8th Worcester Scout Troop
Sleepover/ Hike - 14th July
Keeping up the events in the second half of the term, we went for a sleepover and hike to build on the navigation theory work that we have been doing.
We ran a normal evening, focusing on some of the navigation theory work that we needed to cover for the badgework, including types of North and revision of how to use a compass. We broke up the evening by having the penultimate 15 minutes from one of the Scouts, followed by an attempt at a game using bearings to triangulate distances; that one is apparently harder than it looks as converting the angles around appears to cause trouble for the maths, so we'll have to come back to it later.
When the meeting was over and those who couldn't stay headed off, we got everyone settled for the evening with a film (or two since it seemed to get changed over halfway through) before turning in for the night.
We got up earlier than originally intended, and set to breakfast and making lunch in the hopes of getting out before the archery group showed up; we nearly managed, up to the point where they turned up early as well.
We drove out and parked in Great Comberton, heading around the village to our starting location. From there the Scouts were tasked with following the route plan provided in order to find their way up onto the ridge and back to the cars. The Scouts had to provide major navigation decisions as part of the hike, with leaders occasionally providing hints when things were going wrong, but otherwise prompting the Scouts.
The first part was relatively easy, though demonstrated early on that paying attention to significant points of navigation was important. From there we began the upward climb, through the steepest part of the route up onto the ridge.
On the ridge itself the route becomes easy; simply following the ridge along to the tower halfway along is no particular feat of navigation, but makes for a slightly more relaxed change of pace. We stopped for lunch at the tower, chatting and taking in the view as we did, before setting off again.
The rest of the route was mostly downhill; gently at first as we came down off the ridge and then heading up and down a bit more as we changed to the return leg of the trip. We returned to the cars slightly later than originally intended, but got back to the hut on time for the Scouts to be picked up.
Paddlepower Weekend - 16th June
"So, they've got a cricket set out... They're playing rounders... They're playing whatever that is... And we've got a deck of cards.
How different Troops handle a hot evening after an active day
Our mid-term event for this term was a weekend run by the Activate team; these are a county team of instructors who run activities for either individual groups or larger events such as this weekend. In this case the event was a weekend camp where the Scouts would be working towards either the Paddlepower or Power Coxswain badges over the weekend.
We all arrived on Friday evening, which was already warm, and set to putting up the tents that we would be using for the weekend. In this case, with seven Scouts (the entire Troop when we booked onto the event) we needed a Patrol tent and a hike tent to go with it. There was, initially, some thought about whether we should take an extra tent or not, as food was going to be provided centrally to everyone on the event. As it was, the extra shelter was incredibly useful for us on what was a very hot and sunny weekend.
Most of the Scouts were on the kayaking part of the weekend, learning how to launch, handle, and check a kayak out on the water, mixing in bits with a canoe as well to round out the badgework. They practised different ways of launching, steering, how to get out of the boat, and how to capsize and get themselves and the boat back to shore, and then empty the boat afterwards.
The rest of the Scouts were doing powerboating, learning a similar range of skills to those in kayaks.
The only downside to the weekend was, if anything, the amazing weather, which was sufficiently overwhelming at times that in the end the Scouts who were kayaking gave up on the water and came back to site to relax. Overall a great weekend that we will look to repeat at some point in the future.
Pioneering - 9th June
Doing the basics of pioneering can be awkward, because msot of the time it is just knots. The key thing to remember is that once you learn those knots, it is what you do with them afterwards that makes it worthwhile. Combined with that, we took a quick look at what pioneering actually was, which turned out to be a lot more than just the knotwork, since it actually meant being the poeple who went out ahead of an expedition or army to break the ground and prepare the way.
Making sure to start with the most common knots that we use, we got everyone up to speed with the clove hitch and square lashing (which together seem to comprise about 80-90% of the knots that we do), before putting these into practise by making some walking A-Frames. Depending on how you do these they can be quite easy or quite tricky; some people do them by simply getting the A-frame walking using guy-ropes, but we decided to go for the harder option.
We put one of the Scouts inside the A-frame and used the guy-ropes to keep it balanced while they used their weight to lift and swing the legs around. Eventually it turned out to be easier to attach further ropes to the legs in order to assist in keeping them moving.
The second major event for the evening was based around a visitor: we had a Scout over from the US who had wanted to visit a Troop while he was in the country. One of our Scouts had prepared in advance for this, getting in touch and gathering some facts about both UK Scouting and the Boy Scouts of America, which he presented to the Troop.
Wide Game - 26th May
A major problem that we have with wide games in the summer is that it's so hard to hide from people; most games involve getting past people without being seen, and large open spaces on a sunny day make that quite hard. Hartlebury Common offers a wide space for games with plenty of terrain of various kinds to work with and around, as well as open spaces for running around.
We initially played an old favourite of collecting silver pegs from the opposing team's base before changing this out for a game of trying to sneak up the hill to the base at the top while the people at the top tried to spot everyone coming and used the walkie-talkies to keep in touch with each other so that they could track down the Scouts approaching them. A good evening and a great place to go.
Backwoods Cooking Prep - 12th May
With the District Backwoods Cooking competition in a couple of weeks we decided to have a look at practising for it.
General Setting Up - 5th May
In preparation for the summer term, we had to get both Patrol tents out to ensure that they were in good condition still (one had been put away slightly damp following Survival Camp). Fortunately they were in good condition, and so we were able to make a start on some practise for the navigator badge by mapping out what 100 metres looks like (it's surprising sometimes) as a demonstration of how big a six figure grid reference really is. We will be building on this going forward this term.
Against the Dragon - 28th April
For our first night back for the term we presented the Scouts with a challenge: they were taking on the role of knights and their squires who would need to defend a kingdom from an invading dragon. In order to do this they would need to raise an army by completing certain challenges to impress the soldiers that they sought to recruit.
The first challenge was to work out where the dragon would attack next. The location of its last attack was known, as was where it had headed from there. Three bearings and distances were provided and the Scouts had to determine where the dragon would end up.
Having determined that the dragon would next be attacking the village of Nibbling-on-the-Bone, they needed to plot a route to the village, taking into account terrain, terrain features, and the path of the dragon. Having done this they needed to demonstrate folding a flag properly.
While on their chosen path to the village and arrow was fired into their camp, bearing a picture. They determined that this was a message, and using the Adventurer's Guide were able to decipher the message in order to determine where and when they needed to go: the Robber's Guild didn't like the idea of a dragon being around and wanted to assist, but the Scouts needed to prove that they were worth the Guild's help by obtaining some treasure from a tomb guarded by wraiths.
Lacking an actual tomb or wraiths, the teams went through a narrow area, with the other Scouts blindfolded to take the part of the wraiths. Silence was the key to this, as the blindfolded Scouts needed only a single touch in order to stop the Scouts trying to get through. Eventually they made it, although we once again learnt that the Scouts generally start to make more noise when they are blindfolded than they do when they can see, making it quite hard to listen for anything.
With some help from the Robber's Guild secured the Scouts assembled for the attack. For this the armies that they had built up (in the form of playing cards they had collected) were pitted against the dragon. Each team took turns to play one card against a random card drawn by the dragon, and health was subtracted or added to each side as appropriate.
In the end the dragon was driven off rather than being slain, but this was still a victory.