Poetry in the Scout hut
Did your Beavers enter our competition to win their leader’s height in books? Meet the winner: 7-year-old Isaac from 10th Ipswich.
Back in September 2015, The Scout Association launched a new partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books and The Gruffalo - a much-loved children’s book, translated into over 70 languages.
To celebrate the new Gruffalo Explorers books partnering with the Beavers’ My Outdoor Challenge Award, we invited Beavers from across the UK to write a poem about the great outdoors, in order to win an enormous stack of books.
‘I saw the competition on Facebook,’ says Marie, Assistant Beaver Leader at 10th Ipswich. She and the other leaders agreed it would be a nice thing to let their Beavers know about, so she sent them home with a note. ‘About five [Beavers] came in with poems the next week, and we read them out in front of the Colony.’
One of these budding poets was Isaac, aged 7. ‘My Beaver Leader mentioned it and I instantly thought of my first line: “I saw a Beaver, it was brown”,’ Isaac says. Later that evening, with some help from mum to make it all rhyme, Isaac completed his poem. ‘This was my first poem I ever wrote,’ he says. ‘I like writing, I’m quite neat at it.’
The poem was emailed off, and then the weeks came and went at the Beaver Colony. Gradually, the poetry competition was forgotten amidst games and cookery and camp, until one afternoon.
‘I came home from school and my mum said she had some exciting news,’ Isaac says. ‘I was amazed and really excited!’
‘He was beaming when he came in on Wednesday night,’ Marie says. ‘He was so pleased! [His parents] had to order him a new bookshelf.’
Not only did Isaac get the exciting news that he had won a national competition, but he also received an amazing prize - a stack of books taller than himself. ‘Books came popping out of nowhere!’ he exclaims. ‘I’ve started reading My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish and it was really good. I still have loads and loads and loads of books to read.’
To celebrate Isaac’s success, Marie and the leadership team ran a poetry party. ‘We did old-fashioned writing games, and ate cake. The Beavers came dressed as their favourite book characters,’ she says.
Marie says she sees writing poetry, as well as other creative outputs, fitting in well with a balanced Beaver Programme. ‘I feel that, as much as [Scouting] is about going outside, it’s about life skills. Not everyone is going to have outdoor jobs – most of the Beavers will grow up and work in an office where they’ll be writing,’ she says. ‘[My role as a leader] is about broadening their skills.’
Isaac seems unsure about where his new-found talent for poetry may take him. He says he has no plans to write any more poems at the moment, as he’s busy reading all his new books. ‘I don’t know what I’ll do next,’ Isaac ponders, ‘but I hope it’s good.' We hope so too, Isaac.
Congratulations to Isaac and thank you to everyone who entered our competition, in partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books and The Gruffalo. Like us on Facebook to see more opportunities like this.