Bourne Valley Scout Group

First of all “Thank you” to everyone who supported the Scout Christmas Post before Christmas. The profits have not been tallied at the time of writing but despite selling less stamps and delivering less cards we are very grateful for the money we will have made. This is entirely due to everyone who sold or bought stamps and delivered or received cards. Fund raising over the past two years has been restricted to programme selling at Thruxton during the 2021 Season so the Christmas Post income is very gratefully received.

Our executive committee are currently looking for a new treasurer so if you are someone who might be able to help us, or know someone who might, please get in touch. Our committee is a friendly, fun loving group of people who want to give the young people of the Bourne Valley exciting adventures and lots of FUN.

Beaver Colony – Towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 the Beavers worked toward their Communicators Badge. They found out about various ways of communicating; phone calls, emails, codes and codebreaking and sending a postcard through snail mail. By December we were back on Zoom colony meetings, we were reluctant to spoil anyone’s Christmas celebrations. So we were back to scavenge hunts and playing games at home. The Beavers were so brilliant despite the disappointment of missing their Christmas party. The plan was to have a New Year party instead but by January the local pandemic situation was no better so it was back to Zoom. So it was back to games, thinking about the Beaver scout promise and what activities the Beavers would like to do once we were back face to face. February brought better news and we were back to meeting in the hall. There were very excited Beavers to be meeting each other and they really enjoyed a games evening followed by a night hike. Over half the colony joined other Beavers from the district in a “Save the Planet” activity afternoon at the beginning of March. During the afternoon the young people tried making fire with a knife and steel, toasted marshmallows, learnt about Fairtrade and the damage caused by plastic in the oceans, made water filters, model elephants from recycled plastic milk bottles, puppets from old socks, origami penguins and birdfeeders and finally played Save the Planet Bingo and had a campfire sing song. A busy fun-packed afternoon enjoyed by everyone. At colony meetings so far in March they have celebrated Shrove Tuesday and St David’s Day, both on the same day this year and had fun ‘flying in an aeroplane’ and making paper aeroplanes!

Cub Pack – Autumn and the dark nights, hopefully clear, seemed like a good time to work towards the Cub Astronomers Activity badge. Activities included a walk away from light pollution to observe the stars, representing the solar system using different fruits and the stages of the moon using Oreo biscuits (break the biscuit into two halves, then eat the side with no cream, mould the cream on the second side into a stage of the moon; once complete I’m sure you know what then happened to it!) One Cub isolating at home managed to do all stages, 9 in total, and I am led to believe he ate them too! They also made models of their ideas of what a space station would look like, practised how the astronauts move around in space and made pinhole cameras to observe the sun safely. 

December and January 2022 the Cub Pack, like the Beaver Colony, met by Zoom. In December a meeting on the theme of Arctic Challenge planned for face to face transferred nicely to zoom, they needed plenty of imagination but as usual the Cubs rose to the challenge. In January pack forums have provided a cub wish list for 2022 and being able to realise all their wishes. Up to Easter the Cubs are working for their Skills Challenge, Teamwork and Team Leaders badges, with lots of games, learning new skills plus team building and problem solving activities. Everyone enjoyed the night hike from Boscombe Down to the Glebe Hall, there’s something very exciting about walking along the footpaths in the dark, especially if you are 8 years, 9 years and 10 years and it’s very muddy!

During the next few months the Cubs have an exciting programme of activities and district events to suit everyone’s taste: the Athletes Badge, Scrapheap Challenge, chess tournament, a pack sleepover, a football tournament, a camp in the New Forest and in September a trip to the birth place of Scouting, Brownsea Island! Lots to look forward to for Cubs and Leaders, back to normal at last! 

Figsbury Troop – The troop have kept going with normal troop meetings all through the autumn and winter. They have been honing their First Aid Skills getting OUT and ABOUT as much as possible. Map reading in preparation for the lighter evenings is a great way of spending the cold wet evenings so they have the skills and use them in the better weather. Shrove Tuesday, their meeting night, found them making pancakes, there were many happy faces eating the fruits of their labours. Ian from Idmiston Troop came along to the last meeting before this report to teach the troop how to make chuck gliders from balsa wood. This is part of the Air Activities Stage 3 badge and trip to the Boscombe Down Aviation Museum is planned for a few weeks’ time, when Figsbury Troop have been invited to join Idmiston Troop on their visit one Friday evening.

Figsbury Troop have welcomed some new members both from the Cub pack and from out of scouting, these young people are trying out scouting and we are hoping that all the new recruits have enjoyed their experiences and will join the troop permanently over the next few weeks. We are currently looking for new leaders for this Figsbury Troop so if you like the outdoor life and think you may be interested in helping all the young people in the troop enjoy all the adventures and activities that scouting offers, we would love to hear from you. All the support and help you need is available. So please get in touch and have a chat about joining our friendly Leadership Team.

Idmiston Troop – As some readers may be aware, Idmiston Troop had three scouts selected to represent Wiltshire at the next World Scout Jamboree in South Korea in 2023. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to really get to meet the worldwide family of scouts and they are, quite rightly, really excited about it. It is no holiday however. Between now and then, they will have to attend numerous training events and weekends and also raise £4000 each. It will be time and effort well spent.

Otherwise, we continue as usual. We closed the year doing a spot of wood branding to make Christmas decorations followed by a trip to the Playhouse to see, “Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon”; a good way to wind down at the end of term. We spent our first meeting of 2022 reacquainting ourselves with what it means to be a scout and why we do it. The leaders followed this up with a planning session, putting together our master-plan for the term which includes our annual pancake-making evening, shooting and fencing, first aid (these are not related!), knotting, working towards the Air Activities Stage 3 Badge and a few trips out.

Why does this matter? Well, a quick survey of recent news articles will throw up all sorts of discussion about the value of getting young people off the couch and into the great outdoors. Roedean School (£18k plus a year for day pupils) was congratulated for taking years 7 and 8 outside for one afternoon a week and teaching them how to light a fire and use a knife. There has been much moralising about the value of the ‘school residential’ to outdoor centres and naturally the success of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme has also been prominent in discussions. All very positive, but worth noting that Scouting has been doing this since 1907. Interestingly, 11 of the 12 men to have set foot on the moon were scouts – from little acorns grow mighty oaks!

So, if you know someone who is up for a challenge (or just needing to get away from their X-Box), push them in our direction. We are recruiting boys and girls aged 10-14 years. I can’t promise a lunar landing this year, but they’ll get the groundwork.

Ian Jack Scout Leader Idmiston Troop

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