8th Worcester Scout Troop

Summer 2016

HOME

Summer Camp - 29th July - 4th August


Kibblestone

Kibblestone is a site that we have been to twice before, and the only one that we have gone back to for our summer camp. It is a good site, with plenty of places to camp, and good on-site activities available.

Packing and setting up

We got together on the Friday evening, the day before we left, to get all of the kit together that we would need so that in the morning we would be able to simply load everything up and head out once everyone arrived. This included sorting out the tote boxes, tents, and other equipment from various cupboards and shelves.

We convened on Saturday morning and loaded the van before piling into cars and setting off. The journey was easy enough, being a run up the motorway and then a brief detour through the countryside before we finally reached the site. We parked up, announced ourselves to the site staff, and then swung all of the vehicles around so that we were able to offload directly onto our pitch. The mess tent and patrol tents went up first, with everything arranged along the edge of the field so that we had plenty of room towards the middle of the field.

We were a week later camping this year than we would normally have been, and as a result there were fewer people on site than usual, and the field that we were in was shared with only one other unit who turned up just after our lunch. As a result of this we had plenty of room to spread out and play games during the camp.

Norton Devon

Norton Devon is a made up place when I miss read a tea towel. On this summer camp I created a flag pole for the tea towel,national anthem and claimed bits of land to be part of Norton Devon eg: Blackpole Retail Park and Kibblestone international scout campsite.

This was taken with various levels of seriousness over the camp, up to the flag being stolen by other Scouts, and one of the Scouts returning to the tents on the way to bed stopping off to salute the Norton Devon flag on the temporary flag-pole that was the washing line.

The Anthem:

God Save Our Norton Devon
Marching as to war
With the great flag slash tea towel
Flying for all to see

Norton Devon lies all across
Controlling parts of England
Such as
The Emperor/Lord/Leader/Great one's House
Kibblestone campsite
Blackpole retail park

The Rest of Saturday

Once the site was set up we moved onto dinner and other projects. In this case the older Scouts went shopping for food while the younger Scouts set to making camp gadgets; in this case they made a flag pole (which flew a flag but was never used properly beyond that) and a washing line, which saw plenty of use. The washing line was rigged up with guyropes and both the lines and guyropes were tied off with guyrope knots (officially a Waggoner's Hitch), making the entire thing fully adjustable in the event of it sagging or slipping during later use.

The first cooked meal of the day was a challenge to the Scouts, as they were given a budget (£15 for the meal, which is about 50% over what would normally be allocated when bulk buying food) and some time to think before the older Scouts were taken off on a shopping trip to get what they needed. Once they returned the cooking began, with everyone producing their meal and pudding successfully.

The first Leader's Hour was on Saturday evening, and consisted of the old idea of trying to shave a balloon. As has been found before, this is either next to impossible, or alarmingly easy: with a suitable blade or lack of caution it can be impossible to get close to shaving the balloon; on the other hand the Scouts found in this case that sometimes putting the balloon down on the grass was more likely to cause it to pop than using the razor on it, and in the majority of cases the balloon was shaved successfully.

Pioneering and Pizzas

Sunday morning saw us start on some preparation work for Monday morning, by getting some practise in at pioneering. For this we had a go at making a catapult, based on a design that we made on a Summer Camp back in 2011, using the site's pioneering poles and some of our own. The whole thing was assembled in pieces before being put together for use.

Unfortunately, the size of the pioneering poles compared to the last time, compared to a couple of changes to the design, meant that the catapult was less than effective, requiring the full weight of the Troop on it to not be able to launch a rugby ball successfully. We made note of the lessons from this though, and future plans are being developed accordingly.

The afternoon opened with a round of collecting firewood and making dough in plenty of time for that to rise before dinner needed to be cooked. Wood collecting was interesting: because of unsuitable materials being dumped on the site wood pile, the pile had been shut down and replaced by a pile of wood that was mostly composed of green wood that was being cut down while we were on the site. This left us without obvious places to grab suitable wood from, and the Scouts ended up having to look around a lot further than usual to find wood.

Dinner was pizzas; everyone got to make one between two, putting toppings on as they saw fit before moving them over to the fire to cook. The cooking process left a number of them singed across the underside, but all of them worked and provided a good meal.

Pudding was provided by the seconds Leader's Hour: a chocolate fondue, with each Patrol making two dishes worth each and having various bread sticks and twists to each the chocolate with. While it worked well, on top of a large dinner it was a bit too much in one go.

On-site Activities

During the afternoon, while waiting for the dough to rise, we moved onto the first round of on-site activities. The first of these was Archery. We set the targets up at the halfway distance and the Scouts took it in turns to come up in pairs and fire at the targets. Unfortunately the site's targets are quite new and solid, which meant that even good hits would sometimes rebound.

Our second activity for the day was crate stacking, which is always fun to watch as the Scouts try to pile up the crates so that they can get up on them, while on the ground the Scouts generally try to haul them up as hard as possible, making it even harder to put the crates onto the piles.

All three groups that ended up climbing did so with roughly the same results in each case, getting a grand total of about eight rows each before the crates collapsed. Given the degree of success that we've seen previously this was a bit surprisingly, though may have been at least partly because of how tightly the ropes were being pulled.

Rafting

Monday morning we went rafting. This always goes down well, with a practical application of pioneering which generally has more utility than something like a catapult. The Scouts broke up into their Patrols, while most of the leaders formed another team, with everyone grabbing equipment to make up their design.

Construction proceeded at varying paces, with some of the Scouts being more experienced at this than others and everyone trying to work out how to tie things together properly.

The design from one Patrol was a simple four barrel shape, held together reasonably tightly and with ropes and poles. With four Scouts to carry it had enough buoyancy to carry them easily.

The leaders went for a similar design, but with experience on their side they pulled the poles much closer together, making the entire structure a lot more solid.

The other Patrol came up with a larger design to handle the fact that there were five of them. Two rows of three barrels in two pontoons formed the general shape. Extra care was advised, and taken, to push the lengthways poles closer together in order to better pin the barrels in place when it was in the water, as they would not have the barrels beside them to hold them in place.

The first launch started well, with the raft appearing to stay together; one of the Scouts fell in on principle before anyone else even got onto the raft, but recovered enough to get on again in time for the raft to fall apart properly when they launched it. One Scout managed to cling on and mostly avoided getting wet, but ultimately everyone had to get wet sooner or later.

The second raft nearly made a lie of this, when it managed to float and hold together remarkably well, even with the Scouts clambering aboard it. The more solid knots and the poles being closer together helped secure the raft firmly and it was able to set off with remarkably little drama (and one extra passenger).

The leader's raft, built on a few more years of experience, turned out how the first raft should have done, holding together remarkably well, even allowing for that extra experience. The fact that some of the barrels had needed to be very firmly manhandled in order to get them into place because the design was so tight may have influenced this.

The two rafts that held together did so amazingly well, to the point where there was a brief game of Chicken, they were determinedly broadsiding each other, and even an attempt at boarding the other raft. Eventually the leaders came in and let all of the Scouts go out on the rafts at once, making the most of the fact that they had two functional rafts.

On-site Activities

We had two on-site activities in the afternoon. The first was The Eliminator; this is a climbing challenge take goes over a variety of obstacles as you go up it, before stopping at a wooden pole at the top which you have to stand on. The Scouts went up in pairs, rotating through who would be climbing and who was belaying.

Belaying was done by the usual technique in these circumstances: the Scout attached to the belay device pulled the rope down and the rest of the Scouts who were unoccupied at the time ensured that it was pulled through.

The fastest time up the Eliminator was 17 seconds to touch the top bar (thirty seconds to stand up due to slipping) when two of the leaders decided to race each other up.

The next activity was air rifles. Each of the Scouts had a chance to shoot several times, rotating who was shooting as they did.

After dinner the next Leader's Hour was based around making candle logs. These come in a couple of forms; in this case a hole is drilled partway down the middle of the log, and then a second one is drilled in from the side to join up with it.

With the holes finished the Scouts soaked some string in melted wax to make wicks, and then poured some extra wax into the hole for added effect. This worked better in some cases than others; since it doesn't set immediately it is important to hold the log at the right angle to prevent it from spilling out over coats or trousers...

With everything set up it was time to light the logs and see what happened. In some cases this worked better than others: the holes that had been drilled need to be a bit wider, and any serious blockage (such as filling the hole with wax) would mean that it didn't work. A few of them were kept going and did work out though, and with a small amount of redesigning would have been self-sustaining as intended. This is definitely one that we will look to revisit.

Hike

Our hike for this camp was somewhat in flux, as the site wasn't able to recommend any good routes locally. We investigated and came up with some options, eventually settling on a hike to Downs Bank, a local wood. It's important when planning a route to know where you are and where you want to go; the OS maps show Kibblestone site being on the North side of the road, where actually the camping is done on the South side. As such, based on this evidence, we came out of the site and set off in the wrong direction.

It all worked out though, as the route that we ended up following was a nice round trip which eventually took us back to Downs Bank via some interesting scenery. Everyone had a go at navigating, and aside from the initial decision based on the map being unhelpful, everything went well.

Tuesday Evening

Our penultimate evening, once dinner was over, involved a Gladiator Duel. This is something that the Scouts always like when we get to do it, which isn't often given the amount of kit that it needs. It was set up indoors this time; we've previously done it outdoors, which works fine in the right weather, but not when it is raining as it had been at various times. This is a good spectator activity as well, making it a good way for everyone to crash out for the evening.

Alton Towers

With it being so close, a trip to Alton Towers is something of a requirement for a camp at Kibblestone. Having driven there, everyone went on Thirteen as a test run; this is claimed as the biggest of the slow rides and the smallest of the big rides, making it a reasonable place to test out how everyone was going to divide up for the rest of the outing. Eventually only two of the Scouts settled in the slower rides group, while the rest went for the bigger, faster rides. Bizzarrely, despite aiming for the more popular rides the faster group got more rides in because it seemed that the crowds on this particular day were interested mainly in the slower rides.

Having met up for lunch, we divided off again before all getting together at the end for a final ride on the Runaway Mine Train, and then heading back to the site, settling down for a chip-shop dinner.

Campfire

Wednesday evening's highlight was the campfire. This year one of the Scouts was primarily tasked with planning and running it, rather than the leaders doing all of the work and just handing out a skit or two for the Scouts to plan. This went well, with song sheets being provided to give everyone a chance to join in with the songs, which were mostly a collection of patriotic numbers such as 'There'll always be an England' and 'Jerusalem', interspersed with acts from the leaders in the form of other songs or tricks, and from a couple of the Scouts (including the Norton Devon national anthem). We ended on Auld Lang Syne and drinks, before heading for bed.

Thursday

The final day of camp is always dominated by the need to take things down and pack up, but being such a short distance up the road we were able to leave this for a while. For a start, the Scouts had to get up (one Patrol finding that the Troop's mascot had claimed the Norton Devon flag) and do breakfast. We then went off swimming at one of the local pools, having the usual fun and being told off for having too much fun on occasions as normal.

Returning to the site and finding that the rain that came down as we were leaving the swimming pool hadn't yet touched the site, we set to taking down tents immediately rather than stopping for lunch. This proved to be advantageous as the two Patrol tents were taken down dry, as were the leaders tents, just before the rain appeared. We stopped for lunch during what we hoped was the worst of it, and then set to moving everything into the van that had arrived just in time for lunch. Most of the kit went onto the van dry, and it was only a few pieces in the end that had to go on wet (unfortunately including the mess tent and dining shelters, which went up at the hut to dry).

Overall

With reasonable weather throughout the camp, and everyone able to get on with things, this had to be listed as one of the most successful camps that we have run. We wish to extend our thanks to the Scouts for their behaviour and involvement throughout the camp, which helped a great deal in making everything work so well.


Go Ape - 17th July

Reward Event

A reward event is something that we run every one or two terms (normally depending on the length of the term) which is only open to those who have done best over the period since the last event. This allows us to run events that cannot be run with the entire Troop due to group size restrictions (the previous scuba diving event could only take 8 people at most) or more adventurous activities (because the best behaved/ contributors can nominally be trusted to take it more seriously).

Our reward event for the Summer term was a trip to Go Ape in the Wyre Forest. Unfortunately several Scouts who were invited were not able to attend, however we still ended up with a reasonable number.

We met at the hut on Sunday afternoon and then the leaders drove up to the forest. We got the standard safety talk and walkthrough before setting out onto the courses. For some of the Scouts this was familiar ground, not just because they had been to a Go Ape before, but because at least one had been to this particular one before.

The whole course consists of five courses, the first of which is for training, and which all include tricks of various kinds.

Everyone made it around the course in the end, and we all had a good time of it in what was probably the best weather in this half of the summer term.


Crazy Golf - 15th july

Our original plan for the last night of the term was going to be to go out for pitch & putt somewhere. Unfortunately, we discovered rather late that there was no pitch & putt available in Worcester during our meeting times at that point, and so we had to go with plan B.

On the face of it, plan B had certain similarities: we were essentially playing golf, but in this case the Scouts had to produce a crazy golf course which they could then make use of. They had access to equipment from the hut and garage, and would be using tennis balls and hockey sticks in place of golf balls and clubs.

Par on the courses ranged from a 2 (which included an alarmingly accurate shot up a ramp and down a tube) up to 49 on one of the more complicated courses. The Scouts rotated around the courses before eventually packing away and moving inside to end on a game of hockey.


Siege Bow - 8th July

The penultimate meeting of our term was taken up with trying to make a siege bow. The last time that we did this was several years ago, when we mistakenly called it a balista (which has a different type of firing mechanism). This time the whole thing was being built on a much larger scale and was intended to nominally fire heavier loads.

The first part of the evening was taken up assembling the bow, which was fairly simple until it came to the point where the uprights (the X at the front) had to be attached to the rest of the structure, which required a lot of people holding everything in place while it was all attached together.

Initial test firing led to some guttering being added as a smoother firing channel, and the addition of extra rubber in order to give the whole thing extra power. We gave it some trial firings before making use of tennis balls as the main ammunition. We got a respectable distance out of it before we had to collapse it at the end of the evening.


15 Minutes

We have a practise of giving the Scouts 15 minutes of an evening regularly which one of them needs to run. Normally this is the older Scouts, who already have leadership experience. For this term though that has been extended to the next age group down as well, in order to extend the experience gained from the process.

Our first example for the term came from one of the Scouts who will be up for consideration for PL or APL in the next couple of terms. He ran a game based on the idea of a relay race where the idea was to run up, pick up a chocolate coin on a fork or spoon and then carry it back to the starting point. We ran this once, and then left it at that; between forks and spoons breaking and the coins being eaten we decided to move onto another game instead. This was a good first effort from a Scout who hadn't been put in this position before, and we are looking forward to what the other Scouts come up with.

The second was run by one of the older Scouts, who strung up a line outside and then hung ring doughnuts from it, which everyone needed to then try eating without using their hands in the process. This took a while to set up, but went down very with the other Scouts.

The third didn't work out quite as well, as it relied on a good idea that didn't quite get thought through properly. For this one the Scouts each had a paper plate and had to hold sticks of spaghetti lengthways between them, carrying them to a bowl a short distance away. Unfortunately this was harder then it first seemed, and ended up falling to people having to try other ideas in order to get it anywhere.

The fourth worked better, as everyone was divided into two teams and one from each team had to slalom around some cones and then back to the middle of the hall where there were a couple of nerf guns. From there they had to grab one each and the winner was the first to shoot the other. Accuracy was an issue, which meant that things took slightly longer than they should have and so everyone only got one go. This was generally regarded as a very successful idea though, and is listed to be used on Summer Camp.

The fifth was a good idea, which needed a bit more effort in running it in order to make it really good. Everyone was divided into two teams, and then paired off within the teams. One member of each pair was then blindfolded. After this a football was thrown in and the people who could see had to guide the ones who couldn't in order to score. After a brief game the players swapped around. A good idea which just needed some more firm control over how people were allowed to guide each other around in order to make it work really well.

The sixth was organised by two of the Scouts, who combined efforts with a third to provide nerf guns for (nearly) everyone. Everyone was then divided up into two teams, had to build barricades with tables and benches, and then had several rounds of shooting each other. As an idea it was good: nerf gun battles are popular and easy to run. The catch in this case was the variety of weapons available (no two guns were the same, and they ranged from single shooters to belt-fed automated rapid firing) and the time required to reload all of the guns. And as is normal in these things, there was a degree of flexibility over how people interpreted instructions and assumptions about staying behind barricades and the like.

The final session was run by one Scout on his own, and was going to be based around some basic techniques for self-defence, specifically relating to breaking someone's grip if they grabbed you. In practise, coming immediately after the nerf guns, this didn't hold people's attention as much as it should have done.

Overall these events were a success, with the basic principle in each case being for the Scouts to come up with an idea of what to run, plan it, and be the ones to implement it. In each case they found that the implementation was harder than they expected, but at the same time all of them got an appreciation for what went into running such events and activities, as well as experience in organising them.


Group Camp - 10th - 12th June

Group Camp

Two years ago we held a camp for the 8th Worcester Group, with the Cubs and Scouts staying over for two nights and the Beavers joining us for the Saturday.

This year the idea was moved up a level with the Beavers staying for one night, the Guides joining the camp for both nights, and the Rainbows and Brownies arriving for activities on Saturday. This made the camp much bigger, with a lot more people around.

Friday Night

Leaders turned up at the site by increments: about a third of the tents were up on Thursday evening, while the rest starting going up on Friday afternoon. Leaders from our Troop arrived in the early afternoon, while other leaders started to arrive later on. The Scouts and other younger members of the Group began turning up at about half past six, and in the case of the Scouts began setting up their tents.

With everything set up we moved onto some administration, with a general gathering so that everyone could be told the site rules and be handed the t-shirts that they would have to tell them what teams they were in for the activities that would be run during the camp.

After a short break we moved onto a wide game run by our Troop, set out in one of the activity fields. This was based around everyone being split into teams (nominally the teams that they would be in for activities, but with a couple of the groups split up to get us down to five teams), with each team having a base (washing up bowl), lives (wristbands) and treasure (ball pond balls). The game went down well, with everyone having plenty of chances to run around in a competition.

With the wide game concluded, we headed back to site for food, in this case hot dogs, before moving into free time in our own groups and heading for bed.

Saturday's Activities

We breakfasted early on Saturday, before heading out for the day's activities. For this everyone split down to their groups (older sections together, Beavers and Rainbows in separate groups) and went off to do different activities. There were four activity sessions, during which each team did a different activity. There were too many activities available for everyone to do everything, and so every team got to do something that at least one other team didn't do.

Lunch on Saturday was organised by the Guides as a picnic dinner, with everyone getting a bag with a roll, some fruit, a drink, and so forth. It was intended to be out in the open with everyone sharing together, however the rain kicked in and everyone retreated to their tents to finish before it cleared up and we were able to head out for the afternoon's activities.

Dinner on Saturday was arranged by the Scouting side of the Group, with each unit providing food for 30, and everyone moving around sampling what was on offer. Our own offering of chicken curry didn't quite work out right, and with burgers and fajitas on offer from the other units there wasn't much that we could do in order to compete.

Rain set in again for the evening, combining with the extended time needed to clear up after dinner, and so the wide game and campfire that had been planned were left out.

Sunday

The rain started early on Sunday, and plans for more than simply taking down the tents and getting home to dry things out weren't really formed. It was decided early on that we would be leaving early, and so calls went out to parents and tents were taken down and then, lacking other plans, divided up between those who would be taking them home to dry them out.

Overall, the camp was a success, with the main exceptions being things that we had no control over such as the weather. Despite these setbacks, we will be going ahead with another camp like this in two year's time.


Pizzas - 27th May

To end the first half of the term we decided to have a fairly relaxed evening, making pizza to cook on a fire. Some of the Scouts took the job of getting the fire going, while the others stayed inside to get the food ready. The recipe that we were following was effectively for pastry rather than pizza dough (but is from a backwoods cooking book, so simplicity is to be expected), and the toppings available included cheese, hot dogs, pepperoni, mushrooms, pineapple, and a couple of other types of sliced meat.

We produced the bases for the pizzas and then the Scouts got the toppings sorted. They tend went onto the fire, in two cases. Due to most of the firewood having been used for the Backwoods Cooking competition there wasn't enough room for the other two pizzas to go on the fire and they had to go into the oven instead.

Once they were ready the pizzas came out and we all had a chance to tuck in and eat. They were all heavy on various kinds of meat and quite a bit of chesse for the most part, all of which went down very well as a way to end the term. We all finished eating and washing up in time to end on time.


Beavers and Cubs

In a return to a tradition that we haven't followed through on for a few years now, we went and ran a meeting for some of the younger section's units. In a change from this tradition, we managed to get four such meetings (both Beaver colonies and both Cub Packs) in one week before ending on our regular meeting.

For the first first Beaver Colony and the two Cub Packs we used the same program, bringing out some kart axles that were left over from the last time we built karts and attaching poles to these in order to produce a chariot which could be used for racing.

Construction in all three cases was based around one or more Scouts leading a group of Beavers or Cubs in building the chariot for their team. In each of the cases the design was basically the same, but with slight differences depending on which ropes the team was able to get hold of and which axle they ended up with. During the session with Tiw Cubs one of the axles started to come apart (the woodwork that the axle was made of rather than just the knots which are more or less a given) and so repairs were required to this, making it harder to use. Likewise, Woden had the most Cubs and needed an extra axle, necessitating hasty construction work and some interesting woodwork.

Having produced the chariots there were various races using them, the first of which was always a straight run up the field and back before swapping rider and repeating the process. From there things tended to degenerate somewhat as everyone simply enjoyed having the chariots to play with. Options included varying who was riding or pulling and how it was being propelled. This included not only the Scouts pulling, but also riding, and in a couple of cases when the knots became very suspect it included the entire chariot being picked up with someone sitting on it and being carried.

Each of the meetings ended with the equipment being packed away (as appropriate, since on the Tuesday we finished the Beaver meeting and then fifteen minutes later started the Cub meeting) and some kind of game.

By the time we got to Thor Beavers on Friday the axles were in need of repair and some of the Scouts who had attended all three meetings so far were asking for a change. As such we fell back onto the second plan, and built a cave.

Initially the Scouts manned different parts of the cave while the Beavers raced through it, before the race was reversed with the Beavers having to run the other way around the cave. The style then changed slightly with the Scouts going around the cave being chased by some of the Beavers (or in one case all of the Beavers). A small pileup developed at the final corner where the existing bottleneck was made worse by a couple of the Scouts hiding in there and blockading the cave. Needless to say, some of them came out without their shoes...

Overall this was a very full and enjoyable week, with the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and leaders having enjoyed the whole thing.


Backwoods Cooking - 21st May

Worcester District’s annual cooking competition and Scouting’s answer to MasterChef.

Teams of 3 to 6 are expected to cook a three course meal using very little equipment on an open fire.

We try and enter at least one team into this competition and this year was no exception, three scouts met on the Friday night before to practice fire lighting and the menu which consisted of Stuffed Tomatoes as the starter. Our main was Chicken portions wrapped in bacon and covered in cheese served with vegetable kebabs and a roasted onion. To finish, a troop favourite of Chocolate Bananas was chosen as our dessert.

The practice didn’t go too well due to the embers not being up to scratch and running out of time and losing the light.

Nevertheless, the team arrived bright and early at Rhydd Covert Campsite which played host to this year’s competition ready for the day ahead. 10 teams from 6 different scout troops were also in attendance this year.

The competition is not just about the cooking but points are also awarded for a first aid quiz, hygiene and site tidiness.

When I returned at the end of the day the scouts seemed pleased with the way the competition went and although not confident of victory they were convinced that we had done better than the pervious years result of second to bottom.

The scores were close and the tension was rising as the top three teams were announced…

They had done it! Our team had won the trophy, 1st place, Champions! To say that the team and myself were speechless is a big understatement.

The scouts had done themselves and the troop proud and delivered our first victory in this competition for 10 years.

Looking at the trophy and the previous winners they join 4 other teams from our troop that have won the competition in its 30-year history. A great record which we will look to continue next year.

Well Done Team!


Basic Electronics

We have spent a few evenings on basic electronics this term, working on a couple of projects so that the Scouts could get the feel for them.

Our first evening was spent building a Steady Hand game, with a wire made into a hook and another wire set up as the course that the hook had to go around. All of this was attached together with a battery and buzzer and then mounted on a piece of wood that the Scouts had to cut to size. All of the Scouts had a go at it, though one pair managed to break their buzzer early on and had to make other plans. The designs that were put together all worked successfully, and we will be looking to improve on these efforts over the next couple of weeks.


St George's Day Parade - 24th April

From Baden-Powell's Final Message

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.

Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.

But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy and to die happy – stick to your Scout promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.

Your Friend,

Baden-Powell

St George's Day Parade is the first of two parades that we do each year. With St George being the patron saint of both England and Scouting this is a significant event of its kind, and one that we aim to attend in force each year.

We met in Angel Place as usual, crowding everything quite thoroughly with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Network, parents, and shoppers. The parade set off about on time, down the high street to the cathedral for the service.

The service this year was slightly different because rather than focusing on St George as it usually would it had a theme of the history of Scouting, with a major theme of the Cubs 100th year and the Beaver's 30th. With this as an excuse a campfire song was included in the service.


Balloon Debate - 22nd April

A balloon debate is a fairly simply idea that can have a lot of twists to it depending on how it is set up. The basic principle is that a group of people are stuck in a hot air balloon which is rapidly going down. In this case it is descending towards an island. The only way for anyone to survive is for a number of people to be thrown out. Those taking part must argue the case for why they are the most worthy to survive.

The Scouts paired off and each pair was given a role: Chief Scout, Company CEO, Medical Student, Pop Star, and Unemployed. They then had to assign a value of 1, 2, or 3 (with only one of each value available) to their Skill (how good they are at their job), Smart (how clever/ adaptable they are otherwise) and Tough (their physical and mental resilience and stamina). Having done this and thought about what they were going to say to justify their survival, the first round began.

For the first round each pair had to explain why they were best suited to survive, based on their role, their stats, and any backstory that they had given themselves. Once everyone had done this they had a chance to vote for who they would want to survive with them (since there would be more than one survivor). Reasons included their skill at their job (the Chief Scout had a skill of 3 and so knew a lot of survival skills), their overall intelligence (the Pop Star's legal representatives argued in favour of his leadership skills), and their ability to be physically useful (the Unemployed person had a toughness of 3 and so would be very handy for any physical labour).

For the second round, each pair was given another pair as their target, and had to explain why that pair should not survive. Once the reasons had been given their target was able to respond. Officially they should have been responding to the reasons, but in practise they tended to return fire and try to give reasons for the other pair not staying in instead. One particularly interesting one here was the Unemployed person having to argue for the Chief Scout to be thrown out; they had previously voted to keep the Chief Scout in.

The final round opened with a disaster. It had previously been suggested during the early stages of the debate that one of the leaders wasn't present in the balloon because he was on a cruise ship below them, and the reason that the balloon was in trouble was because he was taking pot shots at it. At the start of the third round he launched a lobster at them, scoring a direct hit. Damage was randomly assigned, with two pairs being unhurt (the CEO and Pop Star), two being injured (the Unemployed person had a damaged arm, while the Medical Student had a gammy leg), and the direct hit being a serious injury (the Chief Scout caught the lobster dead centre).

For the final round of voting the pairs were able to vote once for someone to survive and once for someone to be thrown out based on the new information from the disaster. As a result of this the Chief Scout went down from four votes to one vote, while the Medical Student ended on four. As a result, with the other three pairs ending on no votes at all, the Chief Scout and Medical Student survived.

This was an interesting evening, and one which we hope taught the Scouts something about debating and using arguments. This is something that we may return to in another form later on.


Reward Event - 16th April

Reward Event

A reward event is something that we run every one or two terms (normally depending on the length of the term) which is only open to those who have done best over the period since the last event. This allows us to run events that cannot be run with the entire Troop due to group size restrictions (the previous scuba diving event could only take 8 people at most) or more adventurous activities (because the best behaved/ contributors can nominally be trusted to take it more seriously).

Our reward event for the combined Autumn/ Spring terms was a karting session. For this we met at the hut at 3pm with six of the Scouts before heading over to Karting Worcester (formerly AKS Karting, and still known by that name on Google Maps).

The initial part of the time there was setting up, with everyone signing in and having to get changed into the driving suits. We then had an instructional video on flags and basic safety in the karts before everyone was able to move out to the track.

Everyone had a few minutes on the track to qualify for pole position and get used to the karts before they moved onto the actual race.

The race was based on time rather than laps, and so everyone was able to go at their own speed. We had a number of crashes, but no one managed to get sent off and everyone was able to keep going to the end of the race.

Final positions on the podium went based on fastest lap times, with the two leaders on the track being the fastest. The Scouts followed on from there, all with respectable lap times and having enjoyed themselves with the event.

On the way back to the hut we stopped off to pick up fish and chips for everyone, and mostly finished those up before everyone got picked up (though most went home with some still wrapped up to finish later).


Challenges Evening - 11th March

Our first night back for the term was a bases evening, with each base being based around different puzzles. These included lateral thinking puzzles as well as more practical puzzles.