Why couldn't I go too?

Thomas delivered my son and his friend from sleepover this afternoon. Our dog Trouble, who is a real outdoor dog, was very upset that he hadn't been invited along to any of the scout activities this time, and took the chance to get into Thomas' car. He was not going to be left out of the fun this time!

It was two very tired and happy boys who came back, full of anecdotes and laughter. My son's friend had to go back early last time, as he had sprained his ancle and missed his investiture, so they had arranged a special ceremony for him this time.

Back to civilization

The Challenger Scouts have kept me updated, using MMS. It's been slightly wet and cold, and they ran out of meth, but got some soup into them. I suppose the eggs and bacon for breakfast used up a large amount of fuel.
It was one of our Challengers' first hike, as he joined only a few months ago, and it will be great fun to see what he thought of it all!

Leader and experienced scout (one of my first Cubs!), 3 km from pick-up point, slightly wet and cold.

Fun without parents

One of the aims of scouting is to make young people independent and selfsufficiant. We do a great job for the most part, but it is so difficult to let go and let them try their wings and fly unsupervised.

At the moment I'm reading the Famous Five books aloud to my 10-and-a-half-year-old son. Enid Blyton is so scouting: The children are resourceful, brave and have great social ethos (even if they're very middle-class and sometimes stinking perfect) My son loves the books where they are out camping on their own, or as in this last book, with a supervising adult who lets them do what ever because he trusts them to do the right thing. The Famous Five always stay 11-15, which isn't true for our scouts, who grow from 6-year-old Beavers to 15-year-olds with spots and hormones. As leaders we're their to lead them in the right direction, to guide them gently into adulthood, and to safely let them try their wings and fly under supervision. But when is it time to let them fly on their own?

My soon 13-year-old daughter is tall for her age, has the vocabulary of a 25-year-old and lots of integrity. She is a dream, and a nightmare. All parents want their children to be independent and selfsuficiant. She is that, and she wants to fly on her own. Together with her slightly older friends she has organized a Halloween sleepover, booked the cottage in the woods, sorted a digital projektor, made a budget, a menu, a program and invites. Already a good few people in the group has confirmed. It will be a great sleepover, I'm sure.

As a scoutleader and parent I have very few qualms about letting the kids do this completely on their own. I have offered to be around as back-up, as invisible as I possibly can, as the cottage is a good 45-minute drive from town, and IF something happens it might be a good idea to have someone around who has a driver's licens. Now, my daughter and her friends have decided that they'd like to go to the cottage already on the Thursday, to prepare (and have a bit of fun as well I'm sure). As I'm not prepared to spend three days invisable in the woods, I've said that I'll be joining them on Saturday. They are definatly competent enough to take the bus and hike the last 5 km to the cottage along the country lanes (The Swedish country side is very desolate and peaceful, on account us having a country twice the size of Britain with only 9 million people in it!)

B-P encouraged "his boys" to explore and hike on their own, to practise their skills and to make independent decisions. Some parents might argue that they were different times, more peaceful, and safe, and they are right in some respects, but perhaps our fear of something happening is more crippeling than the accual risk of something happening? Sooner or later we have to let our children go, and if they haven't practised flying on their own at all, they are bound to crash into whatever lampost at some point anyway. What we need to teach them is to risk assess, to listen to their instincts, help eachother out, and to keep to their good values - that goes a tremendously long way!

But nevertheless I'm going to offer a compromise: They'd go on Friday morning, and I'll join them on Saturday afternoon. First flight shouldn't be too long.


Challengers on the go

The Challenger group - 2 are on a two day hike this weekend. Their other leader, Christian, took them on his own, as I'm practising the art of balancing my diary and saying no, but I couldn't resist driving them the 90 km (60 miles) to the drop-off point just on this side of the Scanian boarder.

The Halland Trail is part of the national walking trail system, and part of it is also The North Sea trail. The trail offers reasonably comfortable walking, mainly on paths in the woods, but sometimes along roads.

The Challengers aren't walking very far this time: Saturday they are recconing on doing about 17 km (10 miles), stopping off for sightseeing along the way. The weather wasn't brilliant, but I'm sure that they will enjoy themselves.

At two I had this MMS. The group had stopped for lunch: Ravioli on Trangias. I hope that Ida's dog Svipp will have some too. With his little legs he's walked much farther than anyone else!


District AGM

It's not a huge affair, but it takes a bit of organising, and a few worries before hand.

I've restricted my distric activities to training. So I was there partly as a delegate for the group, partly as training officer, and also to inform our delegates about how the AGM works. Our group were hosting the meeting, and we were in place at 8.30, with 80 french rolls, and 70 marsipan cakes (We went out for lunch) Our delegates ranged in age from 13 to 42.

The chairman of our group, talking to the retiring chairman of the District

Generally, scouts in Sweden use a method we call, directly translated "influence market", but a better translation is probably "discussion square". The method was invented by The Swedish Scout Association, and has now been adopted by several organisations and political groups, among others Swedish Red Cross, Attac, and Student organisations in Sweden.

All propositions and motions, including budget and action plans are posted in a room outside of the plena. After the meeting has elected chairpeople and secretaries (two of each to make sure everything gets handled correctly) Representatives from the committee, and if possible the person who has written the motion are in place to answer any questions. The delegates move around to listen and discuss the documents. Observers are allowed to comment and listen too, but only delegates are allowed to leave written comments. You use a green note to second the motion, a yellow note to second with changes, and a red note to negate.

When the Discussion square is closed, all the notes are collected by the committee, sorted and documented, and often after lunch, the meeting continues. One by one the propositions and the motions are presented and so are any comments. If a person wants the meeting to discuss his or her comment and take it into the meeting, the issue has to be woken. Sometimes they aren't, because the delegate might have hade a change of heart or been persuaded not to wake the issue.

This is a lenghty buissness, but it assures that everyone has the chance to say their piece of mind and it is a great way to make the text come to life and get everybody involved. It is used both on a group level and in large, national gatherings. How do involve your scouts in the democratic process?

This time, there wasn't anything controversial and the meeting came to a friendly end about 4pm.


Back home, with a bag full of snippets...

...snippets of ideas, of texts, of adresses...

Fredrik offered to help out with the "daytime stuff" - contacting people, comissioning, admin.. Which is so obvious that I need! So first of all, this weekend, I'm going to sit down and list everything I need help doing!

The meeting last night was really inspirational, and some of the ideas grew over night. Then more inspiration this morning, when I met with the people responsable for development and recruitment strategy, where we talked about how teenagers can recruit other young people and adults, by organizing camps, and events, doing projects, involving people outside the movement.

I got lent a new self-help book by a wellknown author, who has been a great inspiration to many adults over the last couple of years. This new book targets our age group. I read it quickly on the train back, and it is absolutely fab! I wish I had had a book like that when I was 16! And best of all: The author has let know that she might be willing to let us use bits of it.

I need to order comic strips, find scouty pictures with a rock'n'roll feeling, comission texts from charities, and find a few samples of inspirational literary writing to send to WSJ communication, to kind of show them that I might be a resource for them after this.

Oh, dear... I so wish I could spend more time on this... But tomorrow it's back to t'old mill.