In waiting for the photos from Wednesday's St George/World Book Day celebrations, perhaps you'd like to hear the Swedish National Scout Anthem. Ehem... At least for now... Appearently, noone ever accually made the decision in the 1920s, and the lyrics are, by most people, considered to be slightly dated and also slightly unfashionably nationalistic. Personally, I find that it would be better if we sang verses 2 and 3, that unfortunately are never sung (except in the 1990s punk version, virtually impossible to find on the net, I'm afraid) about our love for the outdoors and how we should strive to be good to others, instead of pledging our honour to serve king and country. Some of the words are almost archaic and most scouts struggle to understand them, even reasonably well educated adults. Anyway, the Scout song is now under scrutiny, to either be scrapped and replaced by something more modern, or at least given the official status that it inofficially has.
Here is also a technoversion. There are also other scout hits, like the 2007 Jingijamborii song you could download from this site or just watch some films promoting and documenting the centenary camp in Scania, Sweden. Or listen to the anonymous rap from the Swedish Scout Association's homepage. (They've buried it well on one of the course pages!)
If your country, or group, has got a scout song that I can link to, it'd be great fun to hear from you!


St George and World Book Day

Wednesday was a day well worth celebrating: It is the Bard's birthday, his death day and also Cervantes, the guy who wrote the book about the mad, old man who read too many books and thought he was a knight and went out to fight windmills to save his damsel, died that day. Therefor UNESCO has made this the World Book Day. Another person who fought for a damsel, not windmills, but a dragon, was St. George, the boyscouts' patron saint.

St George's is celebrated by scouts all over the world. In Sweden, where girls and boys have been joined in scouting since 1963, all celebrate St George, even if it originally is a Boy Scout celebration. How you choose to celebrate varies between the groups, and "which kind" of scout you are. Some groups have a church service, some only a parade, but most do something publicly, to show the spirit of scouting. In Sweden there are five different nationwide associations, where of The Swedish Guide and Scout Association, of which Falkenberg is part, is the most profane.

So, this year we tried something completely different: We made a Wild Book Release, the first ever in Falkenberg, and held a St George show in the centre of town!

All the cubs brought one or more books, that were taged and put in a plastic zip bag and then hung up in a tree. We played tag and in the water display, and then we put on a dressing up show starring mostly cubs in the roles of St George, the dragon and the princess. It was very silly and very noisy, but after all the frivolities we managed to get some serious words in at the end, about doing one's best, not expecting rewards. At the end all joined hands and sang the Scout song, that echoed against the brick walls of the houses around the square.

Some of the Cubs brought home as many books as they came with, and when the scouts had left we saw that people who walked by stopped and had a good look. Some even picked a wild book to take home, and this morning all the books were gone!

The activity was deemed a great success, and we might do it again.



This week the Cubs were tracking and trapping...
One of the activities this meeting was a nature quiz: The Cubs followed a trail around the park, where they had a chance to look at the almost newborn sweet kids and lambs. One of the local dog clubs also had a course just by the hut, and many of the Cubs were fascinated by the obedient canines. Of course they also answered some tricky questions about the great outdoors: Does the maple leaf change colours? Does the squirrel swim? Most Cubs thought it very easy.

Then the Cubs had to be very attentive and follow a trail of arrows and bush signs to find a letter telling them to bring back a 20 cm twig. 20 cm are VERY relative, even for Swedish kids who have grown up with cms! I guess we need to work on personal meassures...

Also, the Cubs had to read and match pawprints from native Swedish animals as hare, wolverine, linx, fox and wolf, and tick them of on a bingo board.

The most action packed station was the marble run, where the cubs had to get a marble from one side of the lawn to the other and into a tin, by cooperating using pipes and half pipes. This really tries the cooperation in the pack, but also concentration and communication.

It is a great game for all ages, and once you have made the equipment you can use it over and over again. You need plastic pipes with a diameter of about 3.5 cm. Cut the pipes into 50 cm lenghts, and some of the lenghts in half lenghtways, so that you have about the same amount of "tunnels" and "runs". Round the edges of with sand paper, as they can get nasty, and as the pipes get waved about abit.

Older scouts get given a few moments to organize themself and find a method to solve the problem, but Cubs might need som help with this. The marble must travel in the pipes, and not get touched, cohorted or stopped in the runs. If it falls to the ground, you have to start again.

All in all, the kids very very active and are revving up for the group camp in two weeks. Then we'll have a visitor from the 22nd Oxford Sea Scouts!

On Wednesday it's St George's and we're planning a great Bookcrossing wild release, as noone has done that in Falkenberg before! Very welcome to Rörbecksplatsen at 5.30 on Wednesday to pick some wild books!


The Stars are out!

This year's first sleep over and many of the Cubs' first visit to the group's second hut: Tranabo. Tranabo (Crane's nest) is a little, about 80-year-old, homestead in the middle of the woods about 30 km east of Falkenberg. To get there you have to drive, first on a reasonable single lane road, then on a tarmaced country lane, then on a gravel road and to finish you have to go up a bumpy dirt track. The group has had this little cottage for 40 years, and it has got a lot more comfortable during this time. In the olden days, (when I was a cub!) it only had two logfires for heating, a privy in the yard and you had to get drinkingwater from a well in a meadow a little way away. But today the Cubs come to a fairly modern place, with hot and cold running water, electric heating and a building in the yard, where the outhouse used to be, containing WCs, changing rooms, showers and a sauna! Aren't they spoilt!

38 of our Cubs had heeded the call to come. To our great joy also five parents and two young leaders came, so we were well staffed. When the Cubs and parents (almost all also for the first time) came, they sang the Cub Scout song, and had a guided-tour-on-the-line: All held on to a 10-meter rope, and got shown around the premises by the leaders, Cubs and adults alike.
We were very lucky with the weather, as the forcast had shown clouds and possible showers: The sun was shining, the birds singing their little hearts out, and it was also quite warm: 12 degrees Centigrades in the shadow!

The kids cooked on Trangias, under the supervision of the parent helpers. They made the standard beginner's Trangia meal: Hunter's hotpot, Jägargryta, with some modernization (i.e. pasta instead of potatoe)

Hunter's hotpot (Cub's version)
You need:
  • Sausage
  • Leek
  • carrot (could be substituted, or added to, with other root veg.)
  • sweet corn (tinned)
  • stock cube (veal or vegetable)
  • pasta
  • tin of passata
  • salt and black pepper
  1. In the six, make sure everyone has washed their hands thoroughly.
  2. Be careful, passing out the chopping boards and knives.
  3. Boil some water in the little pot on the Trangia.
  4. Chopp the sausage, carrots and leek. Put them in the big pot and start heating up when the water has boiled.
  5. Pour some water into the big pot, add the stock cube and bring to the boil.
  6. Add the pasta and boil for five minutes.
  7. Add the passata.
  8. Season and serve!
After lunch, the parents were put in nice, sunny clearings in the woods and the Cubs were sent out on a nice long walk, where they got to practise some skills: At one stop they practised doing a reef knot, in another they played Kim's game, and they did the old life-line throwing.

The spring weather encouraged water-play. In the spring, there is a little stream running just below the yard, from the hill into the little lake. The Cubs really enjoyed playing in it, making dams and getting muddy and wet. Some played hide and seek in the forrest and made themselves aquainted with the surroundings for the spring camp, the May Day weekend.

When it got darker, the Cubs came inside to play games and colour in pictures of star constallations. The parents served out a "African Mince", spicy minced beef with a creamy sauce, served with rice and corn crisps, and then we all went out for a camp fire. Marie and Eva sang lots of songs, some old and some new, most in Swedish, but some in English, and I did "Cecil is a Caterpillar" (in Swedish). Then it was time for bed.
Outhouse and wood shed in the snow
We woke at approx. six o'clock. To our surprise it was snowing! We had sandwiches and oat porridge for breakfast, made some badges and started packing up. It took the kids some time to find all their odd, wet socks, sleeping bag bags, rubberbands, towels etc. By the time we got all the equipment outside and started hiking down to the pickup point (the dirt track is too bad for too many cars) it had started raining. We tried to match found items up with found Cubs, but still we had a whole bag of left-over stuff after the last Cub had been picked up.

Very muddy Cub and Marie at Pick-up point

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves, particularly the parent helpers.

No meeting this comming week as we have a Fix-it day at Tranabo next weekend, for all the group-parents and scouts alike.