Royal Wedding Party

So what did you do for the Royal Wedding? 

My Group held a special indoor street party for all the members of the Group.  The Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Young Leaders and Leaders came dressed up as princes, princesses or in their best party outfits and played silly games and had a party tea. Prizes were given out for the best costumes in each section. I have to admit that as I came dressed ‘only’ in my uniform (I was investing some new Leaders), I felt a little underdressed!

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We also invested two new Assistant Beaver Leaders into the Group.

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At the end of the evening, I was suddenly asked to lead the Group in a toast to the happy couple, which caused me a little moment of panic, as I couldn’t remember what to do! Luckily, it came back to me and the evening was rounded off with a toast.

We all had a lovely evening, and even if the whole world is in a financial mess and things are going to pot, it’s events like these that make you proud to be British!!

If you want to see more photos, they are in the Group’s Gallery.

My Badges App

The Scout Association has launched the My Badges app which contains all the information and requirements for each badge and award from Beavers through to Network. This is an excellent idea which means we can have all the badge requirements available in our pockets on our mobile devices. I think the BSA have had some of their information available electronically for a while now (The Boy Scouts Handbook?), so we are now catching up with them!

This app costs £1.19, which isn’t too bad when you consider that to print out all the info or to buy the relevant books would cost a lot more.

However, the SA have goofed by only releasing it as an iPhone / iPod touch app. Now, I don’t have an iProduct, I have an Android phone. OK, that’s not strictly true, Carol has an iPod touch and has bought the app for me, but its not  MINE!
Quite why they decided to release it just on the iOS platform is beyond me. There are far more Android users and Blackberry users aren’t far behind the iOS users – see here for a rough idea.

The slightly worrying thing is that Chris James, the Creative & Brand Advisor for the SA has said –

we will gauge interest before looking at developing on other platforms.

Hmm. I’m not too impressed about that. I think they’ve missed a great opportunity to release the app across multiple platforms to ensure that it can get to the widest possible audience.

What do you think readers?

Some Thoughts from the Launch of ‘My Body, My Choice’

Following on from the launch of the My Body, My Choice sexual health programme last week, a few thoughts come to mind.

I have been reading a lot of the press coverage and the vast majority has been extremely positive. I had expected reactionary headlines about Beavers being shown how to use condoms and that kind of thing, but the press have been generally positive and sensible about the whole thing.
In fact this was due to a lot of planning by the SA’s press people to make sure that the correct information was got across to the press and that the silliness was minimal. In fact the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication, Simon Carter, has written an article about it here.

We are very lucky that we have direct access to the ‘high ups’ in the SA. Wayne Bulpitt, the UK Chief Commissioner, is happy to answer questions put to him on the Escouts website. These range from the serious to the trivial and silly, but he always takes the time to reply, which is highly commendable and useful. To be able to put questions to a ‘high up’ in an organisation is very useful, especially for those of us at the ‘coal face’.
Unfortunately, a question was put to Wayne about the My Body, My Choice programme which wasn’t too friendly or polite. I think Wayne’s answer was very restrained and it put the point across well. But the thing is that he doesn’t have to do this and putting questions that are deliberately confronting and, indeed, rude, can only be counterproductive. He can turn round and decide to stop answering. Of course the questioner also forgot that ‘ A Scout is Friendly and Considerate’.

My friend Lotta, from Sweden, made a comment to me about the necessity of this programme and it reminded me that this kind of programme / information is not limited to UK Scouting. In fact she had a hand in writing the handbook for the Swedish Challenger Scouts (15 – 19 year olds) last year and she was kind enough to send me an electronic copy (much better for Google Translate!).
In the book, Våga Utmana / Dare to Challenge (oh please be the correct title and translation!), there is a whole section on relationships. Not just sexual ones, but with everyone and how these affect you and others.
Now when I initially saw this, I thought that there was no way that anything like this would appear in this country – we are British after all and we don’t do things like that, unlike these Continental chaps (I am being extremely stereotypical here!).
But we do and it’s here! Hopefully the Explorers who take part in the programme will be better informed and will be able to make the right choices for them.

As the launch of the programme made the media in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, to name a few, I wonder whether the other national Scout organisations across the world have similar programmes in place?

Libyan Scouts

From the WOSM’s website

The Boy Scouts of Libya, around 3,500 in the town of Benghazi, are organized, and able. They find themselves called upon to take on tasks that many would expect of the state – or at least more professional, trained volunteers.

That kind of puts all our little ‘problems’ and ‘grumbles’ into perspective!

An Interesting Initiative

Yesterday, the Scout Association launched the My Body, My Choice programme which is about sexual health.

This does not mean that Beavers will be coming home with handfuls of condoms! This programme is aimed at the Explorer Scouts, and it’s worth pointing out that it’s not a compulsory part of the programme, but is there to be used at the Leaders discretion.

The depressing thing is that there is a need for the Scout Association to have such a programme in the first place. Obviously, Explorers are at the age when they becoming interested in sex and potentially sexually active, but it is not a good thing to find out that –

Health Protection Agency figures show that the UK has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in Europe, with under-25s the most likely group to contract an STI.

Not good. Hopefully, the information contained in this programme will help these Explorers / young adults make informed choices and not end up with STIs or pregnant. I suppose it’s just a shame that it will only reach a small proportion of 14 – 18 year olds in the UK.