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Everything posted by Cambridgeskip

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Cambridgeskip

    Review of the year

    During that strange no mans land between Christmas and New Year I finally got round to uploading our troop review of the year to Youtube. Enjoy! I'm off to eat some more mince pies....
  5. Cambridgeskip

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Money can't take back trauma. I don't think anyone would argue that it can. What it can do is help provide financially where that trauma has resulted in them suffering indirectly. Someone with suffering with long term mental health problems may struggle to hold down a job or start a business or may fail exams etc.
  6. Happy to, although given what side of the Atlantic I’m on I’d suggest Skype as the way forward
  7. Cambridgeskip

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Broadly the same as in urban areas! once again coming back to our population density nowhere is really very far from anywhere else. So some rural districts have multiple villages each with their own scout group and typically an explorer scout unit that sits in the largest of the villages. Some have their own bullilding, some will use a church hall. Just like in urban areas it varies quite a lot. The least populated areas are the Highlands and Islands of Scotland where most places are a long way from anywhere and to be honest I don’t really know how it functions there.
  8. We’ve reached a point in history where if you’re not on the internet you don’t exist. Every unit to have an internet presence. It doesn’t have to be an all singing all dancing website, it can just be a Facebook page. Whatever it is it needs two things on it; 1. Photos or video footage of the scouts doing fun stuff. Forget courts of honour, award ceremonies and smart uniform. That doesn’t sell. Make it climbing and canoeing and the like. 2. An idiot proof method of signing up or getting in touch. If it’s an email address make sure someone checks it. If it’s a phone number make sure it’s not someone who works nights. Throw some effort at your online presence and you’ll soon have them queueing up.
  9. Cambridgeskip

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    So... there's several elements to that question. In terms of constitution yes, most scout groups in the UK exist as a charity in their own right with their own executive committee, who are trustees of the charity, own all their own assets and have their own money. When a new group is created it is typically done so by either the scout district or scout county where they identify the need/demand for the new group. Typically volunteers from district and county level take on the leadership and exec committe roles on a temporary basis until they can recruit parents or other volunteers to take those roles on. In terms of where they meet it tends to be older more established groups that own their own buildings and even then it's not all of them. Typically they rent space at a local community centre, a school, a church hall etc. Some meet at scout campsites that are owned by their district or county (remember how densly populated we are, some campsites literally back onto houses on the edge of or even in town. We are regulars at a campsite called Thriftwood which is on google earth here. See what I mean?) They get the space for so many hours per week plus get a limited amount of storage space. I used to be at a group that did that at a local church hall and we ended up renting a local garage to store most of our camping gear. My current group owns its own building but rents the land, at a pepper corn rent, from the county council. By county council I mean local government, nothing to do with scouts! How the buidling was originally funded I don't know. It dates back to the late 1950s. However where such buildings need large scale renovations (and ours desperately does) then typically funding is gained from things like the national lottery fund or other charities who give grants for capital expenditure. Originally I think these buildings were built using funds from generous benefactors. There is also the fact that the scout movement still commands huge respect and goodwill and many builders and contractors are often prepared to knock a bit off the usual price for a scout group with them often reminissing about good times they had as a kid Our national rules also help with this. When a new group is formed and affiliates to the scout association one of the rules they agree to is that should the group close down then all capital assets are transfered to the district. This means that buildings are not lost once they are owned. Similarly should the group not be able to recruit a chair, treasurers and secretary as required by law as a charity those roles in turn are taken on by the group scout leader (GSL) and if they don't have a GSL the District Commissioner gets the job, so this again helps stop valuable assets being lost. For new groups though it is rare indeed to own their own building, the only exception being where they effectively inherit it from a previously colapsed group. Most new groups are renting space. Happy to field further questions!
  10. Cambridgeskip

    And so it begins

    If you were to speak to one of my assistant leaders who is an atheist he’d say something along the lines of the following. Bear in mind I’m summarising his words from a long conversation one night. that it’s his belief that we are one small speck in a mind bogglingly vast universe. That the laws of physics and the fact that they created this universe fills him with wonder. That we are here only once. That the earth is the only place we have found, so far, where humans can live. Indeed where anything can live. That we are the only species who’s has developed intelligence to the point where we understand how fragile it is. That we have to share it with 7 billion others. So it naturally follows that the moral thing to do is to cooperate with each other. To look after the planet for the next generation. His world view is not self centric but actually that he is reverent to the laws of nature and they in themselves create a moral code that he acts upon.
  11. Cambridgeskip

    And so it begins

    While that exists I would add that in practice very few scouts actually use it. And mine have more opportunity than most! After Christmas I will have 43 scouts at full strength. As well as the UK I have scouts where they or their parents were born in France, Italy, Ireland, USA, Canada, Hungary, Germany, Poland, China, Netherlands, Columbia, Norway, New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, Egypt, Spain. In the recent past I've had Ghana, Chili, Estonia, Australia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Zimbabwae, Bosnia, Argentina, Denmark. There are probably others that I've forgotten! Basically most are quite happy to make a standatrd promise and not stand out and that reflects. i think, that the most important thing to most teenagers is the sense of belonging and the scout troop provdes them with that. Whether it refers to their country or their religion most are quite happy with a wording that brings them all together and will, frankly, say words for the sak of words.
  12. Cambridgeskip

    And so it begins

    Not at all. I think though it's worth expanding though. First of all the UK is not as religious a country as the USA. The rate of religious belief has been falling steadily for many years. While at the last national census a small majority had some form of religious belief it is not out the question that it will have fallen below 50% by the time of the next one. Second even for those of us (which includes me) with a religious belief we have never as a nation been all that comfortable talking about religion and faith. It's the kind of thng we might only discuss with our very closest friends. It's just not what we do. Evangelists of any faith are typically viewed with suspicion. Third we don't have the chartering system. While some groups are sponsored by churches, mosques etc typically all they do is provide somewhere to meet and possibly have someone from the church on the exec committee but they certainly don't "own" the group the same way your churches do. Interestingly my group is not attached to a church at all. We own our own HQ. And yet we seem to have a higher rate of christians in the group then our neighbouring group who are attached to a church who in turn seem to have an above average number of muslims. I don't understand either! So in that context religion and faith has never been a huge part of the scout program. There has always been bits and pieces of it in the program but it's never been dominant. And for all the parts of the award scheme where faith could be used they have the otion of using another element of their beliefs such as politics, morals etc. So over all no, they don't really miss out at all.
  13. Cambridgeskip

    And so it begins

    I can't speak for Canada but in the UK the position is that atheists are entirely welcome. There is an atheist version of the promise but it is just one of 4 different versions which reflect different religious beliefs. You can read them all here. That does not mean duty to God has been dropped entirely. Exploration of your own beliefs is still part of the program but they do not have to be religious. I don't know what other groups are like but probably around 60-70% of my new scouts choose one the of the faith based version of the promise with 30-40% making the no faith version
  14. Cambridgeskip

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    As I understand it Chapter 11 bankruptcy with you is the equivalent of what we would call "administration" here, effectively it puts the brakes on everything and gives the organisation an opportunity to negotiate a rescue deal with its creditors. Of course that can be a two edged sword but is a long way from liquidation. Nevertheless this is clearly serious and you have my sympathies. I do hope it doesn't result in BSA losing its crown jewel camp sites, those are the kind of places that once they are gone they are goe.
  15. Cambridgeskip

    Bear Grylls is new World Scout Ambassador

    Indeed. Like it or not we live in an age when image counts for a lot and having a recognisable front man is increasingly important. There are those who don't like him but my scouts certainly do like him.
  16. Cambridgeskip

    What are the best ways to recruit new Boy Scouts

    As Jameson76 said, it’s all about the program, that’s what they come for, and your existing scouts are the best way to do that. Word of mouth is powerful tool! What you can do to support them in that is give them some tools. If the troop doesn’t have it already give it an internet presence. That doesn’t have to be an all singing all dancing website, it can be as simple as Flickr photo stream or a Facebook page. Make sure that on it are two things 1. Photos of the scouts doing fun stuff. Canoeing, hiking etc. Don’t worry about uniforms or courts of honour, that doesn’t sell. Show off the fun. 2. Include clear and simple contact details. Your existing scouts can then put that under the nose of their friends and say “look what we did at the weekend”
  17. Cambridgeskip

    Who Is Your Scouting Role Model?

    My Venture Scout leader, her name was Brenda. She carried on scouting including all the hiking and camping even when she was having chemo for breast cancer. An extraordinary woman
  18. Cambridgeskip

    The international friendship aspect of scouting

    Very true. My troop has an on going program with a troop in Canada. Sadly its only the minority that are able to go on the trips we've done to them and the same goes for the Canadians. It doesn't mean it's impossible though. We do do other things. We've had skype meet ups, we've planned programs for each other and so on. So you can do it. We're also lucky in that Cambridge, by it's nature, attracts a lot of foreign visitors both for work and tourism so we've had regular visitors to the troop from overseas who are in the area. Including your goodself of course Matt! Troops in less attractive corners of the country may not be as lucky.
  19. Cambridgeskip

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    That is truly shocking. It's childish and totally unscout like. I was going to ramble on for a bit but I am somewhat lost for words.
  20. Cambridgeskip

    What would you do?

    As Shortridge said, you need to speak to the parents about this. You are a volunteer, not their slave. They were warned about your return time and still did't show.
  21. Cambridgeskip

    New Scouts BSA marketing video

    Not convinced by the "scout me in" slogon but the imagery and music work pretty well. Over all I like it!
  22. Cambridgeskip

    Scout led - to trust or to over ride?

    I agree, there's nothing wrong with using adults as a resource, in this case though I'm really pleased with her having the confidence to chose her own path and be confident in it even when offered alternatives.
  23. Right, thought I'd get the perspective of you chaps across the Atlantic on this one.... First for those not familiar with UK age ranges scouts runs 10-14 years old, explorer scouts 14-18 years old. I run scouts. So far so good. So.... first night back after Christmas tonight and we had a PLs council before hand. On the agenda was who should be the next batch of PLs. We're due to lose 3 out of 5 PLs and 2 out of 5 APLs to explorers at Feb half term and they'll need to be replaced.The current PLC selected, among others, an 11 year old (12 in June) to become a PL in February.Selection of PLs here doesn't follow a set process like it seems to with you. Each troop has its own way of doing it. With us we have traditionally had the PLC (both those due to remain and those due to go) select the next batch with me reserving the right to over ride them if I deemed it appropriate. In reality I don't think I ever have done for a PL. I think I drew the line once or twice about the odd APL but I have typically let them get on with it.This 11 year old is exceptional for her age, intelligent and mature and there is family history in that her older brother is a current PL and a complete super star. If she follows in big brother's foot steps she'll be fine.She is though only 11 and we do ask a lot of our PLs including leading patrol camps on nights away passports (ie no adults with them). I find that stressful enough as it is (I don't sleep well when they are doing it), I think realistically if she was a PL I'd have to draw a line there and say no, we'll need adults on site.So I guess the question is 11 year old PLs. Who's done it? Has it worked? Any thoughts or comments? And with your big emphasis on scout led, would you just let them chose and see what happened?
  24. Cambridgeskip

    Scout led - to trust or to over ride?

    Interesting little update on this. We made this girl a PL in the end. She’s needed a bit of mentoring, has had the odd hiccup, but generally has grown into the job. Worth remembering that the scout section here is 10-14 so a bit different to you. Anyway this morning I was able to see why she was the right choice and how far she’s come. She’s been planning a night for the whole troop for later in November which, through no fault of her own, has all fallen through. A case of life happening. With an evening to replan from scratch I’d emailed her a few ideas, just a few ideas to get her thinking. The reply this morning was quite firm, thanks but no thanks, I’ve got my own idea for what to do instead, I’ll get on with it. Youth led and all that! Shes doing alright
  25. Cambridgeskip

    PLC hazing and bullying problem

    Being in the UK I won't pretend to know your procedures inside out, I'll leave that to others. However what these boys did went way over the line. This isn't something that can be treated as a learning experience, it's not the scout who didn't do their chores or who had a falling out with someone that ended in a scuffle or who gave some back chat. This is a group not just of scouts but scouts who are meant to be leaders among their peers, who should be setting the example, who actively ganged up on another scout ending in something that was border line sexual assault. Whatever the procedure for making that happen the SPL in this case should be gone, out the troop. On most things I see a way back, of making amends and somehow remaining with the troop. Not on this occassion though. While scouting should be lead by the scouts the adults have a duty to protect the young people in their care and in this instance that should mean the SPL is out. As for the rest? I'm not sure, I think it depends on the detail of what happened, who was encouraging who and the like. There's not enough detail here to say, certainly I'd be looking to have new PLs elected though. What you have described is completely intollerable.