A Pirate’s Life for Us

Since our regular face-to-face scouting was paused back in March, 14th West Lothian Scout Group's beavers have shown amazing digital talents by joining online Zoom meetings each week instead, but we could not contain our excitement when our latest risk assessments were approved which meant that our annual beaver sleepover could include some outdoor fun together. At the 14th we have one ‘big’ sleepover each year for the whole colony with around twenty activities which we plan around a central theme for extra fun. This year’s theme was pirates and from the feedback received by parents it did not disappoint!

Our motley crew of nineteen beavers and five leaders assembled in the local woodland on Saturday 3rd October. We worked together in small teams searching for parrots in the treetops to reveal our theme. There was a cannonball battle, hunting for (natural) treasures and ‘climbing the rigging’ with a blindfold rope trail. Even in the middle of Storm Alex there were no tears, ships sunk or beavers overboard. An excitable crew was sent home with a ‘booty bag’ full of odd items (needed for the crafts / activities), a 24-page ‘logbook’ full of activities and a souvenir mug!

Once home and dry (literally) the adventures continued online making our own pirate hats and telescopes (with leaders having a bit of fun by giving everyone piratey names on their Zoom screens). Then it was off to the galley to make our dinner – pizza in a mug and a fruity pirate ship pudding… YUM!

We played some screen games (including Captain Greybeard Says – the pandemic has had an effect on his ageing process) before using teabags to make our own parchment paper and having fun with a fact or fiction quiz. Who knew pirates really DID wear an eyepatch all the time so they could quickly swap it over to see below deck in the dark? Our local hero, ‘Campfire Craig’ led a virtual campfire with a mixture of themed songs and some of our old favourites while dancing in his back garden in the rain (yep, his neighbours are used to it).

We battened down the hatches by screen-sharing a bedtime story called A New Home for a Pirate, read by Matt Baker of The One Show fame.

We warmed ourselves up for more fun on Sunday morning by joining Peg Leg’s stretching exercises class before getting crafty again creating rafts to float in our baths (or kitchen sinks) from corks, elastic, skewers and plastic sails. There was time for a quick game of Bones’ Bingo before we recovered our tea-stained parchment to draw our own real or imaginary treasure maps (X marks the spot!).

Finally it was time to hoist the flag and we held our Scouts' Own gathering in the woods with beavers bringing along their own treasure chest (the cardboard box which had carried their mug), showing each other what their precious treasures were and why it was precious to them which sometimes was because of who had given it to them, or a memory it evoked. Then we played some socially-distanced games with hula hoop islands and following the leader actions before challenging ourselves to a bit of target practice, the grand finale of which can only be described as a mash-up of pétanque and conkers. Before setting sail back home beavers finished their swashbuckling with a breadstick ‘swordfight’ leaving a rare treat for the birds to feast on.

Batten down the hatches land-lubbers, there’s a storm a-brewin'!

"Squirrel, Otter, Rabbit & Bear"

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