing the Cubs the badges

The badges on it are some of my old Cub, Scout and Venture badges, some of my Dad’s, badges from places I’ve camped or visited and some badges from the Swedish Scouts I camped with in 1992. It’s due for some running repairs at the moment (well it is over 60 years old) and more badges to be added to it. In fact I’m going to have my Centenary neckerchief sewn onto it as well (that’s the multi coloured one I’m wearing in the picture). However, I have to come clean and say that I’m not doing any of the repairs or adding the badges myself, my Mum is! Now while I am capable of doing a reasonable job of it myself, it needs a ‘proper’ job and Mum is the expert! I want it to last another 60 years at least, so it needs the proper care.

Pride of place along with a Queen’s Scout award I acquired especially for the blanket a few years back, will be one of my Group’s centenary badges.

The UK Programme – part 1

Podcast number 7. Here is the first part of the Scouting Programme here in the UK. I talk very briefly about the sections and then about the Beaver & Cub programmes.

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Also, see if you can work out what I say in the introduction!

Scouting & Technology

I realised the other day that I have had a PC at home for just over 10 years. My original machine had a massive 3Gb hard drive, 128Mb RAM, a Celeron 333Mhz processor and ran Windows 95. I thought I’d never fill that hard drive!

With the advent of home computing, the internet and other technological devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, Sat Nav and GPS it has made our lives much easier. I can type documents (so people stand a chance of being able to read them) and email them instantly to people in the Group, District, County or even HQ at Gilwell if needed, in a matter of seconds. It’s easier to create letters to parents, as I now just print them off using my laser printer. Photos are a lot more instant and easier to manipulate. It’s also a lot easier to keep all my records in one place on my PC and not have lots of ‘hard copy’ around the house (although Carol will disagree with me there!). That 3Gb hard drive would be easily filled these days.

The Group has a website with loads of info about us on it.

Over the last 18 months or so, by reading blogs, listening to podcasts, talking by to people by Skype, Tweeting and emailing, I’ve learned so much about Scouting and culture in other countries. And as a happy by product of that, I’ve made new friends.

BUT, we must never be solely reliant on technology, especially when out walking or camping. Mobile phones have a nasty habit of having no signal when you are in a remote valley in the middle of Snowdonia and your GPS’s batteries will run out when it’s a particularly cold and wet day in the Peak District. To ensure these issues don’t cause you major problems, the ‘old fashioned’ tried and tested methods must be adhered to. Always have a home contact when you are out walking, who has a copy of your route plan and a time you will be back at (not forgetting to tell them when you are safe and sound). Take a route plan, a map (preferably laminated or in a waterproof map case) and compass with you and know how to use them!

Technology is great and I love new ‘toys’ but never take for granted it will work!