With the UK (and various parts of Europe as well, by all accounts) getting snow unseasonably early, the country is slowly grinding to a halt!
However, should this mean that Scouting activities should stop as well? No!
At the beginning of the year, it snowed quite badly, but our Scouts went ahead with the camp they’d planned. They’d hired buildings to stay in, so they were able to dry themselves out etc. at the end of activities. However, the funny thing was that the Scouts who actually camped were warmer at night than the ones who stayed indoors! The buildings hadn’t been used for a few weeks so had got cold and damp etc. The camp went very well and all who went had a brilliant time. In fact, the only issue they had, was at the end of the camp, the parents had difficulty getting onto the campsite due to the poor road conditions!
A number of years ago, I organised a hike by Errwood Reservoir in Derbyshire. It was in late February, so I’d expected rain, but not the snow we discovered when we arrived! Anyway, it was decided to proceed as it wasn’t a very long hike and it would be an experience! All was going well until it started to snow again and it was quite intense. We stopped and took the decision to come down off the hills on the prearranged escape route and make our way back to the cars. This cut the hike short but ensured that we were all safe and knew where we were. Although we did less walking that expected, there was the added bonus of the snowman making competition! Again, a good time was had by all (except when I had to reverse over half a mile on a single track road as the end was blocked!).
The point of this is that despite the fact the weather was poor, the activities were properly organised and precautions taken to ensure we were all kept safe.
Of course all that really matters is that everyone had a great time!
Not really! But if you read this article in the Sunday Telegraph, you might get that idea.
Now, I was going to write a comprehensive and witty repost, but then I noticed that Chris Hawes had already written about it on his Be Prepared blog. So there isn’t really any point for me to do so.
Instead, please go and take a look at his comments about this silly article!
Here is a short video of the campfire we had at our last Cub Camp (see here).
This one isn’t the longest one I’ve ever done, nor does it contain much singing as the camera’s batteries ran out and I was busy taking photos! Still you get the idea – it was a very dark night!
I recently came across this app for Android phones. It’s a very simple (and free) one which shows the UK Scout Laws and Promises for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. Useful, for example, for when a passing Group Scout Leader is randomly asked what the Cub Scout Law is!
It’s been created by one of the Leaders of the 4th Falmouth Scout Group, so please pop by their site and say hello!
Update 21/05/12: It appears this app is no longer available and the Group’s website has disappeared as well 🙁
This year for our Remembrance Day ceremony, we did something we haven’t done for quite a few years, we actually paraded from the Hall to the Church.
This was something we did regularly in the past, until we stopped parading around 15 years ago. However, we thought that this year as a mark of respect to all those who have died in wars (especially our own Scouts), we would parade through the streets again. Also, it’s a good way of reminding people that we’re around and how many kids do Scouting!
Of course a lot has changed since we last paraded through the streets, and so a risk assessment was done and the police were asked if they’d stop the traffic from running us all over! Luckily the police were able to help out and we were able to march safely. The Group’s Assistant Scout Leader borrowed a snare drum from the local Scout Band and played it to keep us (roughly) in step.
A nice touch from the Beavers was that they had made and carried poppies with the names of our Scouts who had been killed in wars on them. As we paraded to the Church, it was interesting to think that we were passing the actual houses where some of our Scouts who were killed in the First World War lived. To see that connection to the past and know about these men is quite humbling.
The Brownies and Guides joined us for the parade, but we did outnumber them somewhat!
After the service many people came to me and told me how well turned out and well behaved all the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts were. Indeed, all the Leaders were very proud of all the Scouts!
Please visit our site of Remembrance.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
LAURENCE BINYON 1914
Please take a look at the on line memorial to the members of my Scout Group who have been killed in previous wars.
At a campsite, with the Cubs about to start the fire for our campfire!
I read this article in my local newspaper tonight –
SCOUTS wants to lease land where they can set up a new base after a church council kicked them out of the headquarters they have used for decades.
The 21st West Stafford Scout Group has asked Stafford Borough Council to lease them a patch of land in Western Downs in Stafford.
Pack leaders warn the group may have to fold if the request is refused.
A report to tomorrow’s borough council cabinet meeting says: "The scout group has been at its headquarters building at Lovelace Close, Highfields, for more than 40 years and the premises has been leased from the Castle Church Parochial Church Council. The group has now been given notice that they will need to vacate the site imminently."
The scout group has a membership of more than 100 children.
If the borough council approves its request, the group will seek funding to build a new scout hut at the site.
Now apart from the fact that the newspaper has managed to mangle the story as usual (talking about the Group and Pack as if they are the same), this does raise something quite worrying.
I have tried to see if there is any more information about this story ‘out there’ but can only find a Facebook page the Group has set up which mentions applying for planning permission for a new HQ, but this was last updated in May. And of course, there is no mention of a reason why the Church are evicting the Group. However, it does seem to somewhat go against the Church’s (and I mean the Church as an organisation not this specific Church) general ethos of helping young people. From the Church of England’s website –
The Church’s concern is not only for young people within it but also those in the wider community.
There is a strong commitment to support and advise those who work with young people regionally, in dioceses, and locally, in deaneries and parishes.
So it does seem rather odd that this Church is trying to get rid of what seems to a successful Group.
However, this is by no means an unusual situation. A Group in my District had their own HQ on a site rented from the local Council. However, a new village hall is to be built on the site and the Group were evicted from their HQ and now have to meet in the local school. They will be able to use the village hall when it is built, but only at the specific times given to Group’s meeting. They also now have the problem of where to store all their equipment as they won’t be able to do so in the village hall.
I do hope the Stafford Scouts are able to get a new HQ and are not forced to close as that would be a tragedy and serious questions would have to be asked of the Church.
I asked which idiot is responsible for updating the website & found out it was you!
So ran an email I got from a work colleague the other day (it was meant jokingly – I hope!) with regard to a work website. I must point out here that I’m only responsible for putting stuff on the website and not actually creating the content!
But this led me to think about the various websites of Packs / Troops / Groups / Districts etc. that are out there and ensuring that they kept up to date and relevant (the work one is far from up to date, but my colleague is looking into that!).
I look at a lot of Scouting websites from the UK and from across the world and I find that a site doesn’t have to be flashy or have lots of special features on it to be a good website with relevant information. So as an example of a good site (picked at random from the ones I know), visit Pack 4363 from Wisconsin USA and for a (deliberately) bad site see this one!
The other thing to bear in mind is keeping a site current. It’s no use having the last bit of news or next forthcoming event being in 2007. If you know that your site isn’t going to be updated very often, put relevant information on there, but don’t put anything on that can date it. Then, just keep an eye on the site and make subtle changes when necessary.
Of course, the worst thing to see on a website is this –
If you’re going to make a site, don’t take it live or tell anyone about it until its complete.
The thing about having a website for your Group (etc.) is that you are advertising yourself, not only to potential new Scouts to your Group, but to the world in general! Most people will look up their local Scout Group, football club, dancing school etc. on the web first to see all about them, and first impressions count. A poor website can mean that people are put off you and will go elsewhere.