On 22-23rd September 66 Scouts from around GMW came together as Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders to learn or enhance their skills. They also took part in a County Forum where ideas of best practise were shared and the Scouts had the opportunity to tell leaders what activities they wanted to do more of.
There were 15 different Scout groups represented across all but one District in the County which was a brilliant turnout and the Scouts really enjoyed talking to new people and camping together.
On the Saturday the Scouts rotated through practical bases including axe, knife and bow saw training, first aid, backwoods cooking, fire lighting, knotting and lashing, tent pitching and navigation skills. This would set them in good stead for the Catapult Challenge on the Sunday. More importantly however the Scouts all learned valuable techniques to take back to their patrols and Troops to share with other Scouts.
Also on the Saturday we had a communal barbecue kindly assisted by the Scout Active Support from Urmston District and then the Scouts prepared sketches to perform at the campfire held in the evening. We also played a very long and loud game called the ‘Wool game’ which the Scouts loved.
Finally before bedtime we held a brief forum for all the Scouts whereby in their mixed patrols they were asked to consider what they liked about Scouts, what would make it better, what activities or events they currently attend as a Group, District or County and lastly what events they would like to see on the programme.
This allows me as ACC Scouts to understand whether the current County programme we are offering holds enough interest amongst the Scouts and to see whether there are any new events we can look at building into the programme which the Scouts were interested in. It also allowed the Scouts to appreciate the aspects of the programme which they might not currently be exposed to as much as some of the other Groups/Districts therefore giving them ideas to take back to their Groups.
After a pretty cold evening we held shorter bases on Sunday morning around the following themes: the role of PLs, the structure of Scouting and the role of adults, risk assessments and safeguarding and finally an Explorer’s base.
After a quick stop for lunch we launched straight into the Catapult Challenge giving the Scouts an opportunity to put into practise the skills they learnt the day before to construct the best catapult firing contraption. Many a different approach was adopted and when the final catapulting of a potato began and the judging commenced it was clear a lot of thought had gone into the construction.
From a feedback point of view I asked the Scouts to answer a small survey and I am pleased to say all but two would like to see this event repeated next year with every Scout who responded agreeing they had learnt something new over the course of the weekend. The average rating out of ten was 7.83 and there were some really positive suggestions for next year’s event which I will be taking into consideration.
After reviewing the outputs of the weekend I pulled together a comprehensive pack full of the Scouts’ ideas which will be circulated to all Scout leaders. If you don’t receive an email copy shortly please feel free to email myself for one.
Finally I would like to thank 5th Urmston for their hospitality in hosting this event as well as all the leaders who came to run a base or support the weekend. Hope to see you all again next year!