Venturer Scouts Posts

The Power of Eleven

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, a war that shaped and rocked our society came to an end. Every year we gather, listen to our history, reflect on those who died, and remember. As a Scouter, I’m passionate about taking time to remember – not just WW1, but all wars.

I know that because of the Boer War, Scouts was founded. During the Boer War, then military officer Baden-Powell was stationed in a small South African township of Mafeking. There was a group of youth that supported the troops by carrying messages, which freed the men for military duties and kept the boys occupied during the long siege. Baden-Powell was inspired during the siege by the initiative shown by boys under pressure and realized that realized these youth had huge potential that was often left untapped.

Upon Baden-Powell’s return to the United Kingdom, he was regarded as a hero for successfully defending Mafeking and his book “Aids to Scouting” was gaining traction, which was unexpectedly used by teachers and youth organizations as their first Scouting handbook. As of 1907, Scouting was officially founded at Brownsea Island during the first ever camp with 20 youth.

I have a few program ideas for learning more about the history of Scouting here. I find it’s important to review and think about this – I know the value Scouting has added to my life and the giant impact it’s had as well. After a review from attending a local Remembrance Day service, my Cubs said that it wasn’t a positive experience. They couldn’t hear or see anything – it made it hard to stay focused and ‘absorb’ the event. They agreed it was important, but they wanted a different solution.

In 2016, I shared what we do for our program – you can read it here. Last year feedback came back that the Cubs understood the connection to Scouting and wars, but that was it. I spent the better part of the past year letting that churn in the back of my mind. How could I help the Cubs get a better understanding?

In school, they learn who fought, how many people died, why they fought… but it was their great great grandparents. It’s almost akin to learning about any other point in history – disconnected and not relevant.

The word “relevant” stuck with me. I can’t recall exactly what inspired me, but I went on a journey to explore what we have from a positive perspective. Here’s a list of things I found that is a by-product from war:

  • microwaves
  • antibotics
  • zippers
  • duct tape
  • ballpoint pens
  • instant noodles
  • freeze dry foods (frozen french fries from McDonald’s totally counts)
  • lasers (laser eye correction, CNC machines)
  • house hold cleaners (bleach)
  • fertilizers
  • photocopying
  • radar
  • Disney (morale booster)
  • computers
  • smartphones
  • NASA

Should I continue? All of today’s modern technology is from military advancements, most of which are from scientists trying to find a solution to a battle.

I watched several expressions today that told me that I hit the mark – from youth and parents. From warming up leftover meals, to accessing the internet, it all came at a high cost – millions and millions of lives.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day – I encourage all of you to attend your local ceremony and think about all the different things that pass by you. Ask your self, would I have this luxury/item/choice if someone didn’t die for it?

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting
https://scouts.org.uk/about-us/heritage/
http://www.krishna.com/modern-agriculture-product-military-history
https://www.businessinsider.com/everyday-products-launched-by-major-world-wars-2016-4
https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/10-everyday-inventions-you-owe-to-ww2-1434543995.html
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26935867
http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/ww2-disney

Video: Scouts in the First World War:

previously, this article said: “On the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month…”. This was pointed out by a reader and corrected. 

Scouter Robots

Inspired by a kickstarter for Little Codr (http://littlecodr.com/), a card game that introduces young kids (ages 4+) to the basics of coding, our team at Elsie Roy was able to use the card game to build a team building program that was fun.
Here’s how it works:
  1. Cubs in their lairs make a “team”. Each team is assigned a Scouter to be their robot. Robots can only move along the lines of the gym, and stop where two lines intersect. Each Robot starts in a different spot in the gym. They have a goal to meet.
  2. Each team is given 8 cards and only gets to keep 5. Together, the Cubs must work together to select their cards. They then have to place them in order to have their Robots move towards the goal.
  3. Each card is one action. If the card says “step forward”, the Robot will move between where the lines cross. Any intersection stops a move.
  4. The Scouter leading the activity will have “bugs” that come up in the code, often having the Robot change directions, undo their last movement, turn, etc.
  5. Once every Robot has completed their move, the teams are given another 8 cards and the process is repeated until the Robots complete their objective.
Th
is is a super fun activity and normally takes a full round for everyone to get the hang of it. It quickly became a favourite and is a regular idea on the Howler’s planning sheets. Bonus that it doubles as a STEM, creative expression, team building exercise, and also a leadership exercise.
You don’t have to have the card game to play this, it just makes it a lot easier.
Happy coding!

Founders Day

A short 161 years ago in Paddington, UK – Lord Baden Powell entered the world. In his fiftieth year, Boy Scouts started, a worldwide organization that has helped, inspired, challenged, and I like to believe changed the lives of hundreds of thousands. I count myself lucky to be one of the individuals who has found a place within Scouts Canada to help carry on the vision.
Without being a Scout, I have no idea where I would be. I would have never met my friends, never mind my husband. I would have never found a place that accepted me for me (here’s a blog post I wrote ages ago on how Scouting helped me with my illness – http://oncearover.ca/2012/12/17/mission-based-healing-bipolar-doesnt-mean-a-pole-short-of-a-tripod/). I would have never started End2End Media – nor started half of the things that are a creative outlet for me.
In the 10 years I’ve been a member, I’ve worked directly with 180+ youth. I’ve watched them grow, have first experiences, and learn more about themselves in our time together than they realize. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours a year towards Scouts. There have been a few that I’m pretty sure I crossed a thousand volunteer hours (camps are auto 48 for just the event, never mind the prep). I wouldn’t change a single hour I’ve given as it’s given me a reason to learn, grow, and a life time of adventure.
Today is special to me. Scouts is special to me. It’s my one thing that has been with me since everything fell apart. It’s how I get to flex my maternal muscle and have sweet memories I would have wanted to have with my son. I work hard because some of the kids have nothing else – and I know that feeling far too well. I give my all, because I have no idea if one activity sparks a career path or is the moment one of the Cubs trusted in my care needs more than anything else because of whatever reason in their world.
Without BP founding Scouts, I would be lost. I use to play the “what if” game, but it’s become impossible to come up with anything else I want to fill my time with. It’s been challenging the last two months as I have needed to focus more on my health. One of the key indicators of my mental health is when I don’t want to go to see my Cubs and team. When I was first working on a plan of action to regain my footing in the early days of diagnoses, Scouting was immediately slotted in. Because I was accepted. I was encouraged. I was welcomed with open arms.
Some days I can confidently say that Scouting is why I’m still alive and here today. Scouting showed me a new world (literally, I got to go to Australia!). Scouting gave me my new family. Scouting has given me a career and gusto to dabble in entrepreneurship. Scouting lets me grieve in a healthy way for my son who left this world too soon.
Thank you, BP for everything. I doubt you expected the impact that your program for boys would have on people all around the world. From an old, grateful, cranky Akela – thank you.

Lest We Forget

After attending 2 of our local Remembrance Day Ceremonies, the youth concluded that they didn’t like it. They like the concept, but not the act of doing it. Why? They couldn’t hear anything or see anything. Being in a city, our services are packed. I’ve honestly never actually heard anything being said at a service aside from the firing of the canon, jets over-head and the trumpets. I totally understood what my Cub Scouts were saying.

We asked the Howlers Council a difficult question: “Then what do we do next year?”

A moment of silence. Another moment. One of the newer Cubs started to say something but stopped, saying it was stupid. Another one of the Howlers said that they’d like to hear.

“Have our own service?”

Done deal Cub Scout.

Walking the Line

Imagine this- You’ve asked your Scouts what they want to do. You’ve planned where you’re going, who you’re going with, when it’s going to be how to get there, what you’re going to eat, and why you’re going. You’ve checked your gear, made sure your stove is clean and have your water filter ready. Parents have been briefed on the trip, you’ve got your Camping and Outdoor Activity form signed off from your Group Commissioner and left a copy of your emergency plan with another Scouter not going on the trip.

Everyone loves tick boxes!

Everyone loves tick boxes!

 

You are six hours into the adventure and something happens. A Scout sprains her ankle. Or it’s absolutely pouring and your Cubs are drenched, even though they have the right gear. Maybe you lose the trail while up on the ridge in the fog bank And the question you’re asking yourself is this—

When do we turn around?

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