Beavers Sleepover

At the weekend, my Group’s Beavers went to Kibblestone for a sleep over (camp). The Leaders all went out the night before to get themselves settled in and everything sorted in advance of the Beavers coming out on the Saturday morning.

As I’ve mentioned before, Beavers can only be away from Mum & Dad for 24 hours, so quite a lot has to be packed into that short period of time. Also, the Beavers need to be kept busy and on the move all the time so they don’t have the chance to get home sick. This could well be the first time they’ve been away from Mum & Dad and / or close family, so if they get time to stop and think, this is when we get homesickness which can cause problems (do you ring Mum etc.). And of course keeping them busy  all the time means that there may be a small chance that they get some sleep at night!

I went out on the Saturday morning with Rachael to visit, and I have to admit it was a strange experience for me. Taking a 9 month baby with me meant that I didn’t actually do anything remotely connected with the camp. I just looked after Rachael, made sure she looked devastatingly cute (proud Daddy here!) and chatted to the Leaders and Explorers when possible. And that was it! Very odd.

Me & Rachael 

Me, Rachael & a Halloween ghost!

However, we had fun and from what I saw of the Beavers and the reports I had back, the Beavers had a brilliant time. Which is of great credit to all the Leaders, Young Leaders and parents who helped out on the cooking team. A Beaver camp is hard work for Leaders due to the fact they are on the go virtually for the who camp, so I am immensely proud of the hard work they all put in!

The Scouting Trail

I saw this Tweet this morning from Don District Scouts about the book The Scouting Trail. The book is written by Scouts Ireland and is another useful book showing Scouting skills, and best of all it’s available to download for free! Take a look here.

Many thanks to Don District for publicising this book!

Something Silly!

I was sent this list over 8 years ago and found the email again the other day. See how many ring true to you –

I. The number of matches it takes to get the fire going is inversely proportional to the number that were in the box when you started.

2. If you are tired, your Scouts will not be at all tired, and will keep you awake all night.

3. Never turn your back for a moment.

4. Silly hats are practical – they keep your head warm and ensure that no one will ever take you seriously again.

5. The length of time for the water to boll is proportional to how desperate you are for a cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate.

6. Happiness is a cup of hot coffee (or tea) outside your tent when you get up in the morning.

7. Scouts have endless supplies of energy until they have to walk somewhere.

8. Scouts are allergic to washing up liquid.

9. A Scout’s alarm clock is always set either two hours earlier or two hours later than the leader’s.

10. Be nice to the caterer, or they might put food in your dinner.

11. There is always an unclaimed piece of underwear at the end of camp, but you never find the woggle that was lost at the beginning.

12. Smoke gets in your eyes.

13. Smoke will follow every individual around any given fire – no matter where they move, in which direction, where the wind is coming from, or even if there Is any wind at all for that matter.

14. A shower to a Scout is when it is raining.

15. Scouts do it in hiking boots and waterproofs with rucksacks.

16. If you stand and stare at a tent long enough it will pitch itself.

17. Don’t just do something – stand there!

18. If it’s burnt on the outside it must be cooked.

19. A Scout can cook anything, unsupervised and unassisted, as long as it’s a sausage.

20. A Scout is to be trusted – to do something really stupid and dangerous, usually involving fire, blades, food, vegetation, another Scout or any combination of me above.

21 .A Scout always takes their underwear home, clean, dry and unpacked.

22. When everyone is asleep at night a big spoon comes and stirs the contents of your tent around, so you’ll never find anything again.

23. No matter how large the rucksack or how numerous they are, there is always the plastic carrier bag.

24. I like Scouts, but I couldn’t eat a whole one.

25. The purpose of wide games is to get as many Scouts as possible lost, in the woods, preferably at night.

26. Ask a Scout to build a one man bivouac and you’ll get a cow shed, ask them to build a three man bivouac and you’ll get something just big enough for a Beaver or a cuddly toy.

27. Camping is good for me soul -it must be – anything this much hard work has to be good for you.

28. Trying to remember how many loaves of bread (or pints of milk) you bought. and how many were either left over at the end or had to be bought half way through the last camp, is the second sign of madness.

29. The first step on the road to madness is being a leader.

30. You can always tell where a Scouts’ tent was from me sweet wrappers.

31. You can always tell where a Venture’s tent was from me burnt out beer cans.

32. To estimate the length of time it will take to complete an activity at camp; think of how long it should take, multiply that figure by the number of Scouts doing it, take off me number you first thought of, halve that figure and finally move the decimal point one place to the right. Hence we can allocate four hours and ten minutes for six Scouts to complete a ten minute activity.

33. If at first you don’t succeed – cheat. Just don’t let anyone see you doing it.

34. You know you have picked a bad site when me tent pegs are held in by suction.

35. Anyone who goes camping between November and March deserves what they get.

36. The average Scouts’ First Aid Kit contains: three sticking plasters (one opened), two antiseptic wipes, one sewing needle (unsterilized) and thirty seven safety pins.

37. Building the fire up for the night to leave embers in the morning does not require an imitation of the towering Inferno, but this is what usually happens anyway.

38. When whittling, whatever you produce is what you set out to make.

39. You always remember the laughter.

40. Always stick to what you said.

41. There is no 41.

42. Life, the Universe, and Everything.

I thought this list would make a nice change from the seriousness of my last post!


I’ve been reading a few of my American Scouting friends’ blogs and they regularly talk about their Boy Led Troops. Also, there is this post from Lotta in Sweden about her Group’s and District’s Annual General Meetings.

In both these cases, Scouts are given the considerable responsibility of either running their Troops or having a major say and input into their important meetings.

The thing is, and I hope you don’t think I’m being rude about our Scouts, I don’t believe we would be able to do those things here in the UK.

First of all, the Scout Troop being run by the Scouts themselves like in the USA is unlikely due to the ages of the Scouts.

Scouts leave the Troop when they are 14 to join Explorers. This is run by the Explorers themselves, and very successfully as their ages go from 14 – 18. But with Scouts being in the 10 – 14 age range this doesn’t work.

As an example, I will tell you about one of our Scouts who has moved to Explorers in the last 4 – 5 months. He’d come through Beavers and Cubs and was a generally pleasant 10 year old. But when he was 11 & 12 he was a little  _________ (insert choice expletive here!). In fact, he was close to being chucked out of the Troop for his behaviour. Then, virtually overnight, his attitude changed. He worked hard and gained his Chief Scout’s Gold Award and started to help out with the Beavers. He’s now in the Explorers and a Young Leader with the Group (and a valued one too).  Now he only ‘grew up’ around 6  – 8 months before he was due to leave the Troop.

And this is where the difficulty lies within the Troop. Just as the Scouts start to become more experienced and are able to do tasks themselves, show others how to do things and show leadership skills, they leave the Troop! Now this is where I go a little ‘off message’ and say that having Scouts leaving the Troop to go to Explorers at 14 was a mistake! It means the experienced Scouts are not around long enough to pass on that experience to the younger ones.

Secondly, getting the young people interested in the actual running of the Group (for example) by suggesting items at a meeting would be a struggle. I don’t know whether this is just the young people in our Group, in our area or a UK thing, but when doing something that is ‘serious’ they tend to have the attention span of a goldfish! Is that our fault as Leaders by not presenting things in a way that grabs their attention, or just symptomatic of the time we live in where everything is instant and on a screen? I agree with Lotta when she says that getting the young people interested  and “involved in other circumstances, like student councils, political youth movements and so on” is an excellent idea, (and a necessary one really)  but for the Beavers, Cubs & Scouts are they interested / do they even care?

I don’t know. And maybe I am being unfair to the young people, but that’s the way I see it. Would anyone care to change my mind? /

About 18 months or so ago (or was it longer?), I came across the website which gathers together news stories from all sorts of Scouting related websites and personal blogs. I thought it was a good idea and after picking up a lot more reading from it, I thought I’d submit this blog to go on the list. Now as it’s a US based site, Gregg the owner of the site, did wonder if people would be interested in what I wrote as I’m a UK Scout. However, he did put me on and a lot of people do pop by to read my stuff from HalfEagle.

Since then Chris at Jabbering has asked to go on and now Gregg has set up for UK based blogs. So please go over and see all the interesting stuff written about Scouting both here in the UK and in the USA as well. And thank Gregg for setting it all up! You can sign up for the Facebook page and Twitter feed as well.