A New Video

I’ve recently found a few short videos of activities the Group has done in the past, so I’ve put them together and here they are.

They are not that great and not to be taken seriously, but are quite funny to watch!

The ‘Cost’ of Scouting

It’s that time of year, where after the annual Census has been completed, it’s now time to pay up! For each Scout (& Beaver etc.) and Leader, the Group has to pay an amount to the District, which is then passed onto the County and finally the Scout Association at Gilwell. Each level takes there own ‘cut’, with the majority going to Gilwell and this money is what helps run Scouting at these levels. The total payable per member tends to vary between Districts as, although the amount charged by Gilwell is the same for everyone, Districts and Counties can charge what they want. This year we have to pay £25 per person.

This year my Group has recorded 74 members (up by 10 on last year!) which means we’ve had to pay £1850! Now we always pay as soon as possible as it means it’s then paid and out of the way.

We get our money back by getting the parents to pay in February / March after we have paid out our money. This means we are playing catch up with receiving the money and we always end up somewhat out of pocket (the Group pays for the Leaders, which is a contributing factor).

Getting money out of the people normally isn’t too much of a problem, but at times it can be. And this situation is not just specific to UK Groups. A forum post on the PTC Media forums was discussing the fact that some people seem very reluctant to pay.

It seems that some people think that because we are Scouts and a volunteer organisation (yep, my salary as Group Scout Leader is a whopping £0!!!) paying up on time isn’t as important than, say to the kid’s football team or paying for piano lessons.

If a family has some issues paying, if they talk to the Group then arrangements can be made. We all want their kids to benefit from Scouting and not have to remove them from the Group, but if parents refuse to pay up of ‘forget’ then hard decisions have to be made. It is not fair that the Group ends up out of pocket because of a refusal to pay.

Fortunately, all this is a rare occurrence!

Spam Emails

I’ve recently been bombarded with spam emails on my Scout Group’s email account. Some of these have been particularly devious as they pretend to contain new settings for my email account. And one of these nearly caught me out! Now I’d like to think that I’m fairly savvy about these kind of things, but I had look twice at this and check with my hosting company (I set up and pay for the Group’s web space) to make sure I wasn’t about to make a hideous mistake. I did take a look at the site it wanted me to go to and the file it asked me to download was a virus! Nice.

A lot of Scout Groups etc. have their own web sites and use their own domains and could get these kind of nasty emails, and someone could click on the link thinking it was genuine, run the file and get a nasty virus.

The most annoying thing is that I’ve been very careful not to put this email address on any websites so it can be lifted by spammers. What is likely to have happened is that someone who has my address has themselves got a virus which then emails out more spam etc etc.

Of course spam isn’t likely to go away as it is big ‘business’ and makes up around a staggering 45% of all emails. However, some of the evil people who send out this junk are getting caught and fined!

If you want to reduce the chances of getting this junk take a look here for some ideas.

As for me, I think it’s time for some Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and Spam.

Altogether now – spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam & repeat indefinitely!

Scouting in Madagascar

The other day I got a comment on the post I made in February last year about International Scouting.

As those of you who come by here often are aware, I am fascinated by the fact we’re a worldwide movement and there are Scouts in virtually every country in the world. However, this comment is a little out out of the ordinary its writer, Sanda, is from Madagascar.

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Now I’m the first to admit that I knew nothing of Scouting in that country and therefore, I’m really pleased that Sanda left a link to the Madagascan Scouting website.

I’ve had a good look around the site and now I know a bit more about Scouting in that particular bit of Africa.

Lots of Awards at Tonight’s Troop Meeting

I popped up to see the Troop tonight as we were pleased to have the District Commissioner join us to give out some awards.

First of all, he presented a Chief Scout’s Gold award to the first Scout in the Troop to achieve this award since we restarted the Troop in 2007.

Then it was three Chief Scout’s Silver awards for three Scouts who had achieved their awards before they left Cubs.

Finally, Don was presented with his Ten Years Service award.

It was really great to see these awards presented and I fell really proud of all of the Scouts!

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Camping in the Snow!

In the UK, camping in snowy weather is somewhat unusual these days and we don’t get the same opportunities to do so as, for example, SM Jerry’s Troop. However, the Scouts from my Troop are currently at a weekend camp and are surrounded by snow. As should be expected, they have gone fully prepared for the weather and from what I hear they are all having a great time. I’m just rather disappointed that I wasn’t able to join them this time! I’m looking forward to the photos though.

As well as my Troop camping this weekend, another camp has gone ahead and has been reported in the national media. The country is having problems with the current weather situation with much transport disrupted and many schools being closed. However, the Winter Camp at Gilwell has gone ahead! The BBC sent a reporter there and it would appear that he had to be helped by a Scout when the batteries in his recording equipment ran out!

All this proves that if you are prepared for the adverse conditions, a fun and, most importantly, safe time can be had!

If you want to read more about being prepared for cold weather camping (albeit with a backpacking slant), I cannot recommend SM Jerry’s blog highly enough.

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2010 Census

Every year, each Scout Group has to complete a census. This is information that the Scout Association asks for each year to find out the numbers of young people and leader in each Group.

Once the Group has filled in their details, the District then collates the information from each Group in the District and submits their information and the County does the same and so on. This then gives the SA an accurate indication of how many people in the Movement.

This year I’ve recorded 77 young people (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) and adults in the Group. Now, this is the highest number of people in the Group we have recorded since the modern records we have began in 1971. We also have an increase of 14 people on the previous year which is quite impressive.

Some people may think that 77 people is a lot for a Group and some may think it is not many, but for us its about right. We can take a few more young people in each section and more adults (we never say no to adult helpers!), but for us there isn’t much more physical space in the hall, so many more would be difficult.

But another year on year increase in numbers is a good sign that our Group is doing well!