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Scouting Unplugged

For their project, Scouting Unplugged, Eric, Jack and Damien, Explorer Scouts from Slough, have set out to make a film that shows what Scouting is like ‘behind the badges’. Using footage submitted by other Scouts all over the world, the Unplugged ensemble aims to truly capture the real spirit of Scouting. We spoke to Eric about the project...

How did you come up with Scouting Unplugged?

I’ve always enjoyed watching different styles of documentaries that represent different people’s lives through culture, events and lifestyles. I came across A Life in A Day by National Geographic; it’s a crowd-sourced documentary, acting as a video time-capsule of self-shot, deeply personal and powerful moments of contributors’ lives all shot on the same day.

I found the contrasts between people’s lives so overwhelming as it constantly presented different places, situations, languages and emotions while at the same time it really showed an emotional connection that is shared between all humans. It made me wonder whether there are certain traits that are shared between all those involved in Scouting; maybe some sort of thirst for adventure or the desire to give something back to their communities. Either way, I knew that it would be an interesting project to pursue.

What was the first thing you did to get started?

With us all already having a large involvement in different media aspects of Slough District and Berkshire County Scouting, I spoke about my idea to Damien, my leader at the time who had started our District Media Team and he seemed eager to take it on. We then spoke at our weekly Scout meetings to see whether the idea could become a reality and with support from our County Media Team we came up with a plan.

What are your aims for the project?

I see Scouting Unplugged as a social experiment to observe many different sides of Scouting and its different communities. There are always going to be stereotypes about someone who belongs to a community but I really believe there is more to Scouting when we observe it on a global scale. Scouting Unplugged aims to present the vast differences in Scouts from all over the world with their different upbringings, traditions and roles while still showing that there is a positive attitude towards life that really connects us all.

A project like this will always be risky as long as it relies on other people’s contributions. To really present the vast differences of lives in which Scouting has affected it would be great to have hours and hours of footage from Scouts from all types of backgrounds.

How do you manage Scouting Unplugged along with school/Scouts etc?

We would always see each other on a weekly basis at our own Scout meetings so that’s where we discussed most of our plans and when the project became a bit more real and intense we would just hold separate evening meetings every two weeks to see which directions we could take on setting up social media and websites. It works really well when you have a group that are already quite close in terms of place and passion.

What advice do you have for any other young people looking to set up a project like this?

Never let an idea go; if you find something that creates a spark of interest for you, make a note of it and see where it can go. Surround yourself with trustful friends and make crazy ideas into realities.

I would like to say a big thank you to Damien and Jack for all their hard work, our Slough District, Berkshire County Team and The Scout Association for their support. We are really looking forward to seeing all of your footage.

For more details on Scouting Unplugged and to get involved, visit scoutingunplugged.com.

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