Welcome to the June edition of MX News, the County Update for Greater London Middlesex West.
In this MX News:
• Elliot’s Epic Excursion
• Building Our Team – New ACC for our Scout Section
• Free Zoom Access
• GLMW Training Sessions for Zoom
• Black Lives Matter
• The suspension of Face to Face Scouting includes Summer Camps
• Coming Soon for the Scout Section
• Virtual Animal Adventure
• A Zoom Call with a Twist
Elliot’s Epic Excursion
Lockdown Adventures of a Sherlock Homie
Last summer, Elliot Dorsey joined 39 other Sherlock Homies to attend the World Scout Jamboree as part of the GLMW contingent. It was the biggest adventure that he had been on. We didn’t know at that time, that only a few months later, we would be in lockdown with the days passing very slowly at home. Elliot’s lockdown, however, is very memorable – this is his story.
In early May this year, a friend of mine suggested doing a long walk to raise money for the NHS. I agreed, aware of the monumental workload faced by NHS staff across the country and sharing an appreciation for the work of my own mother who works as a pharmacist at Charing Cross Hospital. Also, with exams cancelled this year, I had time on my hands and wanted to do something memorable that would benefit others.
We talked about doing a 15 – 24 hour walk, inspire by a post from a fitness account followed by one of the team. It all started to become a bit more real as the Go Fund Me page was created, and my name added to the page title. We decided to label it a 24 hour walk as this felt it would be more of an achievement and would attract more supporters and donations. I was daunted by the sheer size of the task and in two minds about proceeding with it. Considering whether or not we had underestimated the scale of the task?
About two days before the walk was due to take place, I recall thinking to myself ‘What else am I going to do with the next 24 hours if not this?’. It was then I was certain, concluding that I would regret the time if I spent it doing anything else. I had left myself about a day and a half to coordinate everything – I definitely felt a reason to panic! Aside from clothes, route, food and drink, we needed to publicise the fundraiser and ensure that we had enough awareness and donations to make it worthwhile.
Eventually the time came, and at midnight on 21st May, along with two friends, I embarked on what would end up becoming one of the most challenging accomplishments of my life (so far). Starting in my hometown in Isleworth, we planned to travel East, loosely following the Thames into central London, before continuing south towards Wimbledon, along via Sunbury-on-Thames before finally journeying back into Isleworth for a midnight finish.
Once the messages of encouragement (and money) started coming in, we felt that we owed it to all the people who had supported us to walk as far as we could. By 5am, we had raised over £1,000 and we committed to complete the full 24 hour walk.
The physical pain started about 3 hours in – but it came and went. We had short breaks during the walk but longer breaks could result in our legs ‘seizing up’ and pain worsening. We used social media to keep everyone updated on the route and the distanced travelled. Our story was shared and we got even more support – just the morale boost we needed.
Although our morale was generally high, it was both physically and emotionally draining at times, and our attention would be drawn again to the pain! Complaining to one another and listening to music became vital distraction methods, as well as snacking on a variety of packed food. Our team spirit became an important motivator. Though ultimately, one of our team members was unable to complete the full 24 hours.
The pain was at its worst during the last hour or so, with the soles of my feet and the backs of my knees aching pretty sharply. At that point, however I was far too determined to complete the 24 hours to let the pain get the best of me. I particularly remember walking past my house towards the end and being joined by my mum, whose encouragement was the boost that I needed to carry on for the last while.
We walked for 24 hours, travelling a total distance of over 100km – larger than that of two complete marathons.
The moment I finished, I collapsed rather than celebrated. At midnight, I just sat down against a nearby car, completely drained of energy, much to the amusement of the supporters!
Next morning, my legs were in agony just stumbling around the house, trying to get out of bed I collapsed onto the floor. It took me a full week to recover but I’m beyond satisfied with myself for completing the challenge.
We’ve currently raised over £2,400 for the NHS and hope to raise even more for such a worthy cause.
This is an experience I am unlikely to ever forget. I hope to look back at it fondly with family and friends alike in the years to come and say that I did something special during the Covid-19 lockdown. An unexpected benefit of doing something that seemed so formidable, is that I have grown in confidence. I feel that in the future I will be able to look at challenges with enthusiasm rather than apprehension.
We hope that Elliot’s story inspires many of you to do something special during the lockdown that you too can look back at proudly. After all, ‘What else are you going to do during the lockdown?’
If you’d like to support Elliot’s efforts to raise money for the NHS please donate via his Gofundme page.
Building Our Team – New ACC for our Scout Section
I’m pleased to be able to tell you that Howard Branley has agreed to become part of our Assistant County Commissioner team looking after the Scout Section. Howard brings bags of enthusiasm to the role and some really innovative ideas that will help us to take the Scout Section forward in GLMW. He is currently the Scout Leader at 1st Ealing North and has been a District Commissioner previously in Ealing and Hanwell. We’re already working on an exciting project for the Summer so watch this space for more information.
Free Zoom Access
Free Zoom Pro has now been secured by TSA for all of Scouting in the UK. They were absolutely delighted to announce that access to Zoom Pro is available for you to use while volunteering to run online Scouting, right up until 21 November 2020. There’s one license per Group, District and County so you’ll need to decide locally who’ll sign up for yours. Find out more and complete the access request form here. If you’ve already signed up due to the early-publishing error, you don’t need to sign up again. Many of you are already providing great online Scouting and this is a way for everyone to get involved at a lower cost.
GLMW Training Sessions for Zoom
In the training calendar we have added some support sessions for using Zoom as a tool for section meetings and other volunteer events.
We’ve also added a section to the remote training page about support for Zoom.
For those of you already Zooming, we also have sessions of safety, safeguarding, Module 1 and Module 1 for Execs coming up over the next few weeks (all by Zoom).
Black Lives Matter
Many of you have been in touch about what is going on around the world at the moment. TSA wants to support leaders who may be having discussions about the Black Lives Matter campaign with their young people. They will be sharing resources to help on our social media channels very soon. Here’s a statement from Scouts Chief Executive, Matt Hyde.
It is important to remember that currently there are over 52 million scouts in the world and we operate in almost every nation on earth promoting tolerance and global solidarity. The Scout movement is resolute in its commitment to inclusion and diversity and members continually reflect and challenge ourselves in how we live by our values.
The suspension of Face to Face Scouting includes Summer Camps
As many of you have been in touch asking about your Summer Camp bookings and reservations around the country. While, we would like to remain optimistic about being able to take our young people camping this Summer, it will only be possible if HQ announces a resumption of face to face Scouting. At this point, this is unlikely to be before September. So we have a number of things to think about:
• If TSA’s suspension of face to face Scouting is still in place come July or August, then Scout Summer camps cannot go ahead.
• If TSA say that face to face Scouting can resume before August, then they may have some additional constraints which may prohibit taking Groups away camping.
• If they do not prohibit going away camping, the planning and risk assessments for the camps will need to ensure appropriate social distancing and compliance with any UK government guidelines, they will likely also need to have specific assessment of and actions to be taken in the event of a further outbreak of the Coronavirus. Such an assessment will/may need to consider things like:
o parents transporting their own YP to and from the camp,
o collection of signed risk acknowledgements relating to Covid-19
o The various insurances you may need for some of the potential outcomes may not be available.
The guidance on things like this is not in place as yet and does not appear to be in production for delivery any time soon. We will update you via our Coronavirus web page as soon as we have information available.
You may have noticed that we in GLMW and the Scouts have been working hard to ensure all of our members are up to date with mandatory training (current situation excusing FA for the time being). Whilst we are not scouting face to face it is still important that we continue to be in a place to provide the best and safest scouting for our young people. We have been looking in detail at the numbers of people who need to complete the mandatory ongoing learning in GLMW. 26% of adults with either a woodbadge, sectional assistant or executive role need to complete this training. If you know this is you there are several options for you:
Any role holder who has an unvalidated Module 1 in their PLP needs to undertake the training and the module needs to be validated. The validation of this module will automatically create an entry for safety and safeguarding ongoing training in compass, with an expiry date in five years.
Any role holder who has an unvalidated Module 1 for Executive Committee Members in their PLP needs to undertake the training and the module needs to be validated. Compass will not automatically create an entry for safety and safeguarding training, but the module does cover the requirements for safety and safeguarding.
Any other role holder without an in-date safety or safeguarding ongoing learning needs to undertake the training. If this is completed via eLearning the certificate can be sent to your LTM, to Phil Power or to me and compass will be updated. If this learning is completed via a zoom call the course leader will update compass.
There are two routes to completing Module 1, Module 1 for Executives or mandatory ongoing Safety or Safeguarding training:
All can be completed by eLearning – the links are available from our website
If you are unsure as to whether you need to compete the learning contact your GSL, LTM or myself and we will be able to help you out.
Many thanks for your support with this and remember that ultimately it helps our young people.
Coming soon to the Scout Section
GLMW Virtual Race Across Europe
Get ready for a Summer adventure as we prepare a virtual race across Europe for our Scout Troops to compete in during July and August. With online map tracking of each Troop’s progress and a series of potential challenges to complete along the way. Will you’re Troop be up for the challenge. More details will be in our next MX News and on the Facebook Page and Website soon. You can Pre-register your Troop by emailing Howard Branley.
Virtual Animal Adventure
The PACCAR team have missed you all so much but just because we can’t meet at the moment, it doesn’t mean that we have stopped planning exciting events for you to take part in! We were very disappointed that we had to postpone the Cub and Beaver events but are really excited about our very first virtual fun day!
This Sunday, 21st June we will be holding our Virtual Animal Adventure which will run from our Facebook page where you can meet some of our favourite animals including alpacas and birds of prey, they’ll be question and answer sessions, crafts as well as trying out some of our animal themed activities with the PACCAR crew. Take a look at PACCAR’s Facebook page for the full programme and details of what materials you will need so that you can join in at home.
The event will open at 10am with a very special message from Steve Backshall…don’t miss is!
A Zoom meeting with a twist – 1st Ealing North Scouts 13th June 2020
In the current lockdown circumstances, like in every Scout group across the UK, we have had to find novel ways to engage with our Scouts at 1st Ealing North. The meeting we had on Saturday 13th June was something new to all involved and something we will remember for a long time, for all the right reasons.
This creation of this meeting goes back many months and even years. Our current Group Scout leader Malcolm Turner used to run the Scout troop a long time ago and over his time in that role he had lots of Scouts come through the troop. One of those Scouts was Paul Clifford. Paul moved to Australia in 1995 where he settled into Scouting life over there. A few years ago, Paul got back in contact with Malcolm as he was visiting the UK with his family as they wanted to come see his old group, at 1st Ealing North. When they came over, they spoke to the Scouts in the troop at the time and gave us some lovely badges and their scarf. A few years went by and we did not have much regular contact.
However, at the end of last year, Francis Curran (ASL at 1st Ealing North) was exploring completing his Queen Scout Award. Malcolm and Francis thought a great way to do it would be through running a paring with the Australian Scout group, which Paul is involved with. Francis got in contact with the group in Australia and they thought it was a great idea. Our first step was for all the Scouts in 1st Ealing North to write letters to the Australian Scouts in the 7th Cheltenham Scout Group. We put all these letters together in a parcel along with one of our Group scarves, some badges and of course some classic British midnight feast sweets and sent it off to some very excited Scouts in Victoria.
The package arrived safe and sound at the beginning of this year and the 7th Cheltenham Scout Group were extremely pleased with it. Unfortunately, the advancement of wildfires and COVID-19 meant that the reciprocal package was delayed in making the long journey. But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. When the lockdowns started across the world Paul got in contact with Francis and suggested we could have a zoom call between our troops.
We loved this idea and set up the call for Saturday 13th June at 10:00 am UK time, 19:00 pm Australian time. In preparation for the event three of our Scouts: Mia, Jack and Rosie put together a script to share with the Australians explaining what we do in the Scouts in the UK and some of 1st Ealing North’s traditions. When it came to the Saturday morning twenty-five of our Scouts logged on with five leaders to meet some of the members of the 7th Cheltenham Scout Group and some special guests.
At the start of the meeting all the leaders introduced themselves from both countries and then Paul said he had three guests he had invited along. The first two were Russell and his wife Joan Bradd. Russell is the State Commissioner at Gilwell Park, which is like Gilwell Park here in the UK but in Southern Australia. Russell has also previously been involved as a Chief Director for Cuboree (Our largest Cub Camp) and Jamborees in the past. They have both been heavily involved with scouting for over 35 years. The final guest was a huge surprise to us all. We were honoured to be joined by Lord Michael Baden-Powell, 4th Baron of Gilwell, the grandson of the founder of the movement.
Lord Michael told us about what his role entails within Scouting and about all the international experiences he has been able to embark on to meet Scouts across the world. It was amazing to be in the presence of Michael and hear his amazing stories.
After our brief introductions we played a quick scavenger hunt where all the Scouts (25 from Ealing and 4 from Australia) quickly brought their favourite table sauce and cereal and held it up to the camera. We had an array of produce and had some great conversations about British and Australian foods and then Bek, one of the seven Australian leaders on the call, had her son Peter show us how to make the perfect vegemite sandwich.
After the introductions and game our three presenters told everyone on the call about what we do in our normal meetings, what we do now we are online and then what fun we get up to outside of Scout meetings. Some of the Australian leaders and Scouts then told us about Scouting in Australia and some of the things they need to consider when they are camping like Kookaburra’s who steal your bacon and sausages right from your hand!
After hearing what each group got up to, we opened the floor to general questions where we got to learn a lot about both Scouting and the culture in each of our countries. Some of the highlights were, that they eat sharks with chips instead of cod in Australia and that the most exciting/dangerous animal our Scouts could think of in the UK was a squirrel.
After talking and exchanging stories we did our virtual flag down and said thank you and our goodbyes. The whole experience was amazing, the fact we were able to make contacts with a group on the other side of the world and learn so much from each other purely because of our common love of Scouting. Our Scouts thoroughly enjoyed hearing from the 7th Cheltenham group and the amazing special guests that joined the call. We were honoured to meet Lord Michael and to be able to share our stories with him.
We are already planning our next call and care package to Australia.