Changes to Explorer Scout Young Leader Scheme

An Update From Kirsty Ireland, Regional Advisor – Explorer Scout Young Leaders

ESYL badge

As you may be aware the Young Leader (YL) scheme has recently started undergoing some changes including the release of new Explorer Scout YL (ESYL) logbooks. We are excited to announce that the new ESYL Logbooks are now available to purchase from the Scout Shop.

To facilitate the transition from the existing YL training scheme to the new one and avoid any negative impact on our invaluable YLs there will be a phasing in period. The inclusion of the new Module J – “Communicate it” will be phased in and, up until May 2019, any existing ESYLs will not be required to complete this module. After this time this module should be included in the training as a requirement for the completion of the scheme and award of the ESYL belt.

More information on the updated ESYL scheme can be found at: https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/2628/resources-to-support-the-scheme?cat=9,98&moduleID=10 or by contacting youngleaders@sesscouts.org.uk.

A huge thank you to everyone in the region who continues to help and support our invaluable ESYLs. 

 

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.

Environmental project for Explorers

Environmental project for Explorers

Take part in an international study

Looking for a programme idea?  Your Explorer Unit could take part in a study of environmental attitudes and behaviour, run by Athina Georgiou Shippi, a PhD student at Edinburgh University.  She will visit your Explorer Unit and get the Explorers “to join in a number of activities which are both fun and interesting as well as providing me with data. Thus, you could support this study by allowing me to carry out these activities, ideally within a normal meeting. Please note that all information collected during the activities will remain anonymous.”

Athina has already started her visiting and the project is scheduled to run between June and October.

Two documents are attached, one for leaders, and one for Explorers.  For further details, please contact Athina using e-mail: S1226472@sms.ed.ac.uk .

Auchindrain

Auchindrain

Auchindrain – the field of the blackthorn tree. Who could imagine that a group of 10 – 15-year-olds would be demanding that the Auchindrain camp stays firmly fixed on the 14th Midlothian (Bonnyrigg) Scouts calendar?

After eight years this is still one of the most popular camps – it has to happen in May on the Victoria holiday weekend because it is such a long way from home, and the only way to get there is by mini bus, there are no local trains and the bus journey to Oban and on to Inveraray would take the whole day.

Auchindrain is the most complete Highland farm township in Scotland.  It survived the Highland Clearances and has now become a category A listed building. Although building is the wrong term as there are a number of buildings and more being discovered each year. Bonnyrigg Scouts have been privileged to be a part of this. The Township lies approximately six miles south of Inveraray in Argyll It is typical of settlements of its kind 200 years ago.

Eight years ago following a random conversation between the Scout Leader and the handyman at the site Bonnyrigg Scouts were invited to camp and experience life in the Township as part of what was then the local history badge, they duly turned up and pitched camp, met the curator and learned the Gaelic equivalent of their names and what they meant, they worked all day Saturday on the site helping to remove old fencing and make the site secure for the heritage sheep that were to be moving in, they planted 1000 tiny tree seedlings on the edge of the forestry commission plantation and tried keeping the peat fire going in one of the old dwellings. On the Saturday night they met a local Free Church minister who led a traditional Highland service of sung psalms and read from a Gaelic bible – a new experience for everyone! Scouts explored the local hills and woods on a hike on the Sunday and finished their visit with a trip to Inveraray jail, luckily no one got locked up.

This started a tradition of visits with Scouts learning skills such as waulking the cloth with the weaving group, making butter in traditional churns, cooking on the peat fires, whitewashing walls, stone harvesting the tattie field, joining in games of shinty, looking after the rare-breed hens, exposing former access tracks and paths within the site, forming drainage ditches and helping Cathy build a traditional travellers’ “tent” from willow and canvas. This year the Scouts were able to take part in the digit2017 project managed by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. This involved the continued excavation of work begun in 2017 to excavate and unravel the story of Building T – until last summer a completely unknown building. The Scouts explored the infill of the building scraping back the weeds and soil to expose the original floor, retrieved small finds which included boots, teapots, broken china and a various glass bottles. The Scouts also helped to rebuild the original walls using the stone pushed or fallen into the building, learning how to drystone and, in the process, why not to climb on drystone dykes! The finds were washed and catalogued ready to be included in the inventory of Auchindrain.

The weekend is not all work however and between times the Scouts were taught how traditional dyes were made for woollen clothing, how to card tease and spin wool, they learnt a number of weaving techniques and how to make felt. Cooking and eating of traditional foods was a firm favourite – what a difference having to cook on an open peat fire on a griddle! They weren’t keen on a totally traditional menu though the idea of sliced cold porridge for breakfast and lunch wasn’t well received so instead we cooked Orkney bannocks, fish cakes, drop scones and flatbreads, topped with butter churned in large kilner jars YUM! Meals were based on the food that would have been available to the residents at Auchindrain although we ate more protein in one weekend than they would have shared in a month between all the families!

On Saturday night a traditional Ceilidh was held in the Barn with a little bit of dancing and plenty of singing with guitar and piano accordion, historically this would have been when the local news was shared by travellers moving from one place to another selling, fixing and exchanging tools, special foods or other items.  At night groups of Scouts took it in turn sleeping on the old cot beds in Martin’s house – although they used sleeping mats and sleeping bags rather than the straw paillasses and scratchy woollen blankets, and torches rather than candles and oil lamps.

During our time at Auchindrain this year the Scouts also contributed to a series of blogs following their experiences at the site and detailing the things they found in their archaeological dig contributing to the year of Young People Visit Scotland initiative and their public relations badge work.

Traditionally at Auchindrain the group calls in to another visitor attraction in the local town and delights in the offerings of the wee sweetie shop where cremola foam, candy stick ”cigarettes”, gold bullion gum and giant gobstoppers can still be found, fortunately for the leaders Inveraray also hosts a very nice tearoom with homemade cakes! On the return journey we have made a further tradition of calling into a visitor attraction that shows a totally different lifestyle to the township, in the past we have visited the jail and Inveraray Castle (where a great number of the people from the township went to work as servants and agricultural labourers), Stirling Castle and Doune Castle where the recent television series of Outlander has been filmed, and made famous by the Monty Python film “Holy Grail”.

By the end of the Auchindrain weekend the Scouts are able to gain their local knowledge badge (history) and have carried out site service as part of the outdoors challenge but they have learnt far more about the hardships and the lives of Scots ancestors, changes to lifestyles that have occurred in the relatively recent past, they have cooked traditional meals and learnt traditional skills. Over the years that we have been going to this camp, the Scout Group have made a tremendous contribution to the museum, carrying out work which there would not be time for in the general running of the site. Visitors to the site have been impressed by the attitude and work of the Scouts and many have commented on the help the Scouts have given them in understanding the history of the site.

We look forward to the new things we will be learning next May!

Erika Pryde, Group Scout Leader, 14th Midlothian (Bonnyrigg)

For more information

Regional Explorer Camp 14-16 Sep

Regional Explorer Camp 14-16 Sep

Camp includes M&D’s Theme Park

The camp is for Explorers and Young Leaders from all Districts in our Region, even if their leader(s) cannot attend. It will take place from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 September 2018.  This is a holiday weekend in most areas. Details of the full camp programme are being decided by Explorers and Leaders.

Outline details

  • At The Barrwood Campsite, Forth Region – highly recommended by those who have visited it
  • Saturday visit to M&D’s Theme Park, Motherwell
  • Fri evening, Sat evening and Sunday offer many activities on site
  • Water activities on Sunday morning
  • Chance to bivvy out overnight, counting for Zodiac Award
  • Cost £40 per head
  • You can still join in, but let us know as soon as possible.
  • Ideas still welcome
  • Contact John Buchanan explorers@sesscouts.org.uk

This is a chance to meet Explorers from other part of the Region and have fun.

 

Diane Ross MBE

Diane Ross MBE

Congratulations to Diane Ross on being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her service to Scouting and to the community in Edinburgh.

Diane was a Leader for the Cub Scout 80th Birthday item in the Edinburgh Gang Show 1996, was instrumental in the organisation and running of the Junior Gang when it was established in 1997 and remains an ardent Gang Show supporter.

Her leadership and commitment to Gang Show, as well as many other responsibilities in Scouting, is inspirational. Thank you Diane for your service and here’s to many more years of Scouting fun!

From the Gang Show Facebook page