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Everything posted by ianwilkins

  1. ianwilkins

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    It's a different country, a different starting point, and a different culture. If they have good reason to carry those things, and don't arouse the suspicions of the police, they don't get arrested. That's how the law works over here. No doubt you might find a few Daily Mail articles listing ridiculous examples of "outraged" plumber who gets their stanley knife confiscated, or even arrested, but that's the Daily Wail for you. You need a "lawful reason" I think the expression is, to carry a bladed article. There may be exceptions for small penknives, I can't remember. At the moment I think there's some kind of gang turf war going on in some parts of London*, so there seems to be a lot of stabbings, funnily enough, the Mayor wants that to stop. * That probably 95% of residents, and 99.9999% of tourists won't ever notice. I always feel pretty safe walking around central London, even at night, even with my kids. We had no hesitation taking our Explorer Scouts up to London for a Monopoly Run, and them going round London on their own in groups without leaders. So I can, for example, carry a box of sheath knives in my car to a scout meeting, if I got stopped by the police, I could reasonably argue that I had a legitimate reason to be carrying them, and it would have to be a pretty jobsworth copper** that had taken against me to decide to confiscate them, or arrest me. If I wandered down my local high street with a machete strapped to my back, just because that's how I rolled, I could expect to have my collar felt. I'm pretty sure, on balance, most residents of the UK are happy with this arrangement. It's not "safe space hysterics" it's normal for the UK. ** That, by the way, won't be carrying a firearm, or have one in his car.
  2. ianwilkins

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    So if you lose one you have to find another?!?!
  3. ianwilkins

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    Nice to see what we Brits have exported around the world. Our Explorers seem to think it's banned, so they play French Poodle, in which everything is exactly the same as British Bulldog but the name.
  4. ianwilkins

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    And berate the leaders of an organisation they want nothing to do with. Strange way of showing it. Gods Gays and Girls. A heady combination.
  5. ianwilkins

    Scouts UK unveils new branding

    Token Brit reporting for duty... Executive Summary: I like it. Important Note: We'll still have the world membership badge, that's not changing. The swoosh logo felt really old fashioned to me, and looked so bad on social media type stuff that HQ put out (i.e. nearly everything, they think social media is the answer, I don't know what the question is) that they hadn't used it for years, instead using a scout arrowhead on its own, which I liked more than this, but I guess at small sizes the star points disappear a bit. This new one, looking at the brand guidelines, I like how it fits in with stuff. It's simple and clean. One of the really important things, the font they use is free, not like the last one that was supposed to cost $100s if you got it legitimately (and we're scouts so...) and I ended up using something that looked very similar that was free. A scout is thrifty indeed. Oh, and one of the palette of official scout colours is, um, those still struggling with recent membership changes may struggle with this one, you may want to look away now....we have a scout pink. As well as scout blue, navy, green, etc etc.
  6. ianwilkins

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    Meh, you say that, but I remember when we went co-ed, proper co-ed, and while it wasn't quite "blood on the streets", it wasn't especially pretty. We lost some fine leaders who just weren't prepared to work with girls, and didn't believe it was the right thing to do. Yes, we're growing, a bit, and have been for a while, but we've changed the programme, we've gone co-ed, we changed the uniform, changed the age ranges/sections, we've created alternative promises for the godless, we've recruited a world famous TV presenter as chief scout. We're in the process, it's always in progress, of changing a perception of scouts from back in the 80s as nerdy and wet, back to being something that kids do, kids want to do, they are proud of it, and parents are glad they do it. But still, we're only <1% of the population. It's a slow boat to turn. All that said, if we can help, I'd like to think we would, we're scouts after all.
  7. Last year we were the only British group at the Spanish National Jamboree on the Canary Islands (a bit less than 100 miles off the coast of Morocco, west Africa). I've just written up the text below for our annual report, and someone thought more uplifting pictures would be nice, I dunno about uplifting, but they're to hand so...enjoy... In total there 57 of us, 11 Scouts and leaders, 35 Explorers, 4 Network, and 7 Explorer leaders. There were around 3000 attendees and we were the only British group there. It was obviously mostly Spanish groups, but there were also groups from Argentina, France, Georgia, Mexico, and Peru. The entire week was frankly crazy in places, and full of new experiences. From the sheer logistics of travelling on planes and coaches with 57 people, to being on a ferry with 600 Explorer scouts, a ferry with a swimming pool. We attended the Spanish National Song Festival, imagine a County Eurovision and you won’t be far off. We thought we might have caused diplomatic incidents in the parliaments of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, but everyone was far too nice. We ran around Santa Cruz. Two of our Explorers got to climb to the summit of Mount Teide for sunrise. Yes, we spent a some time relaxing on beaches and in the sea, we did some bodyboarding, and we almost literally drew a the line in the sand when asked to pick litter on a nudist beach. We learnt that ear piercings are much cheaper in sleepy Spanish towns than the UK. We partied. We got dust everywhere. We disliked portaloos. We ate our own bodyweight in bread rolls. We sat around waiting, a lot. Mostly though, we met an awful lot of really really friendly Scouts from all over the world, and we made the best of it and had an awful lot of fun. Some of it was hell for the leaders, but the young people we took had such a positive attitude to everything, they got us through it. Clockwise from top left: Our custom badge on our international necker. Both were very popular All of the Explorers and leaders. He won a bet, or lost a bet, I'm not sure. We had a mini-carnival parade laid on for us. Clockwise from left: Sleeping arrangements for two nights, and yes, it does look like a disaster relief effort Teamwork on the beach On top of a hill, because it was there. Clockwise from top left At the Spanish National Song Festival. Later on it was a sea of dancing and whirling neckers. Much fun. Waiting for a coach, we made some new friends with a spanish group In the Gran Canaria parliament, French, British, Georgian (no, the country), British, Argentinian One of mine talking to a scout from Georgia (no, the country) One of our leaders managed to get a turn on the bodyboards we hired one day at the beach
  8. ianwilkins

    Spanish National Jamboree

    It was called esJamboree. I think they did say it a bit like yamboree, but slightly more anglicised, thanks to the words BP roots. Well, I've no idea if I'm honest why you didn't see any spanish scouts on the camino. There certainly is scouting all over Spain, as the camp had a group from most regions I believe. Ah, scouting isn't huge in Spain, 56,000 in 2011, from a population of 46 million. And that's split into Mainly because it was mostly banned, sorry "tolerated" under Franco, and was only re-legalised in 1977. And the largest chunk of that 56k belong to an interreligious scout organisation, ASDE, so I'd guess they wouldn't pick the camino, and the Catholic association would be more likely to. Or maybe walking the camino is something those outside of spain see as more important or interesting than those inside spain.
  9. ianwilkins

    Pride of Craft

    The explorers once decided as one of the leaders said how badly decorated her flat was, we should have a painting night round hers. The result was....awful.
  10. ianwilkins

    Neckerchief history and size change

    Or strip down to your underpants, then go commando for the rest of the hike. Or what's wrong with a skinnydip? Well, I'm more of a chunkydunk these days but...
  11. ianwilkins

    Neckerchief history and size change

    Backs away slowly.
  12. ianwilkins

    Neckerchief history and size change

    I've just converted metric to imperial, and the youth necker worn by under 14s is 27" in length along the right angle sides (i.e. the shorter two sides), and the adult one is 32". And yes, I didn't realise the currency of neckers until I went on an international last year, it was a joy to see our UK international neckers wrapped around scouts from all over the world (well, mostly Spain) Thinks about making a joke about chest/necker size, thinks again... It's certainly triangles in the UK.
  13. ianwilkins

    How will you talk about girls troops and packs?

    So, basically, your CO is yet another person that doesn't understand what the changes actually are, i.e. separate boy and girl troops? From a lot of the hoo-haa I'm seeing on facebook, I think BSA have over estimated peoples capacity to read further than the headlines. It should have been front and centre "we'll be starting girl troops" not "we're accepting girls now and there's this name change and here's the reasons and this and that and oh by the way they'll be in their own girl troops". That bird has flown now, horse has bolted, and there's a shed-load of confusion out there. That confusion will persist for years, decades.
  14. Ha! This pic pulled me up short! I used to work in that town! Horsell Common (where the martians landed) was just down the road, and is mostly houses now. Woking in Surrey. The martian was quite friendly once you got to know him. He did tend to hit the beers a bit early for my taste, but then he struggled with depression and holding a job down after Mrs. Martian left and took the kids back to the red planet. He hung around just down the road from my favourite sandwich shop.
  15. ianwilkins

    From National: Official Name

    As I'm elsewhere, I'll pick this up... UK was boys only, except for Venture Scouts. If I remember correctly (it was a while ago, and I was a Venture leader, so was not having my playpen remodelled)... HQ said (I paraphrase) "we're going co-ed, if that freaks you out, stay boy only for now" Then when "for now" ran out, they said "you're all co-ed" (more or less) What they didn't do is say "yar, you can have boy troop here, and a girl troop thar, and that's cool. Okay, that was last year, now go coed. Love and kisses, HQ" Fingers crossed your HQ aren't that crazy. The objections and people taking their bat and ball home, all seems very familiar, and equally saddens me. A scout troop I knew, the male leaders were great, dynamic, did cool stuff, the scouts enjoyed it...they sat down and talked about the change, and decided to walk away. That made me sad. How can it not make me sad that people who were doing something they enjoyed, that helped kids, feel the need to walk away because of things outwith their control? All that knowledge and experience...poof! Gone. I see history repeating itself, and it still makes me sad. Yes, different leaders stepped up, girls joined, the world didn't end, but still... It's a hard road ahead. That much I can predict. Good luck.
  16. With the slight addendum that the Venture Scouts (which started in 1967, replacing Rover Scouts, and causing a schism that created alternative scout associations in the UK that still exist, but are tiny) went co-ed in 1976.
  17. So, this week they'll be in a Troop with their fellow boys, and next week they'll be in a Troop with their fellow boys, and next month, and next year. What are they protesting against exactly? That there's another Troop in town that is full of girls? And democracy isn't everyone getting what they want. That's anarchy.
  18. Ooof, "Tampa with me"? As in, tamper? Interfere? Hmmm. But yeah, don't ask us brits, we'll probably suggest Scouty McScoutFace these days.
  19. ianwilkins

    Camp Sunnen to be Auctioned Off

    It's not like they're building more land anytime soon. It's a one way ticket.
  20. [Pirate voice] It's more of what you would call a guideline than yer actual rule.
  21. And actually, just teaching them to light a fire properly, not just build a bonfire and shove a load of paper in the middle. Fire/feather sticks.
  22. Or we've done: One blindfolded, one mute, one with one hand tied behind their back, and the patrol leader that isn't allowed within 3 feet of the tent.
  23. ianwilkins

    Taking my daughter on camp

    I vote Turing test.
  24. ianwilkins

    Motivation Quote of the Day

    Be excellent to each other - Bill and Ted And yes, I have used this many times with my Explorer Scouts.
  25. ianwilkins

    Low Start up cost Fundraiser

    Aaah, two countries divided by a common language.