Foxes and a New Year

A New Year started for Foxes last night when the Sixers, Seconds and leaders had a planning meeting for what they would like to do at Cubs this term.  I must confess I was not looking forward to it, I had got out of the habit of Cubs.  The end of last term finished very suddenly when the school, in which we meet, needed the school hall for their Christmas disco.  It meant our programme that should have finished with a Christmas party finished the week before - a whole month ago.

Since the end of last term my time has been taken up with family and the whole celebration that is Christmas.  I love Christmas the fun and joy it can bring but felt disappointed I didn’t get time to share this with the Cubs.  We collected food for the food bank, four carrier bags and completed lots of Christmas craft but we didn’t get to finish everything the Cubs had planned.

Last night the cubs came to the meeting full of enthusiasm, it was very contagious.  This term we will have four sixes, blue, red, orange and green.  At first the Cubs were almost timid with their ideas.  ‘How do you want to start the new term?’  after a few minutes silence ‘Do we have new cubs?’  ’Can we play games?’  ’I like crafts’.  It didn’t take very long for the Cubs to become more vocal ‘Can we go on stargazing live?’    ’there is a stargazing badge, can we do that?’  ‘You mean the Astronomer?  I don’t see why not.’  so we spent some time looking at what the badge involves and planning what we would do each week.  The Cubs were a little disappointed when I said it was unlikely to involve being on stargazing live, but they have planned to write a letter to the show.

Mothers Day was next on the list and inspiration was sort in the Baker Ross catalogue.  The Cubs decided the cost was high and would make cards, sweets and coupons.  Boxercise, Zumba and go to the Golf range were the next suggestions, I made furious notes.  Healthy eating, turning our gardens into a fitness zone, go to the park, clean the Scout hut,  cutting trees down, pancake races, cooking, making fake sick…  The list went on.

After a break of chocolate ‘fish and chips’ the Cubs decided on a programme for the term.  Just a few days for us Leaders to find someone who can teach Boxercise and Zumba, find the costs of the driving range, source the Mother’s day card and decorations, gen up on Astrology and possibly get hold of Brian Cox and see if he wants to answer questions on Astronomy the Cubs are bound to ask.  Just as well the enthusiasm rubs off I can wait for such a fun filled term to start.

Narrowboating – a Cubs view

My name is George, I am nine and I go to 2nd Bracknell cubs (Foxes).  On Saturday we went on the minibus to a narrowboat.  I and my friends, Oliver and Christopher were on Star.  Oliver and I were on the top bunks and Christopher was below us.  We met Richard, the Skipper, he told us all how to be safe.  We had to wear life jackets if we went outside.  Going to bed was the hardest bit about the trip because they were not comfortable and I was really excited.

We woke up and had a cooked breakfast, Chris the Scout leader said he didn’t come on a camp without a cooked breakfast.  It was a rush to eat breakfast, pack our kit away and tidy up before we had to open the first lock but we did it because we all worked together. 

The first lock was really hard.  It took all of us to get the gates opened.  We had to wait until the water was dead level before we could push the gates open.  Getting off Star was easier than getting on.  We had to help each other getting off and on Star.  Star kept moving all the time.

The worst bit was the rain because it rained a lot but we all had to wear our coats with the hoods up.  The best bits were when I got to drive the boat, opening the first lock, meeting Richard because he was a really interesting, fun and caring Skipper and just being with all the cubs.

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George steers the narrowboat (click to enlarge).

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George & his cub friends (click to enlarge).

Posted on behalf of George Creber, Foxes Cub Pack.

Cubs – Narrowboating 18th – 19th October 2013

It was with some trepidation I boarded the 2nd Bracknell mini bus (available to hire for all your Scouting needs, see Minibus Hire) on Saturday evening.  I had spent a very enjoyable hour in the hut watching the cubs from all three groups, Wolves, Stags and Foxes get to know each other while playing lots of their favourite games.  Now I was on the mini bus making sure all fourteen cubs were strapped in and ready to go.  We were to sleep on a narrowboat that night and I was dreading it.  Small space, water and Cubs, not words you normally see together, so why did I say yes?

Why do we volunteer to take cubs away? Why do Leaders give up their time and energy spending weeks planning and executing a residential experience?  It is all about the fun and going away is tremendous fun, for the young people and the leadership team.  It also allows the young people to develop independence, leadership skills, build confidence, get to know their leaders and build new friendships.  Taking young people away from home overnight, particularly camping, has always been at the heart of Scouting.  However a residential is not just about the young people. A residential event also develops skills in the adult leaders, introduces them to new skills, new experiences, builds confidence within the leadership team, builds friendship and working relationships, and you get to see the young people growing.

On the weekend of 18th and 19th October 2013 a total of twenty cubs and eight leaders made a trip along a small section of the Grand Union Canal.  Baloo had completed the logistics on who was going on what night.  Friday night saw twelve cubs complete the trip and on Saturday night fourteen.  Each trip had fourteen locks to open and close, and each child that wanted to steer the boat (under the watch full eye of the Skippers, Richard and Al) was able to.  We were on the boats hired from the Hillingdon Narrowboat Association; our boats were called Star and Pisces.

We arrived on the side of the canal with very excitable cubs.  Baloo split us amongst the two boats and we climbed aboard.  It was surprisingly spacious inside the boats, once all the kits had been tided away.  The Cubs soon found their way about and after a quick orientation the Cubs sat listening attentively to Richard the Skipper of Star.  A safety lesson was absorbed by all the Cubs and Leaders, we were shown on the map our route for tomorrow and I sneaked in a little map reading lesson.  The Cubs then got ready for bed and on Star were asleep by 10.30.

7.00am dawned grey and wet the weather did not bode well but the enthusiasm of the cubs brightened the boat like a huge ray of sunshine.  After breakfast of cereal, sausages, eggs and beans the cubs got dressed for the weather and it was time to open the first lock.  Even though it was raining the smiles from the Cubs as they pushed the locks open and closed made everyone smile.  New skills were learnt and old ones remembered.

During the day all the cubs got on and off the narrow boat, this was more difficult for some of us Leaders, each Cub got to use the windlass to open the paddles, push the gates open and closed and watch life on the Canal.

By lunch time we were on our way back down the canal when the thunderstorm hit.  The rain was sheet rain and a lock loamed.  We decided that the Cubs were to stay in the narrow boat and the Heroes of the hour were the Skippers and Scout Leaders who got wet through so the Cubs (and Cub Leaders could stay dryish).  By the time we got to the last lock the rain had eased, though the Cubs were very tired they donned waterproofs and lifejackets and got ready to open the lock.

After big Thankyous to Richard and Al (Skippers) Chris and Marion and Baloo (Peter) the Cubs climbed onto the mini bus and immediately become wide awake and ready to sing.

So would I go narrowboating again?  No, I have a love of dry land and a stronger fear of boats than ever.  Would I go narrowboating with the Cubs again?  Yes, of course.  I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter where you take the young people or what activities they do, their residential event is all about fun, friendships, skills, learning to be independent and building confidence.  So where should I take the Cubs next?  A nice warm, large, hall in Bracknell, comfy sofas and not a canal, lake or even pond in sight.

Bag Packing at Morrisons

Yesterday, 2nd Bracknell helped customers with bag packing at Morrisons (at the Peel Centre). This was a great opportunity to raise funds (£295) and a number of members attended, as follows:

  • Beavers
    • Bisons
      • Connor Hughes
      • Nick Lockington
      • Connor Pringle
      • Ewan Coyle
    • Lumberjacks
      • Toby Langsbury
    • Mounties
      • Spencer Baker
      • River Kinch
      • Conn Farrell
    • Pioneers
      • Oscar Brown
  • Cubs
    • Foxes
      • Oliver Long
      • Bradley Spence
      • Callum Thompson
      • Bethany Baker
      • Emille Thayne
      • Katy Thayne
    • Stags
      • Adam Shill
    • Wolves
      • Clodagh Farrell
      • William Birch
      • Liam Devine
  • Scouts
    • Belfast
      • James Birch
      • Vincent Custance
      • Fraser Russell
    • Victory
      • Alex Merrington
      • Conor Gallo
  • Explorers
    • Thomas Birch
    • Matthew Lee

Along with the following adults:

  • Steve Prower
  • Derek Salter
  • Judy & Richard Baker
  • Victoria Thompson
  • Steve Richards
  • Mark Hughes
  • Dale Kipp
  • Marion Carter
  • Nick Garrick
  • And some others that just arrived unannounced

Our sincere thanks go to all who attended, especially the adults who turned out at such short notice and to Mr Prower (our GSL) who stood outside the store for the entire time we were there (09:30-15:00), than went in and did the shopping as text’d to him while he was standing outside!

Our thanks also go to Morrisons for allowing us to raise funds at their store, without whom we could not have achieved this.

Foxes Programme – a story

My scouting magazine came today and flicking through the ‘Get active’ section the article on page 21 reminded me I had not yet written up the Foxes programme for next term. Foxes Cubs have been open since April and are giving 17 cubs the opportunity to explore and experience the magic of Scouting.

Around the May half term my mind turned to September, what could we do at cubs, what activities would we do for each of the programme zones, Beliefs and Attitudes, Community, Fitness, Creative, Global, Out door and Adventure? I had so many ideas… but Scouting is all about ‘learning by doing’ and for me and the Foxes Leadership team putting a balanced programme together is an easy, fun night, a chance for a chat and catch up, but for the Cubs would it be so easy?

On the 25th July the Foxes’ Sixers and Seconds met to plan their autumn term. The Sixers and Seconds made some animal footprints ready to make a trail for their six in September. This was done using permanent pens and cut up lemonade bottles, the Sixers and seconds then followed a trail from the nature detective website answering questions like ‘What wood are cricket bats made of?’ all the time the Cubs were talking and discussing if their six would like this sort of thing, the Sixers were taking the lead and learning to work with their second.

Making s’mores over tealights with a squash lead the conversation onto what they would like to do in their programme next term. A large calendar with blank dates was put in front of them and the room went silent.

We took the calendar away and we put a resuscitation dummy in front of them. ‘I know what that is for’ ‘That is CPR’ ‘I know how to do that’ ‘can we have a go’ the Cubs were vocal again.

We talked about 1st aid and how it could save lives, how important it was to learn. ‘Can we do first aid next term?’ ‘Do we get a badge for it?’ ‘Can we make fake blood?’ So first aid went on the Programme, Under Beliefs and attitudes we will be able to explore the cubs values and attitudes.

‘Messy Art we have done flick painting can we do it again?’ Messy art was added to the programme, it will give the cubs the opportunity for the Cubs to display there creativity, and show how good the young leaders are at getting the Cubs to clean up.

‘Can we put on a show?’ ‘Yes but like Britain’s got talent’ ‘What if we don’t want to be in the show?’ the Entertainer badge went on the programme, the cubs are going to put on a Britain’s got talent show with the Cubs not wanting to be on the stage organizing the show, making tickets and being back stage crew.

‘Community Service, what would you like to do?’ ‘Something for the environment’ ‘Something outside’ ‘Litter picking again’ Offering help and service to the Cubs community is integral to the Scout programme, The Foxes will be helping the Rangers at Savernake Park coppicing and general tidying (Risk assessment complete and first aid kit up to date and ready to use)

‘Can we learn Stop, Drop and Roll?’ ‘We went to see the fireman when I was a Beavers, can we go again?’ Foxes will be visiting the Bracknell fire station to meet White watch, discovering who lives in our community and how they help our community is all part of the community programme zone.

Discovering the out doors is a little bit harder in the September term, however Foxes are helping the Rangers and also want a cycle ride arranged at the look out. Alongside the other opportunities 2nd Bracknell are offering next term, a narrow boating trip and sponsored walk I think we have ‘Outdoor and Adventure’ covered.

‘Can we visit the police station?’ ‘How about a police station in a different country we could go to America?’ we expanded on this idea a little and the cubs will run a Global evening. The cubs will have time to choose a country and each six will decorate a table with information, souvenirs and items they have made about their chosen countries.

We have two weeks left I told the Cubs, would you like Christmas crafts and a party, smiles all round with lots of ‘Yes, yes yes’

My oldest Sixer looked at the programme ‘We don’t have any ‘Fitness’ ‘Okay’ I said ‘What are we going to do about it?’ ‘Horse riding’ ‘Rugby’ ‘Judo’ ‘Running’ ‘Go swimming’ ‘Instead of playing games at the beginning each week can we do a fitness challenge?’ The Cubs voted and a fitness challenge won. The District are also arranging a district Cubs athlete badge day so lots of exercise ready and waiting for the energetic Cubs.

So that is how Foxes decided on their programme for the coming autumn term, the Cubs can chose and put together a balanced programme, the Cubs ideas are balanced and have the Scout values at heart. As a Leader I discovered that the Cubs have very different ideas to me, that listening to them really does allow the Cubs to have a programme they can be engaged in from the start and will allow the magic of Scouting to, perhaps, continue to the next generation of Leaders.