An ACC Goes Blogging - 19 Jan 2014

Knowledge and Creativity

With all of the great libraries of the world obtainable on line and the power to find information available to anyone with a smartphone in their pocket, there has never been an era where people can have so much knowledge on hand for any particular purpose they choose. StonehengeAt the same time, it sometimes appears that people know less and are less interested to find out for themselves the things that might make the world a more exciting, well developed or positive place.

This week, I was lucky enough to see two Explorer evenings that, in their own way set about the fostering of an enquiring mind and the encouragement of the ability to connect and create. Elements that are more valuable in today’s society now that all knowledge is apparently freely available and simply having a good memory is often perceived to be less of a requirement for success. Although, it can be handy when time is tight as I was reminded on more than one occasion this week. An increasingly important skill set is to be developed where you apply your mind and body to the finding or creating of an answer and getting it to work in a team.

Krypton Factor

The first evening, with Greenford’s Primus ESU was in an updated version of a long-running TV quiz show originally coming from the late 1970’s. The Krypton Factor was a competition that tested all the faculties of its contestants from General Knowledge through creative abilities to general fitness and endurance in a series of rounds, each with a different focus. Primus Leader, Andi Brown has updated the format for an Explorer Evening and this week, four teams comprising leaders and Explorers were challenged to have the highest Krypton Factor (that’s the score, by the way).

Krypton Factor RelayRound one, labelled Mental Agility, is simple enough as a test of memory, but already forces you to think of team techniques to work together at remembering quite a lot of detail in a relatively simple picture. As an updated Kim’s game, it brings one of the earliest Scout games into the 21st century. And team 4, I have to admit it was mine, were definitely unprepared. No matter, it gave us the opportunity to spend the rest of the evening propping up the league table and fighting to get back into the game!

With rounds testing, response times, general knowledge, spacial awareness and the relative positions of different shapes, number and letter combinations and a relay race to push every team to the limit, the evening left everyone exhausted but happy with the challenge they had enjoyed. The pace of the evening, the video connections and the speed of each question following the next left no time for the bain of many a quiz evening these days, internet browsing, to take advantage of the world of information sitting in pockets and coats at the end of the room. Every team needed to figure out how to work together, who had the best knowledge or skill for each round and quickly deploy their strategy for winning. All elements of the characteristics that we are aiming to help our young people to develop today. And the winners? Team 3, winners of many of the rounds but with a much closer set of scores across the board than we expected as the evening progressed…

Table top architects

To the second unit meeting of the week in Uxbridge. The combination of a bag of flour, pasta strands, marshmallows, a courgette, some play dough, a chopping board and a knife could not be a more welcome set of toys for an Explorer unit. A recipe for disaster, you might say, where half the ingredients get eaten and the other half distributed across the room or clothing of the unit. Well, yes, there were some new fashions and floor décor on display by the end and the wearing of flour still has its followers but, thankfully, not on the high street.

Eiffel Tower ChampionsThe challenge: pictures of four highly recognisable buildings or structures were put up at the end of the room: The Eiffel Tower; a pyramid; Stonehenge; and, the City of London building, the Gherkin. Each team, there were four, was challenged to create table top models of all four of the structures matching the pictures as closely as possible using only the components listed above in one hour.

The energy that went into this task was very impressive and very soon the pyramids were piling up on pretty much every table. They then un-piled and re-piled many times over the next 30 minutes as some table top earthquakes seemed to be occurring all too frequently. With a shout about the time remaining, however, Stonehenge and the other buildings began to take on food sized form. It is clear that some initially had a better handle on structural integrity and strength than others. They tended to be the ones who moved on to the Eiffel Tower first leaving others to re-pile and smooth finish the pyramids, with each team clearly beginning to specialise their skills so that all four models could be completed within the hour. And very impressive they were to. The final results? Well there was some scoring and positions were calculated but in all the excitement of the clearing away and subsequent games they got forgotten so we will have to wait for next time to remember who were our budding Stirlings or Fosters of the future.

Census

A brief reminder that the annual Scout Census date is fast approaching. I’m sure by now that you have started to collate the data for and from the members of your units. A few key pointers to remember:

The Census covers members of the Association. Occasional Helpers need only be included as members if they have chosen to be members. If you have Leaders actively working in Leader roles, who have not yet fully completed the appointments process, please include them on the return.

As in previous years, additional information is being sought around ethnicity and disabilities to help the Scout Association monitor its diversity progress. In the case of members who appear on the District returns as opposed to Group returns, which includes Explorer Leaders and Members you may need to work with your District Census coordinator.

The Census should be completed as at 31st January 2014. Membership lists should be updated and submitted as soon as possible after this date so that District and County processes can be completed in good time. Each District will have set out its own timetable for this and while the overall final deadline for data to reach Headquarters is in March the time will pass very quickly so your help in making the process happen quickly and efficiently will be highly appreciated.

Additional Census information can be found at www.scouts.org.uk/census

All the best

Richard

ACC 14 to 25

The Events List

January

31-2nd Feb PACCAR GLMW Expedition Training and Assessment Skills Weekend
http://www.glmwscouts.org.uk/stories/activities/2013/12/expedition-train...

February

14-16th PACCAR February Freezer Camp
http://www.glmwscouts.org.uk/events/february-freezer-camp-2014

March

1-2nd Endurance 80
21-23rd PACCAR Woodland Challenge and Camping weekend including the Great Chocolate Race (more info coming soon)

April

11-13th GLMW Expedition Training and Assessment Practice Weekend

June

27-29th Malvern Challenge – potentially the last ever running of this great event
http://sr-mc.co.uk/

July

4-8th GLMW Expedition Assessment Weekend
4-6th Sun Run – potentially the last ever running of this event
http://sr-mc.co.uk/
11-13th Gilwell 24
http://www.gilwell24.info/default/

August

2-9th WINGS 2014

September

19-21st PACCAR SkyCamp Challenge 2014

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