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Hampshire’s Chief Scout's Gold Award achievers

Speaking to teenagers can sometimes be a bit hit and miss, so it was a little daunting when I was told that I was to ‘briefly interview’ each of 50 Scouts in front of their parents, friends and Leaders. I needn’t have worried though as it was great fun and the Scouts were, of course, fantastic.

The occasion was Hampshire Scouts' Chief Scout's Gold Award evening on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the highlight of Scouting for almost all the Scouts was camping and being outdoors.

Quizzing with the Guides

More daunting perhaps was being one of only two men joining 70 Guiders at GGUK’s HQ on Friday evening for a ‘pub quiz’ about guiding. My apprehension heightened just a little when, on arrival, Barbara (PA to the Chief Guide) told me how brave I was!

The occasion was a party to celebrate Liz Burnley’s five years as Chief Guide, and the handover to her successor, Gill Slocombe. We were very pleased to have been invited along, and of course I needn’t have worried here either, as several of the Guide Chief Commissioners quickly took Julie and I under their wings and invited us into their team.

Can’t think why they called our team the ‘Black Sheep’, but we came a creditable second and had a great evening.

Learning those practical skills the fun way

An early morning train got us to Bowley Activity Centre, Burnley. We joined many of East Lancashire’s leaders for their annual Skills & Chills weekend, where they get together to socialise and learn new skills – clearly a very successful formula.

Sadly, my attempt at firelighting using a variety of natural items and skills proved why Bear and I are so complementary to each other.

A Q and A session over what turned out to be an extended lunch covered a wide variety of issues including badge sponsorship, adult recruitment, adult training, a perceived north/south divide and much more. I also had an opportunity to chat to Cubs and their Leaders taking part in the Burnley Cubs shooting competition.

Celebrating with the 38th Rossendale

In the evening we joined members, former members, family and friends of the 38th Rossendale Scouts, Burnley for their 60th anniversary bash. We had another fantastic evening, although my introduction to ‘hair whipping’ by the Explorers left me feeling at a distinct disadvantage (as the Facebook pictures prove).

Saying thank you at Great Tower

A more leisurely drive on Sunday morning saw us arrive in the Lake District, Cumbria, joining guests at Great Tower to thank all those involved in running the site for very many years and to mark the ‘handing back’ of it to UKHQ as part of the National Activity Centre Strategy.

So much time, energy and passion from so many people goes into our campsites, and we know that change is not always easy, especially when it impacts on people's livelihoods, so it was great that so many could join us and to be able to personally thank them and celebrate their achievements in managing what, for me, is the 'jewel in the crown' of our National Centres.

No pressure on newly appointed Centre Manager, Kate, and her team to achieve even greater things then!

And finally

I’m always amazed by the excellent presentations I see around the UK. One that popped up in my mailbox this week was that of the 4th Golcar (Huddersfield) Group's annual report.

Cheshire Scouts have also given their website a new makeover, and introduced Cheshire Scouts TV to promote their fantastic opportunities.

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