Annual report 2015
I am pleased, in my second year as Group Scout Leader, to be able to celebrate 2nd Penrith Scout Group’s 90th Birthday year with you. The young people in our group today, enjoy a tradition of fun and adventure dating back to 1925 in Penrith. The year so far has seen lots of group activities, culminating in our hugely successful Family Camp. My thanks and gratitude goes to all of the leaders and helpers who support the group and enable our young people to take part in an exciting and varied programme.
The biggest challenge for the group currently, is our fall in membership numbers. Over the last 5 years, we have seen a considerable decrease in total membership, We have halved in size since 2010, from 132 to 65 members this year.
Since last year, the largest reduction in numbers has been in the Beaver section. This is related to the closure of the Lowther Beaver Colony, due to a lack of adult leaders. Total Cub numbers have risen by 8 over the last year, thanks in part to the opening of a new Cub Pack. Scout section membership has halved in size over the last year, mainly due to leadership changes, and scouts moving up to Explorers.
This trend is something we must reverse. In this coming year it is essential that we examine why this trend is happening in Penrith, and what we need to do to about it.
Unless we make positive changes, we risk being unable to support Scouting in Penrith We may lose the valuable experiences, friends, skills, and adventure that Scouting brings.
I am glad to say that our young people have had a great year. The Beavers, led by Matthew, James and Rob have given the colony an excellent programme, and as a result they continue to have a full colony. I was pleased to hear that the district beaver sleepover went well, and they all had a great time.
Our Cub section has grown this year, with the addition of a new cub pack, led by Wendy and Chloe. Liam and Rob also provide a fun and lively programme for Beacon Cubs. I am delighted that the Cubs have completed lot of activities away from the hut, such as Pond Dipping and planting flowers and herbs at the railway station. 2016 celebrates 100 years of Cubs, so I expect we will see another successful year of Cub Scouting.
The Scout section has welcomed Matthew as an Assistant Scout Leader, but we continue to have difficulty recruiting a Scout Leader. As a result, we have not been able to provide as much of a programme as we have liked. However, in response the Scouts themselves have stepped up to the mark, organising their own activities and working as a patrol to continue their Scouting careers. I would like to give a special ‘Well Done’ to the Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders for their enthusiasm and initiative over the year.
Taking part in activities together and involving parents is an important part of Scouting. Not only does it build friendships between sections, but it helps create a real sense of family and belonging in the group. Over the last year we have had several highly successful group activities, including our annual bonfire, pancake night and St. George’s activity day. Our May Day float received 2nd place, and the sections did well at the Swimming Gala. The main highlight has been our Family Camp, where young people, parents and siblings spent a long weekend at Great Tower Campsite, on the edge of Lake Windermere. Activities included crate stacking, orienteering, blind trail and bell boating.
The Group Executive
I would like to thank Jonathan and Rachel for all their hard work managing the group finances, and Sharon and Janet who continue to support us on the group executive. Without support ‘behind the scenes’ we could not provide good Scouting to our young people. We have spent the year without a chairman or secretary, which has been problematic. These are two very important roles, in ensuring that the group continues to operate effectively.
This year we have begun work on a group development plan, which aims to help grow and strengthen our group for future. We will continue this work in the coming year. As part of this plan we have changed the way we administer subscriptions, allow parents to pay by standing order. Not only it this one less thing for parents to worry about, but it also takes a weight from leaders, who have less worry about chasing up subs payments.
Challenges for 2015/2016
The 3 I’s for next year:
- Improve adult and parent support on our Group Executive Committee
- Involve young people to shape Scouting within our Group
- Inspire our young people to make a difference in the community
Group Scout Leader