Training is fun

Training is fun

Meadows Explorer unit used a fun and effective way to prepare for their Explorer Belt.  Assistant Explorer Scout Leader Vikki McIntyre created an excellent interactive game for use with the whole Unit.  A full report was published in the recent edition of Scouting magazine.  The article can be found here, and contains links to download the materials needed for the game.

Concentrating on the game

Concentrating on the Explorer Belt game

Having fun while learning

Explorers have fun while learning

Braid in Denmark 2017

Braid in Denmark 2017

Last summer the Danish Scout Associations came together to run a National Jamboree.  Having experienced fantastic Danish Jamborees several times before, a contingent made up of 65 Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Network and Leaders from 4th Braid, 103rd Braid and Greenbank Explorers embarked on a trip to Jamboree Denmark 2017.

 

Group on the ferry

Cubs, Scouts and leaders on the ferry

We travelled by coach to Newcastle and then overnight ferry to Amsterdam where another coach took us the almost 9 hours through Netherlands and Germany into Denmark.  Our kit travelled on the same ferry in a large van.

Feedback from the young people was that the coach to Newcastle was a bit cramped (5 seats across) however that this was more than made up with the “luxury” coach we’d hire for the continent.

Aerial photo of the site

The whole site

On arriving in Denmark, our van drivers had managed to negotiate access to drive our kit all the way onto our site and therefore we only had to carry personal kit the 1km from the coach drop-off point to our site.  One
downside of the time of our method of travel was that we had to pitch our sleeping tents as it got dark.  Only one modification required in the morning as we’d pitched one of the leaders’ tents over a ditch.   With such a large group, we had decided to bring a marquee without the side walls which was quickly pitched before breakfast on Sunday morning.  The Danes are very traditional in their camping with a focus on skills such as pioneering and an expectation that food is cooked on open fires.  We therefore spent most of the day on Sunday building our fireplaces, tables and benches, true Danish style out of pioneering poles (topped off with plywood table tops we’d prepared and brought from Edinburgh).

Throughout the day on Sunday we also took some time to explore the site (which was 2km x 2.5km large).

After lots of hard work on Sunday it was time for the evening opening ceremony.  This brought together all 40,000 participants.  This was quite an experience, although some of our young people found it difficult to follow, as unsurprisingly it was mostly in Danish.

Scouts back from hike

After the hike

During the week the young people took part in a wide variety of activities.  There was a good mix of activities to suit our full age range.  Some of the activities we had signed up individuals or groups in advance, some we could just drop in to and others were set activities for the whole group / sub camp to do.  For many of the activities the Scottish Scouts took part alongside Scouts from other countries and made new friends.

Liftin car with pioneering poles

Lifting car

One activity that was a favourite with both Scouts and Explorers was the world’s largest inflatable “The Beast”.  A couple of days of activities featured patrols of Scouts paired with a patrol from another country and going around a variety of challenges.  These activities ranged from carving whistles, lifting a car with pioneering poles & pulleys to launching water rockets.

Racing chariot made of poles

Chariot race

One day was designated a sub camp day when the whole of our sub camp came together to build and race chariots.

One afternoon we held a joint camp fire with our Danish neighbours.

Having been apart for most of the day, our group came together each evening to eat our dinner under our marquee.  Explorers and Scouts take turns days about to prepare dinner for everyone using recipes from the Danish Camp Cookbook and a bit of improvisation depending on what ingredients could be sourced from the food supply tent.

Food preparation

Preparing food

After a great week the camp finished with the closing ceremony.  We then departed the site about 3am to travel back to Amsterdam.  We made good time and had a few hours explorer the centre of Amsterdam before taking the ferry back to the UK.

Some quotes from those who took part

“I enjoyed the giant inflatable (The “Beast”).  I didn’t enjoy the opening and closing ceremonies because these were in Danish.  However, I did like the fact that there were so many people there.”

“Absolutely class, slip and slide bouncy castle was good and the rainbow café was my favourite destination because I could really let my hair down.”

“I really enjoyed meeting some Norwegian Scouts and becoming friends.”

“We met lots of nice people from different countries and it was a great experience.”

“My favourite bit was eating, sleeping and cycling around the town in the rain and the Beast, it was so much fun.”

“One night we went to the International Camp Fire.  There were Japanese singers, Greek Scouts and Danish people there.  Other Scottish Scouts were there.  We got to meet new people.”

“The best thing was meeting Scouts from other countries, it’s not something I’d expected to be my favourite part before leaving Scotland.”

Group in boat

Boating at the camp

“Our whole experience in Denmark was AMAZING, there was so many fun and exciting activities to do” Our five favourite activities were 5) Star Gazing, 4) Sailing, 3) Cycle Hike 2) Raft Building and last of all our favourite activity was 1) The Beast.”

“The travel was very fun, 18 hours ferry, 9 hours coach, nice coach by the way 5 Star.  Activities all were very fun as well meet a lot of new people.  The cycle is good go for pink bike with basket on front.  The exhibition was very fun as well meet people from different countries.  The journey back in Amsterdam is very good nice sightseeing and also go along the backroads of the city.”

“We met some wonderful Danish Scouts whom we shared our unique Scottish customs with.  It was a life-changing and unique experience which I count myself extremely lucky to have been a part of.”

Scottish and Danish Scouts together

With our Danish neighbours

 

What Expedition Achieved

  • All the Young People had a great international experience, meeting Scouts and Guides from across the world and taking part in activities with many different people
  • A joint expedition between two Scout troops, an Explorer Unit & Network established strong links which will help with the transition particularly from Scouts to Explorers
  • Pre-expedition fundraising involved parents as well as young people / leaders and therefore generated new areas of support for both groups and the unit.
  • Greater independence and confidence especially of younger scouts.

Lessons learnt / What we would do differently

  • Each Jamboree, even ones in the same country only 9 years apart, can be very different.
  • Make more effort, earlier, to make links with the Danish Group we were to camp next to.
  • Rather than leaving camp in the early hours of the morning it would have been better to leave around midnight after closing ceremony and to travel through the night, then spending almost a full day in Amsterdam.

Group in Amsterdam

Exploring Amsterdam

William Lyburn Fund

  • We would like to thank the William Lyburn fund for the grant we received.
  • Knowing we had received the grant gave us an important contingency fund against unexpected events, particularly uncertainty caused by the volatility of the exchange rate during the period before the trip. In the end we were also able to also use the grant specifically to pay for extras which greatly enhanced to overall trip for the young people who took part.  These extras included:
    • The Explorers enjoyed two excursions into town including pizza lunch and swimming.
    • The Scouts enjoyed a swimming excursion into town and a movie in the cinema on the ferry.

James Sievewright, expedition leader

YLs visit Manchester

YLs visit Manchester

On Saturday 3 February, I took four Young Leaders to Manchester to take part in the programme review and development day for the Young Leader Scheme.

There were about 40 people, with majority of them being young people, and 10 Leaders all of whom are helping to deliver the Young Leader Scheme in their Counties or Districts. The day was run by the Programme Team from Gilwell.

The aim of the day was to review some of the changes that the Programme Team has been working on for the last 18 months.

The Young Leaders looked at two modules. Module F – more activities around inclusivity and Module J which currently covers activities on communication partly in Module I and partly new activities about articulating the skills and experience gained as a Young Leader. The Young Leaders reviewed them once they had taken part in the relevant module and said that they really enjoyed them both.

The Leaders during this time were looking at the resources for the Section Leaders, the modules that the YLs were undertaking and information for Section Leaders, GSLs, DESCs and Executives.

The day started with the Leaders and YLs doing Ice Breakers in the morning in order to get to know one and another and break down barriers, so that open communication between the YLs could be fluent. We then came together and looked at the Young Leader log book and the changes to it that included the placement agreement.

The next part of the day’s programme involved the YLs being split into two groups and working on the two modules that had been chosen. The YLs gained a lot from this session, including:

  • Sharing and discussing ideas – “hands on” testing out the activities
  • Meeting new scouts who were passionate about the Young Leader scheme,
  • Opportunity to visit Manchester and learn about the local culture and history
  • Certificates to recognise our achievements and efforts
  • New resources about Scouting.

From a Leader’s perspective, it was brilliant to meet others that are involved with the scheme and how they manage it and make the programme work. What I found was that the ESL YL role is not the model that is commonly followed.

Most of the people there were County people, so they run the YL Programme Modules at that level rather than at District, although this does also happen, depending on the need for the modules.

It was a very positive day!

Allison Gamble

WSJ journey begins

WSJ journey begins

Almost 8 months ago the Jamboree journey began for the South East Scotland unit when our four Unit Leaders were selected from applicants across Scotland.

Leading the unit is Alan Gibson who is an Assistant Explorer Scout Leader with South Morningside Explorer Scout Unit (SMESU), Braid District.  Making up the leader team are: Mark Petrie Cub Scout Leader 16th Craigalmond, Gillian Swarbrigg Assistant Scout Leader, West Region and Rhona Robb Assistant District Commissioner (AT), Clyde Region.

All our unit leaders have a vast amount of Scouting experiences under their belts, including many International events and World Scout Jamborees including Japan, Sweden, UK and South Korea.   We believe we have a strong leadership team ready to support the unit of 36 young people when they embark on their adventure of a lifetime to the 24th World Scout Jamboree to be held in West Virginia in the summer of 2019.

November saw our selection weekend at Bonaly where we welcomed around 60 Scouts and Explorer Scouts over the weekend. Each had submitted an application that included a personal statement and testimony from their own sections leaders.  The calibre and enthusiasm of the young people made for a most enjoyable weekend for the volunteers from the Region who came along to run team building bases and help in the incredibly difficult task of selecting just 36 young people to be part of the unit.  We are very pleased to say we have representatives from the following Districts:

Borders, Braid, Craigalmond, Edinburgh North East, Midlothian and Pentland.

The first of five training weekends will take place in February when the unit will gather again at Bonaly for the weekend.  This will be an opportunity for all the unit members to get to know each other, start forming their unit identity, plan different aspects of their training prior to the Jamboree and programming for the Jamboree experience itself.

You can follow the unit’s progress over the next 18 months on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sescotlandwsj2019/ where the young people will have the  opportunity to share stories of this life-changing experience.