Back home

Found my computer cord, but lost the bag of presents I had bought for the kids :-( My youngest patted my arm and said: "It could happen to anyone, mum, don't worry..." I'm still very angry with myself though. And the strongest stuff served was coffee...

All in all, it was a productive weekend. We mightn't have got as much work done on the material, but we "sold" the program well. I also learned more about the Training Leader accreditation scheme, and later Leader accreditation scheme, and about the thoughts concerning the new Leadership Academy. Also, it was inspiring to learn more about the WSJ Camp in Camp. Oh boy, aren't you in for a treat!

The WSJ committee STILL haven't put the PR film on Youtube! Scandalous, as it is really nice. I had words with one of the representatives, that promised to put my thoughts forward. Before the London WSJ there was loads of material on Youtube, and lots of the camp TV-films are still there to see. But NOTHING about Simply Scouting! Lots of children need a substantial length of time to be able to save up for the jamboree, it's no good waiting to tease their appetites until it's too late!

This week the scouting term starts. Mike has ironed his uniform, and looked all over his very messy room to find his knife handling badge for me to sew on. But he can't find it anywhere. Just as well, as his uniform seems pretty tight and the sleeves seem to have gotten shorter since camp a few weeks ago. Cassie starts tomorrow evening, but Victor and the Challengers have already met three times.

The Challengers have chosen to have every third meeting together with the Challengers from another group in the next town. Last night they were there, looking at their premises, and in three weeks they will come to us. My thoughts as their leader is to inspire them to take the Basic Leader training course together during the autumn, as almost all of ours are assisting at Tracker and Explorer scouts. But we'll see. There are sooo many things that I hope that they would like to take part in!


Scout forum

Last weekend of August, and 700 scouts gathered in the site of the 2011 World Scout Jamboree for seminars and information about upcoming events in Swedish scouting. The WSJ planning team was present, and so was the B-P Fellows, His Majesty, King Carl Gustav of Sweden.
His Majesty is the grey-haired man between the man in black and the man in grey, just in front of the portal.
We are subjects of experiments, trying out the proposed camp toilets, showers and some of the other facilities. Representatives from the Federation committee and the various subcommittees are present to answer questions and inform of the program reform, the WSJ, other European camps, and functions within the international scout sphere.

The shop is doing brilliantly, as the foreign guests are shopping madly for the Swedish profile clothes, and I don’t blame them: The clothes are wonderfully designed, reasonably prized and probably very cheap, considering the Swedish currency being so weak at the moment. One Japanese lady walked out of the shop, carrying at least 5 Swedish scout uniforms! The piles of Simply Scouting WSJ profile merchandize melted away during the day.
Myself, I was in place to inform about my work with the Challenger scout material, and to get input from leaders and scouts, and to help inform about the program reform and the new Leader book that I have helped with (in a very small way). It will be published in November, and we have a trail print with us for feedback. Generally the reception has been positive so far.

Now, I'm in the café. I've lost the electricity cable for my computer and am about to loose power. But that's ok, Ik'll have another cup of coffee and listen to the band, and be a little bit sociable instead....


Getting things together

Next time this year, our group will host 300-400 scouts, mainly adults, when the Swedish Scout Federation have their biannual information meeting. Tonight the organising committee and some of the people that we have asked to be apart of the executing committee had a first meeting, to present ideas and thoughts about the event.

The truth is, we don't have much information to share at the moment. At the weekend, a few of us are going down to the Scout Forum at Rinkaby, where the WSJ 2011 will be held. There we will meet the secretary general and second and hopefully get some more info about budget and demands on program. It's all very exciting, but sometimes I (and a few others) curse this silly head of mine that keeps having ideas...


Kick off!

Every scouting year starts off with a gathering, where all of the group's leaders meet up and plan the term together. This autumn term saw a few changes. As I have advertised earlier, I have left the Cubs and will be the second leader of the Challenger scouts (15-18), and Marie will do the Adventure Scouts (12-15). I will, for now, remain the district training officer, and work on the new national program.

This year we were sent on a quiz walk, and then we had the pleasure of decorating cakes together, and eat them. Of course I had to taste all the available cakes (6).

The scouting term starts in two weeks. I will continue to report from our activities and about general scouting issues.


Back from camp

Sorry, my intention was to keep you posted during camp and upload pictures too, but I got too busy, writing for the camp wall paper, being around for the kids and also participating in the adult and leader program. I wish I could have done more things: I missed out on the discussion groups and the seminars, but managed to pursuade one of our parent helpers to take the teaser seminar for parents, helpers and aspiring leaders. I did go to two Chi Gong classes, in the most beautiful spot you can think of, I got to go out on the sailing boat Mandalay (first time sailing), I had a number of cups of coffee, and roiboos tea in the friendly café, where I got to speak English to Hilary from Tasmania. (The coffee was free if you brought your own cup and bought a cake, so I had a number of yummy muffins, brownies, carrot cakes and mallow cakes too I'm afraid)
View from the Chi Gong class
Mandalay from a distans
We had a lovely camp. The kids were extremely well behaved and did us proud in lots of ways. Petra and Kerstin in our camp kitchen served breakfast, and lunch when the scout got back from their morning activities, and then they did their tasks: One six was responible for chopping firewood (which was an easy task, as many of the younger scouts love to practise with an axe and therefor had done most of the chopping already); another filled the water barrells and saw to it that the hot water tank got topped up, and water for handwashing and washing up was available and three sixes cooked for the others. Everyone got to try all the stations during the week, exept for the Explorers, who did very little cooking, but helped out all over where it was needed.

Lighting the kitchen fires

Recipies can be difficult to read

All in all we were 56 people on our plot. We had taken cubs and scouts from 10 and up. Most stayed for the duration of the week, but we had to let two go home due to sore throats, and two scouts bailed ship for going on holiday, respectively celebrating a loved relative's 80th. As we shared resources and leaders with Varberg's scout group, we were plenty of adults on site, and it felt almost like a holiday.

Relaxing was possible in all weather

The youngest member in the village was Lukas, who is five and came to his first camp with his granddad. The oldest was Torkel, who is Group leader for Varberg. He is 75, and still going strong, and also helped organising the the camp, so he was on site when we arrived, and won't be coming back until Wednesday this coming week.

The kids had a wonderful time, in spite of the first couple of rainy days. The morning activities were meaningful and thought provoking, although some of the leaders thought them to academic for scouting: A great teaser for the new program to be launched this autumn. Some sixes got a talk on journalism and writing for the paper, and then got sent out to do little pieces on a deadline, that were then published in the camp wall paper, or on the blog the next day. Others built sculptures out of refuse, made up a country and then learnt about how easily war breaks out, and the danger of retaliation with out thought, when their "counties" were destroyed by others. This exercise stirred many emotions, but was a great discussion starter.

Understanding what's behind the billboard headlines

The scouts also got to try forum theatre, "the theatre of the poor", acting out dilemmas that they had come up with on the theme "oppression". Some acted out school situations and bullying, whilst some of the older scouts thought of political tyranny. Every day scouts were bussed into the nearest town to collect money for charity, and in the end got almost 10 000 SEK together for the "Grand day out foundation", a charity that help fulfil seriously ill children's wishes.

The rock band Marilyn entertained the last evening. The singer admitted to being very impressed by scouting and having had to abandon a lot of prejudice after being booked for the gig.

In the afternoon the scouts had a wonderful smorgasbord to choose from: Making friendship bracelets, soap football, organised water fights, canooing, sailing, swiming for the younger ones and also viking jewlery, and black smith forging for the older. On top of that, there was a range of activity bags to be borrowed from the Information tent: Giant Chinese sticks, ludo, butterfly exploration packs, water experiment packs, rock climbing, absailing, obsticle course, etc, etc. The Adventure scouts went on a 12k hike one evening, and the Challenger scouts were on a midnight adventure game, where they were to save us all from environmental terrorists. (Don't ask me! I haven't the faintest, but it sounded exiting and went on until 5 in the morning.)

Two of our Challengers. Not the English woggle on Victor's necker

In the evenings we were all nicely tired out and the kids went to bed without to much ado, except for after the great camp fire when spirits were high coming back, and most nights they were accually asleep by midnight, except for the Challengers, who sneaked back from their disco/speed dating/kareoke/whatnot in the woods.

All in all, a wonderful experience, and I like to thank the organizers, the leaders and all of the kids for a wonderful week. And thanks also to all you parents who trust us with your children.


At camp again - Agema Kragenäs Sweden

It's difficult to see, but the top sign accually says "No camping"

On 1st of August 1400 scouts from the western part of Sweden got together on the meadows of North Bohuslän, close to the Norwiegan border. Arrival day was good. The scouts from Falkenberg had travelled by bus for 3,5 hours. We found our camp site, a seemingly well drained peace of the field, just by the fresh water taps, but miles from the toilets. Work commenced imediately: The kitchen got going, cooking supper, the tents went up (three tipis, three gilwell, 1 troup tent, 3 tunnels) and the kids worked really hard. We tumbled into bed at about nine in the evening, completely shattered all of us.

On Sunday building was continued. We got the seats, and the roof for that, two kitchens for the kids to cook on, washing and washing up area and other, a bit more ornamental constructions. The weather was fair, although rain had been promised between 8 and 9pm, just when the opening was planned, so we all prepared by putting our rain gear on.

The stage had a beautiful setting, with the sea and the rocky little archepelago islands behind it. The organizers welcomed us to a camp for both body and soul, and urged us to us to think, and think of others during camp, and when we get home. The rain didn't start until 10pm. But then it kept raining...

Today, activities started. Our scouts had media training: One group went to work for the camp wall paper, and the other learnt about press, and what is news and how to see the story behind the news piece. The Challengers scouts were challenged by writing forum plays and act them out in large groups. The leaders felt a bit obsolete for a change, and had time to relax. With no younger Cubs on site, Marie and I had time to enjoy.

Unfortunately, the weather has had a turn for the worst and it's now continuously raining. The weather report says rain tomorrow as well, but on Wednesday it'll be 26 degrees centigrade and sunny! But the sailing boats are in the sea anyway, and there is plenty to do. We try our best to stay as dry as possible, cover in the tuch shop or in the café, or brave the rain, doing archery, playing games or just walking. It's too wet to build. The staff are doing their best to keep us entertained and happy in the mud. I've been promised to use the computer if I promise to blog for the camp blog too. I hope to be able to make the same arrangement tomorrow. And I hope it has then stopped raining.