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Everything posted by Cambridgeskip

  1. Some of mine have done the circus skills badge but alas no trapeze involved. Simply impossible to find the facilities!
  2. Just to add.... the link you provided is for the scout age range which is 10-14 year olds. There is a similar list here for explorers, 14-18 year olds, the two sections essentially overlapping what you call Scouts BSA. There are similar lists for Beavers (6-8) and cubs (8-10) Those badges marked as "staged" can, at least in theory, be done at any stage from 6-18. In reality the younger sections do the lower end ones and the older age ranges the higher end. For example at my group our cubs, as standard, look to complete emergency aid 2 before moving to scouts and we look to get them through emergency aid stage 3 before they move up to explorers.
  3. Cambridgeskip

    What Have You Learned About Yourself

    That I'm claustrophobic! Went into an artificial caving complex with some scouts and there is nooooooo way I am ever doing that again. More generally that being outdoors is great therapy.
  4. Been a little while since I last swung by here but I thought I'd drop in and share my new favourite scout photos. There have been many over the years that sum up a moment in time and this is the latest in a long line. So last weekend my merry band of men and women were away on camp. And the weather was horrible. I mean grim. It was always forecast to be pretty wet but even we in England, with our 197 words for rain or whatever it is didn't expect quite this. It started raining around 8pm Friday night just as the scouts were putting up tents in the dark. It proceeded to rain, with varying intensity, for 32 hours non stop. The mathematicians will have worked out that was 4am Sunday morning. On top of that the last month in our corner of the world has been pretty soggy so the ground is saturated and all the wood wet. To be honest I was a bit worried. We had 3 totally new scouts with us, one of who didn't speak English, only mandarin, and 3 more who have been with us a few months but this was there first camp. How were the younger ones going to cope with the conditions? I shouldn't have worried, the new recruits through themselves into with massive enthusiasm and we had a full turn out of patrol leaders who led from the front. I was really quite amazed! For our chinese scout it turns out the card game Uno is the international system of comms for 11 year olds as well. The moment that summed it up though was late Saturday afternoon. The rain was hammering it down. Water everywhere. I was giving serious thought to pioneering an arc! Our newest, youngest scout, only turned 10 in July, asked if we could have a camp fire. I think the troop looked at her in utter bewilderment on mass. Her PL looked outside the mess tent and asked if she'd seen the weather. Yes! Apparently she had, but was still convinced she could light a fire. So off she went with a couple of the boys to give it a go. This photo was take half an hour later. Had she got one lit? No. She'd tried pine cones, silver birch bark, cotton wool balls, tumble drier lint. None of them would get the utterly sodden wood we could find to do anything more than briefly steam before fizzling out. Was she detered though? Was she hell! She continued to attack that pile of tinder with the matches with what I can only describe as reckless joy and abandon. Giving up only when I directly told she was getting a hot drink inside her, that was an order. Despite this conditions, despite me now having a stinking cold that I blame on that camp it was truly inspiring. Long may kids continue to have that lust for life and the outdoors!
  5. Cambridgeskip

    2019 World Jamboree

    A leaders bar is quite common at major events in the UK. We have a strict no under 18s drinking rule and adults who have been drinking are not meant to deal with the scouts directly and we have to maintain minimum adult to scout ratios with adults who have not been drinking, but yes a leaders bar is a thing. Gilwell Park actually has a bar in the main building and the pub quiz on the Saturday night at Winter Camp each January is the stuff of legend! Not sure about the rest of Europe.
  6. Cambridgeskip

    2019 World Jamboree

    This is one of my favourite scout photos. Taken on the way home from our 2016 summer camp. Not a great photo in itself but the memories! We were on a public service bus that stopped outside the campsite that took us to the railway station. The scouts themselves weren't too bad, they had all showered. The problem was their clothes. We'd cooked on fires all week and absolutely everything stank of wood smoke. An awful lot of people got up and moved seats to get away from us! Made me chuckle
  7. Cambridgeskip

    A Scouters Motto

    Or as my grandad used to say, you can take a horse to water but a pencil must be lead. I’m here all week
  8. Cambridgeskip

    A Scouters Motto

    I’d always say never criticise another person till you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That way when you upset them you’re a mile away. And you have their shoes.
  9. Cambridgeskip

    2019 World Jamboree

    I think UK are being told uniform for travel, opening and closing ceremony plus off site days. Rest of the time the only uniform needed is their necker.
  10. Cambridgeskip

    2019 World Jamboree

    I'm seeing one of my scouts off on thursday night, she'll be with you some point on Friday. Look after her
  11. Cambridgeskip

    Do immigrants camp?

    To add to what Ian said... the thing to remember about much of Europe is population density. It is way above what it is in most of the USA. Where I am in Cambridge we are basically on the northern edge of the south east corner of England where we have around 15 million people crammed into an area about half the size of New Jersey. What land isn't urban is farm land. The West Midlands (centred round Birmingham), the English central belt (Liverpool-Manchester- Leeds - Hull) and the Scottish central belt (Glasgow- Edinburgh) are similar. So in the UK we don't have a great deal of really wild areas to head to, unless you get into the Scottish Highlands and they are a long way from most people. Other European nations are pretty similar although as Ian pointed out Scandanavia is a bit different! Most people don't have easy to reach wild camping areas that they can head to and those areas you can are farely well equipped campsites with plumbed in toilets, water supplies and the like. So camping is very different indeed here.
  12. Cambridgeskip

    Eagle Scout Shown Leniency

    Over on this side of the Atlantic I spent 17 years working for HM Revenue and Customs, broadly the equivalent of your IRS. On tax fraud there was a much lower threshold for making it a criminal prosecution (as opposed to a civil matter settled out of court) for accountants, lawyers and in particular HMRC staff on the basis that they should know better. So certainly there are examples of different standards of justice out there. Should that be the case here? Certainly not in terms of being more lenient on an Eagle Scout. Should he be treated more harshly because of it? I’m Not convinced but I do have an element of sympathy for it.
  13. Cambridgeskip

    A tale of two scouts

    Quick update on this one re scout 1. We had a skills tournament tonight. Patrols rotated round various bases where they were given various tasks to carry out based on typical scout skills. Pitch a tent in under 10 minutes. Light a fire to burn through some string. That kind of thing. The twist I tried was that the PLs had to be completely hands off. Couldn’t do anything. Only instruct. She made a really good job of it. She tended to speak to the scouts individually and not try to address them altogether. It was interesting to see how she’s developed her own style of being quietly methodical compared to another PL who got the job at the same time as her and is a natural front man, never happier than when revelling in attention!
  14. 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).
  15. Cambridgeskip

    Up all night for charity

    So in a few minutes I’m off out the door for our troop’s regular act of madness, The Sun Run. In short a sun set to sun rise charity night hike. If anyone is feeling generous have click here http://12thcambridge.org.uk/blog/2019/06/03/run-for-your-life/ There’s more info and you can sponsor one of the two charities the scouts chose, Mind and Water Aid. Thanks in advance
  16. Cambridgeskip

    A Moot Point....

    I've not been to one myself but certainly I've heard of them. They are aimed at the traditional "Rover Scout" age of 18-25 which is still strong in some parts of the world. We call it Scout Network here. I think the last one was in Iceland if I recall right. A couple of friends have been to them and had a fantastic time, they come highly recommended.
  17. Cambridgeskip

    A tale of two scouts

    Tow rag is my favourite
  18. Cambridgeskip

    A tale of two scouts

    A quick swing by to this thread, work has been a bit manic so I haven't been popping up much! The chores rota I particularly like. It marries up with one of the other ideas I've given her which is to use props of some sort to draw attention away from her if she's finding it awkward. Small things like when water needs fetching pointing at the water butt. Similarly speaking to each member of the patrol individually rather than collectively, all about being effective without having to be the centre of attention, which I think is the root of the problem.
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. Cambridgeskip

    Traditionally American camp fire dishes

    Thank you, I'd never stumbled across that one before!
  22. 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.
  23. 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.....)
  24. 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
  25. 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!