The Chinggas Factor

The Mongolians and I have some things in common...
Their enemies to the south (the Chinese) built a wall (the Great Wall) to keep them out... where as our equivalent (Hadrians Wall) is rather less impressive.

Why bring this up? This summer I took part in an expedition to Mongolia and China with UK Network, and this week at COLDnet I was trying to pass on some of the experiences that I had. I started with the somewhat traditional slideshow of photographs, trying to keep it from being yet another boring slideshow of someone elses holiday.

Thats where the usual stuff ended. After the slideshow I got out some pens and paper and got everyone to try and write their names in Mongolian script... which can look beautiful when done properly and look like a five year old has done a squiggly line with a crayon when a networker does it.

I also got them to try some Mongolian cooking, making cabbage, potatoe and mutton (ok, lamb...) Khuushuur. Everyone seamed to like the food, although not everyone got the hang of sealing up the Khuushuur so that they wouldn't leak into the pan!

*I'll post some photos soon*


Who would have thought that the Fire Service would prove to be such a cornucopia of hilarious comments from the scouts.

Actually... I'll get to that. First things first. Minty had done the honours of organising this trip to the Fire Service, a task that is not as straight forward as you would think. He ended up having to apply in writing over a month in advance, we got a written confirmation that they would take us and that they would cover the requirements for the fire safety badge that we had sent them.
This of course didn't necessarily mean that the message that we were coming got passed on to the guys on shift that night.

Fireman: Can I help you?
Minty: We're here for the scout visit
Fireman: errr.... what scout visit? Give us a minute...

The poor man. Not only did he have to take a group of kids round the station, but he had to do it with zero notice and nothing prepared!

He started off with the usual introductions, describing some of the things that they do and showing them the fire suits that they wear (seeing that they were right behind him). All this to then get interrupted with
sprogette: Were are the fit firemen?
Which must have made him feel so good.

Mind you the really gold was still to come. One of the best questions had to be when he was talking about the hoses that they have on the Fire Appliances, and that different sections fit into each other and lock together...
innocent sprogette: Whats the difference between the male and female hoses?
Needless to say the fireman gave us this "help me" look, us leaders were at the back trying not to giggle (with varying amounts of success), he said something vague about one fitting into the other and then quickly moved them round the corner to the pump controls.

Not that this was the only funny comment or question that the kids come out with during the visit. After going round the appliances we were taken to the break room for a little question and answer session.

"Can you set fire to your own car?"
"Why do you wear two tops?" (he had a t-shirt on under his shirt)
"Do the dorm rooms upstairs have there own little TV and kitchen each?" (we were in the room with the kitchen and TV at the time)
"Can I play with your nee naw?"

To his credit he actually did a very good job at dealing with all these (rather random) questions. He apologised to us saying that if they had known that we were coming then they would have set up more for them... so we are going to look into getting one of them down to the hall to finish off the requirements for the badge. But this also had the immediate effect of us finishing at the station just over an hour before the kids were due to be picked up.

Plan B not only had to be put into action... but had to be devised.

We managed to get them all back to the scout hall to run some games until there folks arrived, all of whom had to be called so that they would know to come to the scout hall rather than the fire station. And why is there always one parent who is incontactable when you need them! We ended up driving one of them back to the fire station to get picked up.

Overall, it was a good night. The kids all enjoyed it and the fire station did extremely well... especially when you consider that the guys involved had zero notice!


I have figured out a way to get resources to you all!

YAY (and the villagers rejoiced)

I've created a google website where I will post resources that I have used or created. (If I haved made them then I will say where I got it from)

I've put some stuff there from previous posts... so feel free to have a look at it

BOOM *evil laugh*

wha ha ha ha <=evil laughter

Welcome mere mortals.... to network...

The plan for our Halloween/Guy Fawkes night had been to invite the older Explorers down to join us so that they could get to know us. Due to the invitation going out late, my own fault, we only got two (GIs sister and one of her friends). But hey, its better than none!

We started off the night by carving melons, which is so much easier to hollow out than pumpkins (or the traditional turnips that I had to carve when I was a scout- talk about your spoon bending, Uri Geller had nothing on us). Buffy and I made a decent attempt, but it was Gav and Lornas 'lovechild' Ernest that stole the show.

Ernest shortly after being 'delivered', thankfully there was a nurse on hand

*news flash* Ernest, after spending over a week in intensive care in Lornas fridge has sadly kicked the bucket (or at least the bin). It is also recorded that altho he was given visitation rights, the father never saw young Ernest again after his birth... some say Ernest died of a broken heart (he certainly had a gooey centre anyway)

Aww look... sharing

ok... maybe there is such a thing as sharing too much

We played some more of the traditional halloween games... hanging doughnuts, marshmallows in flour, fluffy bunnies etc before we had a surprise visit. Cabbage, Steve and Pual all came down to present us with our Rabbit Run trophey; newly engraved with COLDnet 2009

And now that the scouts in the other hall had finally left it was time for the fireworks, which generally doesn't need much commentery other than






This Friday was a rather random week for the scouts.

Seeing that I had just taken over as SL, I had been handed the huge Record Card folder that I need to keep up to date with all the activities that the Scouts do... and of course it helps that it be up to date to begin with (which means sitting down with each sprog individually and going through their cards one by one). This, along with briefing the newbies on the basics like the Scout Law and Promise, just about took up the entire night for me.

What the kids did in the mean time ran not too badly. Mim found an idea on Programs Online where we would run a series of knock out games, when the sprog gets knocked out they would be given a challenge (like tie a bowline) and as soon as hey managed it they would be back in the game. The resource from POL came with a kind of record card... which on the whole worked, but Minty (who was issuing the challenges) said that some of the tasks, specifically the first aid ones, would need a bit more of a structure to the challenge (like fill out the questionnaire etc).

The way we ran the night was:
Scotland updating record cards

Minty issuing challenges
Mim running knockout games

Not only did we have new kids, but we have a potential new leader (who shall be referred to on here as Ireland... can you guess where he is from?). He ran games with Mim so that he could get to know the kids a decide if he wants to stay with us. Hopefully we didn't scare him off completely!

All in all, a successful night, although if we were to do it again we would probably tweak it so that it would run better

Send in the Clowns

... err excuse me... your balls have dropped...

what? ewww, how could you think that, don't be so dirty minded. Here was me just innocently telling you that you dropped your juggling balls.

*mental soap*

Not that long ago I was asked if I would run a circus skills activity session for the cubs, which resulted in me heading down to the hall on a Sunday night... balls in hand. Actually I had a bit more than balls.
The skills on offer: Juggling (scarves, balls and clubs), Poi (weights on the end of chains that you swing about, or balls in long socks), Staff Spinning, Diabolo, Plate Spinning and the odd random activity from them to do themselves
I got the cubs leaders to come down early so that I could teach them the basics of how to do it, so that they would be able to show the kids some stuff... I can't be everywhere at the one time

The evening started off with their usual grand howl and inspection (turns out that the leaders have been taking some notes from my new structure in the scouts!), then we did a little warm up session. We got the group to do some group juggling. It's not a complicated as it sounds:
get them in a circle. Give the ball to one of the kids and tell them that they are only allowed to throw it to one person (who can't be right beside them) and it goes round the group until everyone has had the ball and it gets back to the first person. I usually get the kids to sit down once they have had the ball to help show who still needs to get it. Once the ball for the ball has been created, it doesn't change. Start off with just one ball and do a couple of rounds without stopping, then add more and more balls. The kids seamed to enjoy it... although some of them were a bit pants at catching!

After a safety talk; where they were warned that ANY messing around would end up with them going home early and I was asked by a sprog if the staff was for pole dancing; the group was split into two for the activities.

All in all they enjoyed the activities and the random challenges that I would set them (always handy to have when they start getting bored with the fact that they can't do any of the tricks)

Down in a hole

Last night COLDnet went on a little outing, to meet the Lincoln Caving Club.

They showed us a couple of promotial videos (which, for videos about caving, had a surprising amount of flesh on show- i think they got calender-girls-itis for a while) before asking us if any of us wanted to have a go at there little obsticle course.

Most of us agreed (the only two that didn't had medical reason... so I suppose we had to let them off with that one!) so we had to get suited about booted. Getting into the overalls alone was a challenge for some... superheroes in their jumpsuits are going to have a run for their money with Tom in his skin-tight overalls. Actually I doubt that Tom would be able to run anywhere in those overalls, well, without loosing any potential offspring. Luckily for him the caving club pulled out some slightly larger overalls for him to use.

The obsticle course underneath the huts at Althum Terrace isn't too bad. They have a couple of squeezes for you to fit through, and other things for you to scramble over. The only thing that I would say against it is that its on hard concrete which can be rather sore on the old elbows and knees.

I think that everyone enjoyed the night, and I have to say that I would be tempted to go on one of the trips that the Caving Club organises.

Chocolate *drool*

mmmmm.... chocolate.... *drool*. Damn, (wipes up puddle on desk)

right, where was I? Oh yes, chocolate. More to the point Fairtrade chocolate.Following on from last weeks Banana themed night about fairtrade (where they had to say who would get how much out of the cost of a bunch of bananas)- I wasn't there last week, so it wasn't just my laziness that resulted in no post.

The night, in short, was a shambles. It was just Mim and I tonight (get well soon Minty) which didn't help in the first place. Apart from that, we had an activity off of Programs Online that Mim had found. I hadn't fully read the instructions for the activity (rooke error I know!) and it turned out that Mim hadn't read it in ages either. So, the two of us ended up having to figure out what happened to be a rather overcomplicated game while the kids were already in the hall.

needless to say confusion reigned

...but surprisingly the sprogs managed to figure out roughly what they were supposed to do (I think I can safely speak for both of us when I say that to this day neither Mim or I actually understand that game!). And even more surprisingly, they LOVED it! They were even asking at the end of the night if they could do it again sometime (fat chance of that happening any time soon)

The actual game itself required the kids to be either cocoa bean sellers, chocolate manufacturers or supermarkets and they would have to try to make as much money as possible (while the supermarkets had to fill their quotas to meet the customers demands). That is all I understand about this game. Other details like what actually marks the end of the game are still a complete mystery to me.

Personally I am going to shelf this activity, store it away in a big box with warning labels, flashing lights and spikes (and possibly a huge boulder to come rolling at you if you try to lift it- Indiana Jones style)... but if you want to try it for yourself then I have added the instructions to

Be warned... use at your own risk!

Previously on...


I apologise! I have been incredibly lax with the posting of scouting events... so consider this a little round up session (actually it might be rather long so bare with me!)

Well I suppose the first bit of big news is that I have been successful in my application to become an Assistant Unit Leader for Lincolnshire to the next World Scout Jamboree in Sweden (yeah baby!). The selection process involved a day at the RAF base in Wittering where the applicants were put through there paces.... interviews, presentations, team building games... and scones!!
Have since had a meeting with the unit leader team, and I think that it is going to be a good jamboree by the sounds of it (mind you I still have to work my way through the huge ring binder of information that I was given). I will post updates on here... but obviously I won't be able to publish everything straight away, somethings have got to be left as a surprise.

Second big bit of news is that Stacey has decided to leave the 9th Lincoln =(
Yes, I know, it is a sad day for everyone... but she had her reasons (which isn't my place to blab about on the internet, so I ain't talking). Hopefully she will stay in scouting and she will be happier where-ever she ends up. This, of course, means that there is a vacancy in the SL role... one which the Group Scout Leader, in a moment of insanity, has appointed some Scottish weirdo.

What do you mean "what Scottish weirdo?"

No... not Minty...

... *penny drops*....

Yup it's me!
Am taking on the challenge of running the Scout section (God help me!) I'm actually rather excited about it, am just hoping now that the parents and the sprogs are going to accept the change.

Normal sevice should return shortly

Stick another one on the Barbie

No... not the plastic doll... and you ain't sticking that anywhere!

The barbie was hosted by COLDnet for the local explorer units. So that they would know that we exist and hopefully be tempted to join us. Not only were we going to feed them, but we said that we would entiretain them aswell with a good old fashioned game of rounders.

After arriving at the wrong part of the park (woops), we quickly managed to get ourselfs sorted out with the gear, which was handy given that the explorers started arriving shortly afterwards. Dirty Scout and I quickly took some sort of register and collected money (£1 a head isn't too bad for food and entertainment of an evening), while GI made sure that the area was ready for rounders.

And then the race began... we had about 40odd kids playing rounders while Dirty Scout and I cooked burgers and sausages on the barbie. There was, of course, the odd sacrificial burger that disintegrates (damn you Birds-Eye). But in the end we managed to get them all fed! (although I will admit, they won the race and finished the game before I finished cooking)

Given that it was dark, I got some of my light up circus equipment out and they got to have a go of some poi (weights on end of chains that you swing round) and some staff spinning. I also did a bit of fire poi... but don't worry, none of the explorers got their hands on that!

All in all the night was a success, I'm not entirely sure if we actually raised any funds with it... but it has certainly raised the profile of the network.

my apologises for this being so delayed in getting posted.... life has been rather busy to say the least recently!

Bowling for Network

This is all rather late and for that I apologise!

Monday night was bowling with COLDnet (City Of Lincoln District Network). We managed to get a bit of a discount seeing that one of the guys in network works there. We even got on the shiny, glo in the dark lanes... oooo... shiny

I don't have a clue how I managed it, but I actually managed to win the first game! The second game on the other hand... well, I lost... rather badly. I blame it on the fact that my food arrived part way through the game, but I doubt that anyone else fell for it.

Going... going.... GONE

*please imagine in your snootiest English accent*

Hello, and welcome to Life Auction Ltd.

Please, make yourself comfortable. You are, of course, here because your life is lacking that Je ne sais quoi... that x factor... anything to be honest. You are as they say, a blank canvas and you are here because you want to buy the life you have always wanted!

Hell yeah...

Yes, sir... please... sit down. I do realise that you are trying out that 'enthusiasm' before next weeks auction, but please, try to restrain yourself. That reminds me, unfortunately one of our deliveries didn't arrive which means that we are now out of patience.

But do not fear, your auctioneer this evening is a Mr. Minty... known to his friends as... well he's doesn't have them as he has never been able to afford to buy them.

Any other Life products that you may have been sold or experienced in the past are now nul and void that you have entered our quaint auction house. You can have any life that you choose, provided that you are able to outbid your counterparts..."

This Friday featured the Life Auction, where the scouts were presented with 25 positive personal attributes... which they would then have to buy auction style. How much they would spend would depend on how much they valued that particular lot over the other items and against each other. It got some rather interesting results.

With Good Memory being the highest priced, lots of them fighting over a Loving Relationship and Sporting Talent being rather popular in the end.

Its all in the planning

Its days like this that I am reminded of the old addage:

"Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration"

... which obviously doesn't help when you are trying to get ready for a program planning meeting! Personally I would rather have everyone at the meeting was full of inspiration than being a big sticky mass that's going to leave sweat stains on my sofa!

ewww... mental soap. Might want to by in some fabric cleaner on the way home tho, just in case

Anyway, this evening we are going to be having a program planning meeting to try to arrange what on earth we are going to do with all these sprogs for the rest of the year. I have a couple of ideas that I noted down during some down time at work yesterday... wait let me check...

wow... that new lynx stuff must be working! but I'm going to keep quiet just now, but I will prob give you a run down on the type of stuff that we are going to do (a kind of preview of posts to come on here)

Plus side to planning meeting is ordering in pizza and cake etc!

Cause the drugs don't work...

... mind you the vodka does!

Friday night was a success.

We started everything off (after flag break etc) with a quick game of Poison Ivy just to get some energy out of them before moving onto the main activity. Minty got them gathered round the white board and asked them to start listing the drugs that they knew of...

sprog: "Coca Cola"
sprog: "Tea, coffee"
sprog: "cocaine" quickly followed by "that's not my favourite" by one of the others!

Stacey and I stayed at the back of the group and tried to only step in when some of the sproggage started to act up (that and so that we could have a wee giggle and drugs convo of our own... mind you I think that scared Stacey, what with my knowledge from school in Glasgow)

They made up three lists in total, and they had to guess why they were grouped together. Several of them were convinced that it was in drugs classification (A, B, C etc)- which would have made coca cola a class A drug. In reality it was in the effect that it had.... Uppers, Downers and All arounders. Minty then went into some of the drugs that they had listed, showing them some example (fake of course) from the police case and covered some of the physical and social side effects

Including a photo tour of a prison: kind of like a slide show of someones holiday

*in frail wee aunt Edna's voice*:"And here is the bus we were on. And there is the view from our seat on the bus, then this is us arriving at the door, ooh and look, here's us at reception...


... and here's the hotel room, and here's another one of the room, but the other side...."

I joke, but it actually worked really well to show that prison isn't the PS2 and SkyTV its cracks up to be (cracked up... get it!)

Minty then brought out something sure to put them off smoking for life. First of a healthy set of REAL pigs lungs and a set of lungs that have been treated with cigarette smoke.
Sprog: "How did you get the smoked lungs if they're from a pig"
Minty: "Well you get the trotter and you attach a cigarette..."
Scotland: "It's tricky at first, but once you have them addicted then its dead easy"
The lungs really were rather disgusting, I think Stacey was happy that she quit recently!

We then moved on to the effects of alcohol... now remember alcohol is BAD, isn't it...

... what do you mean you don't believe me...

...we all know its bad and should never touch it, its evil evil stuff...
oops sorry for prodding you with my telescopic nose!

We got the kids to do a walk the line test with some wonky glasses on that would simulate whats its like when drunken. The kids found it rather funny to see each other staggering around... I just found it well needed practice for later that night (went straight to a works BBQ after scouts)

And with that we wrapped up the night, all in all I think that the kids enjoyed it and that they learned something, but hopefully nothing too 'practical'

First Week Back

Well I should be starting back tonight with a bang.... or should that be a crack?

My first night back at scouts is going to be a drugs awareness night (hence the bad pun). Minty, our newest assistant leader (who also happens to be Scottish weirdly enough), works for the Police and does these drugs awareness talks in schools. So when he suggested that he does it for us at the scout hall we quickly agreed.

Now don't worry, we won't be teaching the sprogs how to take how to shoot up, giving out any free samples or getting them to do some E-learning... but we should be able to dispel any of the myths and rumors that they may have heard on TV or in the playground. We have sent a notice out to the parents tho, just in case they have any objections.

To be honest am not sure exactly what is going to happen tonight, Minty is organising it all and I am more than happy to leave it in his capable hands! I'll report back on how it goes tho over the weekend (prob not tomorrow tho... have got a party after scouts tonight and another party tomorrow night, nothing scout related tho)

now to get the rest of these puns out of my head...
I'll cook up something for you to throw into the pot at your next planning meeting, where you should deal out some jellies, brownies and coke... as long as your not a dope and make a hash of it all should be fine

phew... that's better!- but did you spot them all?


As mentioned before, we recently changed the structure of the troop.

Here are some condensed notes:
Running Order
  • Flag break
  • Duty PL recites Scout Law
  • Inspection
  • Get changed out of uniform
  • Program
  • Get changed into uniform
  • Flag down
  • Prayer
  • Dismissed

Points System

We wanted to really encourage the patrols to work together as a team, so we created the points system, so all the games and activities they would do (as well as inspection) could gain them points for their patrols. At the end of the scouting year we would award the winning patrol with a DECENT prize (you know... not just a bar of chocolate and a certificate you printed off last minute at work, but something they would actually like!). We also made the point to make sure that this was not used as a punishment for bad behaviour.

Patrol Leaders

A lot of responsibility was going to land on these sprogs shoulders. We told the troop that they were the new point of contact between the scouts and the leaders. If they had problems they should go to the PL, not us (except for in the obvious exceptions), and we would give instructions to just the PLs for them to pass on to their patrols. They would also make sure that their patrol was ready for inspection and that the patrol boxes were present and correct at the start of each night.

At the end of the 'launch night' we invested the PLs into the role of Patrol Leader. We've found that it has really helped with giving the PLs that bit more confidence and authority with the other scouts.

We also went through all the ceremonies with the kids, explaining them all etc. The rest was all fairly standard to be honest... it wasn't major changes, but they have made a huge difference!



... now that my blogging cherry has well and truly been popped, I suppose I should give you some background details so that you can put things into context!

I'm an Assistant Scout Leader in Lincoln helping to run a section of about 15/17 sprogs. The group is relatively new and I, along with the rest of the leader team, are really starting to push the group towards bigger and better things. We recently restructured the group as the previous set up just wasn't working for the kids that we have (I'll post my noted about the restructure in a separate post).
We're going to have to have a program planning meeting fairly soon... so need to get the good old thinking cap on yet again!

I'm also in COLDnet (City Of Lincoln District Network), which is the section for 18-25 years olds. We have a fairly active program and meet every two weeks. I also get to go along to some national network events too.

As for exactly why I am doing this, well:
  • I've always found it rather difficult to find some decent tried and tested program ideas out there
  • I think that some of my experiences should be shared to help encourage others
EDIT: The idea behind this blog has changed a tad since the early days... before I was trying to make it kinda information based and more of a resource than anything else. And to be honest... even I got bored of that, so why should I expect you not to! Now its a heck of a lot less formal, and more focused on the lighter side of scouting, all the funny bits and the happy memories.

Happy Emergency Services Day!

Hello, welcome to my blog and Happy Emergency Services Day!

Yes, today is 9/9/9... it also happens to be the day that I decided to write my own blog about what I know and love (the Scout Association) after reading the comic genious that is Jen at you have a lot to answer for Jen!

The new scout year is about to start and this time I want to log it all. Well... to be honest it started last week, but I had family down and had to miss it, so for me it starts this week.

Hopefully you'll enjoy sharing my time in scouting with you!