October 2012 Newsletter

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October 2012 Newsletter

Inspiring Generations

 

Editorial

Thanks to all who attended the AGM on Wednesday 19th September.  It was great to have an increased attendance. If you do not have a copy of the report it is on the website. Please remember Stephen Pound in your prayers as he is undergoing treatment.

As the evenings draw in memories of camps start to fade, and plans for the coming terms are activated it is worthwhile stopping and making sure that all leaders and helpers are usefully employed. A common comment over the years from helpers when they have left is,’ if we are needed why are we left doing nothing’. Down to us, if they are there use them or lose them. 

Welcome to the Network team under Alastair Richards and the first report of their activities. Hope it is one of many more to come in the future. 

Only a few more months and the census will be soon upon us. Do make sure that all the records are up to date and in the format required by the District Secretary.

Anthony Phillips

John’s Jottings

 

Back to school, back to scouting and another new term begins.

I trust that you are offering an exciting programme for the young people in your charge. It is this week to week programme that is the basis of all scouting and of course all of you, dedicated leaders, volunteering your time every week.

However, over time leaders do leave for a variety of very good reasons and I respect their decisions to do this and thank them for all the time that they have given scouting.

It is however incumbent on all of us to find the next generation of leaders to take our sections forward. I do get the occasional enquiry from someone wanting to come forward and take up a role but this is rare. Our greatest pool of potential volunteers is the parents of the young people and we need to encourage them to come forward and give a little (or a lot) of their time and become the leaders of the future, preferably before a section gets into a crisis when the long term leader decides to move on. I know a number of groups who will recognise this situation.

It was great to see you all at the district AGM. I’m not the biggest fan of meetings in general and AGM’s in particular. But they are necessary, so we aim to make these as enjoyable as possible and an opportunity to network with our scouting colleagues.

If you weren’t there then I just want to let you know of the changes to the district team. Margaret Ainsworth has stood down as the Scout Active Support (SAS) coordinator. Alistair Richards has been appointed as ADC (with special responsibility for Network).

I also pointed out that I’ve now completed my 4th of 5-year term as DC and am now actively looking to recruit my replacement. Please have a chat with me if you’d like to take up the baton for this one!

I’m also looking forward to a little trip to Kandersteg next year to which, of course any leader/helper would be welcome to join our district contingent, just let me know.

However time is running out with a deadline of 14th October.

You’ll also see that the district has invited the county to run a Safeguarding course at Leighton Hall on Sunday 21st October, 2 – 5 pm. All leaders coming up to their 5 year warrant review need to have completed this training, comparably work related training is equivalent, just let your reviewer know.

Finally hope to see you at the upcoming swimming gala or at your regular meetings which I and the ADC’s are happy to attend to judge events or present awards or just because you’d like to see us. Give us a call.

Cheers

John

District Swimming Gala

6th October at Gurnell Leisure Centre

competitors 1-30 for 2-00pm start

 

Network ‘The new Scarfs on the block’

Photos Coming Soon… 

We are finally here! After a lot of hard work by Robin Shackell, John Stanton, Mark Power and myself, the District Network Unit is up and running. They go by the name of ‘Scorpions’.

The investiture of the first six members (John, Mark, Henry, Josh, Rob and SJ) took place on Friday 21st September at Paccar Scout campsite. The organising team had decided that each set of investitures should be unique, so floodlit crate stacking seem to fit around the activities that had already been planned for the weekend. The warm weather that we had been experiencing all week turned into torrential rain but undeterred the event went ahead. Richard Williams (ACC Network) officiated from the top of the tower. Quite a large crowd had gathered to watch the event, John and Mark work on the crew at Paccar so there was plenty of vocal support for them.

The challenge was to work in pairs to stack crates so that they reached the overhang or as high as they could, make their promise and then jump for their scarf (which was on a separate rope above their heads.(What they didn’t know was that the crates were being deliberately angled to make this impossible)

First to try were John and Mark they managed to get 10 crates.

Next to try were Henry and Josh who worked as a great team until disaster struck, yet they still stayed in harmony. On their second attempt Henry leapt for both scarves. 

The last pair of Rob and SJ, having posed for a few pictures, made the stacking look easy until SJ fell. But Rob every the shinning knight manfully rescued his damsel in distress and they carried on as if nothing had happened. Both made spectacular leaps to reach their scarves.

Finally after some group photos they wisely retired to the bar to celebrate and start to plan the next investiture.

Well done and welcome to you all.

Let the adventure begin!!

Alastair

ADC(Network)

Skycamp Challenge 2012

Skycamp Challenge was launched on Friday 20th September, 2012. Teams of Explorer and Network Scouts from across GLMW converged upon PACCAR Scout Camp, Chalfont Heights, buzzing with anticipation at the weekend’s challenges. The Friday evening gave the teams the opportunity to meet up and socialise. Before that, however, they had their first challenge to complete. In the dark and using an orienteering map, they had to find and mark out the area in which they would build their SkyCamp the next day. Each team had been given the same amount of tape and the run of the woodland SkyZone to stake their claim. Once this was completed they could return to the main SkyLounge for a big screen Wii Challenge, the opening ceremony plus the added bonus of Ealing and Hanwell Scorpions investing some new members on top of a floodlit crate stack with a twist.

Saturday morning dawned sunny and bright, made even better by the hot breakfast provided to all the teams by Mick and his PACCAR crew. A final chance was given to each team to check their equipment before loading it onto trailers and being delivered to the sites they had chosen the previous evening. This, for some, was a challenge as where they had marked on the map was not necessarily where they thought they were.

With all the equipment at the correct locations, there was a final briefing and the teams were on their way. Each team had a pack of cards with times at which to collect challenges that ran throughout the day, points were awarded for successful completion. Some were projects built within their Skycamp, some required the team to be at specific locations at specified times to tackle a challenge.

After a couple of hours the judges began looking at each Skycamp, giving guidance as needed for any adjustments, primarily to ensure safety but also to check that the rules were being followed. As the teams had been given the run of the entire woodland Skyzone this took some time. At 5pm the full rules came into force and everything that had been delivered to each Skycamp and everybody had to be off the ground, that included any moving around within the site. The judges off for another round of inspections, this time scoring as they went, additional points were awarded for such things as innovation and creativity. They found camp beds converted to hammocks, interlaced cargo straps, cargo nets, floating platforms. Every site was different with a fantastic display of ingenuity, creative design and pioneering skills.

One team, cunningly, had even hung a generator from their tree. On the other hand, points were deducted for any equipment on the ground, poorly protected trees or unsafe structures.

As dusk edged in to the woods, it was time for the teams to cook their evening meal, the only point scoring meal of the weekend. By this time the judges themselves were looking forward to some excellent food. The Explorers were using gas cookers and Network Altar fires, all of which just as with the rest of the equipment had to be off the ground. There was plenty of hot tasty food, until they reach the Scorpions….John, the self-styled Chef de la Mission, had created an awesome looking chicken stir fry, sadly somehow the wok had been contaminated with methylated spirits which gave a rather unusual taste. Promises of sponge with Mars bar sauce cut no ice with the judges. Back up food was provided so that none of the team went hungry.

After that, there was a choice of a campfire out in the woods or more big screen Wii Challenge for the Explorers. Leaders and over 18s retreated to a safe distance and a convivial opportunity to consider the day’s events….

Sunday morning brought heavy rain and the wet weather plan into action. Rather than a day of challenges, the teams themselves became judges. They were given a tour of all the Skycamps by the judges, each site was introduced by the team leader and the pro and cons discussed, each team scored the camps and rated them as to which was the one they would have liked to have built. They were not allowed to vote for their own. These points were added to the final scores. Rather satisfyingly, for the Explorer competition the Explorers themselves voted the winning team’s site as the top site of the weekend. To round off the points a final inspection, by a new set of judges, looked at the state of the equipment, how well the site was returned to its natural state, personal appearance (soaking wet was the average).

The scores were double checked and the winners announced. John Latchford kindly awarded the prizes

After a close fought competition, the Explorer Trophy was won by The Happy Campers (Polaris ESU) with Team Chubby Kids (Pyro A) in second place and Charging Mongoose (Poindexter) a valiant third.  The Network Trophy was won by Scorpions (Ealing and Hanwell) with the PACCAR Crew team in second place.

The overall competition was one by Scorpions, the only team with in excess of 1000 points.

Huge thanks go to Steve Allard and the PACCAR team for tremendous support throughout the weekend, also to the judges Mike, Doug, Robin, Jennie, Ian, Alastair, Fred and Paul. Thanks too, go to Richard Williams who created the SkyCamp Challenge and drove the planning and launch of the event with tremendous support and assistance from Alastair and Steve.

Everyone who entered had a tremendous, exciting time and at the end were already planning how they would improve their positions next year. The SkyCamp Challenge will return again in 2013 during the third weekend of September (that’s the weekend of 20th – 22nd September, 2013). Visitors to the competition, Explorers from Buckinghamshire and Berkshire,Leaders from across London and many more all have said that they will be entering too.  Our market research is in and next year there will be a leaders competition too. So get the date in your diary and watch out for details early in the New Year.

Alastair

ADC(Network)