Are you keeping in touch?
Do you know about the InTouch system?
It is important that there are communication systems in place throughout all Scouting activities, allowing leaders to contact parents/carers and parents/carers to contact leaders. This is done through having an InTouch system in place, a system designed to be flexible and suit the needs of your activity, from a section meeting through to summer camp and trips aboard.
We used to have the Home Contact system, but now that (almost) everyone has mobiles, we can use them to keep in touch with everyone.
The Factsheet FS120075 includes a step-by-step approach guiding you through the process of setting up an InTouch system as well as further guidance on areas and issues to look at within this and suggestions on how these can be managed.
Key questions to ask yourself and your leadership team
- How will you and the other leaders hold the details of all those taking part in an event, and the contact details of their parents/next of kin, so that they can be accessed as required?
- What contact details of the leader or leadership team will you give to the parents?
- What advice or guidelines will be given to parents as to the how to contact the event and when / why communication is expected or appropriate?
Please read the Factsheet to understand how the system works. It really is important to have one in place!
And let’s hope you will never need to contact your Commissioner or their designate in the case of an emergency (as per POR Chapter 7 – Emergency Procedures) at any point during your events.
Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, South East Scotland
May 2018 at Longcraig – Been and Gone!
After the particularly cold, prolonged and snowy winter the first month of Longcraig activity has on average been blessed with spring like weather much of the month. The Met Office people think May 2018 may be the warmest on record (somewhere in deepest England, maybe!) so, although not altogether a scorcher, it was a pretty fine month and a good start to our 2018 season.
May and June are typically Longcraig’s busiest period, as it’s summer term for Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies etc so everyone wants to cram their bookings into 8 or 9 short weeks.
But summer remains with us through July and August and into September. Consider how you might be able to make use of the Centre for some activities during the summer period:
- You could sign up for some training courses, for example.
- You could arrange a patrol event instead of a troop event. Bookings can be made for as few as 6 people, or talk to us if you have a specific requirement that doesn’t quite fit in.
- You could consider a parent-and-child opportunity (family activity day) if you wish to.
The opportunities are there, the weather is likely to be a little bit warmer, some of the best days and evenings are in the school holiday period but we remain open and available during that period.
Going away for a summer camp or weekend event? Did you know that suitably qualified leaders / adults can hire (almost) any of the equipment at Longcraig for your own event? Obviously, we would check where you plan to use it, and who with, but our rates are very reasonable and definitely cheaper than hiring commercially! We have trailers available for the bigger stuff, but some items are roof-rack toppable if you don’t do towing.
Following the success of the partnership with the Explorer Unit who have been supporting Longcraig over the winter and subsequently had 11 Explorers participate in a start Sailing course, we invite feedback from other Explorer Units who wish to make water activities and Centre Support a part of their programme. Please contact us for further details of how you can join up and add this to your Unit programme as well as learning new skills, satisfying challenge requirements, and fulfilling service activity all at the same time! Contact Ian on 0131 331 1108 initially.
Push the Boat Out
This year the Royal Yachting Association issued a challenge to all water-sport providers and clubs across the country, as part of a nationwide initiative to encourage more people to participate in water-sports. We at Longcraig took up this challenge and held our Push the Boat Out day in May, but aimed this time at adults and leaders, who often miss out on actually participating in the activities when down with their groups and units. To match the tides on the day, we ran from 2pm through to 6pm and finished off with a barbeque in the evening sunshine. Participants came from all over the Region, many of whom had never sailed or kayaked or paddle-boarded before, getting the opportunity to Have a Go!
James Allan, the RYA Scotland Chief executive, was enthusiastic about supporting our event, and about the specific way in which we had chosen to arrange it. Longcraig was visited by a representative from RYA on the day, as well as members of the Regional Executive.
There has been an excellent response to last month’s announcement of two complementary initiatives to provide training for Hillwalking permits (see original article).
David, the DESC for Craigalmond, is going ahead with organising a Regional residential training weekend this Autumn, similar to the successful one he organised for his District last year, to be followed by an assessment weekend with Lochgoilhead staff next Spring. There has been sufficient interest to make this viable and further applications will be welcomed with a deadline of 20 May. He gives details and asks for replies using a survey (please note, this will be live until 20 May).
Davy’s project, offering single day and evening modular training courses, is under way. He gives details of this and invites further applications in a separate article.
DofE and other Expeditions and Terrain Permits
Davy’s article also explains some of the matters to be considered when organising expeditions in the hills – which is most of Scotland! Bear in mind that you can also contact the Regional Adviser (DofE), John Buchanan, for advice on DofE.
The Region ran a taster training session on 30 April. Eight leaders from across the Region spent an evening with Mountaineering Instructors Davy Virdee and Martin Holland looking at the skills needed to move towards gaining a hillwalking permit.
There’s lots of demand for hillwalking training, and Davy Virdee – the Regional assessor – will now start to schedule more training events. Feel free to contact him for more information. (Photos Nikki Maclean)
Duke of Edinburgh and Remote Supervision
Duke of Edinburgh expeditions are common amongst many Explorer Units.
For remotely supervised expeditions in Terrain 1 and Terrain 2 a supervisory permit is required in addition to your leadership permit. To get a supervisory permit, you should have a good leadership experience in your chosen terrain and be able to draw up comprehensive supervision plans for the groups you are intending to remotely supervise. Most, if not all Silver and Gold expeditions will fall into Terrain 1 and Terrain 2.
Bronze expeditions, typically take place in Terrain Zero, and so no leadership nor supervisory hillwalking permits are needed. However, District Commissioner Authorisation is required. As part of this notification should be to produce a comprehensive supervision plan for your expedition. If in doubt, you can pass along expedition plans to Davy Virdee for advice.
Hillwalking in the Pentland and Lammermuir Hills – Terrain Zero
The Pentland and Lammermuir Hills are on doorstep of the Region – and with good planning, much of it falls into Terrain Zero (https://members.scouts.org.uk/por9.28) and as such you do not need a permit to explore them.
However, you must follow the rules which can be found here:
These include asking for authorisation and providing route plans and risk assessments.
The Regional assessor is happy to consider restricted permits to leaders wanting to take groups to the tops of hills like Lammer Law and Carnethy Hill. Please contact Davy for more details.
Davy Virdee is also Regional assessor for all climbing and other mountaineering based activities.
More Information and Contact
The Scottish Campsite Directory has been updated (April 2018) and is a useful resource.
The UK directory, which lists some Scottish sites, is also available at UK Scout Campsite Directory .