A couple of stories about how we continue our Scouting despite the challenges imposed by Covid19.

South Queensferry Explorer Scout Unit (SQF) – Guest Speaker Programme

What do the fireman, Disney World crew member, Podiatrist, Vet, Air Traffic Controller, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Mounted Policeman and a plasticine caterpillar all have in common?

Although there are many online activities available, even the most resourceful Explorer leaders can be challenged once the Unit had successfully escaped from every Escape Room known, completed every quiz and completed a series of fitness challenges inspired by Joe Wickes.

Inspiration was provided by a Zoom finger print activity delivered by a Crime Scenes Investigator.   The Explorers were then given the opportunity to ask questions and chat more informally about what the CSI job really involved such as her scariest moment and best conviction.

The session proved highly successful and the team quickly realised that with Covid many schools have had to cancel the normal opportunities for young people to gain work experience, and that a regular slot on the programme where local people joined the weekly Zoom meeting to give Explorers a practical insight into a range of different jobs would make a real difference at a time when they are making decisions on subjects to study and future career options.

Mike, Sandra and Zoe as the Unit Leaders used all of their friends and local contacts to bring together a diverse range of speakers who have joined weekly calls through the summer and autumn, who generously shared their personal reflections on  the challenges, rewards, and the memorable and often funny experiences they find themselves in through their work, with some of the highlights being:

  • a student who spent a gap year working in Disneyworld, and recounted the ins and outs of applying, completing interviews in the UK, and all of her experiences while living in the US and working in the Epcot resort, and working out how to reply to the question on how long she took to learn English!
  • a podiatrist who was delighted when her patient’s toe came off in her hand…
  • a vet who showed how the profession has changed, bringing it to life with a display of instruments and equipment used both today and in the past.

Kyle, one of the SQF Explorers, summed up ”As someone leaving school soon, it was great to have people with various jobs and careers come and tell us their experiences about what they have done in their jobs, and how they got to do it.”

And perhaps you are wondering where the plasticine caterpillar fits in?  Well, the caterpillar featured in the South Queensferry programme as well to make sure it wasn’t all work and no play. The Cub Leader asked the Explorers to make some animated short films to show to and inspire the Cubs to do the same.

To find out what happened to the caterpillar watch this clip courtesy of the South Queensferry Explorers

If you would like to make your own movie visit the website created by Nick Park, the creator of Wallace & Gromit for handy tips and to download the animation app at https://animate-it.com/ and watch one of their Morph videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Der9xbuVJs .


82nd Craigalmond Scouts: Achieving Top Awards in Difficult Times

At the start of 2020, the 82nd Craigalmond Scout Group were excitedly planning our Summer Camp to Kandersteg in Switzerland. One of the highlights was to be a hike and overnight camp in the Ueschinen Mountain Hut, an expedition which would be the culmination of the attainment of the Chief Scout Gold Awards for six of our Scouts. We had done this expedition with Scouts on a previous trip to Kandersteg a number of years ago and we had great memories of what a fantastic trip it would be.

Sadly, our trip to Kandersteg had to be cancelled due to Covid19 and the lockdown from March did not allow us to replan the expedition which was very frustrating. The Scouts involved moved onto Explorers but we still wanted to ensure their hard work and successes in achieving the required Challenge Badges resulted in them gaining the Top Award. So, when the lockdown was lifted, we got to planning a day expedition in the Pentlands for our six Scouts, supported by four of our leaders.

Our first attempt, on the last day of October, was aborted in advance due to storm force winds and rain – typical Scottish autumn weather. We replanned and eventually we got out into the hills two weeks later. It was wet and boggy but the Scouts supported by their leaders, managed a great day in the hills, practicing navigation, cooking a meal and just enjoying being in the great outdoors. The Scouts went home, tired and very muddy, but proud knowing they had achieved their award. Just one last challenge that evening -to sleep out in the garden if they dared, or in a den indoors. 

 Congratulations to Andy, Cameron, Daniel, Hamish, Lewis, Tom on gaining their Chief Scout Gold Award – and a big thanks to the 82nd Craigalmond Leader Team for supporting them over the last 4 years.


Mike Treanor
Scout Leader, 82nd Craigalmond