International Scouting – Year in Review

Blair Atholl 2018

It’s been an exciting and busy year with lots of exciting opportunities for our young people and leaders across the region and here Diane Marshall, Deputy Regional Commissioner gives an update on some of the International Scouting that has been going on over the past year.

Blair Atholl 18

South East Region secured 11 patrols for Blair Atholl 2018 which was a fantastic achievement. Training camps were undertaken at Bonaly, The Craig’s and Philipshaugh bringing the districts together in preparation for their adventure on “the Field of Dreams”. 63 Explorers left Edinburgh on the 16th July for what was to be the start of a journey in their personal development, our patrols were allocated into 6 sub camps meeting Explorer Scouts from Australia, Austria, Barbados, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and United States of America.

Daily camp life saw the Explorers taking part in activities divided into different zones:

  • Adventurous – canyoning, climbing, gorge walking, inflatable rafting, mountain biking, high ropes, mountain hike
  • Blair Highlights – Atholl experience – a mini tough mudder over slippery obstacles, Bushcraft, Ready Steady Cook, I’m an Explorer Get Me Out of Here!, The Great Blair Bake Off
  • Creative – Crafts, culture – learning more about each other, global, photography, jewellery making and Radio Blair
  • Sports – Golf, fishing, Geocaching, Cirque de Blair

Highlights of Blair 2018 included:

  • Sunday Scouts Own the theme was “Dreams” concluding with a choir made up of each sub camp singing A Million dreams from The Greatest Showman.
  • A large Burns Supper with ceilidh dancing
  • As always the final evening reception prior to everyone heading either home or onto home hospitality.

Home Hospitality was well received with SE Region patrols bringing 53 young people back to enjoy 3 – 4 days enjoying the many attractions and lovely countryside the SE Region covers.

I would like to record my thanks to the District Coordinators and members of the Bonaly Active Support Unit for their tireless work behind the scenes in pre and post camp preparation and throughout the training camps.

WSJ 2019

The weekend of 11th / 12th November 2017 saw over 80 young people at Bonaly looking for a place in Unit 91 which will represent SE region and Scottish Scouting at next year’s World scout Jamboree in West Virginia USA. The standard of all applicants was high and after a lot of deliberation on both days the contingent was confirmed and 36 young people were notified of their success. Unit 91 will be lead by Alan Gibson, a leader in the SMESU Explorer Unit, assisted by Mark Petrie from Craigalmond District and Rhona Robb  and Gillian Swarbrigg who hold Scouting appointments in other regions.  To date the unit have had 2 weekend training camps held at Bonaly. The second camp saw the unit make their way from Bonaly to Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar for a fantastic day teambuilding. Future training camps will bring all the Scottish units together as they all prepare for July 2019. Look out for the official “Oor Wullie “ merchandise that is available a well as all the individual fundraising that is going on across the districts of those participating.

WSJ – International Service Team 2019

SE Region are delighted to have 6 leaders who have been selected to be part of the International Service Team, we wish them all well in their preparation and for the many hours of hard work that they will be putting in on a daily basis to ensure that the Jamboree runs smoothly. Watch this space next year for a report on their WSJ experience!

Madagascar 2019

Madagascar 2019 will see Explorer Scouts challenged to explore the world, build International friendships and contribute to International development.

The adventure will take place over 3 weeks during the summer of 2019 and will be led by Martin Gray from Craigalmond District assisted by a team of experienced leaders.

We look forward to hearing and seeing how the project goes and wish all of our successful participants a trip that will give them a unique opportunity to make new friends and learn about a new culture.

International Trips

Throughout the summer a number of troops, units and groups have enjoyed scouting abroad visiting countries such as Ireland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and France.

International visits abroad are a special aspect of what Scouting offers young people and adults and it has been great to hear and see while following Facebook and Twitter posts what our young people are experiencing and learning in their personal journeys in order to progress and give them skills for life.

Danish Scouts visit

Danish Scouts visit

At the end of the very wintry month of March, a group of Danish Scouts came to Scotland to walk from Crianlarich to Fort William.  The nine Explorers (ages 13-15) and three leaders arrived carrying all their gear, carefully weighed to avoid Ryanair surcharges.

On arrival, they were able to spend a night in the 150th Craigalmond Scout hall, which they very much appreciated.  This follows a long Scouting tradition of helping visiting groups undertake adventurous trips, and it reminds us that we all wear the World Scout Membership Badge.  It is also a reminder that some of the pillars of Scouting are Fun, Friendship and Adventure.

The visitors presented the 150th with their very traditionally designed necker, and the Group hopes to link up with them as part of their World Challenge.

Danish necker

Necker of the Danish Explorers

The Danish Explorer Leader, Birgitte, wrote:

We had a fantastic trip up the West Highland Way and finished in Fort William on time. We had only one day with rain and a little snow, most of the time the sun was shining.  The spirit was great and the views amazing. Most of the group declared even before the departure from Edinburgh that they wanted to repeat the trip but start from the beginning some time.

Their photos give a sense of what they experienced.

John Buchanan    ARC Explorers

Danish Explorers do West Highland Way

Danish Explorers in March

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

Lyburn Fund

Lyburn Fund

Are you going abroad with your Scouts or Explorers?

If you are, you can apply for support from the Lyburn Fund.

See below two trips that recently benefited from the fund.

The Lyburn Fund exists to support certain activities within the Scout and Explorer Scout Sections. These are: International Camps (excluding World Jamborees) outside the UK or Outward Bound Courses or equivalent.

The grant is a maximum of £50 per young person and only one application may ever be made for a young person. A Group or District can only make one application in any financial year. The maximum amount that can be awarded to a Group or District in any financial year is £1,000. Because of these limits, some groups apply for 20 of the older members of the group and then – informally – share the £1,000 across all the members by paying for group activities.

The application will be approved by the Regional Commissioner and the Chair of the Regional Executive Committee.

Following the event, it is a requirement that a report regarding the event is submitted to the Regional Office. This should identify what the event achieved. Failure to submit a report will result in no further grant applications being approved. All applications must be accompanied by the most recent AGM approved accounts of either the Group or the District. All applications will be assessed on the basis of financial need.

Application forms are available from the Regional Office, 71 Bonaly Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0PB, either telephone 0131 441 1878 or e-mail info@sesscouts.org.uk or download the new application form.

Margery Naylor

Danish National Jamboree 2017

James Sievewright, leader of the trip for the 4th Braid, 103rd Braid and Greenbank Explorers, writes:

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.

See full report.

Buitzenzorg, Holland 2016

The 15th Edinburgh North East Troop went to Buitenzorg in July 2016 and had a great time. Michael Halcrow, Scout Leader, wrote:

I would like to thank Lyburn for the money. It was used specifically for the water theme park and the Amsterdam Arena trips and allowed us to greatly enhance our visit.

Blair Atholl training

Blair Atholl training

The first Regional Blair Atholl training took place during the weekend of 23 – 25 March at Bonaly. Seven out of the eleven patrols were able to attend and this gave everyone the chance to get to know each other.

Blair Atholl group meet each other

Blair Atholl group meet up

The camp started off with activities that allowed the patrols to mix and start learning about the different districts in our Region. Late morning saw us pitching the patrol tents and by early afternoon we were confident that everyone would have a roof over their head.

Patrol tents of the BA training group

BA training group

Axe and Saw, Firelighting, and Camp Kitchen Hygiene then occupied us up to late afternoon, followed by preparation and eventual cooking of our evening meal …

Ready to light the altar fire

Fire lighting practice

Some interesting initial versions of mince and tatties but glad to say, when cooked, all tasted good. Saturday evening saw ‘A first taste of Blair – what to expect’ and some pointers about how the camp operates. We then brainstormed ideas for the Country Fair and SE Region has some great options for all to try!  Pizza and some ceilidh dancing then followed, which was good fun, then it was time to turn in after a busy day.

Sunday arrived too quickly – well, we did lose an hour – and breakfast was first up.  You can’t beat the smell of sausages sizzling on an altar fire!

Two Zorb Balls moving about

Zorb Balls in action

Knots and lashings were followed by a fun activity – zorb balls.  Thank you, Meadows Explorers, for allowing us to use them. A quick lunch, then it was time to strike camp and, before we knew it, Sunday afternoon had been and gone and our first time together was over.

Game with Zorb balls in the field

Zorb game

The patrols now have some time to improve their wood preparation, firelighting and cooking skills ready for the next camp in June.

Explorer chopping wood safely

Safe chopping

A big thank you to the Core Team: Amy, Craig, Fee, Neil, Jackie and Barry as well as the Blair Coordinators / leaders Annette, Donald, Katie and David Growden.  Thanks also to members of the Region Team and DCs for joining us and lending your support.

Diane Marshall, Deputy Regional Commissioner

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