It is so good the see Scouts back camping at Bonaly following the relaxing of the Covid restrictions. If you are camping or visiting for the day why not give our new self-led “Camouflage Tracking” activity a go? Working intwo teams, the first challenge is to lay a trail of tracking signs for the other group to follow into the “Hiding Area”. Then one member of the team is chosen to hide and is camouflaged by the rest of the team using the equipment provided and natural materials. The teams now follow each other’s tracking signs and attempt to find the hidden person!
ScotJam@Bonaly was a great weekend with 120 Cubs and Scouts enjoying the sunshine and the Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Low and High Ropes, Burn Scramble, Camouflage Tracking, and of course the Campfire.We would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the weekend possible.
Image: Burn scrambling in the Roman Bath.
Our maintenance ASU have been hard at work keeping the centre looking good. The Chalet refurbishment is now well underway with new carpets, beds and vanity units. We are now taking bookings from the 1st of October for the new look Chalet and dates are filling up fast! To make an inquiry you can email email@example.com or use our online booking request form.
Image: The New Look Chalet
The Bonaly “Come and Have A Go Day” was very well attended and gave anyone interested in volunteering a chance to take part in some of the activities we have. Everyone had great fun enjoying the Low Ropes, Crate Stack, Burn Scramble, Pioneering skills or some of the Self-led activities we have on offer. Interested in joining our volunteer instructor team? Please get in touch by email or give us a ring on 0131 441 1878.
Image: Well done Sandy – that’s got to be a record!
The aim is for all Scouts to become Explorer Scouts. The Scout Leader (SL) and Explorer Scout Leader (ESL) will, with the support of the Group Scout Leader (GSL) and District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC), or their representatives, ensure that effective transfer of Members takes place in a timely manner.
Every year the SL will provide details of Scouts aged 13 and over to the ESL and to the District Explorer Scout Administrator (DESA).
Encouraging Moving on From Scouts to Explorers – An Important Update
Recent surveys and discussions with Explorers at District and Regional level have given a good insight into the transition process. The dropout level between Scouts and Explorers is much higher than between the younger Sections. The SL and ESL should consider the following and develop co-ordinated programmes and communication relevant to their members to increase retention:
Factors preventing Scouts from moving on to Explorers:
Lack of information about Explorers.
Fear of the unknown – moving out of their comfort zone.
Moving on is not promoted by Scout Leaders.
Scouts leave before completing their time there (14) because:
They have nothing to look forward to (lack of information).
There is no special consideration given to the older group in Scouts.
The programme is repeating for the benefit of the younger group.
They feel disengaged.
Their own cohort leaves or ages out.
They do not know enough people outside their own troop.
What might help Scouts meet Explorers on a number of occasions, including information sessions.
Scouts meet Explorers on a number of occasions, including information sessions
The people making contact should be engaging and passionate about Explorers.
There are joint events involving older Scouts and Explorers:
Explorer participation in District (Scout) camps.
Ensure that older Scouts keep in touch with friends who have moved up.
Scouts know people who have joined Explorers.
Scouts know who else will be joining – “The more people you know the more likely you will join.”
What the ESL, SL and Explorer Scout Leader – Young Leaders (ESL-YL) can do:
Leaders should celebrate moving on.
Scout leaders should not regard this as ‘losing their Scouts’.
Scout leaders should engage fully with District and local Explorer Unit(s).
Scout and Explorer Scout Leaders should plan their programmes actively to promote transition.
Leaders should encourage ESYLs on placement at the Scout Troop to talk about Explorers and possibly “buddy up” with Scouts during their early weeks in Explorers.
All leaders should know about the Chief Scout’s Award and include it in the programme.
Scout Leaders should inform Scouts that they can complete the Chief Scout’s Gold Award in Explorers, and Explorer Leaders should know and support this.
Scouts are more likely to transfer if they move with their friends and those in the same school cohort/year (typically S2), so we should do everything possible to inform and encourage the cohort to consider transitioning together, rather than basing it on specific age. There is flexibility and this should be discussed well in advance by the SL and ESL.
Don’t delay transfer to allow completion of the CSA Gold Award – this can and should be completed in Explorers and allows them to start Explorers as part of their school cohort [in their S2 year].
Make sure Scouts are aware there are Top Awards in Explorers and that the ones relevant for them as new Explorers are the DofE Bronze Award, the linked Platinum Award, and the Young Leader’s Training Scheme.
DofE Bronze and the YL Training Scheme are very popular with Explorer Scouts and their parents and usually seen as important opportunities to gain Skills for Life and evidence them in personal statements and applications for college, jobs etc. We should, therefore, promote these and encourage them to register at the point they transfer, and have support to allow them to get started and engaged with Explorers quickly.
Include parents in this communication so they are aware of these opportunities. They have an important role to support/encourage younger Explorer Scout to increase their skills in these more self-directed Awards. This has also proven an excellent means to recruit parents as additional adult volunteers.
Consider opportunities to provide a taste of Explorer Scouts and to continue and build on achievements in the Scout section, such as:
Blair Atholl satellite camp
Activity badges that span the sections – First Aid, Water Activities, Camping
Our 2019 Summer Camp was held at one of our favourite sites on a greenfield site at Ardtalnaig on the south shore of Loch Tay. On the Thursday evening we packed the van with hundreds of pieces of kit including the kitchen sink. We travelled on the Saturday morning in a monsoon and feared that we would have a very wet week as that experienced in 2018. However, thankfully not long after we arrived, the rain ceased. The advance party had managed to do a great job putting up two marquees, two mess tents and numerous leader tents. The 32 Scouts, supported by the Young Leader team, put up the patrol stormhavens and dining shelters as the Leader Team prepared the rest of the camp.
On the Saturday night after, a communal dinner, we introduced our theme of “Famous Pioneers and Pioneering” and assigned Patrols to Neil Armstrong, Roald Amunsden, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart and Edmund Hillary. We also introduced a Camp Challenge – 20 challenges to complete over the week. The Scouts spent the first evening learning about their famous Pioneers and drawing maps and making figurines to represent what they had achieved – the picture of Earhart’s plane was particularly impressive. We finished the first evening with hot chocolate and a camp fire on the beautiful shores of Loch Tay with excellent views of the Lawers mountains.
On Sunday, after the first breakfast cooked by the Scouts, we had our first patrol inspection (to set the camp standards) and then we had our Regatta Day on the Loch. A number of the Sea Scout Leaders arrived and facilitated an excellent day of raft building, kayaking, yachting and power boat riding. The weather was excellent and the Scouts honed their sea scout skills whilst having a fun time. Given the weather we changed our plans and brought forward our backwoods cooking and BBQ meal so we could continue to enjoy the sea scout activity into the evening. We concluded the night with some pioneering skills with the task of building a bridge with only balsa wood as preparation for the next day.
Scout Skills day took up most of Monday as the Scouts developed a range of new skills including axe and saw work, navigation using a very novel approach, tent skills, cooking butter and pioneering which involved building a life size bridge with pioneering poles. In the evening, the Young Leaders had prepared a widegame on the Pioneer Theme which went down very well with the Scouts.
On Tuesday we did Canyoning and Gorging with external leaders – all involved really enjoyed jumping into plunge pools, sliding down waterfalls and undertaking an exciting abseil. In the afternoon the Scouts helped build a monkey bridge with pulleys and ropes across the creek next to the camp. After another evening meal cooked by the Scouts, they were given a couple of hours to focus on their Camp Challenge – and the competitiveness was certainly on show,
On Wednesday the older Scouts were due to go on their overnight expedition but the weather forecast of severe thunder and lightning put paid to that so we hastily changed our plans and went to Aberfeldy where we went on a walk to the Birks of Aberfeldy, swam in the local swimming pool, played in the local park before heading back to the camp. We had fish and chips as a storm broke and drenched the camp once again. We improvised the evening entertainment with a “Cramond Scouts Got Talent” evening with lots of sketches, comedy routines and songs – some budding stars were found.
The weather forecast for later in the day/overnight Thursday was not much better with thunder and lightning forecast so the Leaders took the sensible decision to cancel the overnight expedition and undertake a day walk in the hills above the camp. The younger scouts went on a walk to the lower hills above Achran where we visited a Hermits Cave, had lunch at a historic Stone Circle before returning via the excellent Achran falls. In the evening the younger Scouts searched for “unlabelled” tins for their dinner – meatballs, hot dogs, tomato soup, peaches and prunes were the best find!! The older Scouts pitched their expedition tents at the far end of camp and cooked their own expedition meals. In the evening the Scouts painted their own faces on ping pong balls before racing them down the creek – we ensured none ran down into the loch.
We started to strike camp on Friday, taking the dining shelters down in dry weather. The Young Leaders then brought together a great “Olympics” with much competition to try to gain those points which would win the prizes.
In the evening, Karen, our camp cook, prepared a superb Pioneer Themed banquet meal of Columbus Melon Boat, Corn on the Cob with Earhart Bread & Butter, Hillary Mountain of mash, chicken and veg, followed by Amundsen Polar Cone and Armstrong space dust – 50 portions all made in the middle of a field!!! Our guest of honour was (Lady) Fiona Black with an unscheduled attendance by Lord Hector Black.
Edinburgh Scouts support the Mains Christmas Lights switch on event.
On Saturday 1st December the 30th Craigalmond Scouts spent the day making sure the event was successful. They helped put up tents, prepare the site to make sure everything went smoothly and raise money. The lights were switched on at 7.30pm and cheers were made throughout the village.
The event was set up to raise money for new lights with an aim of £10,000. We would like to make a massive thanks to the Christmas Lights Committee. This year they managed to hold an amazing event. We would also like to thank them for letting us be part of the organisation. As one Scout explained, “I enjoyed helping out because it was all worth it when you saw everyone having fun!”
Article written by the Scouts of 30th Craigalmond Scout Troops as part of their Media Relations and Marketing activity badge
by Mike Treanor, Scout Leader 82nd Cramond (Craigalmond) Scouts
Our 2018 Summer Camp was held at Culzean Country Park Scout Camp in Ayrshire. Given the weather had been glorious for what seemed like months and months we were looking forward to a dry camp. On arrival, the advance party had managed to do a great job putting up the marquees, mess tents and leader tents, despite a tyre blow out on the way there. On arrival, the 32 Scouts and Leader team put up the patrol Stormhavens and dining shelters just before a 48 hour monsoon arrived, which turned rock hard grass into a near swamp in no time at all!! The accompanying wind managed to fell a sizeable tree but fortunately no-one was hurt.
On the Saturday night we introduced our theme “Stranded on a Desert Island” with some familiar and not so familiar islands – Treasure Island, Coral Island (from Lord of the Flies), New Switzerland (from Swiss Family Robinson), Isla Nublar (from Jurassic Park) and Monuriki (from Castaway). The Scouts spent the first evening drawing maps of their islands and creating wooden signs from driftwood to name their patrol area (no camp fire given the ongoing rain).
On Sunday, after the first breakfast cooked by the Scouts we had our first patrol inspection (to set the camp standards) and then we visited the grounds in Culzean. Unfortunately the rain continued to pour so we persuaded the camp trolley bus service to take us on a covered tour of the site before they kindly went out of their way to drop us off at the camp. We improvised with a Fifty Question Challenge which set the basis for our Patrol point’s challenge. As the rain eased we did some site maintenance, clearing the felled tree as well as removing an old fence and gathering mounds of wood for future camp-fires.
Monday saw us offsite at Maidens for our water sports day – the rain had eased and the sun shone for a while, with a glorious backdrop of Arran, including the Holy Isle and Goat Fell. The Scouts did a full on day, paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. Our Sea Scouts honed their skills whilst the others scouts learned new water skills, albeit a couple of Scouts unfortunately did not avoid jellyfish stings!! On the evening we did a “Lost at Sea” team building exercise where the Scouts had to select 12 from 32 items which would help them survive stranded on an island – after much debate and discussion, the selections were made with “positive attitude” being the unanimous favourite, followed by fire-lighting equipment, tarpaulins for shelter, knives, rope and safety pins to catch fish (or in one case, birds!!). We were also able to have our first camp fire, with the young adult leaders doing a fantastic job in engaging the scouts in their favourite camp songs.
Scout Skills day took up most of Tuesday and again the Scouts learned a range of new skills including rope and pulley work (towing the minibus and pulling down dead trees), hammock and shelter building, axe and saw work (very popular), navigation and first aid skills (which were needed when the Scouts used their pen-knives for whittling their woggles!). In the evening we had to abandon our Beach BBQ given the rain, so we cooked in the dining shelters, although we did manage to cook dough bread and smores on Swedish Torches.
On Wednesday we split up, with the older Scouts preparing for and undertaking their overnight expedition and the younger Scouts spending the day in the grounds of Culzean. The expedition to Turnberry was undertaken in horrendous conditions, so the tarpaulins were abandoned and the tents erected. Despite the conditions the Scouts and Leaders stuck it out and came back Thursday morning, drenched and exhausted but very pleased they had met the challenge. The younger Scouts had a great day, making huge SOS signs on the beach using seaweed, rocks and other materials as well as spending an hour or so digging for treasure hidden at the end of a large rope buried in the sand. Unfortunately no fortunes were made. In the evening the younger Scouts searched for “unlabelled” tins for their dinner – macaroni cheese, meatballs, peaches and custard was the best find!! That evening we had a Desert Island themed competition, the most competitive event being the limbo.
On the Thursday afternoon, we all went to Girvan and had a brilliant afternoon at the RNLI station. Callum and his fellow volunteers showed us around their brand new state of the art boat costing £2.1m pounds as well as demonstrating how to put on their gear. The Scouts were really attentive, asked great questions and we were pleased to hand over a donation of £200. After an hour of playing in the Girvan play park, we all had a massive meal of fish/sausage/haggis suppers in the evening sun (actually it was drizzle but we didn’t care!!). The local seagulls and some young teenagers tried their best to disrupt our meal but we all enjoyed a great feast. We finished the day with a massive camp fire where we burned all the material we collected earlier in the week followed by more camp songs.
We started to strike camp on Friday, trying to take tents down dry between the showers. The young adult leaders brought together a great “Olympics” with much competition to try to gain those points which would win the prizes. In the evening, Karen, our camp cook, surpassed the excellent service she had already provided during the week, with a superb BBQ banquet meal of kebabs, burgers and chocolate cake.
We closed the evening with our GSL, Graham Cullen, presenting the Chief Scout Gold Award to 7 Scouts who after 4 plus years of attending Friday Scouts, engaging in activities and challenges and attending Easter and Summer Camps achieved the ultimate award – massive congratulations to them all.
Despite a little drizzle Saturday we were able to strike camp in good time, leaving the camp in good order and getting back to the Kirk at the target time. We had lots of help from parents in putting the kit away, and lots of volunteers to dry our tents.
So a great camp, in a wonderful location and the “positive attitude” certainly got us through the persistent rain. The Scouts were very well behaved, engaged in the activities, challenges and camp singing and gave the leaders very little bother. They were supported by an extensive and committed Leader team to whom I say a massive thanks.