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Thread: What we did at scouts last night...

  1. #46
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    That's not my interpretation of youth shaped though. I've always thought that a good Patrol Leaders' Council and occasional Troop Forums should give you a good basis. I'm not necessarily claiming that ours is a great PLC, mind.
    SL, 11th Hitchin

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    The last year has moved us to termly troop forums and PL forums.

    The last PL forum was awful (maybe that is where this stems from). We had all PLs plus APLs and the SPL. Along with a new scout that I wanted to take through the membership award stuff and a random scout that could decide whether he was an APL even though I told his mum, in a text, that he should not attend. So 11 scouts.

    There were too many people. Too many people tried to talk at once. The ideas were too costly both in money and time. There were no ideas for troop nights. I gave them three options for summer camp (plus they could choose something else). Instead of working through them they just had a chat. I get the feeling there is no summer camp next year, but I digress.

    So I need to work with the PLs to give them the skills to be able to work in a committee, research ideas and budgets, and make sensible decisions. Other than the - we said we want to go to Thorpe Park, why haven't you organised it. (I managed to knock that one on the head by logging onto Thorpe Park's website and the ticket prices). They have a list of about 20 Thorpe Park type of ideas.

    Next issue is, this lot of PLs are almost 14. They will be gone in six months. I need to get the next set trained up.

    We do look at some of the program in the troop forum. As a result the cooking night has gone, along with the making and decorating Christmas cakes (and the ticks in the creative challenge have gone). Instead they went for junk modelling for two weeks time. But now I am getting bad vibes about that.

    We do normally have a good turn out and a varied and fun program.

    This term has been tough as we have got to the last few challenge award requirements that we were all hiding from as we could not work out how to run them in a fun and engaging way. Plus we are low on budget having blown it on bowling, shooting and messy games.


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  3. #48
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    We very much find that you need to do something a few times for it to catch on. So, ask Scouts if they'd like to do cooking, and you may get a weak response. Show them a couple of times, and it'll become a regular. That's happened with programme items, but also with various annual events. There's one County event I try never to miss, because we'd have to build up the tradition again. It's much easier to "sell" something when other Scouts are saying how good it was last year.

    I find the biggest challenge in the Patrol Leaders' Council is lack of ideas. That's fair enough really. It's hard for an adult to come up with ideas for a whole Troop - that's why we have resources, sharing through forums like this, and all the rest. So quite often we get things from last term played back. As adults, we know that too much repetition could get tedious.

    There are also the ideas we can't manage - where it's really expensive and we can't find a way to do it at a price that would be good for most Scouts. And we have to provide guidance to ensure a balanced programme. So, at minimum, it might some things tossed round by adults, and asking the PLs which to go for.

    But we try to listen and to do what is suggested. Over many years, we've built up a style where PLs and adults listen to each other and come up with something together. Ideally, you get an age range in PLs, so the newer ones pick it up from the older.

    We're far from a model in the way we run things, but we try.

    We don't use Troop forums as often - mainly for views on what summer camp should be like, that kind of thing. And when the PLs asked to camp near the sea, we scoured the country for suitable sites and did our best.
    SL, 11th Hitchin

  4. #49
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    This is a really good question - I wasn't sure myself and I haven't been orienteering for yonks.
    i'm not an expert but i might be able to fill in the odd blank.

    However... Basically, instead of the clipper thingies (you know, the orange things you clipped your bit of paper with that all have different patterns of spikes?)
    a control punch.

    The kids get a 'dibber'.
    yes that's the de facto name given to the SI-card. there are commonly two systems in use, the other one uses a 'brikke'. both systems are what are called 'electronic punching and timing (EPT) systems'.

    the two systems work a little differently to each other. the 'dibber' is made by SportIdent (SI) and the 'brikke' is from Emit (EmitUK here in the UK.) only one system is used at anyone time on any one event.

    At the start point they clear the dibber (which removes any previous records - its essentially a memory stick) then put it into the start point - the clock then starts ticking.
    yes, the memory card records the time when the dibber is inserted into the hole on the SI control unit located at each control.

    They had 20 markers out with (I think) three different courses to do. They navigate their way round, dipping their dibber (shoosh, I know...) at each marker, the stages are timed and obviously if they get the wrong marker its noted.
    yes, each 'control', where you'll find a control kite - the orange/white triangular-halved thingy that looks like a small box kite, hence the name - on the course will have a SI control unit. when you reach/find the control you insert your dibber and it bleeps to acknowledge recording the time. how do you know it's the correct control? well it should be the one marked at that point on your map! it will also have a code written on the kite and/or control unit which should match the one given for that particular control in your control description list.

    for point-to-point orienteering - the most common form of orienteering - you must visit the controls in order 1, 2, 3.... if you visit an incorrect control, one on another course, or visit one in the wrong order, 3 before 2 say, then the dibber will record your error.

    (score orienteering is another form where you are allowed to visit controls in any order. each control scores you points, with furthest away and hardest to navigate to scoring more. the event has a maximum time allwance and severe time penalties if you're back late.)

    To finish they dib the finish marker and the clock stops. They can then get a receipt which tells them how long it took them to get round the course over all and between each of the markers and if they got any incorrect markers.
    when you get to the end and finish your course you go to the 'download' table/tent/station, insert your dibber and the information is downloaded to a PC and a print out of your performance and your (current) position is produced.

    compared to the old pin-punch and control card the new systems vastly improve the speed of results. (a leader i know could do an old style control card in about 1 to 2 minutes - 50/60 control cards in a small event meant you had to hang around for the results.)

    the results now can be posted on to a web page within minutes of a event finishing. no longer do you have to wait 48h or a weekend for the results!

    you can now also follow your performance on applications such as route gadget, which you can edit with the route you took - if you can recall it - and match this to your times and those of others in your category or on your course.

    Last time they did it they didn't quite get it and just went to markers they could see, ignoring the maps...
    it's a simple activity but the rules do need explaining clearly! orienteering is not, as many believe, a treasure hunt!

    This time, David (our Cub leader who kindly got the equipment from Outdoor Ed and set up for us) removed the flags from the markers so they would be harder to find, we then explained that orienteering was a microcosm of life and sometimes the easiest and most obvious route wasn't the right one.
    control kites should not be hidden! they should be at exactly the point marked on the map for that control. beginners should first practice on courses that have a majority of controls situated on line features - crossroads, path junctions, &c - and build from there. orienteering events are generally either age-based or skill level-based. in the latter the skill-level is denoted by a colour; hence these events are called 'colour-coded' events. white is the shortest and easiest, then going up in skills and distance yellow, orange, light green, green and blue. (brown is next but rarely seen.) the scout orienteering activity badge is set at yellow skill level. (my friend thinks this is too low.)

    They all did really well. It being electronic adds a certain modernity to the exercise which is sometimes lost in orienteering.
    in what sense is something lost?

    the EmitUK brikke is a battery operated memory card system. compared to SI-card (dibber) it displays times and gives competitor more assurance that the time has been logged. (the dibber is entirely passive and has no display or active on-course features.) of course batteries do run out!

    these are just record and timing instruments; the key to orienteering is being able to read the map and follow the best route in the shortest time. the best route will not always be the shortest distance between two controls - fighting through a thicket of rhododendrons that lies across your route might not be the quickest route compared to the path that skirts around the thicket even though it's twice as long.

    I'd recommend it. Apparently there are courses set up all around our area, so we'll no doubt be doing more if it.
    if you go to the BOF website you can find a relatively local club. the main season is roughly sept - april but it extends into the summer months for many clubs who run many colour-coded events during these later months april - july. many clubs offer free or cheap membership to local scouting/guiding groups.

    you will find what are called permanent orienteering courses in many areas. these are courses where there are fixed control kites - usually a small plastic square with orange/white triangular-halves with a unique number and code on them. they are popular with many local country parks and promoted by local councils. find the ranger station in the park and ask. they usually have the course printed maps on sale there too for a small fee (about 2). orienteering club web pages also often list permanent courses in their area.

    but note: these courses use a simple pen and paper recording system - you will not find electronic punching and timing (EPT) in place! and time? use your watch!

    Last night's was just in the primary school grounds, which are fortunately quite capacious. Once you get past the orienteering nomenclature (which can be somewhat impenetrable) its a great activity to do.
    the nomenclature is not onerous!

    **Edit. Just remembered... If you can't get hold of the proper gear, you can do it with phones and photos. Kids get a map of the route with the markers, but instead of an electronic box, the marker takes the form of a photo. The idea is to navigate your way round and take the same photo. The pictures are moderately generic (so nothing to obvious) so they still have to navigate then look for whatever photo they need to get. if you see what I mean... Some people even time stamp the photos so they get the timings.../Edit**
    there are many ways of recording time and visits to controls. the old style pin-punches are still a favourite with many. there are also variations on the classic orienteering event with photos and caches and other such paraphernalia used. (i recall someone here mentioning a scout event down south which had teams following orienteering controls, taking photos and evading capture in deltamure woods?)

    so how easy is it to get hold of the proper gear for electronic timing? sorry, but i'll have to leave that to an expert!

    yours, TM
    going...going...still here...just

  5. #50
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon.md View Post
    Thanks. Sounds like a nice alternative to the spikey things, no idea where we would get hold of the kit though.

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    i can only guess about getting the kit but you never know it might help you make a decision going forward.

    so let's say you ditch the 'useless' spikey things and decide to buy the modern electronic stuff, how much are you going to dig into that 100 activity budget and will your GEC worry/get cold feet if the cost is say greater than 200?

    SI and Emit are a little different but the kit roughly costs the same. figures here are approximate! i can't be accurate to the nearest 1 here but i'll let you judge.

    typical course at yellow standard will have about 10-12 controls; let's plump for 10 because there's no need to waste cash.

    10 stations for each control @ 120 each = 1200
    2 master control stations @ 180 each = 360
    Download unit @120 each = 120
    Printout unit @50 each = 350
    assume you have a PC and a printer.

    you'll also need holders/clips/stake for each control station @20 each = 200
    let's also say you want some security so they don't go walkies @ 10 each = 100
    (if you don't mind the kit going missing then you can save yourselves 100 here!)

    you'll also need the SI-cards for each young person, shall we say 20 @ 65 each = 1300 but we could go with older SI-cards which lack the contactless tech of the new ones, so 20 @30 each = 600, which by my reckoning brings the total to just a few quid under 3k. let's not forget you'll also need a licence for the program to calc results, say 50 and of course you'll still need the traditional controls and such like: kites are 5 each, so 50. so your electronic orienteering total is now just a tadge - and i do mean a tadge - over 3k. of course as you get better and design longer courses you'll need more kit. 10 stations is very small! i'd say budget for about 5k.

    now tell me how your group treasurer feels!

    and the 'spikey things'?

    control kites @5 ea = 100 for 20
    pin-punches @35 for 10 = 70
    control cards @ 5 for 100 = 10

    so about 200 for a simple 20-control O-course kit.

    your choice spikey or electronic?

    HTH,

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

  6. #51
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    The equipment we used came from the local Outdoor Education department - our cub leader has contacts there.
    i suspect you have a very friendly OE dept and/or your cub leader has very good contacts there.

    You could ask there (or what ever your equivalent is)
    yes you could ask...

    or if there is a local orienteering group, they're usually keen to get young folk on board and might have the gear.
    all orienteering clubs have the gear but i suspect few, if any, would be happy to let you have the kit for a couple of hours runaround on the local common. you would have to be a very good contact!

    i suppose you could hire it from them but then i don't think the fee is going to be 20 for the 2h runaround, is it?

    even if you managed to get the kit you've still got to sort out maps and design and lay out the course. and it is not a simple matter of sticking a control kite at every path junction or bench or tree. there is a skill in planning the right course for people of the right skill level.

    a typical orienteering club CATI colour-coded event will have all the courses (generally yellow - blue) to cover all your yp's skills ranges. entry on the day typically costs 2 juniors and 4 adults.

    you'll have to hire a dibber (or a brikke). typically this is about 50p extra on the entry fee. (it's actually to cover insurance cost of replacing if lost and the costs are not recovered.) the cost of a lost dibber is typically 30. they'll want your name/address/contact on the entry slip and will levy this if anyone turns up at the finish with their dibber missing.

    you can buy a personal dibber with unique id for about 65-70. not something you'd consider for one 2h runaround on the common every year.

    i'm sure you can see there is little in it for the O-club to lend you the electronic kit.

    it's also no surprise to see the EPT control stations on a course securely fixed to immovable objects/stakes with wire and locks.

    it's not that expensive to do your own orienteering course with your own traditional kit using control kites and pin-punches. certainly you can get old course maps of a local area from your local o-club (or they'll sell them cheap at 50p a map or some such like) or if you know someone with the traditional kit you could ask to borrow it and they're less likely to be concerned at 1000s worth of kit going walkies or getting damaged.

    Yours, TM

    (well exceeded my scouting time this month with these posts. time to sign off and get on with other stuff for a bit.)
    going...going...still here...just

  7. #52
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    We got ours from active kids https://activekids.sainsburys.co.uk/...oduct/S4A01850

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  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post

    and the 'spikey things'?

    control kites @5 ea = 100 for 20
    pin-punches @35 for 10 = 70
    control cards @ 5 for 100 = 10

    so about 200 for a simple 20-control O-course kit.

    your choice spikey or electronic?

    HTH,

    TM
    Our District has a set of "spikey things", well the kites and punches anyway so it's an even easier choice

    We print out control cards - just a simple numbered grid.

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon.md View Post
    Our District has a set of "spikey things", well the kites and punches anyway so it's an even easier choice

    We print out control cards - just a simple numbered grid.

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    At 3.65 for 100 its not worth the hassle of printing them

    http://www.harveymaps.co.uk/acatalog...0C.html#SID=45

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  11. #55
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon.md View Post
    Our District has a set of "spikey things", well the kites and punches anyway so it's an even easier choice

    We print out control cards - just a simple numbered grid.

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
    so being a leader with just the basic skills at this activity m'larkey: if i want to do orienteering i'm best looking to beg or borrow kit (from my district, for example) and that this will nearly always be the low tech spikey things because the cost of the electronic orienteering stuff is quite prohibitive; even if i could find someone and get access to the cool electronic stuff, they're going to have to be a very good friend or reckless with lending out their expensive kit!

    i learn something new from escouts every day!

    maybe i should ask my youth commissioner to arrange, organise and run this activity?

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

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    Senior Member sjl14's Avatar
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    maybe i should ask my youth commissioner to arrange, organise and run this activity?
    Is it possible to run an activity like this via tweeting only? ��
    Stephen Lawrence

    Cub Scout Leader
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    14th Aberdeen Scout Group
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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjl14 View Post
    Is it possible to run an activity like this via tweeting only? ��
    Possibly, but don't forget that there is Facebook as well!
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


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  14. #58
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjl14 View Post
    Is it possible to run an activity like this via tweeting only? ��
    I have been staying out of this debate about Youth Commissioners, and don't intend to get involved. However, I am sure our County Youth Commissioner, who also happens to be a very competent Scout Leader and Assistant Group Scout Leader, would find this quite insulting.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I have been staying out of this debate about Youth Commissioners, and don't intend to get involved. However, I am sure our County Youth Commissioner, who also happens to be a very competent Scout Leader and Assistant Group Scout Leader, would find this quite insulting.
    it's just a bit of gentle ribbing Dan!

    there is though a serious side. one part of the YC work/role seems to be to encourage youth forums and such like so that young people's voices are heard. that too can be insulting to the many leaders out there who do run forums and councils and do let young people shape and own their programmes.

    there is a hint of someone saying to an old fogey like me that a YC can do my job better because they are more in tune with young people. well they're free to have my job in a few months time!

    the criticism that i can see is that many people just don't know what the role is all about.

    i suspect that a large part of the role is effectively a management trainee scheme and that TSA is looking to accelerate the process of putting younger adults - those aged 18-25 that they still call youth - into middle management positions. they want to change the view of a DC, for example, being a middle aged - elderly bloke who is seen to be remote from young people and their thinking today.

    i believe it's all about making a generational change (or two!) in middle management. the YCs of today will soon be the DCs and CCs of tomorrow. and that tomorrow will not be too far distant.

    if you're now late 30s or early 40s with some scouting experience and looking to become a DC or CC then IMO it's too late.

    and the old fogeys? well my like they'll elbow out but there will still be some old fogeys needed to keep a steady hand on the tiller, as they do nowadays just in case their 'advice' is needed.

    it's a management training scheme. most of these schemes get some stick from the rank and file.

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

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    Senior Member sjl14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I have been staying out of this debate about Youth Commissioners, and don't intend to get involved. However, I am sure our County Youth Commissioner, who also happens to be a very competent Scout Leader and Assistant Group Scout Leader, would find this quite insulting.
    To be fair Dan there should be a smiley in there which hasn't worked for some reason.

    However like others I don't really get what the youth commissioners are for? I'm not aware of any locally so base my experience on what I've read in the scouting magazine or seen on social media and to be honest it seems lacking in substance. They may work as a pr tool but what are they for? What do they actually bring to the table that benefits scouting, especially for the younger sections? Bear in mind in this context I am talking about their role as a youth commissioner not in regard to any other role they may hold.

    We seem to be banging on about being youth shaped and youth led an awful lot these days but if we don't do a better job of recruiting, supporting, training, and retaining adults what is the point? It is easy to get youth involvement through pack and sixer forums and through other feedback methods but it is a real struggle to get adults on board, keep them motivated and not have them decide to give it all up. I believe a much greater focus is needed on this nationally. Recruiting kids is easy, adults not so much.

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