Caching In

It's about time that I introduced you to some new members of my scouting family...

This is Albert, he lives with Mim (the GSL) and likes to get out and about with her family. He's sociable like that, altho you will find him at some family gathering sitting in the corner munching on some boiled sweets.
Betty here has been living with me (oh the scandal). She likes visiting places and sometimes accompanies me to work. She likes cake and her favourite colour is blue.
Cyril can be a bit tempremental at times. Jo, his carer, has being having some problems with him. He has occasional dizzy spells and gets slightly disorientated.

And not to forget Doris, our shrinking voilet. She's rather quiet, keeps herself to herself and doesn't get out as much as the others. She can usually be found round the drinks table at the party tho.
Yup, these are our new GPSs. Instead of numbering or lettering them we decided to name them... because it's more fun that way! The worrying part about it was the number of emails that flew between Mim and myself as we were trying to come up with the names.

It was like we were naming children.

We delibrately went for more old fashioned names so that it would be less likely that we would get sprogs with the same names.

Now, what have we got planned for them? GEOCACHING! Geocaching is like a giant treasure hunt. People hide containers of varying shapes and sizes all over the world and register it online, anyone else can then look up the co-ordinates and the clues and then go hunting for them. Usually there is a log, a strip of paper, for you to sign.

This video should help explain it:

Now, Mim is pretty nifty at this whole geocaching malarky (as of writing this she has found 250 of them... and that is bound to go up... oh and she only started 9 months ago!). So she hid a series of caches just for the scouts to find, some of which would be made public later.

We split the sprogs into two teams and got them to go hunting, as subtly as they could manage (which wasn't that subtle if I am honest). They had varying degrees of success, but they all seamed to enjoy it... which is handy as it all goes towards their Navigator badge

Theres a mApp for that

Given some of us leaders new found joy in Geocaching (I blame Mim my GSL for getting me into it), it was only natural that we would want to cover the navigator badge with the scouts... especially given the new GPS/Geocaching option for it!

Mind you, even though we were going to teach them how to use a GPS and geocaching, we still wanted to make sure that we covered the basics on how to read a map, so the past two weeks have been dedicated to mapping skills. well... it was when I starting writing this, before I went on holiday!

First off, contours... and potatoes.

Yes, potatoes.

We cut them in half length ways and then got the sprogs to draw lines on them at regular intervals (using CD cases as spacers), that way they could look at them from above and see how the contours relate to the shape of the potato.

I have to say, it worked rather well... altho the pens didn't like the starchy wet juices from the potatoes.

While that was being done in the kitchen, I was drawing out a massive grid out in the other hall with chalk. The patrols were then given a map key and a list of items to mark on the grid at given co-ordinates.

We got the activity idea from Programs Online, altho we had to adapt it as we didn't have time to make up the cards needed and some of the symbols listed weren't on our local OS map keys (oops)

Moving forward a week (did you feel it?) we continued on with the mapping skills. We didn't want the scouts thinking that all maps had to be really complicated so this nice was all about them making their own maps, starting off with their homes.

You would hope that they would know their own homes right? And you would be right, mostly...

But why leave it like that? Let's get them to map somewhere they haven't seen before... how? Well, that's easy. First they would have to build it. We dragged a whole load of stuff out of the cupboards: ground sheets, chalk, rope, cones, boxes, buckets etc and each patrol had to create a landscape that the other patrol would then have to map.

And if I am honest I was rather impressed with the results!

I was liking the use of the table to make a cliff, and the waterfalls. Also they used the different tins to represent different types of building (church, bank etc). Unfortunately I just can't remember what it was that they called the country!

And our other country- the name of which was something Twilight themed (grrr):
I'm liking the mountains, forests and lake with waterfall

Now, they didn't get it wrong with the red rivers... that isn't water, it's lava. We have volcanoes here!

The cones off to the side were a large body of water with some small islands in the middle.
You have to admit, that's pretty darn funky!



*rushing of nurses and other people with odd bits of beeping machinery*


we're loosing him...


*overly shiney doctor with sparkly glint in teeth stares into camera* "Not on my watch"

*pounds chest*

... *blog splutters back into life*

No I haven't been in hospital and I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Infact I've been to Africa for my first non scout related holiday in over 12 years (which for a 25year old is a rather sad fact).

Given that it was a non scouting trip I won't be covering it in any detail on here: altho being surrounded by elephants and chased by rhinos (I kid you not) was exciting and I thoughly enjoyed myself.

Rest assured that normal coverage of my scouting adventures will resume as soon as I figure out what normal is.