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From the Group Scout Leader: April 2016

Baden Powell, our founder, gives this advice to leaders: “In Scouting, a boy is encouraged to educate himself instead of being instructed.” It is enchanting to see this happening at 2nd Penrith.

I joined Blencathra Cubs one Wednesday, for pancake night. The cubs learnt how make batter and practice their cooking skills, which included learning from their mistakes when the pancakes got burnt! They even had the chance to experiment with different flavour combinations.

It was wonderful to see the Cubs working with other cubs to solve problems (like how to toss a pancake, and catch it in the pan). In that 1 hour of educating themselves, they learnt more than an hour of leaders cooking pancakes for them – and that is what makes so Scouting special.

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From the Group Scout Leader: July 2015

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.

 

Census

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.

 

Beavers

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.

Cubs

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.

Scouts

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.

 

Group Activities

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:

  1. Improve adult and parent support on our Group Executive Committee
  2. Involve young people to shape Scouting within our Group
  3. Inspire our young people to make a difference in the community

 

Mike Freeman
Group Scout Leader

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From the Group Scout Leader: Oct 2014

Welcome back, after what I hope has been a good half term holiday.

This term has already seen the Beavers touring the Churchyard and climbing St. Andrews Tower! The Cubs and Scouts have camping at Great Tower Campsite, near Windermere, knee deep (ok maybe I am exaggerating) in mud. The second half term this autumn kicks off with our Bonfire Night Social, followed by some exciting activities including a Spooky Weekend for the beavers and scouts.

occhelper quoteAt our AGM I talked about how much we need to get adult volunteers into our group. They are not only essential for working with young people, but are also needed for the back-of-house running of the group. In particular we are still looking for a group chairman, and some new scout leaders.

Parents play a big part in filling these roles, and most of our adult volunteers are parents of current or former members of 2nd Penrith. Some give time weekly , others give termly or even yearly. The benefits of volunteering are huge, and I have talked previously about the exciting adventures I have done, new skills that I have learnt and how it has helped me get into University and a job!

The challenge is trying to engage new parents, and get them involved. This could be done in a number of ways; through the parent rota, emails, letters and most importantly talking! It is not until you make time to talk to your parents, that you find out their hobbies and interests, how much time the have free, how much they would be willing to give to scouting and how you can apply what they enjoy doing to our group!

The harder challenge is to engage the general public, but it is essential if we are to survive as a Scout Group. There are lots of people out there with the skills, knowledge and a bit of time that could lend a hand. For example, we need a team to help maintain our hut. Surely there is a handyman/woman out there with a bit of time that they could use to help. By doing so, he/she would be helping the group and ability for us to provide good scouting to the young people of Penrith. You could even get the scouts involved to do their DIY badge at the same time.

Essentially, no matter what you can do, we can put you to use!

So I challenge you all: Ask yourself ‘What can I do?’, ask other people ‘What can you do?’ and if you/they are not sure, then ask me, because I can tell you what needs doing!

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From the Group Scout Leader: Aug 2014

The summer holidays – a time for relaxation, recuperation and getting ready for the new term ahead. However, for the Scouts the fun continues over August! I’ve just got back from our annual scout summer camp. This year the scouts headed to Hawkhirst Scout Centre, on the shores of Kielder Water, Northumberland. The camp combined traditional scout skills with adventurous activities: cooking over fires, knife and axe skills, wide games, bell boating, rafting, crate stacking and much more! Keep an eye on our website for photos from the weekend.

Over the past term, I am pleased to report that all of our sections were just as busy. The beavers had their ‘bee’ themed sleepover, whilst the cubs went to ‘Cuboree’, camping on the edge of Ullswater. (http://youtu.be/C2sHiqZYX4c)

I would like to thank everyone who came to support our AGM and BBQ. It was lovely to see how much support parents give the group, to help us give young people the adventure that scouting offers. We have said many thank yous to Cath, Diane, Sharon and Janet, as they move on to other roles. We have 2 new treasurers on board – Jonathan and Rachel, with some interest in our secretary role.

We still have a vacancy for Group Chairman. This vital role helps to keep our group going behind the scene, and without someone in this role, it may start to affect the programme that we can deliver to our young people. Please take a look at our role description: http://2ndpenrithscouts.org.uk/vacancies/group-chairman/. It can be a role just for you, or to share with others. If the role is not for you – what about a friend? Do you know someone with a good head for admin, or who wants to be involved, but doesn’t want to work with young people directly?

I would like to welcome James, a parent, and thank Matt, previously an assistant, who will be starting as Beaver Leaders this September. We are also reopening our second cub pack, thanks to Wendy and Josh who are heading up our new venture.

Finally, I want to remind you of our 2 key challenges this year:

  • To get more young people from Penrith involved in Scouting
  • To recruit more volunteers to help deliver the Scouting Adventure!

With more young people and more adult volunteers, we can make a difference to our community, grow 2nd Penrith Scout Group and give young people opportunities to develop fully.

Good Luck!

Mike

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From the Group Scout Leader: April 2-14

 

This is the first of a new update bulletin from the Group Scout Leader!

It’s been 6 months since I took on my role, time has gone so quickly! Over the last 6 months, I have seen how thriving our group is, supported by enthusiastic volunteers who are not afraid of a challenge! My main task so far has been to ensure our Scouting is safe; we have developed a new risk assessment, and installed some high-tech smoke detectors!

Currently we are trying to start claiming gift aid on subs, which is worth 25p per £1 you give in subs. Potentially it means at least an extra £1000 per year to spend on activities and equipment for our young people! Download the form and return it to us: http://2ndpenrithscouts.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Gift-Aid-Jan-2013.pdf Also, in development is a group newsletter, keeping you up to date with everything that is going on at 2nd Penrith!

I have been delighted to attend the Beavers end-of-year presentations, with lots of Chief Scout Awards being presented. Our Beaver and Cub sections took part in the annual district swimming gala, where we won overall Beaver section winners. The cubs had a ‘sleepover’ at the hut, camping out in the grounds. I have also, been helping out with Scouts on a regular basis, supporting the leaders in their roles.It was great to see so many parents and young people at our Pancake & Quiz night earlier on this year, I had good feedback from many people who went. Well done to the winning team!

We are also seeing some changes in roles throughout the group. We are welcoming Phil, a new section assistant to scouts. Cath, is stepping down as treasurer, after many years hard work, to concentrate on the beavers. Sharon is stepping down as secretary, to take on a more flexible Group Exec. member role. Our Scout Leaders Stuart and Lydia are taking on a more flexible role, due to work and family committments. This does leave some volunteer vacancies within the group, just waiting to be filled! Hopefully, we should be able to fill these roles before the end of the summer. All of our roles can be flexible, and are open to anyone, including parents (over 1/3 of our leadership team are parents of former scouts).

We have seen the successful implementation of the parent rota system within the Beaver section. This has helped the leaders enormously, and they can now do more activities with them than ever before! After April we will be introducing the parent rota into scouts, to help support the section whilst we find permanent leaders.

Sainsburys Active Kids: Don’t forget to keep collecting the vouchers, to help get us more valuable equipment for the group!

Mike