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Cambridgeskip

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Everything posted by Cambridgeskip

  1. Cambridgeskip

    A tale of two scouts

    So last weekend I was on camp with my merry band of men and women and by the end of it two particular scouts had caught my attention, both for very different reasons. Both present things that need a little attention, and I have my ideas about what to do with both of them, but I thought I would see what the collective wisdom of this esteemed forum would through up. In both cases I was already aware of the issues but a weekend on camp really shone a light on them. Just as a reminder our scout section in the UK runs 10-14 year olds so the troop is generally younger, worth remembering for dealing with things! Scout number 1. 13 year old, female patrol leader. Quietly spoken. Genuinely nice kid. Been all the way through from a 6 year old beaver. Got made a PL at Easter on the recommendation of the PLs council. She's very competent, can look after herself, knows what she and everyone else needs to be doing. Has an absolute heart of gold. Trouble is that she find telling other people what to do very difficult. She's not making the classic new PL mistake of thinking that she needs to do it all herself, she knows she shouldn't be, it's just that she has told me she finds it awkward telling other people what they should be doing.I have some ideas about how to help her do that (bearing in mind she's a 13 year old and not a cadet at Sandhurst!) but thought I'd forage elsewhere.Scout number 2. Also 13 years old, but there the similarity ends. He's the total polar opposite of scout 1. Came into scouts aged 12, quite a gob on him. His problem is he's very much "me, me, me." He wants to do everything, but doesn't want to put the work in. On camp it was him doing the moaning when they were walking up from the station to the campsite, him that kept dodging his chores, him that had to be told multiple times by his PL and by me to do anything. Basically zero work ethic, zero team ethic. And the problem is we're now in a viscious circle, because he's annoyed the other kids and he's starting to get pushed out the gang. I tried having a word in his shell, explaining that he was winding up the other kids, but it didn't seem to sink in. When he did (briefly) pull his weight, he looked at me for approval, not the rest of the troop. He kind of missed the point.Again, I have some ideas on how to tackle this but thought I'd see what you chaps think as well.Actually one similarity between them, scout 1's dad is group treasurer, scout 2's mum is a troop assistant (essentially a regular parent helper).
  2. So between them my PLs and adult leaders have come up with the program for the rest of this term. Entirely by coincidence we are going to have a cook out on fires at a local campsite on your very own 4 July (actually we wanted it on another date but had to shuffle dates around due to availability of adults!). I would like the PLs to decide on what the dishes to be cooked are but what I would like to be able to do is point them towards dishes that scouts in the USA would typically cook on a fire, preferably with minimal utensils. There's plenty out there to google but I'd rather get it from the horses mouth and put the ideas to them, So anything that you can think of that is very American point right this way!
  3. Cambridgeskip

    Traditionally American camp fire dishes

    Alas this is specifically for our regular Thursday evening scout night so no camp or hike to get them hungry! Some home made burgers could be quite fun for it though.
  4. Cambridgeskip

    Traditionally American camp fire dishes

    Thank you, I'd never stumbled across that one before!
  5. This is all so sad to read. The good news though is that while we saw similar nonsense this side of the Atlantic when scouts in the UK went coed in the 1990s it has, for the most part, fizzled out. Girl Guides eventually realised that there was no threat to them and the arguments fizzled out. I hope it works out the same with you as well. As for the references to safety in the GSUSA material, they really need to grow up. Everyone is aware of the court cases about sexual abuse at the moment but for any other youth organisation to use that as amunition is a dangerous game indeed.
  6. Cambridgeskip

    Best comfort items & traditions for summer camp

    In recent years there have normally been several sets of "exploding kittens" floating round camp. I don't know if that has made it to your side of the pond yet. It's quite addictive We normally take a volley ball net with us as well and sling it up in a convenient spot (remembering to take it down at dusk. There was that one time.....)
  7. Over the last couple of weeks over here in the UK there have been a series of stories in the papers about the success of a new scout group attached to a state school in Bristol. So this means a scout group run as part of the school as opposed to a scout troop that rents space in the evening. While normally pleased to see the scout movement developing and growing I remain quite sceptical about this and remain to be convinced. I’m not dismissing it out of hand but I do have some question marks over it. I put these comments briefly on a couple of threads in various facebook groups but to mixed reaction. So I thought I'd flesh them out a bit. While I know you folks are in the states I was curious about how you would view this and what similarities or differences you see.The Scout movement was started and still exists for informal education, mostly using the outdoors as its classroom. It is there quite specifically to take kids out of the formal, academic setting and let them develop and spread their wings in a more relaxed environment where it is more about being practical and about character than it is what they know. Now in theory that ethos can be used in a school setting but how successful will it be when it is up against a more formal culture? For some kids scouts is an escape from school. I’ve had many scouts over the years who have struggled with school. Either academically or with how they behave there. And yet they come to scouts and they fit in, and it works for them. Will they really want to be part of it if it is part of somewhere where they struggle?Similarly scouts is about youth leadership. I was once told by another leader who is older and wiser than me that my job as a scout leader was to make myself redundant, to develop the young people to the point where they run the show as much as possible. And that is something I try to do. To the point where my scouts sometimes run their own camps on a Nights Away Passport, without any adults present and with a 14 or 13 year old left in charge. It’s a bit scary doing that, for me and them. The scouts that have done that tell me their teachers are shocked that that ever happens, or that they’ve been let loose with fire or axes or knives. Similarly some have been on school trips to sites that they have already been to as scouts and found that they aren’t given even a fraction of the freedom they are used to having. So again I have big concerns that putting scouts into schools will only see all those things run down.Oftsed (the branch of government here that inspects standards in state schools). Put scouts in schools and you get ofsted/government interference. No. No way. Thank you, the end and good night.Relationships. I am pretty convinced that one of the reasons behind the global success of the scout movement is the relationship between adult volunteers and the youth members. We are not (for the most part) their parents. We are not teachers. Or police, or social workers or anyone else that has any kind of legal authority. We are quite simply volunteers who choose to do what we do. That relationship is different. It is built 100% on trust. Put that into schools and will it be the same? Again I have my doubts. That isn’t to say that kids don’t have good relationships with their teachers or the relationship isn’t trusting. Of course they do and of course it is. Yet it is still different.I’ve lost count of the number of times one of my scouts has wanted to talk to me about difficult subjects. It’s included mental health, bullying, coming out, relationship with their parents. The list goes on. Again I’m not convinced by how those conversations get improved by moving it into a school environment.And there's relationships with each other too. Currently I have scouts who go to 8 different schools. State and private. Faith and secular. And we provide a melting pot for kids from all those places to come together. Move a troop into one school and again you risk damaging that.Finally there is pressure.I don't know what it's like your side of the Atlantic but here kids now are under far more pressure to study and achieve academically than they were when I was their age or even compared to 10 years ago. When I was first a cub leader in the mid 90s the idea that a 9 year old would miss cubs because they had too much homework or had exams would have been laughed at. Now it’s become a regular thing. And as they get older that pressure becomes worse and worse. There is a serious mental health problem among kids today and I am pretty convinced that the pressure they are under at school is part of that. So why take something that helps them escape from that and put it in that pressure cooker? It doesn’t make sense to me.So there we are. Schools are great. Education is a wonderful thing. I’m not anti schools or anti teachers or anything like that. I seriously considered teaching at one time myself.I just think schools and scouting should stay separated for the good of everyone
  8. Cambridgeskip

    Handling THAT kid joining

    I thought I'd get some fresh thoughts from the other side of the Atlantic on something I need to ponder. First thing to remember that over here scouts runs 10-14, moving onto explorers at 14 or 14.5. So our scouts are generally younger. With a load of scouts going to explorers at Easter and a couple of recent quitters we are taking no less than 8 new recruits off the waiting list into the troop shortly.. None of them have been cubs, all are brand new to it. This evening I went through the new names with existing scouts asking who knew them, looking for scouts to buddy them for their first couple of weeks. Found a few and so far so good.Trouble came with one particular name. It was met with a mix of groans, silence and some actual worried glances. I did a bit of probing. Word is he is that kid at school who throws his weight around gets his way. Not a bully in terms of no indication of victimising anyone, but word is he doesn't let anyone get in his way. He is already 12 so old to be a new starter in the scout sectionNow I’m not going to take that to literally. Kids say stuff, not all of it is true, others get reputations and struggle to shake them off even when they are no longer deserved. So as far as I am concerned he gets the same fair crack of the wip everyone else gets.However if we assume for the moment that that reputation is deserved I was pondering the best way to handle it. The only two obvious things are1. Keeping a sharp eye on him2. Allocating him to a patrol with care to avoid being with anyone that may be easily pushed around.Beyond that has anyone else ever had to deal with this? Any thoughts on the best way to handle it? It's a new one on me!
  9. Cambridgeskip

    Handling THAT kid joining

    We’re definitely not at that point! All I have at the moment is hearsay from a group of teenagers without even having met the lad. As in the OP he gets a fair go same as everyone else, I’m just looking to make sure it’s handled with care. Thanks Barry! Precisely. I’m not prejudging, I am simply listening to the scouts and am taking their comments into account when planning for after Easter. I’m not planning on stopping him doing anything or denying opportunities, just looking for ways to subtly manage and potential problems. If it all turns out to be a fuss about nothing then in a couple of months time this will all be forgotten! Thanks Matt, this is probably the most helpful post of the lot. Exactly what I’m looking for, a different angle of looking at it. Helping our PLs in particular understand how to manage this sounds like the way forward. And exactly how scouts should work I guess! unlike most here you’ve met my troop. A generally nice bunch if not always the best organised!
  10. Ours can see the points go up (and very occasionally down) almost by the minute. We have a white board in the main hall and points are added as we go along. They literally see it being marked up and who is in the lead as any given evening goes on. I don't think you have the Young Leader scheme your side of the pond but we use a YL to specifically keep the points up to date as the evening or camp goes along. It creates some stiff competition!
  11. Bit late to the discussion but a couple of things to add. Like Qwaze said, small thankyous and comments for when scouts have done things well. An example we have a new adult volunteerinng with us at the moment. She's been with us a few months. Naturally the scouts have gone through the stages they always do with a new adult. First they were a bit wary. That's been and gone. They she was their favourite. That's been and gone. Now they're pushing her boundaries a bit. Standard. Anyway last week I noticed one of our patrol leaders quite specifically being supportive and giving her advice on how to get one of our particularly gobby ones to be quiet for a moment. "keep him separated from that one." I made sure to quietly nod and smile at him and make sure he knew he'd done well. We also have a year long inter patrol competition where they rack points up throughout the year. Some of the points are for those easy to measure things. Nights on camp, badges earned etc. We also though award points for random acts of kindness, helpfulness, team work etc. An example again from just this week. We are allowed to use the playing field of a nearby school during our meetings. While out on the field one of our scouts found somebody's door key. He picked it up and rather than handing it to me he thought to hand it to his PL as he knew her mum works in the office at that school. 5 points for that patrol, both helpful and showing enough thought to deal with it competently.
  12. Cambridgeskip

    Troop alumni

    So myself and a couple of other adults at my group have been chewing over an idea the last couple of weeks that I thought I'd bounce off folks here. I did try getting a discussion going on a UK forum but alas it got side tracked into a debate on GDPR (data protection law over here). While GDPR is a concern let's put that on the back burner and talk more about where this might go. Anyway, I am lucky to be at a group that is now 108 years old. So it has quite a history! In that time thousands of people must have passed through the group either as youth members or as adult volunteers. With that in mind we've been thinking of starting a group "alumni" or "old boys" or some other similarly named program to be associated with the group. A little bit like many universities have. A program to stay in touch with past members, inform them of what's going on, show off photos etc from "back in the day", organise social events etc. Partly its because, well, why not? It seems like quite a nice thing to do what with all that history out there. Bringing people together seems to fit nicely with the scout ethos. Also though it is with a slightly ulteria motive or attracting fresh blood in terms of adult volunteers and even perhaps financial donations. I'm curious as to whether anyone else has ever tried anything like this? How did you go about it? How did it all work out? Any advice?
  13. I think there is a natural feeling among humans to belong to something bigger than ourselves. That feeling is at its strongest in our teenage years which is why scouts and other uniformed youth organisations are so successful. Jamborees take that instinct to the ultimate degree. People want to belong, teenagers even more so. Jamborees let them do that.
  14. Wanted to share this one, it's one about parents. Too often we hear moans about parents but I had a moment with a couple last night that just left me with a smile on my face. First to rewind the clock to my teenage years in the 1990s. I grew up in Hertfordshire, just north of London. The thing to understand is that what you chaps would call "high adventure" is typically run at county level here with many counties having a particular specialism. For hertfordshire it was mountaineering and for running trips they had their own out of county base at a place called Lochearnhead in the Scottish Highlands. The Station, is it is known, is exactly that. An old station on an abandoned railway line that got adopted by Herts scouts in the 1960s and converted into a base for high adventure. It is wonderfully excentric with many of its own traditions. People that go there tend to fall in love with it and come back year after year after year. Life took me to Cambridge, which is out of Hertforshire, but I stayed in touch with many old friends involved in running the station and a few years ago was offered the opportunity to start sending a small number of scouts to courses there. It was highly successful and they have allowed us to start sending more kids from across the district each year. Bringing it right up to date we had a briefing meeting last night for scouts going in the latest contingent this Easter and their parents. One from another group, who I didn't really know, turned up with mum and dad who had smiles all over their faces. It turned out they were both veterans from the station having been their regularly in their teenage years, a few years before me. They remembered it with huge fondness. And to say they are thrilled that their daughter is now getting to go and experience it in all its beauty and excentricity is one of the world's biggest understatements. They're not helicopter parents, they're not forcing her to go or planning on cramping her style. They get it that it's her opportunity to spread her wings. They were just so excited at where she was getting to do it. To come home to see parents that happy at what their children are getting up to was a genuine pleasure.
  15. In addition Rainbows (GGUK equivalent of Beavers) starts at 5 instead of 6 and Brownies starts at 7 rather than 8 so they tend to get "first dibs" in those sections. I'm pretty convinced that's part of the cause.
  16. Cambridgeskip

    How tight are your scouts?

    Three colour neckers (like the UK national one) are an absolute pain to make neat and tidy. A tight woggle (slide) roughs it up so much. Do yours ever wear it "Dutch" style, with the ends of the necker going in opposite sides of the slide? Or with a friendship knot instead? Mine tend to do the latter on camp, sliding the woggle up one side to avoid losing it. I don't get too stressed about what style mine go for, in fact I quite like that mine look a little bit scruffy and grungy
  17. Cambridgeskip

    Scouts and UFOs

    I guess it depends on what you mean by a UFO. If you mean it in its literal sense, ie something in the sky you can’t explain then yes. I once saw something green zoom across the sky. And I’ve never read anything that explains what it was. However I don’t believe it was an alien. It was probably just one of the more rare types of meteor or similar that occur from time to time. If by UFO you mean something I suspect to be alien life then certainly not. And I would be very surprised if this planet has ever been visited given what we understand about the speed of light and the distances involved. thats not to say I don’t think life is out there. Given the mind boggling scale of the universe I think it more likely than not that life (whether intelligent or not) is out there. I just doubt we’ve ever encountered it. If we did though.... I’ve never been one to hang on the word of the 24 hour news channels. But if the headline tonight were we’ve encountered life elsewhere.... I don’t think you could tear me away!
  18. Cambridgeskip

    Mi Amigo 75

    Not really a scouting story but one doing the rounds here that I thought you chaps might be interested in is the Mi Amigo 75th aniversary fly past today over Sheffield and Cambridge this morning. For those who have never heard the story Mi Amigo was a US bomber in the Second World War based in the UK that crashed on its return from a mission over Europe in 1944. The story of what happened though is quite moving. Unable to make it back to its base due to damage it had to make a crash landing. Initially to avoid crashing into local houses in Sheffield the crew attempted to land in a public park. As they approached they spotted a group of young boys playing (or fighting! depending which version you read) and veared away at the last minute, crashing in local woodland. All on board were killed. One of those boys, Tony Foulds, has tended to the memorial to the crew ever since and following a chance encounter with a BBC journalist was able to get a memorial fly past by USAF and RAF organised. Most publicly it went over the site in Sheffield but later this morning I was able to see it from my house passing over the US military cemetery at Maddingley on the edge of Cambridge where some of the crew are burried, which is about 3 miles from me as the crew flies. Full story here. Quite a moving story.
  19. Cambridgeskip

    Acoustics

    Wow! I have never really been into that style music but even I found that extraordinary. That''s a couple of minutes very well spent.
  20. Cambridgeskip

    Sending a parcel to USA

    Not really scouting related but this seemed the best place to post this. Mrs Cambridgeskip has to send a parcel to someone in the states that has bought something she was selling on eBay. The address she’s been given consists of the persons name, town, state and zip code. No street or house number. Quick google search on the zip code takes us to the middle of a field in the middle of Minnesota, nearest building looks like a farm. Nearest town is miles away. Does that sound right? Is the parcel likely to make it to the right place with just that? Ie is a name and zip code enough in a rural area? thanks in advance!
  21. Cambridgeskip

    2019 World Jamboree

    Interestingly over the weekend applications to join IST as part of the UK contingent reopened at the weekend. No mention of shooting instructors specifically but it does look like they are running short. Quite right it's a big commitment. I would love to be part of it but throw in travel time and it's the thick end of 3 weeks, I can't commit to that kind of thing.
  22. Cambridgeskip

    Sending a parcel to USA

    Thank chaps, looks like it should get through! Looking at the area it's in it's something we don't really have here. Looks like absolutely vast farms with virtually no one living there. The only areas we have that empty are the Scottish Highlands which is basically mountains and not much else.
  23. Cambridgeskip

    Investiture Ceremony?

    It can me a bit variable but 4-6 weeks is quite standard, although we may hang on longer if there is a particular camp or event where we want to carry out the investiture. and actually mass reciting of the promise is pretty rare! I don’t know of any troop that do it week to week. The only time it really happens is at St George’s Day events where there is often a promise renewal.
  24. Cambridgeskip

    Investiture Ceremony?

    It's certainly something we do in the UK. The actuall process varies somewhat but it looks broadly similar. As a troop we try to do it somewhere memorable if at all possible. My favourite was on a trip to London we invested a new scout on the spot where Nelson Mandella addressed both Houses of Parliament, we also did one at Gilwell with BP's statute forming part of the horse shoe described below, but what it looks like is; The troop forms a horse shoe with the adult leaders standing in the open mouth of the horse shoe. The new scout is called forward. I ask them if they've enjoyed their time with us so far, if they are ready to become a scout and whether they know the scout law and promise. They should say yes to each! I call the troop to attention and ask them to all make the scout sign. The duty patrol leader (who is stood next to me) lowers the troop colours to horizontal and the new scout and I both place our left hand on the flag. The new scout recites the promise line by line after me, after which the flag is put pack to vertical. I put the troop necker round the neck of the new scout. We shake left hands, exchange salutes. The scout turns around and salutes the troop who return the salute. Sometimes it looks a bit less formal, there's a video on our youtube channel of when we invested some new scouts on a high ropes course, we stuck to the basics of the promise that time!
  25. Cambridgeskip

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    BSA have an opportunity in 2019, in the form of the world jamboree, to have some really good PR. While only a tiny proportion of your scouts (indeed any nations's scouts) get to go it is nevertheless a very big good news story that the national media will show an interest in. I do hope your national HQ has this firmly in their sites! On its own that does not produce new recruits. Local units have to do that and then have the program to retain them, but what it does is provide a positive backdrop for local units to work with to go out and start recruiting.
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