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Holiday Homes Trust - Affordable family holidays
Today the Holiday Homes Trust is thankfully enjoying one of its busiest seasons yet, following a troubling few years during the pandemic. Having been in existence for over fifty years there have been many changes along the way.
Back in the late 1960s, Charles Porter, a former Rover Scout, decided to redesign his front garden. In pride of place he installed a wishing well which turned out to be magical because, as people passed by, they threw coins into it. Within a year Charles had collected the princely sum of £400, which went a lot further back then.
Charles had two great nieces with disabilities, and he knew how difficult it was for them to go on holidays. An idea came to him; he would use the money collected to buy a specially adapted caravan so that his great nieces could have the chance to have a proper holiday.
Charles then thought there must be many families who find it difficult to have a proper break, so he decided to make the caravan affordable and available to any family that was disadvantaged and / or living with disabilities.
It was from this small and frankly unusual beginning that the Holiday Homes Trust developed and grew into a well-established charity that it is today. Its aim is still the same, to provide accessible and affordable holidays to individuals and families to help provide a break away from the stresses and strains of everyday routines, and create happy memories.
The Holiday Homes Trust is based at The Scout Headquarters, Gilwell Park, Chingford. It now owns and manages eight wheelchair adapted caravans and two standard holiday homes - spacious static caravans, situated in some of the most sought-after UK holiday destinations.
The caravans sleep six people comfortably and are self-contained with a well-equipped kitchen and a wet room or shower room. The adapted caravans have wheelchair accessible showers and hand rails for assistance. The main bedrooms have a movable hand or ceiling pulley to help with getting in or out of bed. The internal doors and connecting corridors are wide enough to manoeuvre a wheelchair and many have decking area so have outdoor relaxation space. As the caravans are sited on holiday parks, the park passes are included so Holiday Homes Trust's guests can access all the park activities and facilities. This ensures holidays are not only fun-filled and flexible but also easier to manage on a budget.
As a charity Holiday Homes Trust raises funds in two distinct ways, through caravan bookings, and charitable donations and grants. Most of its income comes from holiday bookings, so it is important that there is full occupancy throughout the season. The 2022 summer months' bookings are looking very buoyant, but there are some spaces if you are looking for a UK based holiday. Otherwise we are now taking reservations for 2023.
Our season starts in March each year and runs until the end of October, with a week's stay costing as little as £250. In addition, The Trust offers anyone associated with the Scout movement an instant 5% discount. Guests who return in two consecutive years also receive a 5% discount.
Caravans are located at:
Church Farm Holiday Village*, Pagham, near Bognor Regis, West Sussex (Haven)
Devon Cliffs Holiday Park*, Exmouth, Devon (Haven)
Blue Dolphin Holiday Park, Filey, Scarborough (Haven)
Golden Sands Holiday Park*, Mablethorpe, Lincs (Haven)
Seashore Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (Haven)
Hoburne Naish Holiday Park, New Milton, Hampshire (Hoburne Holidays) Not adapted
Devon Bay Holiday Park, Paignton*, Devon (Hoburne Holidays) Not adapted
Rockley Park Holiday Park, Poole, Dorset (Haven)
Pentewan Sands Holiday Park*, St. Austell, Cornwall (Independent)
Littlesea Holiday Park*, Weymouth, Dorset (Haven)
*indicates where we have local managers' vacancies – see below.
As an organisation associated with the Scout movement, you will not be surprised to know that the Trust offers volunteer opportunities. Ideally, at each site the Trust would like to have a local manager in place to oversee the caravan and help with any issues arising. As the Trust's office is based in London it relies on the Parks' owners' services and local cleaners to help guests when needed. The local managers provide support and guidance and can be as hands-on as their time allows. Some managers meet and greet the guests to check everything is ok, others prefer to help with the end of season and pre-season checks. We do have several vacancies for this volunteering opportunity (*indicates where we have vacancies), so if you are located nearby and think you would be interested in taking on this role, then please contact the Trust to discuss further.
If you are involved with organisations that fundraise, why not consider the Holiday Homes Trust as your adopted charity? Your fundraising efforts will make a huge difference to its work providing affordable and accessible accommodation for families living with disabilities or are disadvantaged. And if you shop with Amazon, think about using the Amazon Smile function and select the Holiday Homes Trust so it can receive a small percentage of your spend as a donation from Amazon!
It is amazing to think what coins thrown into a wishing well over fifty years ago has generated and it is hoped with your support the Holiday Homes Trust will continue for another fifty years providing many more families with happy holiday memories.
"The caravan is excellent, spacious and has a fantastic wet room for ease of use for my daughter who is in a wheelchair. We had fun and happiness away from a stressful home routine of appointments and anxiety. The best moment was seeing my daughter smile and feel free. It was better than expected."
If you go down to the woods today...
…look out for Dringhouses Scout group!
Last November nearly seventy Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers from Dringhouses Scouts descended on Acomb Wood.
This was our second visit to Acomb Wood to do this sort of work, the last time being in early 2019. It's great to be able to be outside together again. Thanks to all the children and young people and their parents for spending a couple of hours on a Sunday making their environment a little bit better.
Using equipment supplied by York Council, in partnership with Friends of Acomb Wood and Stephen Fenton from York Council, we had multiple teams clearing leaves from paths, removing leaves and fallen branches from drainage ditches and clearing the area of litter, to improve the area for the local community. After two hours of hard work and fun, the job was done.
The event was run as part of Dringhouses Scout Group's submission to the 2021 District Commissioner's Challenge, set by York Ebor District Commissioner Nigel White, "to do something positive for our community."
"I really liked it, and taking the litter away will be good for the wildlife." Natalie, age 6.
"I enjoyed doing it for our community and clearing leaves so people don't slip on them." Isabelle, age 8.
Dringhouses Scouts is based in the south of York, bringing fun and adventure to more than 250 young people between the ages of six and eighteen years old.
The Group has been running for more than fifty years and we are incredibly grateful for all the support we receive from the local council, St Edward the Confessor Church and the local community as a whole.
We are one of the largest of the thirteen Scout Groups in the York Ebor District which supports more than 1,300 young people. We're run entirely by volunteers.
David Thorne, Acting Group Scout Leader at Dringhouses Scout Group
This particular car uses half a cup but you could use a whole cup, a plastic drinks bottle or even a bit of cardboard. All that you really need to remember is that you need to slow down the air escaping from the inflated balloon so the neck needs to be poked through a smaller diameter hole or stick a small length of rigid straw into the inflated balloon and tightly tape the neck around the straw.
You will need: Rigid plastic or paper cup, balloon, four cotton reels or plastic bottle tops, tape, drinking straws, elastic bands, scissors, knife, hole punch
Cut the cup in half lengthways. Poke two sets of holes at either side of the cup and one at the bottom. Feed one straw through each set and through four cotton reels. Wrap elastic bands over the straws to keep the cotton reels on. Put the balloon on top of the cup and poke the end of the balloon through the hole at the end of the cup. Blow the balloon up and place on a flat surface. Watch it go! The compressed air has to go somewhere so it forces itself out of the end of the balloon. The force of the air leaving the balloon pushes the car forward. Now for some wacky races!
From "Seriously Good Fun Scout Activities"
The Real Christmas Scouting Story by Eddie Langdown
A fun presentation for Cubs and Scouts with one or two people immediately leaping up loudly saying their line every time their number is called! It should be 'informative chaos'!
Once upon an amazing time in an amazing place a whole load of children sat around a wonderful lady they called Akela 9 who was telling them a story about Scouting, about a man called Bear Grylls 8 and a man called Robert 10. They sat around her like a load of Sheep 12. Akela 9 saw a man stopping in the road, he was from Amazon Delivery 7; he was delivering Christmas presents like Santa Claus 2. On a present was a sticker with a picture of the Baby Jesus 6. "Well," Akela 9 said, "Robert Baden-Powell 10 ran the first scout Camp 11 in 1907. He had always loved the outdoor life and being in the woods, almost since he was a Baby 6."
The children all looked-up and said that as it was Christmas shouldn't they have a story about Mary 4, Joseph 5, the Baby 6 and the Sheep 12 and the Wise Men, but as Akela 9 was a feminist so she had Three Wise Women 1. And don't forget the Shepherds 3 in a Camp 11 nearby. The Shepherds 3 were there to protect the Camp 11 from an attack by a Bear 8.
Akela 9 was opening her Amazon 7 present to use in her Home 11; it was from Three Wise Women 1 friends. It was a cook book called, "Things to do with an Olive" 10 and, "How to cook a Sheep." 12. She thought it would be a great thing to take to Camp 11. She had been going to Camp 11 since she was a Baby 6 and her Mother 4 told her all about Santa Claus 2 in her Bedroom 5.
The children were getting restless and they wanted her to stop so they could have something to Eat 12. They were waiting for their Tea 3, it really wasn't Wise 1 for Akela 9 to go on for so long. They thought the Chief 8 reason for Delivering 7 the Story 2 and 6 was to talk about Scouting 10 and the men and Women 1 who run Scouting 10.
Akela 9 said, "There is really only one Scouting Story; it is the Christmas Story of a world of very different people brought together by a refugee child to love and care for one another."
The Real Christmas Scouting Story
When you see / hear your number shout out your line.
1. Three Wise Women We are wise because we are women!
2. Santa Claus Hey, this is MY story!
3. Shepherds With tea towels on our head!
4. Mary I'm Jesus' mother you know!
5. Joseph Jesus! Tidy your bedroom!
6. Baby Hey, I'm Baby Jesus, this is MY story!
7. Amazon Delivery Delivery!
8. Bear I am Bear Grylls, your Chief Scout!
9. Akela Is anyone listening to me?
10. Robert Baden Powell I am Olive, my husband started Scouting you know.
11. Camp I live in a refugee camp and have no home.
12. Sheep Please be vegetarians and don't eat us.
Jet-propelled Cubs - A fantastic day of Kart Racing
The red lights started flashing with the warning siren as the carts gently roll up to the starting line. The yellow lights flash, the grip tightens on the push handles, and the driver's hands squeeze the rope ready for the horn to sound and the green light. Like a shot the karts rocket off the line, the parents roar in support of their team's kart. Round the first corner and the inside team build a gap on the other team. Through to the next straight and into the next corner as then the gap narrows as the team are now in the outside lane. Within seconds the karts are hurtling towards the chequered flag and the finish line.
This was the first year at the "Supreme Championships" and our 10th Worthing Cubs' entry - 'Blade Runner' - ran amazingly well throughout. We split into two teams - the organisers had arranged to lend us a kart - and the Cubs worked out their teams for the day, drivers and engines and how they would change or stay the same for each race. The atmosphere was electric all day. The teams with their 'pit crews', flags, and supporting parents made this a day that no cub or leader would forget. The circuit was fast, the competition was fierce but the racing was amazing. The Supreme is an amazing event with teams from all parts of the UK.
We will definitely be back next year!
10th Worthing Scout Group
Two very unusual drawings - "A scout smiles always"
When Gary sent in the last article we were so intrigued by his, "As a scout group we are privileged to have two drawings completed by B-P himself when he attended our scout group over one hundred and seven years ago" comment that we had to find out more!
Gary informed us that when Baden-Powell visited in 1912 he drew two pictures. He did them both at the same time, literally, one with one hand, the other with the other. This is no mean feat even if you are ambidextrous which Baden-Powell was. He was a Vice-President of the Ambidextral Cultural Society in 1905. The Secretary, John Jackson, wrote a book entitled, "Ambidexterity or Two-Handedness and Two-Brainedness" and in the introduction Baden-Powell wrote, "The heavy pressure of my office work makes me wish that I had cultivated, in my youth, the useful art of writing on two different subjects at once. I get through a great deal extra - it is true - by using the right and left hand alternately, but I thoroughly appreciate how much more can be done by using them both together." Gary tells us that these drawings that have not, as far as we are aware, ever featured in a publication before, are his group's "pride and joy." We're not surprised! They are probably unique and given the ambidextral element, most likely priceless. Gary said that when they were taken to BBC's Antiques Roadshow the experts couldn't put a figure on them. But don't worry, they're securely locked away most of the time!
In short, a pair of amazing drawings with a very interesting provenance.
A cup of cocoa in a tin cup
In this ever-changing world of technology and innovation it is sometimes worth remembering the simple things in life.
I recall when I was a boy scout, at the end of the scout evening, Akela would bring out hot cocoa for everyone in tin mugs. Now, should life become difficult, I just remember the cup of cocoa I would enjoy and those happy times at Scout nights and being in a place where your biggest challenge was working toward your next badge.
As you grow up, you learn to recognise those halcyon days for what they were; learning with a freedom from responsibility within a given set of rules and regulations that define the scout movement.
Hopefully you carry these values throughout your life and pass them on to your family. My son, Alex, was a scout and after achieving his degree in Media Arts decided on a career in fitness and is now manager of a fitness centre in Bristol.
His upbringing and schooling was in no small way down to his mother Fiona (featured as Akela for 1st Huntspill and Highbridge scouts in Issue 3). For ten years that I was away from home on long contracts working for five star international cruise lines around the world, Fiona juggled her nursing career with being a mother and homemaker.
For me, after leaving school, having gained the necessary GCEs, I worked for three years for the National Provincial Bank (this was before the merger with Westminster Bank to what we know today as NatWest). I worked mainly at branches in Devon but was posted to the Overseas Branch in Princes Street, London for three months. However, after returning to Devon, I resigned to pursue a career in music.
I've spent my life in the entertainment business as a pianist, band leader and musical director performing around the world, together with some broadcast work for radio and occasionally TV. There have been some funny stories along the way. I work now with a UK touring production show The Beach Boyz Tribute Show. As musical director, I play keyboards, rhythm guitar and sing.
Now in our sixth year of touring we have a large Facebook following and a fan base across the UK. Two years ago we were booked to play a festival in Portugal. We flew to Lisbon, went straight to the festival site for a sound check and afterwards back to the hotel to relax before our 10.30pm performance time. Around 10pm we received a call to go to the festival site. Hurricane force winds had blown in off the Atlantic and destroyed the festival site; the hospitality tents were strewn out across the ground along with our stage costumes. Luckily the stage crew had moved our expensive equipment to the safety of vans.
The festival was cancelled and we ended up at the hotel with a Dutch band and so we spent the night singing and playing guitars together - reminded me of a scout sing-a-long around a camp fire. We left Portugal the next morning and never did get paid - nor did the Dutch band! Although it wasn't funny at the time we laugh about it now.
As for hobbies, I spend a lot of my free time in my music room, where at the moment I am working on another original song. It has a Beach Boys' style and it's for a CD of original songs which we will be selling at our shows in due course. The song is about a boy with an old cheap guitar he takes to the beach. The song is called Beach Guitar.
If anyone would like to come along to one of our shows and meet me and have a chat, our 2022 UK tour dates can be found at https://beachboysband.co.uk
Here is me accepting (top right photo) the presentation of the Peggy Dowling Bowl from a colleague during lockdown. This simple little trophy is presented each year, usually at the District AGM, from one member to another, an adult, who has impressed or inspired them. Peggy had been presented with the bowl by the District following her retirement as a much loved District Cub Scout Leader in the 1960s in south London.
I have been fascinated by trophies and loved to create crazy ones all through my scouting days, especially at Summer Camp when patrols would wage warfare on each other to gain that extra point and see their name written on a tent peg, rolling pin, bread board or wooden spoon, whatever was used as a trophy at that camp. We usually had four or five different trophies to be won each day. With rolling pins there was the Day Pin for the most points that day following morning inspection, Best Pin for the patrol with the highest running score, Crazy Pin for the scout who had made the maddest contribution to camp life - falling into mud, inventing something, wearing something stupid, cheering everyone up…, Cook Pin to the latest, greatest cook. Top Pin went to someone making a real effort; perhaps a homesick kid who was battling their worries, someone beating their fear of darkness on a night hike or the tall awkward girl who amazed us, and herself, splitting logs effortlessly with a felling axe! She proudly saw her name added to the others.
The weirdest trophy we dreamed up was not for the Best Patrol, it was the "Mug of the Month", a horrible stained green plastic mug on an old piece of dirty sisal. It would be presented to the Patrol Leader of the losing patrol to wear all troop night, all month. We figured that no self-respecting teenager would relish this and kick a**e to make sure their patrol was not last!
One Summer Camp we managed to persuade the farmer to let us borrow his old Subaru farm pick-up, giving all the scouts a driving lesson and test round a nearby empty field. One of the leaders mounted a Dinky Cadillac to a block of wood for the scout with the highest score, this was in fact the troop geek. A quiet and intelligent girl, propped up on a sack of straw, she had dutifully watched and listened, slipping the clutch carefully as she pulled away, judging exactly between the straw bales. The "Jack the Lads" all revved the engine, stalled, misjudged the gaps and forgot the handbrake.
I once made a set of six woggles by sawing up and drilling out a deer antler, fixing a metal lapel badge to each. The whole patrol could then wear the trophy. I even made a green and gold presentation case for them, courtesy of Remington Shavers. This brings me back to Peggy Dowling as I decided to pass the bowl on in a smart presentation case in preference to the battered cardboard box it had arrived in. I contacted a cabinet maker who had a local link to Scouting and I asked him to knock up a wooden box for the bowl. He came back with a neat sketch and a cost of £600, which for a bowl costing £25 caused me to gracefully decline and find a fetching round box in Tesco kitchenware.
I think my favourite camp trophy was an enamelled cereal bowl from Easter 1984 at Broadstone Warren, charred all over with burned camp cake mix, into which all the scouts scratched their names. Bones, Gerard, Spec, Shires, Daren, Neil……
Beaudesert Outdoor Activity Centre
How COVID has affected scouting from a campsite's viewpoint
Beaudesert Scout Activity Centre in Staffordshire, like all scout campsites, has had a tough eighteen months as we closed our gates back in March 2020. We were really pleased to reopen our gates again on 1st May this year. After a steady stream of day visits we gradually got back to seeing tents up again as restrictions allowed. After a tense first few weeks were we were keeping everyone and everything apart. Our risk assessment was reviewed monthly in line with all the Government guidelines and gradually became shorter. It's fantastic to see beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers, network and some leaders-only camps going on now. Leaders have been a mixed bunch. Some have been really flexible and just glad to be back camping, some have been very nervous and needing some extra help, and there have been some more challenging ones who have expected us to be able to deliver everything as though nothing has happened. Whichever category they are in we have been really pleased to welcome them back and help them with their visit. We've pretty much got everything open as normal now; a couple of activities aren't running due more to instructor training for the season than COVID. There is a bit more hand washing going on and plenty of hand sanitiser being used before and after activities, but other than that we are now mostly open as normal.
During the lockdowns we still manned the 'phones and ensured that any cancelled booking was either pushed forward, sometimes several times, or refunded in full so that no scout group lost out. The campsites and woodland enjoyed being able to go back to nature with deer roaming the centre, a couple of resident buzzards, a wide variety of species of birds that we'd not seen so much of before and all the usual squirrels, foxes and badges. The bluebells were amazing; it was such a shame people were not here to see them.
Before we could reopen we had plenty to do. With the site standing empty for so long the grass was tall, all the buildings had to be checked and alarms etc. tested for safety. Water had to be flushed through and there was lots and lots of cleaning where the spiders had moved in and made their webs.
We had to make some incredibly tough decisions around staffing. We reluctantly made most of our paid team redundant in the summer last year. This meant that coming into the 2021 summer season we ran with just three regular staff plus a bunch of freelancers for activities. With loads of buildings to clean and maintain, reception to run seven days a week and the site to mow and make safe we have had an incredibly tough season but as we start to slow down as we write this in November we are really proud of what we have achieved for all of our customers.
It has significantly affected us as a scout campsite as all of our cash reserves were used up. This was because things still needed to go on even though we were closed. We reduced our outgoings as much as possible and just made it through. Financially it's not over yet as we have had a significantly reduced income this summer just gone and we still have the loss-making winter to survive yet. We are feeling positive though and if all goes to plan we should just make it through to May when bookings increase and we begin to bring in more money. We are also beginning to look at fundraising and where else we can find new grants. After that we predict it will take us five years to build our reserves back up again. This means that new developments will be on hold until this time.
We are very much looking forward to 2022 when we hope to have a full team of staff back again and we are able to offer our full range of activities. If you are looking for a summer camp venue for 2022 please give us a call or drop us an email. We are located in Staffordshire, just off the M6, close to Alton Towers, Drayton Manor and the National Arboretum. With one hundred and twenty-five acres of woodland and parkland there is a campsite to suit every kind of group. We've got a few fairly unique activities as well such as a Via Ferrata in our quarry, abseiling on natural rock and coracling on our pond, as well as all the usual target sports and high ropes. We'd love to have a chat and see how we can help make your first summer camp after lockdown an amazing experience. You'll also be helping our recovery if you visit our campsite.
We hope you've found our campsite's perspective of the lockdown interesting. Please visit our website if you'd like to find out more about us. www.beaudesert.org
Beaudesert Outdoor Activity Centre
Extract from a child's war diary
This year marks the 85th Anniversary of the formation of Bomber Command and this is obviously a key part of Lincolnshire's history. The International Bomber Command Centre outside Lincoln asked youth groups and schools to provide some artwork linked to Bomber Command.
One of our Scouts, Ruby, produced an extract from a child's war diary as part of the project.
Jonathan Swatton, Group Scout Leader, 6th Gainsborough Sea Scouts
Chance encounter but never met yet
Coracle /ko-ruh k'l/ noun a small, round boat made of wickerwork covered with a watertight material, propelled with a paddle. ORIGIN Welsh corwgl
Early last year I, like many other Scout Leaders, was looking forward to new adventures in Scouting. The reason for my excitement was because I had replied to a request that was issued through Facebook. As the person who had made the request was only in the next county I thought I would see if I could try and help.
The request was for blue mains water piping but it was the reasons behind it that stirred my interest. The piping was to make coracles, something I had never done before so therefore a new challenge; the next reason was that the activities were to be held at a campsite that I had never been to before.
However, the most important reason was because this was to be a camp for children who, for want of a better expression, were from less well-off families - this was my biggest driver for wanting to help as I have always held the belief that Scouting should be accessible to all.
I thought that I could help because of the stuff to make coracles with that was being requested. To my mind there is no better material than blue piping and, as I work for a utility company, accessing this product shouldn’t be too hard I thought. The feelers went out to everywhere that I thought would be able to assist. To my relief the call was answered with plenty of promising responses.
Now for the sad news. Everything Scouting was put on hold due to Covid-19 and, at the time of writing, still is but that was not my biggest disappointment. I messaged the original poster who had requested materials who instantly replied; private messages went back and forth and before I knew it I had now agreed to attend a week-long camp and run the activity!
The people I will be going with are the Muslim Scout Federation whom, to be honest after being in Scouting for over twenty-five years, I had never heard of. So as we are now slowly coming out of lockdown this is something I can start looking forward to again and even as an oldie I am still looking forward to learning new things.
Lastly I am also looking forward to meeting the person who sent the original Facebook post so that we can swap our Scouting stories around the campfire.
Ev's Historical World
We've had fun during lockdown
After the first lockdown, way back in March 2020, when we were allowed to go out and visit places I bought my son who is a cub at 1st Bramshill Rotherwick, a GoPro camera to record his visits. I’m a scout leader by the way.
The reason behind this was that we had borrowed one in February when we went on a trip to Iceland. He recorded everywhere we went just like a mini TV documentary. When we returned home it was edited down from hours of footage to a few minutes. You do get an awful lot of sky, ground and backs of people when you are only eight years old.
Then we bought our own and let him have it for the duration of a visit. So, on returning from say Wolvesly Castle, Winchester or Portsmouth or Southsea, we would edit the footage and upload it to his YouTube account - Ev’s Historical World.
His account is monitored by myself and we have uploaded sixty videos so far. These range from visiting castles and abbeys around Hampshire to mudlarking on the River Thames in London.
During the summer last year we managed a socially-distanced visit to grandad in Devon which gave him the opportunity to have a go at more filming of various places such as Clovelly and Lydford. Back in Hampshire he has filmed at Butser Ancient Farm in all their different Iron Age round houses, Saxon buildings and Roman villa.
Leap forward to November 2020 and we are back in lockdown two. No visiting anywhere so no chance of filming his documentaries. Now since he’s such a fan of history and an outdoors kind of kid, due to his love of beavers and cubs he asked if we could build a roundhouse in the garden.
A quick look around and we found some old fence posts and bits of wood so we settled for a Saxon house - three metres by three metres in size. This occupied us every weekend in November, luckily they were decent weekends with regard to the weather. I managed to cut the hazel whilst at work and we collected the necessary horse poo from a friend in the village. Then we had to make the wattle walls and daub them with the mixture of soil, horse poo, hay and water. This was the first time we had ever attempted this and to be fair I think we pulled it off. We used an old canvas for the roof and covered that with birch bark screening to give it a thatched appearance.
As I write we are in lockdown three. We are now spending our weekends making things such as rocket stoves, Canadian candles, trying our hand at charcoal making and making our own fire-lighting materials along with building furniture from green wood. We are busy trying everything we can possible can so that when we return to face-to-face scouting, we’re ready. Plus gaining some cool badges along the way since there’s been no cub camps.
We’ve missed cubs and scouts and although we do Zoom sessions it's not the same as being outside.
The full build along with the lockdown projects can be found on You Tube at
Getting back together
1st Border Scout Group is based in north Carlisle.
This pandemic has played havoc with everyone. During the first lockdown we did weekly Zoom meets with mixed success. Some were great, others were not. We could not wait to get back together. It became obvious we could not meet at the local church, our normal base. So outdoors it had to be.
Risk Assessments done and passed; programme planned, we came together at the earliest opportunity at Ratlingate, our local campsite. The programme was simple just some socially distanced shelter building and finishing with something to eat that they cooked on an open fire.
What became apparent was that the programme was just the catalyst for the young people to get together and socialise. They were excited to be outdoors with their friends, talking and working together, just being scouts.
So before being locked down again we had managed several long sessions on a Saturday or Sunday, twice a month for three to four hours. The more we did the better it got. Everything from fire lighting to cooking their Christmas BBQ on 19th December.
Yes, it is hard work ensuring that everyone remains safe. However, the rewards were brilliant.
Now we are back to the Zoom meetings. We have done everything from making pizzas in a mug to origami Pikachu’s, quizzes to map reading. Thinking about being outdoors.
Yes we have lost about 30% of our troop but we have gained the help and support of parents. Plans to start a Beaver Colony as a result of this and grow the Cub Pack. As a Group we are rising to the challenge.
Don McCutcheon 1st Border Scout Troop
We’re all off to scout camp, we’re going to have a great time!
When we were on our way to camp, we asked the leaders to turn up the radio and we all sang along to ‘Let It Go’ on the radio. We ate lots of sweets in the minibus and the adults told us to calm down because we were too hyper. Because we had too many sweets in the minibus we continued to sing songs together. As we were singing too loudly the leaders told us to quieten down. We heard on the radio that there was a campsite which was haunted, the leaders said it's fine we're not going to the haunted campsite.
We arrived at our summer camp, the way to the campsite was down a grey muddy ramp. Then we had to climb over fallen trees to get past. The sun began to set so we decided to build a warm fire to toast Marshmallows. Later on we were just settling down to sleep when we heard a roar in the distance, quickly we set up our tents and got to bed. During the middle of the night there was a crash as one of the tents fell down! We rushed over to the tent that fell down to see if the people inside were ok. We wanted to tell the Scout Leaders, but they were all sleeping, we soon found out there was no one in the tent.
All of us then decided to go climbing down the mountains. After this we went hunting because it was morning. Everyone caught a rabbit, we cooked them up and ate them… they tasted disgusting! We then decided to roast some more marshmallows. We split up into two groups to decide what activities to do, Archery or Air rifle shooting. Whilst going to Archery half the Scouts got lost in the woods. Later on we heard a loud bang, it turned out to be a firework. A while later we heard another big bang and it was a Deer running into a tree crashing its antlers. We were all told to go to bed and sleep in the tents, whilst the leaders thought we were all asleep, we all watched them eat all the cake and biscuits from last night's dinner!
We were woken up very early in the morning, which none of us liked! For breakfast we had bacon sandwiches and saw all the crumbs from the biscuits and cakes. When we finished our breakfast we went to go and do Archery, so we went to get our kit and uniform ready for the activity. On the way to archery the path was very muddy. When we got to the Archery Range all the leaders had started to do the Archery without us. We went back to the campsite to find our tents were missing! Only to find out the cows had taken them. Dundundunnnnnn!
As we went to retrieve our tents we were shocked to see the cows had been slaughtered by a Grizzly. By the time we had searched the perimeter we headed back and found the leaders having Bear soup. Later on in the afternoon we found a river and decided to make a rope swing most of us fell in! We heard a crashing in the trees behind us and discovered a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring. Seeing as it was getting dark and we didn't have any shelter we decided to search around for materials to build one. We saw the vibrant oranges and reds in the sky as we laid down to sleep.
A few of the scouts snuck out at night to go and climb the mountain, one of the scouts tripped and fell down the mountain. A massive water fight broke out back at camp that was started by the leaders. After that we went back to the woods and roasted grapes because we were so tired. To get revenge on the Scout leaders who had eaten the cake and biscuits we snuck into their hideout and stole their biscuit tin. The person who had fallen down the mountain had survived and had climbed back up! As we had all forgotten about the Scout that had fallen down the mountain the leaders were furious at us.
Because we get so smelly on camp, and don't change our pants, by about day four the leaders had to take us to the local swimming baths so we could clean ourselves and make us change our pants. We went back to the campsite and we heard thunder and lightning, then the rain poured. Because all our tents had been taken we had to make shelters in the woods but it was very cold and wet. After the rain had stopped we didn't want to be clean so we went and rolled around in the mud. As we were rolling around in the mud we had the best adventure of our lives.
Soon after we decided to go canoeing in the nearby lake. As we were canoeing someone came up from behind the boat and tipped us over. But on the other side of the lake two of the scouts wandered into a cave and stumbled across a weird looking machine. As they were gazing upon it, it appeared to be a teleportation machine. It turned out it wasn't a cave, it was a washroom and the machine was actually a washing machine. But the washing machine was no ordinary washing machine as soon as we opened the door it dragged all the scouts into it and to another place in the universe. Fortunately the leaders were left behind so they couldn't steal any of our cakes anymore. We went back into the washing machine to try and find the leaders, however we appeared on a beach with sand as soft as silk. We weren't on a beach, we were on a beach in another universe on the hottest planet we had ever been on with sand as hard as rocks. Whilst we were in the hottest universe we went sunbathing and ended up getting burnt. We got transported back to the campsite.
Back at the campsite the leaders wanted to annoy us by putting Ants and Spiders into our sleeping bags. Luckily the Ants and Spiders didn't like the smell of our sleeping bags so they went to stay with the leaders instead. The spiders ended up growing and eating one of the leaders. Luckily in the end the spiders and ants ate all of the leaders.
We were all so happy the leaders were gone we decided to take a joy ride in the minibuses. Once we found our way back from a long treacherous hike we decided to pack everything up and make our way home, although for the leaders this trip home was very nice as we were all so tired and fell asleep. We started to eat all the cake, the leaders heard this from inside the spider and were outraged so they fought their way out. The spiders puked up the leaders and they were covered in green goo just in time to go home. When the leaders had appeared they saw us all eating the cake and started to shout at us but we all argued that we had seen them eating the cake. After we stopped arguing we started to pack up all our things and get ready to go home. Because we forgot about the scout down the mountain he jumped out at us to attack us, unfortunately he was hit by the bus.
Meanwhile, after the leaders had picked up the scout and put him on the minibus we realised the leader had been driving at full speed away from the apocalypse that was happening. As we were so long camping we realised there was a global pandemic and we all had to self isolate. The apocalypse seemed to be of Zombies, they were running at us and were catching up with the minibus. As we were driving along through the countryside you could see the lush green grass through the cracked windows. Then Zombies started coming out of the ground and the countryside was ruined. When the Zombies came out of the ground they were all wearing masks because of the pandemic. The Zombies turned into spiders and they were after the scout leaders so all of the scouts left the bus. Then we realised it wasn't an apocalypse, Donald Trump had unleashed the mutant Zombies from the bunker. Then on the final step home the leaders all started singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ as the scouts trembled in fear at the back. As people started turning into creatures of all sorts everyone decided to start singing. Once we had made our way home safely we realised the Zombie Apocalypse wasn’t really a Zombie apocalypse it was a load of boys who hadn't had their hair cut since the start of lockdown.
We all had a story to tell for the rest of our lives and to tell our grandkids, grandkids' grandkids, grandkids………………
By 17th Purley Scouts
Convert any sofa into a fabulous fort!
For all ages: You may not have a sofa at your meeting place but you probably do at home, or someone else's home, or a hotel or one of those posh shops. You know what to do. Just rejig the four moving parts or get the young people to do it whilst you look the other way.
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