In the early hours of Saturday 4th August, fourteen weary eyed parents brought their young person to Hartwell Community Centre and the Young People got on a coach to go to Belgium. This was the culmination of 18 months of planning for Hartwell Scouts to visit the Flanders area and take part in the last post ceremony in its 100th Year Anniversary.
When we got to Ypres we visited a place called “In Flanders Fields Museum.” We received wrist bands which would activate any of the interactive things in the museum. There were also lots of exhibits in the museum, like model mini trenches, which showed you what it was like, videos of what it was like during the war and clothes and weapons from that time.
After this, we visited Sanctuary Wood Museum (Hill 62) which is now one of the few places on the Ypres Salient Battlefields where an original WW1 trench layout can be seen in some semblance of what it might have looked like. Bomb craters still littered the area, some of which could fit 5 Scouts standing up in them, and dark tunnels that seemed to go on forever. The most surprising thing to the Scouts was how shallow the trenches were – rather than being deep, most of the Scouts heads came above the top meaning that the soldiers would have had to spend most of the time crawling through mud.
We then moved on to the Tyne Cot Cemetery where many of the fallen soldiers from the 1st World War are buried. This was an amazing, sombre sight of thousands of pure white, impeccably clean headstones and walls covered in plaques dedicated to the fallen soldiers filled the area, with speakers whispering out the names of those buried in the cemetery. Whilst we were there we found the plaques with the fallen from Northampton and one of the Scouts also found a family members grave.
Our last stop was back to Ypres where we attended the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. It was amazing that on a quiet evening several thousand people gathered to pay their respects to those that had fallen and become part of an event that has been going on for 100 years. We all stood to attention as speeches were made and the bugle sounded, then wreaths where laid at the gates steps in respect and honour to those who gave their lives for freedom.
Every Scout that we took away with us behaved and acted with extreme dignity, respect and politeness during their stay in Belgium. Making new friends from other countries, doing activities in strange locations and most of all having fun. The pride I have for those that attended and the memories gained will stay with me and those that attended for a lifetime. I would like to thank all of those that supported the group in its first international trip.
I have had the privilege over the last few weeks to have presented many more Long Service and Good Service Awards together with a number of Leaders who have gained their Woodbadge.
Scouting offers many opportunities and experiences for our Young People and I have loved talking to them and finding out what it is they enjoy about Scouting.
As Adults we also get much out of our Scouting Role and it has been lovely meeting more Leaders and finding out about how you got involved in Scouting and hearing about what you get out of it. We all have times when things don’t go quite to plan and we all at some stage thing why are we doing this? Having spoken to many Young People across the District and as a Leader having seen Young People grow and challenge themselves I know exactly why we all do what we do.
I would like to say a big thank you to you all for all that you do and have done in the past to offer Scouting for the Young People in our District. I feel very privileged to be District Commissioner for Grafton District and am very excited about what 2018 hold for us.
Lastly I hope that you all have a very Happy Christmas surrounded by those who you love and I look forward to seeing you all in 2018
Grafton District Scouts
Lynne is an Assistant Beaver Scout Leader at 1st Blisworth and has now completed her Woodbadge for the role.
Lynne first got involved in Scouting in 2015 when her Granddaughter joined 1st Blisworth Beavers. Lynne loved Beavers as much as her Granddaughter (if not more!) and decided to take the plunge and become a member of the Movement to support the growth of the Beaver section in Blisworth.
Lynne’s enthusiasm is just amazing as we wish we could bottle it!
Scouting inspires Young People and give’s them Skills for Life but it also enables people of any age to achieve wonderful things and this is a perfect example of this.
Ready to get involved? Ready for a new challenge? Grafton District Scouts are always looking for new volunteers for a whole variety roles to help us support local Scouting. Even if you can only spare an hour a month, there is always a role for you!
Well it has been a hectic first month and at times it has felt like information overload! But I am still smiling. My diary is beginning to fill up for May and into June, if I have not been in touch yet I promise that I will be and will be out to visit you soon.
I have seen some of the great work that is being done in the District by yourselves and I was delighted to attend 5th Brackley’s AGM and Family Camp where I presented a Chief Scouts Gold award, witnessed several other young people receive badges and a Beaver Scout be awarded with his Bronze award by Assistant District Commissioners for Beavers Pete Rock and Carol Fraser. Not forgetting the amazing spread that had been provided by a dedicated team of volunteers. I also had the privilege to present adult awards including a 30-year & 25-year service award. Thank you to everyone for your warm welcome.
Work is going on behind the scenes to update the District website and make it more user friendly so watch this space! If you are a Facebook user please like our page and suggest to friends and family that they do the same. Why not follow us on Twitter? Let’s see if we can get the profile of Scouting raised in our District. If you have any stories and photos of the things that you are doing in your Groups please send them to email@example.com as we would love to share these. On this note I have appointed Will Hazell as Media and Communications Manager for the District this is a key role in driving the District forward. I am sure that he will be in touch with all Groups soon to ask you about the things that you would like to see on the Website.
On Friday evening I went to Northampton Gang Show and this got me thinking could we do something in Grafton District? I would like to say well done to all the young people from our District who were involved in this. It was a great show.
Looking ahead this month I have lots more visits booked in and our District Cub Camp taking place at Bromham.
In the meantime, if you have not had the chance I would encourage you all to look at the Northamptonshire County Development Plan. This will be the driving force behind how we move forward as a District over the next few months and years.
Grafton District Scouts
I just wanted to write and say how delighted I am to have been appointed as your new District Commissioner. My objective over the coming months is to get out and visit every Group in the District, so hopefully for those of you who do not know me you will soon be able to put a face to a name!
I would like to congratulate Sarah on her new County role and wish her all the best.
In the meantime, I wish you all a very “Happy Easter” and hope that you have a lovely break.
Grafton District Scouts
Could you proactively manage and support adults in the District ensuring that it runs effectively? Grafton District is looking for a new District Commissioner!
We are looking for someone with management skills who can provide leadership, motivation and inspiration to volunteers. As District Commissioner you will support and guide adults through their Scouting journey and ensure that young people locally can access the best possible Scouting.
Interested? See the attached pack and nomination form for more information. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 28th February.
Grange Park Beaver Scout Colony is very proud of the achievements of one of their Beavers, Zakary Gayton. Zakary has been actively involved in fundraising for others and has mixed this with his enjoyment of the great outdoors.
In April 2016 Zakary raised over £1000 for a cancer charity by climbing Snowdon with his mum and dad. Zakary’s dad was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and Zakary was determined to help others also diagnosed with the disease. To enable Zakary to complete his challenge he had to take part in a lot of training for the climb. He spent night after night walking on a treadmill to prepare himself for the mammoth challenge ahead of him. All the training paid off and he made it to the summit of Snowden and raised over £1000. What an amazing achievement!
Zakary has also recently just got back from visiting Snowdon again and this time he took Billy the Beaver to enjoy the views!
The Grange Park Beaver Leaders are so proud of Zakary’s achievement and fundraising activities. The Beaver Colony are very active in fundraising, Kite and Kestrel (Beaver Leaders) believe it is important for the Colony to raise awareness and take part in fundraising for others. This year they have:
completed a sponsorship personal challenge for the World Land Trust. The Beavers challenged themselves to see how many sit ups, press ups, star jumps and skips they could do as part of their circuit sponsorship night. The group raised enough money to secure an acre and a half of rainforest for the World Land Trust. [http://graftondistrictscouts.org.uk/blog/2016/08/06/beavers-busy-fundraising]
The Beavers will be continuing their fundraising activities this year, with their advent calendar donation. The Colony donate advent calendars to a local food bank within Northampton.
Grange Park Beavers would like to say a massive thank you to all the Beavers and their families for their support of their local Scout group. The Beavers are so proud to have Zakary as part of the Colony. Well done Zakary for all your fundraising and good luck for your future challenge, we can’t wait to hear all about it……
Grange Park Beavers had a busy summer term raising money for two different charities. The two charities were Water Aid and the World Land Trust.
As part of the A Million Hands campaign run by The Scout Association, the Beavers had a fun evening where they all designed posters to inform people of the importance of hand washing. They were also very lucky to be able to use a UV light and a specially designed powder to show how easily germs can spread.
The Beavers also took part in a water relay to experience what it is like for children in places such as Africa where they have to walk great distances to collect dirty water which they have no choice but to drink.
After this, the Beavers decided that they wanted to raise money to help provide clean water to these countries. To do this, they were all sent home with an empty Smarties tube and when they completed a job, they were given small change which went in the tube. The aim was to fill their tubes to the top. Once they returned the money, they got the Smarties that should’ve been in there! They managed to raise an impressive £74!
To raise money for the World Land Trust, the Beavers set themselves a personal goal of how many star jumps, skips, push ups and sit ups that they could complete in a certain time period. They then asked everyone they know to sponsor them to see if they could meet their goal. They managed to raise a really impressive £139 which means that the World Land Trust can now purchase and protect One and a Half acres of threatened wilderness habitat and all of it’s wildlife!
Last weekend Grafton District had their first ever camp where all four District Explorer Units got together for a bivi camp at Horley Scout Campsite.
22 Explorers from all over the District bivi’d in hammocks in the woods. They cooked over open fires and skinned rabbits.
During the weekend they all tried to win the ‘Richard Allee Explorer Bivi Award’ This award was made up in memory of Richard who was looking forward to being on this bivi camp with us.
The Award was won by the Vulcans who put in 110% effort to make sure they won it! They won it by playing ‘Operation Omelette’ also by their conduct during the camp. They were the first up helping cook breakfast, they worked hard at collecting wood for the fires, they help & volunteered when Leaders asked. They cooked dinner. They were basically what an Explorer Scout should be, doing their Unit and Richard proud.