Fundraising ideas

Hmmm, you can tell there is a recession... The Christmas market was very successful, and all the raffle tickets were sold and the climbing wall was very popular, but the takings just about took us up into the black. So now, the thinking caps are on until the 12th of January, when we get together to brainstorm ideas for fundraising.

Socks seem to be the in thing. Lots of companies advertise on the Net with "big winnings for your club or class". But it doesn't seem very Scouty, selling underwear?

In Britain a lot of groups have race nights, with beer and betting, but betting is state controlled in Sweden, and we don't allow alcohol at scout activities... I'm thinking, it's really more of a raffle than betting, as the races are pre-recorded, but have to look into the legalities of it before I go and order a DVD...

To me, it's important that fundraising for the group should be consistant with the ideals of Scouting, and should be easy and fun for the kids to parttake in. Anyone have any bright ideas of fundraisers that have been successful? Please, share!

(After the 12 of January, I will be back with all the (mad) ideas that we've come up with!)


Wierd tradition from Sweden...

Last night we had an unexpected a visit. It was four of the Rover Scouts who followed an ancient nordic tradition, and showed up, just when we were going to bed. They rang the door and sang to us, and when we invited them in, they offered us Glögg and ginger snap biscuits. The hall was filled with the smell of freshly cut spruce. Two of the guys were dressed as Christmas trees, one as Santa and Rudolf was also there! I so wish I could have shown you better pictures, but I couldn't find my camera and had to use my mobile phone, which is pretty useless when the lighting is bad.

In the olden days, people used to believe in all sorts of superstitions. Up here in the north, where seasons are very different from eachother, the solstices used to be very important. Before the Gregorian calender the winter solstice used to fall on the 13th of December.
It was a magical night, where evil spirits, trolls, goblins and all sorts were on the prowl, and you should stay indoors and keep yourself safe. It was also the beginning of the old Viking yule tide, when the pigs for the feast were slaughtered. (And all sorts of offerings were given. In the old Viking "temple" outside Uppsala they think slaves were offered to the Viking gods too!)

In the Middle Ages, Christianity was introduced to the old Viking countries, and winter solstice lost it's religious importance, but remained special for most people. You were still supposed to slaughter your pig on the 13th, for the best meat for the Christmas feast, and in those days, when Sweden was a Catholic country, the Christmas fast began on the 13th.

When the Gregorian calender was introduced and the 13th no longer was winter solstice, it was still considered the longest night of the year, and the tradition was to stay up all night. Young people sometimes took to walking around the villages, singing and playing tricks on people, often expecting some money, some food before the fast started or a drink of alcohol.
In the late 16th century people started to connect the tradition to the Catholic Saint Lucia, and a girl, clad in white with candles in her hair began to feature in the celebrations. Soon she was followed by a whole choir! And in the late 1800s the celebration spread to other parts of the Nordic countries. Nowadays, the tradition is secular but in the shape of Catholic tradition, and every school and town have their own St Lucia, often crowned by prominent people in the town's market square. In most families, the children get up early in the morning to sing to their parents and serve them breakfast in bed.


End of year

By tradition Scouting is associated with the Christian church and in Falkenberg we have had our end of year ceremony in the church, but this year we decided to make a new tradition, to make sure that everyone who for different reasons feel uncomfortable about church still could join in.
All the scouts and many parents and syblings gathered in the market square. Some had candles or lanterns with them, others were given flaming torches. Then they marched together through town, in the perfectly still, winter light. It was exciting to walk off the road, onto the path through the wood surrounding the Hut, were there are no street lights and the only light except for the candles and the torches, were the almost full moon and some stars looking down on the procession.
The last part of the mile long walk was lit by torches stuck into the ground and storm lantern. By the outdoor theatre there was a fire lit and Scout Master Marcus was waiting for the scouts. In his speach he told us that this place had been used in "the olden days" (before 1963, when Guides and Scouts merged in Sweden) to initiate Brownies and welcome them into the group. So what better place to welcome all new scouts? 19 new Tracker Scouts were called up, four Discoverer Scouts and one new Adventurer were introduced and gave their Scout promise in front of the group (see upper right corner for explanations of the new names).
Then Marcus talked about the importance of doing to them around you, what you want them to do to you, and how bad behaviour and bad words bounce back onto yourself. He also gave out rewards to leaders who had been active for 5 and 10 years, and introduced our two new Tracker Scout leaders to the group.
When we dispursed, wishing everyone a merry christmas and everyone walked back along the candle lit path to the parking lot, the frost had begun to settle on the ground and the moon and the stars felt close enough to touch over the bare branches. The fire was dying. We made sure that everything was as we found it, only a little bit better and went home. For the Tracker Scouts spring term starts on the 22nd of January. But I will be back before then with some news on the program and other things.

The Swedish Guide and Scout Association, of which Falkenberg Scout Group is a part, is one of five directions within The Swedish Scout Federation. The other four are all part of some mother organisation, like The Mission Covenant Church, YMCA/YWCA or the Temperance movement. Although all groups accepts everyone, it's only natural that the Temperance scouts should promise not to drink and that the Christian scout movement should mission. But the SSF, Swedish Guide and Scout Association, should always be indipendent of any political view or belief. This doesn't meen that we don't discuss faith or get involved in the society around us, although the focus is on ethical issues, democracy and human rights.