Earning It

22nd_World_Scout_Jamboree It’s pleasing to know that one of my ex Scouts will be representing his Country, County, District, Explorer Unit and Scout Group at next year’s World Scout Jamboree in Sweden (no pressure then!).

To attend this exciting event is going to cost him about £2100 or $3145 or kr24,375. Now this is quite a lot of money to pay to go away for a fortnight or so, especially in the current economic climate.

So he is not just getting his parents to ‘cough up’ the amount, but doing various activities to raise the money. He, along with the other 4 Explorers from my District who are going, have done sponsored walks, held a charity stall on the local charity market and done car washes to name but a few. He is also, in the best traditions of ‘Bob a Job’, going to do work for people in return for a donation to the fund (hmmm, the car needs washing I think!).

A couple of weeks ago, a District colleague of mine was at a meeting and was chatting to someone from another county. This person was apparently quite surprised to learn that our Explorers are fundraising to enable them to go to the Jamboree. He, apparently, just wrote a cheque for the full amount for his son to go and couldn’t understand why our Explorer’s parents don’t do the same!

Now apart from the small matter that they probably cannot afford to just write out a cheque for that much, it gives the wrong impression to the Explorer attending the event. As our Explorers have to work for the money, they will appreciate the actual cost of going to the Jamboree and realise that it’s an honour to go and will be a once in a lifetime event (I am, of course, very jealous as I never had the opportunity to go on one!). The Explorer whose Daddy just wrote the cheque will think that this is the normal way to get money for things they want in life. I think our Explorers will have a better understanding of the value of money and that it doesn’t just grow on trees in the future.

The Most Popular Posts

Whenever you write a post on a blog or an article on a website, you want people to read it and hope that they find it interesting.
Recently there has been a post on here that has proved to be quite popular.
But not for the reason I would have expected!

Last year I wrote about a local District who were being advised not to parade on St. George’s Day carrying the English and Union flags (read it here). And to illustrate I had pictures of both the flags taken from a site which had pictures of national flags available to download free of charge and without copyright. Sadly this site seems to have disappeared now.

However, due to England being in the World Cup (yawn – sorry can’t be doing with football, cricket is more of my thing!), whenever people are looking for the England flag, the search engines are sending them to me! It’s nice to see the blog’s stats on the up, but sadly people are not stopping to read about Scouting 🙁

Also interesting is the fact that my Group’s site is getting quite a lot of hits on the post I made which includes a video on how to tie a friendship knot (see here). Again it’s the search engines sending people towards it and because people are ‘Scouty’ in their outlook (why else would the be searching how to tie a friendship knot?) they are looking at what my Group gets up to.

However, I’ve had to update the post as people think my Group has made the video and we didn’t! I don’t want to take credit for something that’s not ours!

Luckily I found out who did, so if you look at the video, please take a look at the site of the 3rd Ware Scout Group and tell them how helpful their video is!

Internet Safety – The Course

Last week I ‘attended’ an online course on internet safety for parents (previously mentioned here), which was set up by the Scout Association, but run by Microsoft.

Ok, so I’ll get my grumbles out of the way first. It was held at either 13.30 or 17.00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, which is not really the best time to have these sort of things because of people being at work – I was 5 minutes late! The other thing was that when it came to view the videos, for me, they didn’t work (this was quite common apparently). However, the videos, along with the presentation, were available to download afterwards. And that’s it, nothing else to grumble about!

Now I like to think that I’m quite savvy about all thing internet and computer related (I have to be, it’s my job!), but going through the information on this course contained a couple of interesting surprises for me.

First of all while talking about chat rooms, a site called Habbo was motioned. When looking at the site at a glance it looks like a game where you move your character around and interact with the other characters. However it is actually a social networking site and chat room. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing and there are moderators and word filters on the site, but a child could be on the site without their parent actually realising what it is.

Another point was that while it is suggested the family PC is located in a communal area (e.g. the lounge) so usage can be ‘monitored’ (I don’t like to use that word as it implies that the parent is always looking over the child’s shoulder, but you get the idea), there are now so many devices that can access the internet, from the mobile phone (not even using your own home internet connection), to the Xboxes, Wiis, PSPs etc. that they all cannot be monitored.

Finally the acronyms. So LOL, I got (laugh out loud), and some of the other more common ones, but ASL and POMS (or POS)? To my non teenage brain, ASL is Assistant Scout Leader and POS is a term used in the retail industry for Point of Sale (the labels and barkers that tell you of special offers)!

WRONG! ASL = Age Sex Location and POMS = Parents Over My Shoulder.

So there is some interesting stuff there. There are a couple of videos on the presentation that show examples of cyber bullying and the dangers of meeting people who you’ve met on the internet (the 16 year old girl turning out to be a 55 year old man type thing). Having done the course I can now show the same presentation and videos to parents, but I can’t put any of the stuff on here – sorry!

If you are a UK Scout Leader, there will be more of these courses run in the future (see the link on my previous post about this) and I’m sure that similar information is available in other countries, but irrespective of whether you are in the UK or not, it is worth looking into internet safety for the benefit of your Scouts and your own children.

Finally a link to CEOP – The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. This is where you can get advice, help and report inappropriate behaviour and content (in the UK). They also have a version of Internet Explorer 8 available to download with a CEOP button built in or if you already have IE8 you can add the button to your existing IE8.

UPDATE: I’ve just discovered that Microsoft have a page about keeping children safe online and have a parents guide to the available parental controls on MS products. Again a few bits are UK specific, but the majority is relevant irrespective of which country you are in. View the page here.

Our 2nd Family Camp

On the weekend of 28th – 30th May the Group held its second Family Camp (our first was for our Centenary in 2008). This time we stayed at Barnswood Scout Camp, which is near to Rudyard Lake.

Everyone arrived on the Friday evening (the majority of families having put their tents up the previous nights) and we soon started the weekend’s programme. First was a walk around the campsite as many people had never visited Barnswood before. This was followed by one of Paul’s special wide games! After this chaos subsided, it was time for supper and bed – where did the evening go?

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Explaining the Wide Game

Saturday morning brought the rain! After cooking breakfast for 105 people (the most we’ve ever had on a camp!), we split into two groups. The Scouts and their parents lit fires and did some pioneering, while the Beavers, Cubs and their parents went down to Rudyard to go on the Lake on Bell Boats. To say it rained a lot would be an understatement and we got wetter from the rain than the lake!

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After lunch the Scouts went on the lake and the Beavers and Cubs got themselves painted with pirate faces and learned how to make secret messages, how compasses work and made their own telescopes.

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By this time the rain had stopped and we prepared the BBQ. The BBQ was a huge success and we must have cooked well over 150 burgers and sausages!

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Then it was time for part 2 of the wide game, a general knowledge quiz with questions for both adults and children (can you name the Titanic’s sister ships and do you know which country Dora the Explorer comes from?) and of course a campfire. The camp fire saw fine performances from a group of the Beavers and one of the Scouts did a solo turn. The rain even held off for most of it and just came on at the end. Then time for supper and bed.

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Sunday began a bit more leisurely and after breakfast and flag break we held a Scouts Own and then invested one of the Beavers.

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Then it was a few quick games and activities, then packing and tidying, lunch, more packing and tidying, the close of the camp and home!

It was great for me as both Carol and Rachael stayed out for the weekend, although we all stayed in a building – 5 months old is a bit young to camp! Rachael got to wear her Group t-shirt, which Mummy had to put on over her coat as the t-shirt is WAY too big for her! Best of all she slept soundly both nights and loads of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts running around and shouting didn’t wake her!

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