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Aberdeen Explorer Scouts invited to Scottish Parliament to mark fundraising efforts

November 2023

A group of Explorer Scouts from Aberdeen were invited to the Scottish Parliament in recognition of their fundraising efforts.

Mannofield Explorer Scouts were invited to Holyrood by Liam Kerr, MSP for North East Scotland, to celebrate the unit’s fundraising project, Straight Outta Mannofield – a charity album bringing together 20 of the north east’s best musicians.

During the visit, the Explorers sat in on First Minister’s Questions, took an in-depth tour of the parliament building, and enjoyed lunch with Mr Kerr – where they engaged in a lively question and answer session, during which no topics were off limits.

The teenagers were then presented with a parliamentary motion – supported by over 30 MSPs from across the country – commemorating their unique fundraising project.

Fourteen-year-old Explorer Scout Luke Renwick said: “It was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to visit the Scottish Parliament.

“We learned about the history of politics in Scotland and witnessed firsthand how the political system in Scotland works currently. We also learned all about the meaning behind the architecture of the Parliament building itself and it is an incredible building.”

Mr Kerr added: “Scouting is such a fulfilling path for young people to follow. It is welcoming to all, provides direction and opportunity, and continues to be one of the great success stories of youth engagement.

“My colleagues and I were pleased to welcome Mannofield Explorer Scouts to Holyrood – in fact, there should be a badge for navigating the corridors! Their community spirit has produced this fantastic album and I’m pleased to support the Straight Outta Mannofield project.”

The visit came in the same week that the Mannofield Explorer Scouts’ leaders were shortlisted for Team of the Year at the 2023 Celebrate Aberdeen Awards – and just days after the unit joined over 750 other Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and adult volunteers at a camp for all of Aberdeen District.

Mannofield Explorer Scouts leader Eoin Smith said: “Being able to take our Explorers to Holyrood for an experience like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’d like to thank Liam and everyone at the Scottish Parliament for making us so welcome.

“The benefits of seeing democracy in action, and the chance to learn more about how Scotland is governed, cannot be understated.

“During our visit to Holyrood, we were also delighted to invest three new Explorers into our unit – officially welcoming them to Mannofield Explorer Scouts as they made their Scout promise. It’s certainly one of the most memorable locations we’ve ever done that!”

Earlier this year, Aberdeen’s music community got behind Mannofield Explorer Scouts to help the unit raise vital funds – with high profile acts The Xcerts, The Little Kicks, Cold Years and Best Girl Athlete amongst the 20 artists involved.

The album, Straight Outta Mannofield, is available to download from for a minimum donation of £10, with all proceeds going to fund activities, equipment and camps for the unit.

Eoin continued: “Through the Straight Outta Mannofield project, not only have we raised hundreds of pounds for our unit, but we have been able to provide incredible experiences for young people from across Aberdeen.

“From visiting parliament to guesting on podcasts, being interviewed on live radio to appearing on the front page of newspapers, these are experiences that will live with our young people for the rest of their lives.”

Mannofield Explorer Scouts is Aberdeen’s largest Explorer Scout Unit, bringing together around 40 young people aged 14-18 from across the city to learn, have fun, and develop skills for life. As a youth-led organisation, the unit’s programme is planned and organised by the Explorers themselves, supported and enabled by five volunteer leaders.

In the last year, the unit’s activities have included surfing, mountain biking, ziplining, hiking and paddleboarding; supporting the community and environment through foodbank donations and tree planting; learning how to cook meals from scratch to prepare for post-school life; spending a week camping in Fort William (and weekends around the north east); speaking openly and supportively about mental health and LGBT rights; and practicing traditional Scouting skills.

For more information, follow Mannofield Explorer Scouts on FacebookInstagram and Twitter at @mannofieldESU

Picture caption: Liam Kerr MSP presents Aberdeen’s Mannofield Explorer Scouts with a parliamentary motion recognising the unit’s fundraising efforts.


Boat Camp

Issue 6

Recently our troop ran a camp with a difference - "boat camp."


This involved hiring two narrowboats from Wakefield scout district and taking them up the canal for three days, teaching the scouts how to drive the boat, navigate the locks, learn appropriate safety points and rope work.


Having taken part in such a camp in the 1990s when I was a scout, enjoying it thoroughly, I was desperate to provide such an opportunity for our current scouts (of which I am the troop leader). We managed to find a scout district that was passionate about narrowboating and hired two boats out to fellow scouters.


The leaders attended several training weekends arranged by Wakefield narrowboat team which earned us our narrowboat activity permit.


The narrowboats each sleep ten young people. We were oversubscribed for scouts wishing to attend the trip, therefore the hardest part was short-listing the twenty individuals to attend.


This type of camp is different from usual camping which is part of the appeal. It is a slower-paced camp but the scouts learn many new skills. They develop communication and teamwork skills through working together to pass ropes, securing the ropes, communicating to the driver how far the boats are away from the bank and so on.


One of the scouts that attended has written an article for Scout and Scouting. His words give a much better view from a scout's perspective.

Gary Allwood

Assistant County Commissioner (Scouts), Merseyside Scouts


Boat Camp 27-29 May 2022

Issue 6

For the last couple of months the leaders talked about "Boat Camp" as a myth and a reward so when we were given our place on the camp we were very excited! Adding to this excitement, when we were sent the kit list, we knew it would be a special camp. There was no mattress and no hiking boots but don't forget your swimming shorts and sun cream!

After the long drive from Merseyside to Yorkshire with our leaders we were thrilled to see the boats – they were just as we hoped they would be – parked up on the canal bank. We spent a fair bit of time exploring; assigning bunks and discussing how to use chemical toilets! Instead of searching for dry wood and lighting the campfire so we could make supper as is the usual routine on camp, our leader ordered pizzas for the whole group. Now, I'm not saying I don't love our scout leader's cooking, but the pizza was VERY nice! Then, as with every good camp, we had hot cocoa and marshmallows for supper.

The next morning we started with croissants and Nutella pancakes before having a safety briefing. We were all given a buoyancy aid each and told about safety on board. Then it was time to set off on our adventure. We soon came up to a lock. For this first one the leader showed us what to do and how to do it. Multiple team members have to get off the boat and go to open the gates while the remaining crew steer the boat into the lock. The gates are then closed behind the boat and the ones in front are opened. This allows the water level to rise or fall as necessary. We also learned how to hook up the boat to the canal wall to keep it safe and secure. Some locks had flood gates along the side so we had to use wooden poles. After the locks had filled up we would open the gates, close the flood gates and unhook the boats. Those of us on lock duty would then have to wait for our boats to moor up and collect us.

After crossing the first lock our leaders chose some people to drive the boat for little stretches of the canal. When it was my turn I found it fun but difficult; I managed to keep it straight for the best part of two minutes.

To keep ourselves occupied the boat keepers supplied us with cards and a ball so we sat on the deck and played with our cards and relaxed on our beds in between our steering shifts. After travelling for three hours and several locks we helped an old couple and their cute dog traverse through a lock.

We finally moored up for lunch. We had cheese and ham sandwiches and some cheese stuffed croissants.

Later on, after five long hours and multiple locks, we moored up for tea and for the night. We stopped at a local supermarket to buy supplies for dinner and used disposable barbecues to make ourselves burgers, chicken and kebabs. After we had eaten we put on our football shirts and went to the second boat to watch the Champions' League final. Watching my favourite team play in this final was a brilliant experience; we're lucky to have leaders who also wanted to watch it!

On Sunday morning we left the boat to go and explore the canal. We walked up onto a bridge and along the footpath where we could see how far we had travelled! Breakfast was ready by the time we got back and we all tucked into blueberry pancakes.

We sailed further along the canal and played a bit of football on the canal bank while we took a break. By this time we had done quite a few locks and our leaders were now letting us do the locks without their help. We were quite proud of ourselves for doing this. After lunch we sailed all the way to Shepley Bridge where we were stopping for the night. I had to leave at this point to go on a family trip and I was sad to be leaving one of the best ever camps. I feel as though I learned a lot of new skills on this camp such as rope work and water safety.

Boat camp was brilliant. It definitely lived up to the myths we'd heard before we went and I'm grateful to my leaders for taking us and to the Scouts in Wakefield who own the boats for giving us such a fantastic opportunity.

Toby Wainwright, Cobra Patrol, 1st Lydiate Scout Group

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Elvington Scouts plant trees to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Issue 6

A line of silver birch trees has been planted to mark the approach to the Yorkshire Air Museum's entrance at Elvington, thanks to a partnership between Elvington Scouts, the museum and William Birch.

Elvington Scout Group rolled up their sleeves, wielded their spades and made history on Saturday April 2nd when they planted fourteen five-foot tall, young native trees with a plaque to mark the activity.

The surrounding estate and approach to the museum alongside the famous Elvington Airfield is owned by William Birch & Sons Ltd and the company is helping with preparing the ground and purchasing the trees.

Chairman of the museum's trustees, Rachel Semlyen, who negotiated the sale of the land with Jack P Birch from the company for the museum nearly forty years ago, said: "This collaboration with the Scouts to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee is very exciting and appropriate. It's a lovely idea and will provide a fantastic approach to the museum from York Road. We wish to thank everyone involved."

Chris Birch, Chairman of William Birch welcomes the project. "We are pleased that our long association with the museum continues and that we are able to support further links with the local community including Elvington Scouts with this very fitting tribute to the Jubilee celebrations."

The Scouts will return in future years to tend to the site, monitor the health of the trees and sow wildflowers to increase biodiversity.

"It was great to plant trees today and it was fun to do something for the environment," said Danny.

"I like planting the trees because we got to spend time outside with our friends and give homes to the animals who need them," explained Maya.

"Very enjoyable and I am very impressed with how the Scouts just got on with it," said Stuart Young, Elvington Scout leader.

The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is situated on the original wartime RAF base next to the famous Elvington Airfield. It began with the rescue and restoration of the derelict wartime buildings by local volunteers in the 1980s, leased from construction company William Birch & Sons and purchased outright in 1993. The museum eventually extended from seven to twenty acres, included a conservation area, the original control tower (Listed Grade 2) and 17 wartime buildings. 

Before the pandemic and enforced lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, the museum attracted around 60,000 visitors a year. We were successful in obtaining Heritage Lottery and DCMS emergency funding and with help from YCC and the furlough scheme have survived with a regenerated business plan and ambitious plans for development that will include an education centre and a second hangar to house more of our substantial and renowned aircraft collection.

An independent, accredited museum with charitable status and a wholly-owned trading company, we employ 20 full and part-time staff depending on the season and are supported by more than 100 volunteers who steward, guide visitors, and work on the archives and on maintaining the collection of 47 aircraft.

The displays and aircraft collection cover the history of aviation from the earliest Cayley glider, through the experience of, and operation of two world wars. Among the aircraft, the star of the show in the T2 hangar is the reconstructed heavy bomber, the Handley Page Halifax Mark III which is open for pre-booked visits.  Hugely popular is the accessible Dakota used for troop transport and the impressive Cold-War Nimrod and Victor, maintained in "live" condition by volunteer engineers of both genders.

Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial

Halifax Way



YO41 4AU

Group photo includes Chris Birch and Rachel Semlyen

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Poppleton Scout Group is one in a millennium with its new seating area for the community

Issue 5

1st York (Poppleton) Scouts is proud to be the oldest Scout group in York, possibly the oldest in Yorkshire, having started in Holgate in 1909 before moving to Poppleton in 1964.

"However," said Alex Pull, Beaver Leader, "the group had no dedicated outdoor space in which to do all the fun outdoor activities that we wanted to do with our young people and that are an integral part of what Scouting is about."

The Scout Group wanted to develop better links with the local community and contacted trustees of Millennium Green, a space which had been developed for the local community some years ago. The Group identified an area of land that was little used and developed the idea of a communal seating area, close to the children's play area, which could be used by the Scout Group and by all members of the local community. Working with a local tree surgeon and lots of willing volunteers, they removed felled trees, converting them to seats, and landscaped the area.

Alex said, "Obviously we haven't really used the area over winter due to weather and dark nights, but we can't wait to get back there in the spring and to use the links we have developed with the local community to get our members more involved in other local community projects."

Rafferty, a member of the Scout Group commented, "This is a cool thing to be able to use when we're in Cubs. It's nice to have somewhere to sit when we're doing activities."

All Scout Groups have seen an increase in demand from young people since the pandemic, so we are also appealing for new helpers to help us create more wonderful memories for our young people now. If you can help, either regularly or just occasionally, please visit our District website to find out more.

Jo Wedgwood

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Issue 5

One of our Beavers at 1st Birchensale Beavers, Sophia Edwards, six years old, set herself the challenge of completing a county-wide challenge known as ShireHike. This involves hiking, cycling and paddling different routes that cover Hereford and Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Birmingham, Coventry and Shropshire. 

Sophia has managed to complete the entire challenge in three months! She has earned herself the Diamond ShireHike Challenge Badge. To achieve this she walked over sixty-nine miles, cycled thirty-one miles and paddled for two hours. 

As a colony we are extremely proud of her achievements as this is a tough challenge and she was the first to complete it in our group. 

Further information is available at

Sarah Theiss, 1st Birchensale Beaver Leader

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York Scouts help to protect the planet

Issue 4

Millions of scouts worldwide, including scout groups in York, have made a Promise to the Planet as part of a global campaign to inspire young people to take action for the environment. In the run-up to COP26 (the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow this November just passed, local scouts took part in York Environment Week (18th to 26th September) and other environmental activities earlier this year.

Copmanthorpe Scouts in particular have been taking action all year to help the environment. Dave Webster, 1st Copmanthorpe Scouts' leader said, "Rather than talking about it and waiting for politicians to change policies I wanted us to actually do something and to involve the community too."

Led by Dave, 1st Copmanthorpe Scouts have been doing just that! They have set up extra recycling facilities in the village, recycled Christmas trees, created a Hedgehog Highway, litter picked with the Village Wombles and at Askham Bog (thirty-five bags of litter picked) sown wild flower seeds, and beach cleaned at Fraisthorpe to name but a few.

Other scout groups in the area have been doing their bit too and will continue to do so in the future. Dringhouses, Elvington, Bishopthorpe and Acomb scout groups took part in North Yorkshire Scouts' "Tidy up the County Day," litter picking in their local areas.

From Dringhouses Scout Group, Beaver Melissa said, "Picking up the litter is good for our planet. But I don't like people leaving dirt around." Fellow Beaver Dorian said, "It's important to clean Earth because trees would get sick and we need trees."

1st Copmanthorpe have put together this list of ideas that other groups could adopt. Have fun!

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

Prince William: A Planet For Us All

Three badges you can earn: Tide Turner Plastic Challenge, Champions for Nature Challenge, Scouts Go Solar Challenge.

  • Talk about COP26 Glasgow in November 2021 and what your group think leaders should do

  • Learn about recycling, what can/cannot be recycled, local recycling centres, get extra recycling facilities for your hut

  • Think about how to save water and energy at home

  • Learn about renewable energy (water/wind/solar) - visit somewhere local

  • Design posters to put up around your area/in school/village newsletters

  • Promote Hedgehog Highways in your area and get a speaker from a local rescue centre

  • Litter pick with local groups or take part in Trash the Trash Day (first May bank holiday)

  • Work with your local council to sow wild flower seeds on grass verges or in cemeteries

  • Beach clean with the Marine Conservation Society

  • Make mini water butts from old bottles, mini and giant bug hotels, bird boxes, Christmas tree recycling

  • Do a blindfold taste test - vegan/pork sausages, dairy vs. oat milk etc.

  • Write articles to go in your village/school/parish newsletters

  • Have a neighbourhood recycling day, where on a specific date, everyone puts items they no longer want at the end of their drive

  • Have a neighbourhood clothes swish to swap unwanted clothes/footwear

  • Engage with your local dance/drama group - they could do a routine about the environment

  • Tree planting at a local community project

  • Think about how to make your own events sustainable - transport, food, litter etc.

  • For younger children - Blue Peter Green Badge.

As our founder Lord Baden-Powell said, "Leave the world a little better than

you found it."

Jo Wedgwood


Scouts Race Round the World

Issue 2

Bear Grylls, The Scout Association's Chief Scout, challenged Scouting nationwide to take part in a Race Around the World during December, to raise funds for Groups that were struggling as a result of the Covid crisis. Four teams, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts, each led by different celebrity Scouting Ambassadors, were challenged to walk, cycle, kayak, skateboard or use any other means of travel, to complete a journey equivalent to a race around the world. Although it was a team challenge, social-distancing guidance meant that participants had to complete the challenge individually with support from an adult family member.

Whilst taking part in the challenge there were a number of complementary activities, provided by scout associations worldwide, which enabled participants to learn more about different countries and their cultures.

Collectively across the UK Beavers, Cubs and Scouts travelled over 150,000 miles and raised £330,000. 6th Gainsborough Sea Scouts took part in the race, covering a distance of 757 miles and raising £534 for the Scout Recovery Fund. Those that took part were out in all weathers and had great fun. Ben said, "I liked getting outside, exercising, litter picking and getting very muddy." Elsie thought, "jumping in puddles and riding my bike through mud was great fun" and Grace "enjoyed being out on my bike and spending time with my family." They have all received a digital certificate and will be presented with a commemorative badge as soon as we are able to resume face to face meetings.

Jonathan Swatton, 6th Gainsborough Sea Scouts

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Sea Scouts Sign Off with a Christmas Craft Day

Issue 2

What better way to end a crazy year, and to meet the challenge of continuing to operate in the face of Covid, than to hold an outdoor Craft Day at our HQ? Twenty-seven members, divided into three separate sessions, joined in the socially-distanced action and each of the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts went home with a bag of handmade goodies. The projects on offer were a decorated bottle lamp, illuminated with battery operated LEDs, snowmen made from a stuffed sock or from a candy cane and marshmallows decorated with sweets, a snowflake from lollypop sticks, mini bobble hats and a fir cone elf.

This was the culmination of a year which saw us adapt to digital meetings during lockdown. Using Zoom, a varied programme of science experiments, microwave mug cakes, crafts, quizzes, puzzles and online specials were put together. These specials introduced our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts to magic, astronomy and forensic fingerprinting provided by enterprising experts who have set up online businesses.

Between lockdowns we returned to face to face Scouting with meetings outdoors in the grounds of our HQ. Activities included cooking, fitness challenges, constructing models, the phonetic alphabet, disability awareness, and games all carried out according to social distancing guidelines. These were well attended and there was great disappointment when we had to end them and return to Zoom. Our Craft Day helped to overcome this disappointment and a great day was had by all. We went back to Zoom in January, interspersed with some outdoor sessions, so that our members can continue to work towards their Chief Scout’s Challenge Awards.

Jonathan Swatton, 6th Gainsborough Sea Scouts

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I am a parent – I cannot tie my shoelaces!

Issue 2

I write this as an adult volunteer but in all seriousness, this is a reminder to all us 'Parent Scouters' and for you to show your parents to prove that volunteering is neither scary nor time consuming; not if you do not want it to be.

When I was younger, I wanted to be in Brownies (my only option) but I never got to be because my mum couldn’t afford the uniform. The want to join such an organisation stayed with me until, when in 2017, I was offered a place at Beavers for my son. I jumped at the chance and in around eight months he will be off to Scouts.

All Scout Groups are different, with different needs but none will turn down the offer of help if it is on a plate. From 2017 to 2019 I went from Treasurer to Assistant Beaver Leader, Beaver Leader and Group Scout Leader, Training Adviser and Area Trainer! I am one of those 'parents' who know nothing about Scouting, can’t tie their own shoelaces and haven’t a clue about some Geezer called Bear Grylls, let alone that old bloke Baden Powell. Of course, I jest, but there is a serious note to my tomfoolery. Many parents stay away from Scouting because they are nervous, they do not want to look stupid, get found out that they do not know anything, they will never be as good as 'Bill' the Scout Leader or such like. As Leaders we know this is not true and we will snap anyone’s hand off who is willing to fold a raffle ticket but joining Scouts is daunting.

It is quite possible, now we are over on the dark side, we have forgotten how it feels to be a 'normal parent' and the immeasurable anxiety people can experience when they are faced with the unknown. As a Group Scout Leader, I still feel this anxiety and I am sure I will soon be found out that I am no good at my role. In fact, I will tell you a secret which is purely between you and me: I pulled out of the District Training Team because I would look stupid next to 'those people' who knew so much more than me. It is human to perceive our own ability as doubtful and inadequate. It is easier to stay away than look stupid. The voice in our head can be extremely loud and powerful and I still refuse to join the Training Team!

I doubt myself all the time, worry about what I am doing, are people laughing at me, pointing and poking? To be fair, they probably are, but then, does it matter if, at the end of the day, I am doing something which is not only helping my child but is also helping other children too? It does not really matter that I do not know how to tie my shoelaces (ok, I’ll give you that one, I do really) because Scouting is about family. There will always be people who know more than someone else and there will be those that have differing opinions about the way Scouting is evolving but no one will ever discredit anyone for joining in and doing what they are doing; helping young people develop #skillsforlife.

We all rationalise our reasons for not joining but we genuinely are flexible in our approach to volunteering. I dispel, with immediate effect, the adage that 'it is only an hour a week', some things go right through me and this saying, which people say, trying to be funny, really rattles my spine! Of course volunteering is not an hour a week, shockingly it can be less but, to be frank, it can be more too. As Group Scout Leaders we are not looking for the next Superman or Woman, we are looking for people who can be Raffle Ticket folders, Hotdog Cookers, Kit Karters as well as those who want to experience the joy of Scouting from a Leadership point of view and put a little extra in. You are all very welcome.

I empathise with those that do not have enough time, work long hours or shifts, who are single parents or carers for their elderly relatives, have taken on Life-long Learning and the plethora of reasons people have. Do not be ashamed or feel insignificant because of your responsibilities but I want to take this opportunity to turn these apprehensions on their head.

Think of volunteering in Scouts as 'their achievements are your achievements'. If the Scout Group hit their fundraising target because you stood at the bottle tombola and sold the tickets, then you are amazing. We thank you for the couple of hours you gave, and we all know, you will go home feeling amazing. It did not matter a hoot that you work long hours and had to go and cook dinner for your elderly relative because you still nailed it. Ironically, by giving up some time and by doing something you would not ordinarily do, you found time for yourself and felt good in the process. If every week you see the children laughing and having fun but know you can only chip in every third week, then come and chip in then. We will not ask you to take the Scouts on a hike and teach them navigation skills (well not unless you are an orienteering expert, of course), but we were grateful that you could assist us managing the safety of our young people and by giving us a hand with the little jobs. On that third week you gave a hand, you went home feeling like you had been of benefit and secretly you watched 'Bill' the Scout Leader and what he did. You went home to watch some YouTube videos on Sheet Bends underneath your duvet. It’s cool, I’ve done it too!

I joined when my second child was three weeks old, I was breast feeding, knackered, did not know what time of day or day of the week it was but I wanted my son to achieve so I chipped in when I could, then I chipped in a bit more and now I might have even put an application in to join a UK wide team, but that is another secret!

My point to all of this is, it really does not matter what your circumstances are the flexibility and support all Scouters give every other Scouter is something which we are all proud of.

Do not be afraid of the voice in your head that tells you are you are not good enough or you will never have the time, or the damn Devil that tells you, you will be made to do things you have no idea about because, I believe in you. I will be the first person to stand by your side and say, 'it will be ok'.

All of us 'Parent Scouters' crossed the threshold into the unknown, some of us were excited, some nervous and some doing it because they thought they should (let’s be honest) but we all crossed it, and we are still alive!

We all start at point A and it does not matter how far you get along your alphabet journey because now YOUR achievements become THEIR achievements.

Sam (of the female flavour) Gregory, Group Scout Leader - Buckley St Matthew’s Scout Group, Flintshire, Clwyd, North Wales

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Scouts Doorstep Remembrance

Issue 2

Whilst the news was announcing the new President of the USA, the Scouts of Luton were showing their respect for the men and women who died in WWI, WWII and through the years to modern times serving their country.

2020 proved difficult for society with lockdowns due to Covid-19 that stopped many face-to-face activities but Luton Scouts found a way of showing respect for the two-minute silence.

Young people including our newest six-year-old Beaver Scout, Cub, Scouts, Explorers and adults paid their respects on their front doorsteps or in their gardens.

A spokesperson said, "Scouting is part of Luton's local community. Normally Scout Groups would attend remembrance services and memorials across Luton on Remembrance Sunday supporting their local communities. Most of us are fortunate that our fathers and grandfathers returned from war but this gives us a chance to remember the men who never had the opportunity to be fathers and grandfathers.”

Susan Law


A new era begins at Sapcote in Leicestershire

Issue 2

Back in 1977, Sapcote Scouts moved into a new era when a second-hand cedar wood building was acquired and erected on the village playing fields, with a new purpose built kitchen and toilets. This has served the village Scouts well, but was becoming 'very tired.'

Fast forward forty years and with housing developments within the village, section 106 funding was earmarked to refurbish this well-used building. However, before this was accomplished a further development of about one hundred houses by David Wilson Homes (DWH) was planned. This development was attracting much more section 106 funding and a plot of land, originally offered to a local medical practice, was available, and offered to us to provide a new scouting facility for the village.

I, as the Group Scout Leader, had no option but to support this development, although it did meet some contention from several corners of the village.

Following outline planning permission, and after an initial meeting with DWH, I felt all our Christmases had arrived at once.

It has been slow process, not helped by the wording of the section 106 agreement which just stated that DWH would 'provide us with a new Scout HQ.'

Early drawings were for a two story building with bunk house accommodation to allow for sleepover weekends, a facility lacking within the District.

Unfortunately this proved to be outside of the budget of approximately £260,000 and although we made several grant applications, raising funds for a building which was not yet built proved impossible.

Some three years down the line, and still pursuing all the options, a meeting with DWH and one of their technical planners resulted in a set of drawings which proved to be a suitable compromise. They offered a first class facility that would secure the future of scouting within the village.

By now we had been granted some further section 106 funding, increasing our budget to just over £300,000 and, although the project was still slightly over budget, DWH had no option but to build it so as to satisfy their section 106 commitment.

In July 2019, the housing development now complete, our work commenced. The project was expected to take about eight months notwithstanding any winter stoppage due to the weather and of course then the Covid 19 pandemic.

Our building is now complete, the legal documents all signed and exchanged, and we have full use of the building. We now have a facility with a substantial hall with underfloor heating, a first class kitchen, a meeting room, ample storage for day to day use and a twenty-five square metre loft to store our camping equipment. Outside we have a secure grassed area and a car park.

Whilst the building is primarily for Scout use the Brownies and Rainbows will also be moving in. We already have 'Twins at Totstime' moving with us along with a very active judo group and a dementia care group. Negotiations for a post natal care group are well underway.

With the building in place we have now secured a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery to furnish with new tables, chairs, crockery and the like.

I returned to Scouting in 1989 after helping out at a camp when my son was a cub. (He now has a son in the Scouts!) I never anticipated the 'two hours a week' would result in thirty years of enjoyment, seeing so many youngsters develop into first class citizens and many continuing as leaders in the movement. With our new Scout Centre I can honestly say, when I decide to 'hang up my woggle' I will have left Sapcote with a facility that should serve our group, and the wider community, for many years to come.

So the next era of scouting in Sapcote begins. My only regret - this project was instigated by the Clerk to the Parish Council, Mike Guntrip. Mike retired early in 2020, a former Scout and a supporter of scouting in Market Bosworth, but sadly died before seeing the project complete. May he Rest in Peace.

Mick Angrave, GSL, 1st Sapcote Scout Group


A Pirate’s Life for Us

Issue 1

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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