Cipher and early Shrove Tuesday

As both Akelas had pressing business elsewhere, so Eva and Rasmus ran the meetings this week, together with Jessica, and we had to postpone our star gazing evening. Just as well, because the sky was clouded over, it was windy and wet, not at all nice. Instead the Cubs got to practise their deciphering skills and go on a little treasure hunt around the Scout hut. Following various clues they picked up the implements and ingredienses for the traditional Shrove Tuesday cakes, 'Semla'.

This evening's game was an Elephant tag, where when you get caught have to stand still, holding your nose with one hand and putting the other arm through as an elephant's trunk until someone notices your predicament and comes and shakes trunks with you: Good for motor skills and perception.

Gone for inspiration

We were four Cub scout leaders who went to the Swedish Scout Federations own seat of learning for a weekend of inspiration. The "Akelas", Marie and myself, Eva and our young assistant leader Rasmus. We were picked up in a minibus, by our district comissioner. It was a long ride (500 km) and we picked up a few people on the way. It was late and dark when we arrived at Kjesäters Folkhögskola, but we managed to come in time for the evening sandwich and tea.

We checked in and got allocated matresses in the Stables, the school's arts studios. While us ladies felt slightly tired after the long journey, Rasmus got adopted into a group of keen Geocacheing people, who went out into the dark, slightly wet and cold winter night to try and find "treasure". They came back a couple of hours later, about 1 in the morning, all enthusiastic and glowing. One would have thought that they'd managed to shoot a deer or something!

We got a little bit of a taste for the Geocaching phenomena in the morning, when Links took us on a little hunt before breakfast, as he had located a cache very close to our quaters. And it was great fun, looking around for what turned out to be a Tuppaware box containing little trinklets and a "guestbook" where all of us from Falkenberg signed our name. We also added a card with the adress and phone number for our local book shop. Who knows, it might come in handy for someone.

I had chosen three theoretical classes on the Saturday. First we had a two hour lecture on 'reflective conversation', to be able to better sum up the scout activities at the end of the meetings. My friends were to a workshop in 'knife and axe safety' and 'risk evaluation'. After lunch I went to a lecture on 'visionary leadership' and got thouroughly depressed, as I recognised lots of destructive patterns from my workplace. Some of the others were making lovely jewelery from silver wire, something that they continued after supper, into the night.

I was so filled up with impressions and new knowledge that I had to withdraw. I intended to write in this blog, but I couldn't get into the school's wireless network and then went to sleep. My friends dropped back about half one in the morning from having, respectively, been geocaching and campfire (without the fire) singing.

On the Sunday morning the air was crisp and clear. Snow had fallen during the night and the stars were still out when we went for a brisk morning walk at 7.15. It was absolutely lovely! Marie and Eva made snow angels.
After breakfast we were all booked for a two-hour 'baking outdoors' workshop. Oh, such fun! I got put in a six together with 5 men of varying age. Oh, the banter! I got as good as I gave, and we laughed so hard we could hardly roll out the puff pastry. (It was slighly difficult, as it was frozen, and it was still -1, so we had to try and soften it up by the fire)

We made danish style puff pastry, filled with chopped up dried fruit mixed with runny honey and baked them in reflector owens by the fire. The other groups made Pain au Chocolate on 'Murrikka' and apple pie on Trangias. Then we had coffee, first with the cakes we'd made, and then again in the canteen, to warm ourselves up, before the last workshop that for us was 'Scout methodology in practise'.

We got to 'borrow' som Cubs from the nearest town, Vingåker, that took us on a Pirate treasure hunt around the school grounds. On the way we had to walk the plank through treacherous marsh lands, pick up treasure in the middle of a pool of quicksand and answer terribly difficult pirate trivia, before we could combine all the collected treasure and bake some lovely fruit scones on frying pans over open fire. And then lunch. Oh, my poor tum!

In the car on the way back, we were jolly happy, reeking of log fire smoke and thouroughly inspired. The trip home seemed shorter, or perhaps it was because I nodded off, inspite of the loud singing from the driver's seat. Of course, we all decided on the spot that we had to go again next year!

Chinese sticks and sixes

The meetings on 21st and 22nd of January were dedicated to working together and forming new sixes. We brought in the old bamboo canes and rubber bands, an exercise I learnt in 22nd Oxford Sea Scouts.
The cubs were instructed to make a bridge, after their own fashion, that could take the weight of our pack's ring folder. The bridge should also be high enough for the folder to pass underneath. They were also given the clue "Triangles are good".
The Cubs worked relentlessly and were very concentrated on their task. With just a little bit of coaching all the bridges were able to carry the folder and the sixes proudly presented their work and told the others about the process.


New semester, new life!

We leaders started last Sunday, by planning the new semester together with the rest of the Group. We decided to adopt the international theme of water, and also to go canoeing to finish of the spring semester on the first of June.

As we have two packs of Cubs (yipee) for the first time in many years, we try and sync the activities and also try and do some activities together. It sometimes is a strain to have all 45 kids running around your feet, but they do enjoy and benefit from seeing that there is a lot of them that share the same interest, and also it is important for them to see and enjoy the company of the older scouts, Venture and Rovers. In Sweden Cubs are divided into to seperate age groups: 8-9 and 10-11; miniors and juniors. The first meeting was dedicated to Code Breaking, and after playing HotDog Tag, the warm and sweaty Cubs thoroughly enjoyed decifering the secret messages and doing the tasks.

Then the Cubs reflected about how the group work had been going and as preparation for making the new sixes they got to make wishes about who they liked to work with, one girl and one boy. Then it was time to gather together and sing the Scout song, and then they all scrambled out into the dark winter's evening to the waiting parents, clutching their code sheets and the new program.
Hot Dog Tag: One Cub is it and tries to catch as many others as possible. When caught the Hot Dogs stand still and straight (and quiet) and it is up to the others to be observant and spot the Hot Dogs predicament and together with a friend form a "bun" around the Hot Dog, who is then released after the count of three. The game is over when there isn't anyone left to save the Hot Dogs or when people need a break.
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