I’ve talked many times before about my involvement with Scouting as an Assistant Beaver Scout Leader so when I saw this video I knew I needed to share it. It’s been made by a Beaver Scout and is an attempt to recruit more adults into Scouting so that more young people can join in and share the fun.
We had a slightly late start to the term due to our leader (I’m our assistant leader) being away on holiday for the last three weeks of September. You have to have two leaders with full appointments to run an evening and currently myself and our leader are the only two in our group who have this status, my mom is with us as a Colony Assistant but this doesn’t require a full appointment. We decided as a result to start back one week later so that we only had to make arrangements to cover leader requirements for two weeks.
Our first week of the term was spent doing archery. We’re very lucky to have a Group Scout Leader who is an archery instructor, she did a brilliant introductory session and all of the boys enjoyed it. Most of them wanted to keep going when we got to the end of the night, I always take this as a good sign!
The second week we combined forces with another Beaver colony who meet on a Tuesday and had a visit from The Animal Lady. This worked well for us on two levels, it meant we had a number of leaders with full appointments and it allowed us to split the cost of The Animal Lady. She was very good, the children were completely entranced by her and the animals she brought – my personal favourite was Aleksander the meercat.
After a week off (more circumstances beyond our control) we were out and about again, taking the Beavers for a behind the scenes tour at the town hall. This was an interesting night, the gentleman who showed us around made sure he kept the information at the right interest level for the boys – I think it was the adults who were most disturbed by the story of the ghost that is said to haunt the former cells.
We followed this with a couple of nights at our headquarters – a general games night and chance to properly welcome the five new boys who had joined us for the first time at the town hall followed by a night I always love – experiment night! We ran two different experiments, cress growing and baking soda volcanoes. I ran a volcano base and had a thoroughly brilliant time.
After half term we started back with our annual bonfire and fireworks evening. We shared this with the beavers and cubs of another group which made for lots of children running round in the dark! Luckily we’d thought ahead and bought glow sticks – each of our Beavers wore one which made keeping track of them far easier. Many of the parents and siblings stayed for this week too making it a lovely family event.
That was our last night out for a few weeks, we decorated cakes to sell for Children in Need before getting into the Christmas spirit. Every year we spend two weeks crafting for Christmas, we started this year by decorating wreath and bauble cut outs with more glitter than is sensible, and followed it up by colouring and decorating Christmas tree cards.
For the first time ever we ran a Christmas district event this year. On Sunday 1st December around 150 Beaver Scouts spent their afternoon working their way around 10 bases making all manner of festive creations. This was followed Christmas biscuits and mince pies before carols around an indoor (electric) campfire – for this we were joined by many family members which added to its special feeling.
Our final meeting of the term, last Tuesday, was our annual Pizza Hut party. The boys always have a great time and it’s a fun, laid back way to end what is often a pretty hectic term. Once we waved the last Beaver off we sat down to have our leaders’ meal – it’s much easier and more efficient to have them separately.
I can’t believe how this term has flown by. For three of our meetings I had to act as leader in charge, it was nice to have this opportunity and nice to have supportive leaders around me whilst I was doing this. The one thing I have let slip is my training, I’m still working towards my Wood Badge – this is awarded when a leader completes all of their adult training. I’m going to focus on this for the next few weeks as we have a reasonably long Christmas holiday – it’s mainly a matter of spending some time gathering all of the evidence I need ready to get it signed off. I’d love to earn my Wood Badge early in 2014 so I just need to get organised and motivated.
Tonight at Beavers was our first meeting of the summer away from our Scout Hut. Every year during this half term we meet at our district’s camp site instead and enjoy lots of outdoors activities. The site covers 50 acres of woodland so there’s plenty of space for us to explore.
After our usual welcome we planned to take the boys on a walk to see all of the activities we would be doing over the next few weeks and to go over the ground rules that we set. We’ve got five Beavers who are currently in the process of moving up to Cubs and are feeling like they’re too grown up for Beavers now so we made them “leaders” and gave them three Beavers to be responsible for. They led us, after a fashion, to the archery range, the assault course and then down to the chapel instead of the shop. As we reached the chapel it started to rain, little droplets initially which soon turned into a torrential downpour. Everyone who’d got them put on their waterproofs, I had trusted the positive weather forecast and hadn’t taken one so got wet through.
My favourite moment of tonight was when we were walking through a forest section, winding our way down a hill. One of the boys turned to me and said, really excitedly, “Wouldn’t it be brilliant if there was a T-rex waiting for us at the bottom!” I could understand completely where he was coming from, the way the path was twisting and turning there was no way of seeing where we were heading to. I think we were both a bit disappointed to get to the bottom and only find an empty camp site waiting for us.
By the time I got home I had a load of new bruises and nettle rash, my hand has been shredded by brambles and I was soaked to the bones. None of that mattered though, it has been the best night I’ve had in a long time.
Last night was our Scout group’s AGM. It is one of the few times during the year when we get all three sections (Scouts, Cubs and Beavers) together and it’s always nice to hear the report given by each section leader about what they’ve done. I wasn’t having a very good day yesterday so tried to cry off, but my Beaver leader encouraged me to try and make it.
Once our Group Scout Leader and committee chairman had given the opening speeches Keo, the Beaver leader, stood up and began to speak. She explained that they wanted to take a moment to acknowledge a leader who was going to be departing for foreign shores, it was at this point that I started to understand why she’d been so insistent that I was there. She said some lovely things which made me cry, and then one of the Beavers presented me with these:
and said “Thank you for being Tic-Tac” which again made me a little misty eyed.
After the meeting had finished everyone mingled with a cuppa and leaders from the other sections came to ask about my future plans. It was lovely that they were all interested in what I was going to be doing, it made me realise how much I’m going to miss them all when I go. I was already thinking about planning ways I could keep in touch with the Beavers, after last night I know it’s definitely something I’m going to be doing.
The first few things I thought of to post about today were negative, and would have involved me moaning about something or someone (it has been one of those days). I’ve decided instead to be positive and share two things that have made me smile instead.
Tonight at Beavers the boys were all decorating door hangers. Most of them wrote messages along the lines of “No Girls Allowed” or “My Room My Rules”, sadly I can’t remember some of the more interesting spellings that they used. One Beaver went on a different tack though, and wrote out the ring inscription from Lord of the Rings. He then decorated the rest of the hanger with pictures of Lord of the Rings characters and told me all about his favourite bits from the first two movies (he’s watching Return of the King this weekend with his dad). My favourite moment was when he said “And… and then Treebeard and the Ents flooded Iceland!” Priceless!
Then there’s this story. It’s been circulating on Twitter for a few days, but I’m sure there are some people who might not have seen it yet. It’s the wonderful story of how the Make-A-Wish Foundation made the superhero dreams of a young boy with cancer come true. Stories like this are what the phrase heart-warming was made for, every tweet I’ve seen refers to the need for tissues and I’d have to agree.