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Everything posted by ianwilkins

  1. The interesting thing for me is that as you go through the UK sections, the proportion of girls goes up 2018 census gender ratios: Beavers (aged 6-8) it's 81:19 Cubs (aged 8-10) it's 80:20 Scouts (10-14) it's 75:25 Explorers (14-18) it's 68:32 Network (18-25) it's 63:37 I don't know what to read into that, but my gut feel is boys are sent to Beavers, and as girls find their voice, say "I want to go to Cubs/Scouts/Explorers/Network" increasingly. Last year we had 18 girls and 24 boys on our Explorer summer camp.
  2. ianwilkins

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    A knight of the realm not a good role model? Personally anointed by her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II? Blimey guv'nor you've got some high standards ain'tcha? Ian P.s. 😉 (just in case)
  3. ianwilkins

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    I would guess he's probably been poorly served by his production company, and maybe the Bulgarian authorities. I wouldn't be surprised if the first he heard of it was shortly before it hit the press. Someone in an office, some fixer somewhere, had to get permission to film there, it wouldn't have been Grylls, that person or persons either missed the national park restrictions, or chose to ignore them, or maybe even bunged officialdom a few lev. Who knows? I don't. But I'd guess by the time Bear got briefed before the trip it was like "we're off for the usual schtick in Bulgaria with celebrity X, see you on the 14th, bring one of your branded knives". At some point a minion should have gone "wait, we can't do x y z here, will that be okay?" so they could then either change the location, or not do it, or yes, I suppose, choose to ignore it. I mean, if they're filming it, they're hardly going to get away with it. Of course, the cynic in me wouldn't be surprised if the frog killing bit was done outwith the National Park (ok, yeah, or just done anyway) at a different time, all is actually by the book, and all this is just free publicity. The actual truth is probably lost in the murky grey fog.
  4. ianwilkins

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    Ah HAAA! Nobody expects the Cookie Inquisition! Our Chief weapon is Samoas! Samoas and Thin Mints! Thin Mints and Samoas! Our two weapons are...
  5. Some people aren't very good at communicating. Some aren't very good at putting themselves in others shoes and seeing how someone else might view things, or be so wrapped up in the excitement of what they see as a good thing that they never see someone else might have qualms and reservations. Into this vacuum, people will talk, assume, jump to conclusions, fret, worry. Maybe it's all in hand, maybe none of it is, maybe the powers that be don't understand there's a groundswell of concern, worry, which could easily, if not already, morph into frustration, anger, resentment, etc. The answer is jaw jaw not war war, as ever. Are the boys genuinely concerned? Or is it just the parents getting het up? I would suggest talking calmly to the ScoutMaster or the ASMs about some of your concerns. Probably little point talking about the poor communication as that would probably come across as critical when what you should probably focus on the practical concerns of what you're most worried about. So if it's popcorn money and cancelled campouts, focus on those in the first instance. A long list will just be tiresome, and doesn't usually end well, in my experience (memories of one parent answering every answer I gave with "but what about this?....and what about this?" getting more and more shrill. (I'm NOT saying that's like you by the way) It wasn't pleasant. That's my recommendation as a UK Scouter that has been a leader since before the UK went fully co-ed, and heard very similar worries to yours, and who also got blindsided by a presentation we all had to attend where I thought a new programme was coming, but it was a new programme, in new sections, new age ranges, and had to get busy allaying fears of kids that thought they might be split from their older friends, and ensuring I spoke in the right ears to ensure that didn't happen, while realising my current role had been done away with. We got through it!
  6. ianwilkins

    2019 World Jamboree

    Not sure what you mean by "toy" guns. If you mean, literal kids toys, I don't see why not, but they're not firing projectiles. We can use nerf guns, that use foam "bullets", we just need to risk assess it. We can use water pistols, squirt guns, for summer water fights. We can play laserquest. We can go and play paintball (though generally the sites restrict it to over 14 years old for normal power guns). Clay pigeon shooting is expensive, well, I don't know anyone with a shotgun license and land enough to shoot on, we probably could, with a bit of work, sort something out cheaper than going commercial, but I'd guess the cartridges and the clays would still soon add up. Anyway, back to WSJ...
  7. ianwilkins

    Girls in the BSA

    I think a previous reply has put one side of the picture and so... As I understand it, there's a range of options. The scale goes from 1: A CO that has a Boys and Girls Troop that share everything except an SM. They might meet same place same time and share the same gear ASMs committee etc. This walks like a co-ed duck, and quacks like a co-ed duck to 50: A CO that only has a Boys troop, or indeed only has a Girls Troop. They may never go on any big campouts anywhere that ever have any opposite gender Troops at it. There will be every shade in between. All points on the scale are allowed under the rules. No point railing against 1, when if what you want is a 50, go find it, or go make it happen.
  8. ianwilkins

    2019 World Jamboree

    Small point of order...some of our leaders have just got qualified to teach air pistol as well as air rifle. No snickering at the back. Not regularly, but ours have had the opportunity to go to Bisley and shoot all sorts of things, .303 rifles, 300yrd ranges. We could take them clay pigeon shooting, but it's very expensive. Oh, and paintball, and nerf guns, and water squirt guns 😛 Yes, I saw that and thought...oooohhhh, yes....then thought...awww, no. Would drop my other leaders in it for our explorers summer camp, and don't have enough leave for near three weeks, and it may put a little grit into the familial wheels, so on balance... it's a no from me.
  9. This. As I've said before, in the UK, we went fully co-ed in every section in the early/mid 2000s if memory serves, and still almost every time we go out in uniform someone will comment "oh you have girls in scouts now?"
  10. ianwilkins

    Candle Lanterns

    That's code isn't it? Like "that" summer camp being "such an adventure", or "that didn't quite go to plan"?
  11. Yep. They'd be only too glad to have visitors from a distant arm of the scouting family. Of course, there's Brownsea Island. I mean, physically, I'm sure you must have all bases covered in the US, but going abroad, and if it's done as more of a cultural thing, meeting foreign scouts, visiting old stuff, castles, all that, would be a different dimension to things. I must admit, some of my most vivid and wonderful scout memories have been those when we've been abroad, or hosting foreign scouts. In the UK there are many Jamborees every summer, which would be a good way of meeting, well, lots of British scouts, and they usually have international guests from many countries, of which you could be one. There's a European Jamboree in 2020 in Gdansk Poland. https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/3234/international-opportunities I suspect over the next year or so the dollar could get stronger against the pound, so it could be a good time to do a trip. Oh, and we've also stayed on the Lord Amory, which is a pretty good base for visiting London, sleeping on a boat moored opposite a huge bunch of skyscrapers, and probably half an hour or so from most of the London sites. https://www.lordamory.org That combined with Brownsea, and maybe Gilwell Park, or a UK Jamboree, would be an amazing trip.
  12. ianwilkins

    World Crest

    Is there any requirement to do anything to earn that world crest? I know the badge police won't like it, but I would encourage that enthusiasm, light that fire, don't damp it down. Let her wear the badge until the uniform is sorted. Why not? Or I guess it's an opportunity to express how it's what's inside that counts, that being scout-like doesn't rely on badges and uniform, it's just what you do. Or something. Sorry, I've probably not helped.
  13. ianwilkins

    Omaha Tribe Elder and Others - disrepect at National Mall

    I think the story is...thinks are never quite as simple as they first appear. It's one of the more dispiriting things I find about modern life, that there are people whose first reaction to those disagreeing with them is to issue a death threat. What's that about? [shakes head sadly] If only Bill and Ted's "Be Excellent to Each Other" had really become a worldwide mantra.
  14. ianwilkins

    First Camp Out With the New Troop

    Secretly, you actually love the drama don't you?
  15. ianwilkins

    Omaha Tribe Elder and Others - disrepect at National Mall

    Good link, and oh so true. I was reminded of this story from 2017: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/girl-scout-threatened-neo-nazi-protesters-photo-far-right-rally-czech-republic-a7723756.html Though that was much more straight forward so it seems that this latest culture clash. Social media and the press seem to lap up these clashes of opposites, it makes a good story, it makes a good contrast, it's a striking picture. Yes, I believe at least one of our county units will be doing that. I think their itinerary is UK->New York->Jamboree->Toronto->Washington->New York->UK And yes, it's a tricky skill that you need to learn when people take an interest in you, for good or ill, because you're in a scout uniform. It has varied from cafe owners seeking me out to praise my explorers on their behaviour, to people in almost apoplectic rage that decide your scouts are the source of all their troubles. I prefer the former I'll be honest. Last time I went to Piccadilly Circus (just last year I think) it was partly pedestrianised, and there were loads of tourists sitting about on the statue and/or taking selfies. Mostly Harmless.
  16. ianwilkins

    Troop office expectations

    If the older boys was more backpacking or canoeing or other non-car camping trips, surely they need to impress this upon the PLC themselves. I'm pretty sure the adults muscling in and telling the PLC what camps they should be having will be dispiriting and demotivating for the PLC. As for the SM demanding everyone go on 50% of camps? You ever been on a camp when some people don't really want to be there? It's not a joyous occasion. Trying to force attendance is fixing the symptom, not the underlying problem.
  17. ianwilkins

    What's in a name?

    What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet; - Shakespeare
  18. ianwilkins

    And so it begins

    As an aside, nice to see in that article the old trope that Baden Powell would be spinning in his grave. [eye roll]
  19. ianwilkins

    And so it begins

    It was evolution, no designer. It took all the time in the world. Current science says earth is 4.51 Billion years old, and life first started about 3.8 BILLION years ago. The first fossils with eyes date from about 540 million years ago...so that's 3.3 billion years to evolve the eye...seems eminently feasible to me.
  20. ianwilkins

    And so it begins

    It's an opinion piece. As we in the UK would say, tomorrow's chip paper. And arguments about god's place in scouting? That's nothing new. I mean, usenet used to have a ggg group, and a pretty unedifying place it was too.
  21. ianwilkins

    "Pilgrimage" to Scouting's Roots...

    Farnham Explorer Scouts, and no, we didn't even exist in 1995. Never been to Youlbury or Kingsdown (sadly while still a campsite that has special rates for youth groups, Kingsdown got sold off a while back, so isn't a scout campsite anymore - HQ needed more money, sound familiar?). We created that necker design when we were formed in 2002. And sorry to correct you but neckers are definitely not unique to one group in the UK, I think our rules suggest they are unique within a district (which could be anything between 3-4 groups to 30-40 groups), so that when you do district things you can tell groups apart. And even then it can fall apart, two groups in our district have two subtly different shades of yellow necker, not ideal.
  22. ianwilkins

    "Pilgrimage" to Scouting's Roots...

    Looking back at this thread it seems I mentioned my impending trip to Brownsea, so it seems right to feedback... We actually did it. It's probably only a 2 hour drive from us, but I'd never, in 42 years of scouting (on and off, man and boy), been to Brownsea. Executive Summary: It was glorious. Okay the weather helped but...And had just enough of the heritage side of things, and "the feels" to be a great nights camping. We only went for one night, right at the start of our week long summer camp. There were 42 Explorer Scouts, aged 14-18, 18 girls, 22 boys, and 5 leaders. We had the hard work of getting all the kit together getting down to our main site, unloading, packing for the overnight, and dropped off to catch the ferry across the harbour mouth, then into the ferry to Brownsea itself. Once the ferry unhooked from the dock, I felt a weight lift off, that was it now, there's no ferry back until the morning, no shop, we'd just have to deal with anything that came up as and when, nothing more I could do except go with it. That was a good feeling to have. The ferry was all our own on the way over, as it was the last ferry, no day trippers outbound or they'd be stuck. We walked across the island to our site, not "the" site, that was next door I think. We set up our hammocks and tents, cooked dinner, no open fires, so it was trangias, hike stoves. In fact, they lent us some tables, as they didn't even want gas stoves on the floor due to the fire risk (it was a very dry summer). This was good, as I think the begging peacocks would have just helped themselves straight out the pot if they could have got away with it. One of the Explorers had brought a bluetooth speaker, I made them switch it off, it just didn't feel right. We were camped next to a large group of Scouts from Switzerland and Lichtenstein. The evening was spent walking down to an old quay at the other end of the island (photo two attached), Pottery pier, where the Explorers amused themselves practicing their skimming techniques, making mosaics like others had done, and having a paddle in the sea, while the sun set. Managed to sit quietly in the woods for long enough to see the native Red Squirrel, now rare in the UK thanks to the invasive Grey. In the morning, we had breakfast, fighting off the peacocks again. We wandered up to the commemorative stone marker, had the obligatory group photo, we then invested some of our new Explorers, and had a couple of leaders from the Lichtenstein group join us for the ceremony, as they were passing. A special moment I hope. One of our Explorers sported a blue and red necker for the rest of the week, and a leader in Lichtenstein now has one of ours. We then sat down while I read a couple of passages from Scouting for Boys, about a typical day schedule on camp, and BP on scout laws. Had a bit of free time, so some went searching for red squirrels, some went to the providore, where there's badges to buy, and some cases and displays of historical interest, as well as the ceiling of neckers (photo one attached), yes, one of ours was left behind to be put up at a future date. Time to leave and we walked back across the island, helped another group off the ferry who had brought approximately three bazillion tonnes of kit, so much kit and so long it took to unload that the ferry wanted to leave without us...we protested and jumped on. And that was that really. It definitely felt good to go, always good to meet scouts from around the world, and "walk in the footsteps" of BP.
  23. ianwilkins

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    UK story...last year I was on a plane with 56 other scouts all in matching t-shirts and neckers, on our way to summer camp. We clearly and obviously and unmistakably had girls amongst our number. There was an angry man on the plane. Got on red faced and cheesed off. He sits behind three of ours. I'm not sure what happened but I was sat across the aisle and a seat or two away in the same row, and I not infrequently heard him spluttering "****** boy scouts [inaudible muttering]". He was quite old. In the UK we dropped Boy from Boy Scouts in 1967. Nineteen sixty seven. Actually 50 years previous. So yes, definitely decades.
  24. ianwilkins

    Where did you go to summer camp?

    Holy Thread Resurrection Batman! As a child my first summer camp was in north Wales, near lake Bala apparently, I was 6, tagged along with my parents. A farmer's field. As a child and then a scout, then a Venture, then a Venture leader farmer's fields in Brecon Beacons, south Wales Gower, south Wales North Devon Dart Valley, South Devon - where we could see a preservation steam in action across the valley As an Explorer Scout leader Collard Bridge, Barnstaple, North Devon Broadstone Warren - Sussex Corf Campsite - Isle of Wight Tansley Wood, Matlock, Peak District A dust bath "nature reserve" and a school gym floor, Canary Islands Farmer's field in Corfe Castle, Dorset Also sent Explorers with other leaders to San Jacinto, Aveiro, Portugal Kandersteg, Switzerland Barcelona, Spain
  25. And also, if you want to look at old scout books, The Dump is your friend. pdfs of loads of scout books. Pertaining to girls in scouts, there's a chapter at the end of this one... http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/21years.pdf I only had a brief scan but it looked pretty relevant. Ian