Apparently I'm now an elf

One of the explorers in the Jamboree Unit just posted this on the groups facebook page and I just had to share it with you...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

That's the 4 unit leaders!

... I have to say, hats off to the lad, it's definitely the most bizarre thank you I've ever received.

Twister + Record Cards + Investiture = An Impossible To Title Blog Post

Tonight was a bit of a mash up for the scouts as the radio station we were planning to visit never got back in contact with us. M'eh, it happens... you plan things, you try to arrange them and for some reason the planets don't align and it doesn't go ahead.

This is why we have back up plans.

I will admit that it was Mim that came up with this particular back up plan. (Yeah, buying a house really takes up a lot of your time... they should come with a health warning or something)
Also... be careful of giants
After a quick game and introducing a newbie (a cub moving up- huzzah!) we got on with one of our activities for the night. OS Symbol Twister! We taped 16 OS symbols in a 4x4 grid on the floor, one grid for each patrol.... and then we randomly shouted out hand/foot and symbol combinations.

Sprogs should not be that flexible.

Both hilarious and disturbing at the same time, arms and legs all over the place.... one tiny little scout cowering completely underneath her PL. Slightly more disturbing when one of the sprogs asked "where's my left foot...?" *facepalm*

Once they had finally all fallen over Niall and Jason went on to do 4 and 6 figure grid references with them, while I pulled one of them aside and went through their Record Card, and it was a good thing that we went through it, as we had found that she had completed a couple of challenge badges.

The end of the night came along and I got to present a whole host of badges, most of them challenge badges.

And what's more I got to invest a PL.

Yes, I invest my PLs. It isn't normal practice, but I've found that it helps give them some confidence in taking on the role and it helps the others recognise the authority that they have. The investiture runs like any other investiture, but with a modified promise that I came up with.

Patrol Leaders Promise
On my honour I promise, 
That I shall lead my patrol to the best of my abilities,
And that I shall remain worthy of the position of Patrol Leader,
For the sake of my Patrol, my Troop and the Scout Movement.

It doesn't seam like much, but my scouts have taken it all to heart. You should have seen the beaming smile he had when I told him that I was going to invest him as a PL.

Does this mean that I will need to change the name of my blog?

You know how recently I have been kinda teasing you... saying that I have some secret stuff going on and that I couldn't tell you about them until the time is right.

Well, the time has come! 

*villagers rejoicing and dancing in the streets*

So huddle in and pinkie promise swear you won't tell anyone...

*deep breath*

.... I'm changing sections to be an Assistant Explorer Scout Leader!

There are a number of reasons why I am wanting to make the move, but the main one is that is it a section that I have always wanted to work with and all my recent work with the Jamboree reminded me of that and made me want it even more. I haven't made the change yet tho. That's going to happen after Christmas, to give me time to get all my loose ends sorted out in the scout troop (like updating blooming record cards).

You actually have no idea how much I wanted to tell you all that sooner. I shadowed an Explorer Unit here in Lincoln for a couple of months to get a feel for the section and I loved it and I wanted to share it all with you. Like the refugee experience, or the murder mystery night at halloween or the Guy Fawkes night... but I couldn't as my scouts didn't know I will be leaving them.

Not long now until Christmas, and I am so excited!

Oh, and that other secret project of mine... all in good time... you'll find out soon enough.

I did warn you they would get messy...

Recently (well, recent enough...) it was halloween!

You know, that time of year when sprogs dress up, asks for sweets and the challenge for scout leaders everywhere is to throw a party. My rule of thumb with this: the messier they leave the better.

But before I share with you my recipe for a messy child, I'll share with you some photos of the pumpkins that we got them to carve.

Recipe for a Messy Child

Sprog                                   x many
Costume                              x one per Sprog
Apples                                 x numerous
Water                                   x bucket loads
Marshmallows                    x more than a mouth full
Flour                                    x a bouquet
Doughnuts                          x enough to choke a giant
Treacle/Golden Syrup      x enough to grease a small monkey

  • Inspect sprog in costume, it may be necessary to remove articles for movement/breathing proposes
  • Float apples in buckets of water
  • Insert sprogs head
  • String up doughnuts on a rope so they all dangle freely. Coat doughnuts in treacle/syrup
  • Hang doughnuts above sprogs heads and let them apply treacle and syrup to face/hair/body/costume as they attempt to consume them.
  • Once all sprogs are damp and coated in treacle/syrup, bring out marshmallows on a plate covered in a large heaped pile of flour.
  • Insert sprogs head, flour should stick rather successfully to water and treacle mixture
We finished off the night with a game of Fluffy Bunnies. If you don't know what that is, you take turns putting a marshmallow in your mouth and saying 'fluffy bunnies'. You are not allowed to chew or swallow at any point or you're out. Needless to say, this was played round a bin for them to eventually throw up into.

What's a halloween party without a game that includes vomiting?

They all loved it really, chasing each other round and putting treacle and flour in each others faces, drooling down their tops while trying not to spit up marshmallows. Of course when their parents showed up and saw how messy they were it was 'horrible'...

I've since learned (from one of the parents) that it took one of the sprogs several days to remove all the treacle/flour.... SUCCESS!!

Lest We Forget

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month and at the 11th hour we will pause to remember.

Usually scouts will attend church this Sunday, in full uniform and in parade to mark the occasion. My scouts wont. Not because we don't remember, but because the Salvation Army church we are linked to goes elsewhere to help others mark the occasion. So we usually have our own form of remembrance.

The past couple of years I have dedicated a whole scout evening to remembrance, and one of the things that I have always struggled to get my head round... and something that I am sure that the scouts have struggled to grasp... is the shear numbers involved.

When told about the numbers that died, the numbers are so huge that my brain just can't imagine anything that size. So a while back I worked out a way to highlight it, a way to make the numbers real. I think I have talked about it in the past, but never actually posted up the numbers and the process, so here it goes.

I found out, from the internet, how many grains of sugar are in a gram (15.432 on average) and then figured out how many grains were in a 1kg bag of sugar. Then equating 1 grain of sugar to 1 soul I worked out how many bags of sugar were needed to illustrate the numbers.

The numbers were still huge.

So I took along one bag of sugar, and emptied it out across the floor. Getting the kids to see just how many grains were in that one bag... and then went through how many bags were needed for each war and other events to help put things into perspective.

And here are those numbers:

World War 1                      15000000-20000000 dead             972-1296 bags
World War 2                      40000000-72000000 dead             2592-4666 bags

Genocides of Nazi Germany     4871000-11000000 dead          316-713 bags
Auschwitz-Birkenau                  800000-1500000 dead             52-97 bags

Indian Ocean (boxing day) Tsunami         230210 dead              15 bags
Haiti Earthquake                                      222000 dead              14 bags

9/11 Attacks (excluding hijackers)           2977 dead                   0.19 bags
7/7 Bombings                                          52 dead                       0.003 bags
War on Terror                              at least 47183 dead                3 bags

These numbers always humble me, and remind me of how privilaged I am.

Thank you, for all that you gave, I will try to live my life to the fullest and remember.