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Cambridgeskip

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Everything posted by Cambridgeskip

  1. First to say thanks to Matt and Mrs Matt for swinging by last week. It's always nice to have visitors! The necker you gave us is now hung up in our HQ alongside others from foreign visitors. Secondly Matt is completely right. While looking at how other countries do things is good in terms of getting fresh ideas and seeing things from a different perspective whatever BSA comes up with has to work for BSA. It's no good pointing at any one country and saying "lets do that" because it may not work for you. It should be a case of saying, country X has age ranges that work like this, why does it fit that country and are there enough parallels that it works for us? If the answer is no move on to countries X, Z and so on. Same for the award scheme, same for summer camp etc. The other side of that coin is to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. You've got well over 2 million members. Second biggest in WOSM if I remember right. Clearly you are doing something right! Whatever that is be careful not to ditch it. When TSA had its big shake up it wasn't done quickly. I was a venture scout when they were piloting it. They did an awful lot of research first. I remember taking part in it. They then piloted the proposed changes in a number of places round the country. By district was one of them and moved to the explorers/network model in 1996. We tried it, gave feedback and what eventually fell out it in 2002 when it went nation wide had a lot of what we'd tried but also had been tweeked and further adapted. It took time. You need to take your time as well. As I've said before though I don't think you should consider the current round of changes to be the last. I suspect more will come in due course. Just on the point of summer camp, to clarify what Matt said, we do have summer camp, just not the same way you do with the same set program. Our summer camps are typically for about a week and are just like another camp but longer. Typically camping in patrols, cooking for themselves, usually on a scout owned campsite doing a mix of on site and off site activities. We don't have dining halls (although a limited amount of indoor accomodation is typically available, it doesn't come cheap though) or fixed booking periods. You just book for the days you want to be there.
  2. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    Hadn't appreciated you were Surrey Ian! I was the out of county member of the selection panel for Surrey Heath district. Don't know if that involved any of your lot. It was a tough decision to make.
  3. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    I honestly don't know how that works. I'd be interested to know though. Jamborees don't come cheap to run. What I do know is some recent jamborees (Japan, UK, Netherlands) used the normal venue for music festivals and because they came with existing infrastructure it saved quite a lot of money. The UK venue is the site of the V music festival. Many of the jamboree infrastructure costs were met by Virgin who run the festival. I guess you don't have that advantage.
  4. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    BSA can indeed influence but it can't dictate. Numbers wise BSA makes up approx 7% of members. Probably more financially but ultimately has only a certain amount of leverage. In addition the management of the jamboree isn't purely BSA. There are three host nations and WOSM involved. It's not a BSA event that the world is invited to, it's a WOSM event at a BSA site. There are a lot of parallels with hosting the Olympics. The host country only has so much wriggle room. IOC rules sit at the top. I imagine that BSA have signed all kinds of legal contracts with WOSM to host this and simply refusing to play by their rules now will land them in massive legal and financial problems. I think it's also worth putting yourself in WOSM's shoes for the moment. They cover scouting in nearly every country, culture and religion on the planet. That will mean a myriad of different beliefs on every subject you can imagine, including sex. Across the world the age of consent varies between 11 in Nigeria and 20 in Korea. Attitudes vary between countries where sex is only legal in marriage to others where sex is pretty casual. You have national scout organisations where it's not permitted to even acknowledge sex exists to those, particularly from Africa which HIV is a massive problem, where sex education is part and parcel of the scout program. Through that massive raft of differences WOSM has to strike a balance and choose a policy. Individual national contingents are welcome to impose their own expectations on their own contingents, but WOSM, when setting central policy, has to get something that everyone can live with and I think that having them available via medical facilities is about right.
  5. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    17 years of working in government here quickly killed off any thoughts of conspiracy in the corridors of power. I suspect the same is true of many other large organisations
  6. Cambridgeskip

    Condom Distribution at World Jamboree

    I think you over estimate the news worthiness of stories about scouts. WSJ held abroad isn't a story. On home soil it is. Same for every country. With you chaps it's got the added bonus for the media of the membership changes but the the rule still stands. The home soil press will go looking for jamboree related stories the rest of the world generally won't.
  7. Cambridgeskip

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    The "offensive weapons" part is a legal term. That is what that policy is getting at. It's not saying the scout association says it, it means the law says it. Like it or not the law defines knives as such and as an organisation we have to work within the law. So unless the knife falls within certain parameters (3 inches or less in length, folds away and does not lock) the law says you need to have a reason for having it about your person. My point is that the scout policy makes sense when seen in the context of working within that. It doesn't meant you can't have and use one. I'll be hiking in a remote part of scotland next month. I will certainly have it about me then. I will probably walk to the local shop tomorrow. I won't have it with me then. Why would I? The policy (and it is guidance by the way, not a set rule) does not prevent scouts using knives, they certainly do, but part of it is not just training them in how to use them in their hand but also to get into habits that mean they don't get arrested. We had a survival skills camp back in March. They had them in their pockets then because the nature of the program meant they were using them a lot. We had a camp earlier this month as part of the national archery tournament. The scouts took knives but left them in their tents for the most part. As I say, it's partly about training them not to fall foul of the law.
  8. Cambridgeskip

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    Not among the scout fratternity because the laws that govern this didn't just come out the blue. There had been increasing restrictions on the use and ownership of knives over many years so it was a bit of a salami slice effect. Besides for the most part it's common sense. In the same way I don't carry my torch or my first aid kit or mess tins around with me all the time I don't have my knife about me all the time on camp and neither would I expect the scouts to. It's a case of you get it when you need it. The Daily Mail though.... when it found this out when into an editorial hissy fit. But as Ian mentioned, that's what the Daily Mail does. Think Fox News on steroids.
  9. Cambridgeskip

    Breaking Point

    It's all about balance I think. When it stops being fun, or becomes too stressful, or life away from scouting is suffering then it is time to take a step back. Whether than means standing down altogether or just dropping some of what you are doing. I went through a phase where I took on too much. It didn't do me any good at all. I made a conscious effort to step back and delegate. In other circumstances I may have stood down altogether. For the OP I'd say take a step back, pause for breath and be ready to say no to things. And take it from there. With regard to age I think a spread of ages works best. I have a 19 year old ASL who the kids look up to as a young role model. She is a teenager just like them and knows exactly what is going on in their lives because its happening to her as well.. I also have 74 year old ASL who the kids look up to as an older role model. He has children and grand children and knows whats going on in the scouts lives because he's seen it three times over! He also loves The Big Bang Theory and most scout nights start with him comparing notes with kids who are fans on the latest episode. Both bring different things to the troop. The 19 year old can swing her rucksack onto her back one handed and run like the wind. My 74 year old is physically slowing down but has a 65 year back catalogue of experience, wisdom and fantasically funny stories to tell. There's a place for everyone in this game.
  10. Cambridgeskip

    Scouts UK unveils new branding

    My group has done most of its rebranding (website, facebook, twitter) but haven't done our youtube channel yet. I like how it looks on the website, I think it makes it look cleaner and more straight forward. I'm not quite convinced though on facebook or twitter as the new "12th" logo on the profile photo doesn't quite say who we are. Youtube still has the old branding and by comparing the two I think you can see that for profile photos on social media the old one is definitely better. Unless we can do some more tinkering.!
  11. Cambridgeskip

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    I'll play devils advocate here.... bear in mind I am completely pro LGBT inclusion.... However..... while I would agree with you that its was enforcing certain denomination's beliefs at the end of that policy you don't have to go back very many years to a time where, while it was perfectly legal to be gay, it was still looked upon by the majoirty of the population, regarldless of their religous faith or lack their of, as still imoral. At that time, say go back to the 1970s, BSA was simply enforcing what was a widely held moral belief, ie that being gay was imoral, because at that time that is what most people thought. I look back on my teenage years, the early to mid 90s, and the idea that anyone could have come out as openly gay and not been subjected to a torent of abuse and all kinds of difficulty is ludicrous. It just wouldn't have happened. Speak to any 14 or 15 year old now and they all have friends who are openly gay or bi. Most schools have LGBT societies. I have an 18 year old Assistant Scout Leader who is openly bi. Our district commissioner is openly gay. None of that would have been possible 25 years ago. Now they are. Things have moved on in a massive way. Things changed from the mid 90s onwards this side of the pond, from what I understand they did likewise your side as well. At some point in that time I'd argue that BSA went from using establish morals as part of their code to those of certain denominations.
  12. Cambridgeskip

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    It's often not even as straight forward as believing or not believing. Often it's a case of looking at it differently. One of the best sermons I ever heard was a priest who said that if anyone stands in front of you and claims to understand every word of the bible and have all the answers they are lying either to themselves or to you. I am a Christian. I do though understand that the bible as we know it today is a collection of 68 texts, written by many different people, some where the author is unknown or unclear. They were created over thousands of years in multiple languages that were in turn translated into Latin then into Medieval English and finally modern English. They were written for different purposes and for different audiences. There are books of history, poetry, law and prophecy. There are letters to individuals and letters to populations. With some exceptions, such as the gospels and the first 5 books of the Old Testament, very few were intended as holy texts. whats more different churches recognise different texts as belonging to the bible. A Catholic bible has quite a few differences to a Protestant one. An orthodox bible looks different again and so it goes. With all that in mind I don't think an individual who accepts the basics of Christianity, of God coming to earth in human form, living a blameless life, dying and rising again, but on the other hands asks questions of or even disagrees with how elements of the bible are applied to modern life is being disingenuous. They are simply applying their intellect to an incredibly complex text and coming up with a different answer.
  13. Cambridgeskip

    Scouts UK unveils new branding

    To be honest I'm ambivalent, but then Im no artist! The previous logo was difficult to manipulate online although equally I'm not sure why something techie couldn't have been done to cure that. I do like that it's simple so a Beaver could draw it. I also recognise that things like branding have to move forward otherwise you look dated. On the other side of the coin it looks closer to the 1908 logo than the last one! Writing this on a phone so can't figure out how to embed that so go look it up if you're curious. Its all part of a wider new 5 year strategy that we've all got say in our inboxes this morning http://scouts.org.uk/about-us/strategy/vision-for-2023 ive only skim read it so far but the two things that stand out good and bad are; Good - blink and you'd miss it but changes to the leader training program to bring in more practical scout skills. RESULT! The current leader training program is terrible and needs more practical skills. Bad - Scouting in schools. Not a fan. Part of what makes scouts special is the relationship between the adults and kids. We are not parents, police, teachers or social workers. We are something different. We are the nearest most kids will ever have to an adult sibling. Moving into schools will, I fear, risk that special relationship if leaders get put in the same bracket as teachers in kids minds.
  14. Cambridgeskip

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    Don't forget that the role of the monarch under the Uk constitution is to do precisely nothing. Have you ever heard the current Queen offer an opinion on any political matter? No. Because she's not allowed to express one. That was all part of the deal when the monarch was re established following Cromwell's period as Lord Protector or whatever he called himself. The monarch theoretically appoints the Prime Minister but is required to appoint the member of parliament most likely to command a majority in the House of Commons. In practice that means the leader of the party with the largest number of seats. If there is any uncertainty on the matter such as with a hung parliament and no coalition being formed she in theory needs to make a choice but would do so on the advice of the privy council. Thats a long winded way of saying no one gave or gives a monkey's if the monarch is a man or woman because they don't do anything.
  15. Cambridgeskip

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    I think a big thing to consider as well is both population density and population concentration. As well as the country as a whole having a much higher population density than the USA within the UK we are a much more urban population generally. The majoirty of our population is concentrated in a small number of very densly populated areas. Broadly London and surrounding dormitory towns English South Coast Welsh South Coast/Bristol West Midlands English central belt Scottish central belt And within each of those urban areas everything is smaller. Our houses are smaller, gardens smaller, roads narrower etc, bringing everything together that much closer. It not only makes for a different culture but makes running scouts easier. If I find myself short on adults I can phone a neighbouring group and borrow an adult for the evening and they just have to walk round the corner, not get in their car. It also means that most of my scouts live within 10 minutes walk of our building and walk or cycle there, certainly in summer its rare to have any parents picking up or dropping off. I couldn't agree with Ian more. It took an awful lot to turn the boat around and equally an awful lot that got that boat into trouble in the first place. Anyone that looks to the UK and says that going coed, on its own, caused membership losses or membership increases is massively overly simplifying things. A huge amount of changes were needed, all Ian says and more. The important thing is though, and I think this is massively important, is that the core doesn't reallyt look that different to what it did when I was a scout before the changes. Kids getting together, working in small groups, taking part in outdoor adventure and fun, with the added elements of a uniform, self discipline and community service is still there. What my lot did on Thursday, a wide games night out in the woods, looks pretty similar to what I was doing aged 12 on a Tuesday night. It's just in slightly different looking packaging. A thought that just occured to me is that it's like a man's suit. The cut is different to what it was in 1907, the fabric different, the cuff links different and you may see more women wear them than before but at it's core it hasn't changed. It just looks a bit different. Does that make sense?
  16. Cambridgeskip

    National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

    Dont forget your Boy Scouts goes to 18 where as ours goes to 14. So to make a direct comparison you need to include our explorers which runs 14-18 latest numbers (as at 31 Jan 2018) were released last week. Total across all ages now up to 638K. I've not seen a breakdown by age group though.
  17. Cambridgeskip

    Unit number change and embracing the new

    Can you phrase it slightly differently? Group mergers happen here and usually what you get is the two numbers separated by a back slash. So in Cambridge we have an 11th/9th (pronounced eleventh nineth), and a 6th/17th. Theoretically we have a 7th/23rd/13th but in practice it's too much of a mouthful and as they meet where the 13th always met everyone just calls them the 13th! Can you be known as 5th/36th or something similar? I've seen groups here that when they merged different sixes (what we call Dens) and patrols maintain the traditions of the predecesor groups. Different neckers and flags, that kind of thing. Is that possible? But yes, I understand how history matters. My own group is 107 years old and has traditions so old no one even knows where they came from anymore.
  18. Cambridgeskip

    High adventure photos

    Some of my scouts are just back from what I think you would call a "high adventure" trip to the Scottish Highlands. A mountaineering course run by our neighbouring scout county. I've put a load of their photos on our group website and some of them took some cracking pictures! There will be some video footage in due course as well. Just thought I'd show them off. I was there as staff, mostly on cooking, toilets and bins but did get one day out on the mountains in stunning weather. Anyway photos here. Enjoy! Edit - should probably add the photos with the spinal stretcher were a demo when the local mountain rescue team came in to do an evening talk with the trainees. They aren't for real!
  19. Cambridgeskip

    High adventure photos

    And as an update..... I've done a draft of a souvenier/promo film for those that were on the course. It's a draft version so it's unlisted on youtube, so you'll need this link for a look. The snow hole in/out scene is for real by the way. While there was some cutting for getting it down to length there was no funny stuff with putting people in and out between takes, they did get that many in there
  20. Way back in 2007 when WSJ was in the UK I took some cubs for a day trip to the site here. Access for day visitors was restricted. They were not allowed into the actual camping areas themselves unless they knew someone there who acted as their guide. They were though allowed into most of the communal areas like faiths zone, global development zone, all the various things set up by national contingents to showcase their country etc. How it will be with you I don't know but it would not surprise me if it was similar.
  21. Cambridgeskip

    From National: Official Name

    I'd add that in the UK boys and girls tenting together is still relatively rare but is increasing. Hop across the channel to mainland Europe and it is far more common, especially in Scandanavia.
  22. Cambridgeskip

    From National: Official Name

    The trouble is that the world has changed, beyond recognition, since those texts were written. Two world wars, the rise and fall of Communism, man has been to the moon, universal suffrage, the admission of women to professions like law and medicine that wouldn't have been dreamed off 100 years ago, the internet. All these things have been massive changes to the world. Someone from 1912 would probably struggle to recognise the planet if you brought them in a time machine to today. The same will probably be true if you were to find yourself in 2021. Next month I will go to my cousin's wedding. She's 29 and a fully chartered accountant. She is finance director of the company she works for. Our joint late grandmother wanted to become an accountant when she was in her 20s, that was the 1930s, and she wasn't allowed simply because she was a woman. She had the necessary qualifications. It was simply being a woman. I am not making a direct comparison with what was an outrageous piece of sexism and the argument that teenage boys and girls are different because there is no comparison. My point is that arguments about things being done a certain way in the early days so should continue to be done that way don't hold water because the world has moved on, massively.
  23. Cambridgeskip

    From National: Official Name

    There are some all boy troops that are theoretically coed but simply don't have any girls. This is partly a hangover from "local option" days. Groups that went coed became known among parents as the groups that would take girls and still have a higher proportion of girls because of that, even a decade on since everyone going coed. Hence other groups don't have as many girls an some have none. There are a few where, according to annecdote, girls are simply not made welcome so never hang around. Not acceptable. As per another thread groups have the option for running separate boy and girl troops/packs/units but if they take that option MUST run it for both sexes and MUST provide the same opportunities. In practice these are rare, certainly there are none in my district, I've not even heard of one in my county. The vast majority are groups sponsored by conservative mosques or synagogues. Also it is permitted for what are called "closed" groups which are those that are officially part of another body and is only for those who are members of that body, typically it's a private school. They may be single sex if that body is itself single sex. So a boys school can have a boy only troop, a girls school a girl only troop. Again I have yet to ever encounter such a group although I'm told a handful still exist! Your welcome on the video. There's plenty more on our channel here. Feel free to have a rummage
  24. Cambridgeskip

    From National: Official Name

    Comment sections are a pretty poor guide to how the public is reacting. They inevitably attract the negative. Take a look at trip adviser for your favourite restaurant, you'll find a surprising number of people giving it terrible reviews. That's because people are more inclined to post something when they have a bad experience than a good one. Boy Scouts is not over, it's just changing. In twenty years time most people will be surprised it was ever single sex.
  25. Cambridgeskip

    From National: Official Name

    You raise some interesting points that I'd like to address from many years running coed scouts in the UK Will girls being around influence how boys behave? Sort of. And by that I mean in a good way! It doesn't stop boys being boys. The noise and the fart jokes and the banter are still there. It does though take the edge of certain things. You made specific reference to taking a pee. I actually think that is a fantastic example. Whether there are girls around or not I think it would be polite if, while on a hike or a camp, when a scout needs a pee they slip behind a tree or some bushes and do it out of site (and of course downhill from camp and well away from any water supply etc) of other people! Having girls around encourages that kind of polite behaviour. Does it stop the horse play? Certainly not. This is one of the videos on our troop youtube channel. I've always loved it. They didn't realise I was filming till the last few seconds. Shows what the kids are really like with the boys and girls mixed up together. They're just a gang, as patrols and troops were always meant to be. We typically have separate boy and girl tents on camp but half the time they end up mixing up when it actually comes to it. Are boys and girls different? Yes of course they are. They have physical differences they hit pubity at different times, there are some character differences. Is there are an argument for having single sex activities? Yes there is and I fully respect many of those arguments. I think it's particularly strong, for examples, in sport. While I don't think there's a moral reason as such for coed scouting I do actually see it as better that way. Why? Scouts is not an end in itself. We are not taking them camping for the sake of learning to camp, fun though it may be. The outdoors, patrols, hiking, community service, they are just the method by which we are preparing young people for life. And life is coed. The last bastions of male only professions have tumbled with only some specific religious leadership roles remaining. Wherever today's scouts end up working, whatever profession or vocation they go into, it will almost certainly be coed. When they go to work they won't be separated, when they go to university they won't be separated. So why separate them now? Learn how to manage or be managed by someone of the opposite sex when they 12 and it becomes less of a problem when they are 22.
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