We held our AGM in the new Hall on 10th November, and here are the following Section reports:
Like many of the other sections, Explorers saw a reduction in numbers when our meetings went online. We now have 13 members registered and usually get at least 10 at our regular Friday Night meetings. We now have 4 leaders – myself as ESL and Sharon, Richard and Eleanor as AESL’s.
After a shaky start to online meetings with the District, the Unit decided to have their own online meetings. They started in May and continued through lockdown until we were able to resume face to face meetings in April 2021. Our first meeting was a Pizza Party – Explorers think that anything that involves food has to be great!
We would like to thank the leaders of Weaverham Sea Scouts, allowing us to join them once again for their Boating season at Budworth Sailing Club which began in May.
By the time we were ready to go back to indoor meetings, we were able to move back into the Scout Hall.
We are now starting to focus on the Explorer Scouts Chefs Badge. This can take up to 6 months to achieve. I am currently on the lookout for a real chef to come and give them some lessons, so if you know of one, please let me know.
I am pleased to report that James, one of our explorers has been successful in obtaining a place for the next World Scout Jamboree to be held in South Korea. The selection usually takes a whole day, with personal interviews, practical skill tests for your scouting knowledge and group problem solving. I also heard that he was the smartest scout at the selection day! Well done James – you will have a great time!
Cyndy Lloyd, Explorer Sea Scout Leader
In the Spring of 2020 we were comfortably running four patrols but we had a stage where we were transferring one scout a month to the explorer unit so when Covid hit us we were down to 13 members.
Our first virtual meeting was forced upon us on the 4th April, and we held 52 Zoom meetings over the intervening months. Programming was interesting. We always started off with a virtual flag break and then dived into scavenger hunts, virtual dinghy racing, cake in a mug and armpit fudge, escape rooms, an online “murder” type game which I never got the hang of, a weekend virtual camp, some stop motion filming and varied craft activities, amongst many other things. The background support of the parents was invaluable in keeping the scouts focussed during these Zoom meetings. Inevitably, however, a few scouts simply could not get on with meetings on line and our numbers dropped to sometimes six scouts for these sessions.
We managed one meeting at the scout hall at the end of December under severe restrictions but were then forced to resume online after a spike!
With the beginning of the scout hall rebuild we were able to resume face to face meetings at The Lighthouse in April of this year and had 5 meetings there. Our numbers began to pick up slowly and we were able to begin our summer programme of boating at Budworth Sailing Club on the 28 the May when we were allowed to meet outdoors. We had many total novice dinghy sailors and kayakers to start with but over the summer their confidence and expertise developed under the caring guidance of the boating leaders and the scout’s progress was very encouraging. We have quite a few who are now capable of single handing Toppers confidently and most of them demonstrate excellent control in kayaks.
We returned to our beautiful scout hall on the 17th of September and our numbers have now increased to 16 scouts which is very encouraging.
And finally: if I was wearing a hat I would take it off, to all the various leadership teams and especially to those committee members who have been tirelessly involved in the re-development of our wonderful scout hall, and also to the scout parents who have supported us through these interesting times.
Geoff Hornby, Scout Leader.
I am sure that everyone will agree that the last year has been a very challenging one for everyone, but especially for the group. Like everything else, Scouting was suspended in March 2020. Our last regular meeting at the Scout Hall was on 10th March, 2020.
After the initial shock of lockdown, we decided to do something about it and we became Zoomers. A steep learning curve for everyone, both Beavers and leaders alike. At our first zoom meeting, we had 16 beavers online, 2 leaders and 2 Explorer Scout Young Leaders. Sadly, a number of beavers found they could not cope with zoom meetings, or it became quite difficult for parents, as obviously, they had to set them up and be around during the meetings in case of technical issues. However, after the first month, we had settled with 10 beavers on a regular basis. This was brilliant as it gave us a base on which to build. We had a number of new beavers who actually joined us on zoom and we were also able to move a number up to Cubs.
As part of their zoom meetings we completed a lot of badges. Scout HQ introduced some special events and badges that could only be completed online. Such as the Camp at Home badge which also qualified for some Nights Away awards. The Hike to the Moon badge which was a County Initiative to help raise funds for struggling groups. The group also had their own Virtual Family Camp , which if my memory serves had 24 families from all sections taking part.
Parents played a very important role in all the badge work. They were not only supporting their beavers at home at zoom meetings, they were taking them out on walks for their Hikes Away Badge, getting their beavers to pitch their tent for the Virtual family camp, letting them loose with their family BBQ and teaching them to light a campfire. I was most impressed with the parent who took her son on a hike and at lunchtime, pulled out their camping cooker to make bacon sandwiches! That is dedication!
Parents also encouraged their Beavers to complete their Personal Challenge Award. I still think the most successful zoom meeting was making a cake in a mug! They were brilliant and they obviously tasted as good as they looked. Unknown to the Beavers, they were actually being observed by a guy from New Zealand at the time! He was actually running a training session for RFA Cadets online, one of which was my son. Every Tuesday after this , he would ask, what are we baking tonight? The power of the internet!
Despite the fact that our own Scout Hall was in the midst of being demolished and rebuilt, we managed to return to face to face meetings by relocating to The Lighthouse just around the corner. Even with the addition of lots of Covid 19 rules that we had to comply with, we still managed to produce an interesting programme for our beavers.
2 of our Beavers William and Finlay were awarded the Chief Scouts Bronze Award, the highest award that a beaver can get, just in time for them to move up to Cubs. By the end of the summer, we had 11 beavers on roll.
Fast forward to the new term September 2021 and by October our numbers had increased to 21! Quite an astonishing increase. Our best event this term was our Beaver sleepover during half term. The Covid rules had been relaxed allowing it to go ahead. We had 14 beavers due to take part, but inevitably, Covid intervened and we only had 12 able to attend. They all had a great time.
We are continuing to get requests for places. However, as we have so many new ones, we have decided to cap it at 20 for the moment, increasing to 24 in the not too distant future.
I must say a huge thank you to our leadership team which has also grown in the last few months. Special thanks to Julia, who joined us on zoom every week. The rest of our team, Andrew, Section Assistant, Tilly, Explorer Scout Young Leader, and Mollie, Explorer Scout working with our section to complete her Duke of Edinburgh Award and Imogen, also doing her Duke of Edinburgh Award, who I understand has now decided to join the Explorer Unit.
I must conclude by saying that our continued success would not have been possible without the continued support of our parents, both online and now we are back in our lovely new Scout Hall. Many thanks to you all. You’ve been great.
Cyndy Lloyd, Beaver Scout Leader