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Posts posted by ianwilkins

  1. Brownsea Island has some small displays and heritage stuff, a kudo horn but not I think *the* kudo horn,  it's quite interesting. Gilwell Park has a museum, much of it about Gilwell Park and adult training, but also some decent general artifacts, but I think they're about to rebuild it soon, at least, I think they were begging for money to do same recently. Gilwell Park also usually has BP's caravan, and his Rolls Royce, Jam Roll. Though, fair enough, these are not very practical options for most US scouts doing their Heritage Merit Badge, but there you go.

    Of course, the text of loads of old scout books are on the fantastic resource The Dump.

    • Thanks 1

  2. 2 hours ago, MattR said:

    This has to be a British phrase. Is the water butt the one responsible for getting the water? My scouts will likely have a lot of fun with that one.

    A water butt is a large barrel that usually collects and stores rainwater. We have one attached to our rainwater down-pipe to harvest rainwater to put on the garden.

    You know our section for 6-7 year olds is called Beavers right? We don't have any fun with that. Just an irrelevant aside. Ignore me. Ignore me especially when I tell you locally we used to have a mascot costume for that section. It's name was Big Beaver. I had to ask for volunteers to wear the costume once. I can't remember how I phrased the opportunity, but I'm sure no one laughed at all, no no. It did turn out I was also the right size for the costume, so had to spend a sweaty half hour inside Big Beaver. True story.



  3. 22 hours ago, Petey091 said:

     We usually retire 300-400 flags at a time.

    Ok, seriously, in the interests of international knowledge exchange, what are you doing to your flags? On what basis are flags retired? If they touch the ground? The slightest speck of dirt? Are they use once only? 300 at a time? I'm taken aback.



  4. 11 hours ago, Saltface said:

    I think most countries retire the flag through incineration (eg. Mexico, Argentina, UK).

    I've been a leader for over 25 years now, and I've never seen a ceremonial UK flag disposed of or destroyed, but your right, the official flag protocol is burning, or cutting up.

    Most of us are just trying to make sure we put the UK flag up the right way, so we're not telling other ships we're in distress!


    • Haha 3

  5. 13 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

    A woggle is a woggle? I disagree, in fact the Wood Badge Woggle, Beads and Necker are one of the very few things that are recognized world wide. It is worn to symbolize completion of something. Just as 3 beads are for staff and 4 for course directors symbolizes a position held. 

    Just to add, as a side note. In the UK we have wood-beads given when you complete your leader training, and you then become a member of the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group, which has its own necker you can buy (a fairly drab thick woollen thing, I didn't bother). I'm 90% sure there is no official wood badge woggle in the UK that is restricted to wood badge holders only. I believe the 3 & 4 bead thing was phased out in the late 60s/early 70s in the UK.


  6. 15 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    They could call it "Bloody Traitor Day".   

    We've already got Bonfire/Guy Faulkes Night. Or "burn an effigy of that catholic that tried to blow up parliament" night. Though the details are mostly lost in a hazy mess of low quality meat, drinking, sparklers, and fireworks.


  7. 21 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

    You don't have July 4th on the calendar in the UK?  Does it go straight from 3 to 5? :)

    Can't think why the UK doesn't* celebrate American Independence Day. 😇

    All friends now though eh?

    * Well, some shops and pubs try and milk it for commercial gain, like St. Patrick's day but less green and Guinness, and more stars and stripes and hot dogs.


  8. Out of curiosity, in the UK we're told that St George is the patron saint of Scouting. This is handy for a good number of us in England, as he doubles up as the National saint too. Quite often there's church parades, or fun days, we have a weekend family camp at our local site, there's also a parade for Queen's Scout Award (Eagle equiv. basically) holders at Windsor Castle. Basically, lots of things are going on around St. George's day. 

    My question is...does anything like that happen in the US? I can't remember seeing anything, so here I am wondering if it's something that didn't end up in Scouting "lore" on your side of the pond.

  9. Are you lot really making references to British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances? I say! 

    And then the briefest research suggests it's one of the BBC's most popular exports...well every day's a school day.

    Hi Onslow.

    Ian (UK scouter)

  10. 21 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

    Man...that is a special kind of hell in my opinion. 

    5 leaders in one tent "shudder"

    Sorry, diverging from advice...

    Tsh...5 in a tent? I see you five and raise you to 11, to start with...

    We went on a Jamboree on the Canary Islands a couple of years back, it was an experience. They supplied tents. To be fair, I'm sure they were doing their best, and it was only for a week and no one died so....anyway...we turn up at the site a few days after everyone else, and there are some people in "our" tents. The scouts with us were supposed to be somewhere else on site...there was some more people in their tents too. We went and had dinner, at about midnight, while they had a bit of a re-arrange. We came back, we had 15'x15' (maybe) army tents, massive outside frame with the canvas hung from it. Inside were triple deck bunks, the top bunk must have been 6' off the ground. There were three, that's all we had for the night, and the scouts and leaders needed to bunk in with us Explorers for the night. Three tents, so girls in one, boys in another, leaders in the third. Our leader's tent had three triple bunks in. We had 11 leaders. Luckily two had brought their own mats. They got the floor. I was on a top bunk, about 12" from the roof. The female leader below me had to put up with me climbing up and down the creakiest bunk in Christendom (and us all making childish jokes about me being "on top", to be fair, she gave as good as she got). At least two of the leaders were inveterate snorers, so that was fun. Then 3am the local donkey woke up and wanted to tell us all about it.

    The next night was luxury as the 5 scout leaders decamped to their tent and left us to it in our bunks. Just as we got used to this we went to another island for a couple of days, and had to sleep on the floor of a school gym, all three hundred of us, boys, girls, leaders, one room...yeah, you know those pictures from disaster relief efforts...just like that.

    Let's call it an adventure. An experience. Never to be forgotten. I slept well on the plane home I tell you that.


    • Upvote 2

  11. 2 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    Another issue... I dont sleep all that great at home, but on Pack campouts I feel obligated to go to bed early when I am "supposed" to go.  I go in and can't go to sleep, but have to be still and quiet for the others in our tent.  So I end up just staring up and hoping for the best.  Last weekend I slept in 15 - 20 minute spurts at a time all night long.  Makes for a bad next day.

    First thing I guess is cot selection.  I was worried about carrying too much and looking like a wimp, but I am past that.  Tired and sore all day seems to throw cold water on that idea.

    So... what do I want? :)

    Take your own tent. Or start hammocking. Go to bed when you want. Sort your sleep issues at home, and camp will probably follow. Mind you, camp is always a battle, I usually go to bed and am mulling over the days events and pondering tomorrow's. Never a great combo for sleep.

    Ian (48)

  12. 12 hours ago, cocomax said:

    The people running the camporee made a point of saying that the girls winning best troop proves that girls belong in the BSA and that now the boys need to step up their game so that they can keep up with the girls.

    Sunday morning the boys in my troop were wondering out loud  *IF* they ever go to another  camporee that had 3 girl patrols instead of just one, would the girls automatically win first second and third in every event? 

    The boys in my troop are not happy.

    I'm not surprised they aren't happy! That's terrible. I'd guess this will be difficult to resolve with the organisers without one or more of them taking umbrage, but I do think such blatant gaming needs nipping in the bud.

    And apologies @Eagledad it's clearly more as you suspected/stated than I argued. I was wrong.


  13. 18 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    adults will praise the great leadership of the weaker sex as well.

    And maybe the girls were smart enough to realise there would be people that think like this and would re-double their efforts and be extra motivated to do well to prove them wrong. As it turns out, even if they did prove them wrong, those people belittling them would find another reason why it wasn't actually the girls efforts that got them where they are.

    Handy tip: If you're ever standing with my Explorers Scouts, don't ever refer to the girls as the weaker sex, they would...not be impressed.

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  14. Yup, they are "mine". I was at a leader day the other week and I knew one of the leaders there, I told the others she was one of "my" Venture Scouts, which then made us both feel old, as Venture Scouts was replaced in 2002 in the UK. 

  15. I had a great day the other week, a leaders only skills day. Basically for newer leaders to have a go at stuff, without having to worry about small people in their charge. We had people doing archery and shooting, back woods cooking, rafting, and me, I was "teaching" hammock skills. 

    I say "teaching" in quotes, because I'm not really that much of an expert myself, I'm not writing books on the subject, I haven't even read books on the subject. Thing is, I think a lot of experts like to make things seem more complicated than they really are, or maybe rather go into a whole lot of bewildering depth as it's their specialist subject. Me? I fancied a day at the local campsite playing with hammocks. 

    Anyhow...my tip? Learn a tension knot. Something like a prussick knot*, a taut line hitch*, midshipman's hitch*, or similar. It seems, in the UK at least, this is not top of the list when teaching knots. So I had leaders putting up a tarp and needing guy-lines. The simple joy of learning a new knot that was clearly going to be useful was great to behold. They attached one end to the tarp, put the other round a peg, then tied a knot you could move up to tighten it up, and it stayed there under tension. Job done. It's not even a tricky knot/hitch to learn. And knowing you can now always make a guy-line if you don't have one, or your silly bit of plastic breaks.

    * Your names might differ. 


    • Upvote 1

  16. A turks head knot, made with anything from string to old charging cables to light up glo wire.

    A nice bit of wood bored through and polished up

    The aforementioned 1" plastic pipe with a lego minifigure stuck to it

    Beads threaded together

    One of my Explorers going to the Jamboree is selling a 3D printed woggle but it won't be a cheap option ;).

    A rectangular patch or two sewn together into a tube

    I would guess pinterest would have...[goes and looks] yes, pinterest has hundreds, possibly thousands, of ideas too.

    Would it be beyond the pale to tie a friendship knot in it instead?

    • Upvote 3

  17. On 3/10/2019 at 9:58 PM, MattR said:

    This is so different from when I was their age. We made model rockets, planes, boats, etc, explored the nearby woods, played games at night, went fishing, played pickup sports, made radios, and the like. My guess is these scouts have also done some of these things but it's a bit odd that when I asked them what they did for fun they really didn't have an answer. And nobody said that video games are fun. Is it that video games are just a way to create dopamine and sate their brains?

    Were video games even a thing when you were a kid? When everything was sepia? ;)

    I'm not being funny, but I'd guess they'd pick up on your negativity, and wouldn't want to talk about their enjoyment of video games and risk further scorn or disbelief. Of course they enjoy them, otherwise, why would you do them? Maybe they enjoy the dopamine if that's what you think, but it's still the end result. Video games can be fun, can be social, can be a way of testing yourself against others, testing yourself. Yes, not the same as the outdoors, obviously, but there it is.


  18. 1 hour ago, malraux said:



    That's from the UK scouting association. Roughly a 3:1 ratio of boys to girls. I don't know that those of us strongly in favor of these changes expect to reach 1:1, generally I expect it to end up at something like 2:1 for a variety of reasons. 

    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.