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Thread: Terrain Zero activities

  1. #46
    GSL & ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    We did have one where we went out for a hike, and came back to find one of the brand new fire shelters had come down in the wind and had (sod's law) fallen with the corner of the canvas on the embers of the last fire resulting in a fairly spectacular hole. Fortunately it had been treated with fire retardant so had only burned out where it was on the embers rather than spreading.
    Tut tut defintely had a fire too close to your dining shelter in that case. Our rule of thumb is fires have to be the widthe of a dining shelter away from the dining shelter to prevent exactly this issue (also means you tend to not end up with a dining shelter full of smoke if the wind changes direction on you)

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  2. #47
    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    Tut tut defintely had a fire too close to your dining shelter in that case.
    .......Except he was talking about a fire shelter, specifically designed to shelter a fire from the rain. I've got one, they're great. Another reader so keen to criticise that they don't read the tale, perhaps....
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
    GSL 1st Aylburton & Lydney, TA, ESL(YL), District Campsite Warden & webmanager .....only 1 hour a week, they said (not pointing out that was what was left)

  3. #48
    GSL & ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    .......Except he was talking about a fire shelter, specifically designed to shelter a fire from the rain. I've got one, they're great. Another reader so keen to criticise that they don't read the tale, perhaps....
    Ahh good point. Never used a fire shelter myself so just translated it in my head into what we do use, dining shelters. We keep always keep some wood dry under the dining shelter and use that dry wood to start fires. After its started its usually pretty easy to keep a fire going even with "wet wood" as its mostly dry inside still.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL
    2002 - 2018 AESL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  4. #49
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    There is an argument that undertaking any activity today, there should be an experienced/ skilled leader/ instructor in that activity.

    Let's take knots... The inexperienced leader teaching basic knots teaches the wrong knot for the wrong job. Further down the line issues may arise because of that incorrect teaching at the entry-level...

    It could be argued that any skill needs a trained instructor.

    Not that I am suggesting that ianw needs an architect or a mathematician before building a geodesic dome. Rather, it is an argument that Leaders need more training in basic activities and how to develop them a training tools/ skills, rather than some of the non-practical stuff they never pay any attention to once they walk out of the assesment. However, I think that goes back to an oft repeated argument about training.
    I'm definitely not an architect! However, I do have modicum of useful skills. I've had little or few experiences of training in practical skills within scouting. I recall having county training sessions on how to use a map and compass and some for tying knots such as a reef knot and the one with the rabbit and the hole, but I learned nothing. That's it. I learned other practical skills outside scouting.

    That's why I was only a lowly GSL and got only one GCSE! I'm happy but scouting needs an overhaul of its training.

    What does it ask me to teach? Nothing. I'm just an ol' fa*t. 😀

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

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    The "knot" point is interesting, as shortly after running a climbing session (correctly) I later found some Scouts mucking about in the woods. They had a short length of 6mm blue "BT rope" with one climbing up in a tree with it slipknotted around his waist and the other one "belaying" him.

    They got told to pack it in, but that misintepretation (and false confidence) could easily have resulted in death or serious injury. That rope is surprisingly strong (it can hold all 130ish kg of me statically) but static rope isn't safe for belay purposes even if strong enough, the "slip knot" could have crushed him, the "belayer" got severe rope burns and so on.
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 23-04-2020 at 12:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    The "knot" point is interesting, as shortly after running a climbing session (correctly) I later found some Scouts mucking about in the woods. They had a short length of 6mm blue "BT rope" with one climbing up in a tree with it slipknotted around his waist and the other one "belaying" him.

    They got told to pack it in, but that misintepretation (and false confidence) could easily have resulted in death or serious injury. That rope is surprisingly strong (it can hold all 130ish kg of me statically) but static rope isn't safe for belay purposes even if strong enough, the "slip knot" could have crushed him, the "belayer" got severe rope burns and so on.
    The thought of a slipknot around the waist is making me feel slightly queasy especially if it slipped up past the waist onto the chest during the fall.

    As a scout, I always enjoyed pioneering (indeed I broke many of my parents bean canes building structures which, whilst the knots were sound, the canes were too weak to support weight). Even today the cane supports for my runner beans are ridiculously overengineeted with square lashings!

    A risk occurs if we teach techniques without teaching about the equipment. If there is a chance scouts will go off and build structure by themselves do they know how to check a pole is safe, and the different types of rope? Do they know the difference between the well maintained scout pioneering pole and the dead branch they found in the woods?

  7. #52
    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    I'm a trainer (but I'm also a proper leader ) and I run getting started. We talk about programmes and when pioneering comes up it's nearly always bits of string and canes. Proper pioneering seems to be a dying art (along with being able to bank a cooking fire, digging latrines, country code - yes I did see a leader climb over a gate next to a stile! and so on.) 'Soft' scouting with nebulous aims is the way of the day.

    I'm now going to go and have a brew with pa_broon in the cantankerous corner.

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  9. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airobat View Post

    I'm now going to go and have a brew with pa_broon in the cantankerous corner.
    Can I join you please?! (I promise to socially distance )


    You're very right though. I think a lot of the skills were lost when explorers was introduced. Certainly in my group we lost most of the ventures. It was the ventures who, as young leaders, passed the skills on to the scouts far more than the leaders did.

    At the same time the scout troop lost its oldest members... The ones strong enough to build big pioneering projects and shift big poles around.

    Add a mix of younger scouts, and leaders with none of these skills themselves, and of course the old skills will die out. And explorers starting as a district provision often didn't have direct access to the sort of kit that groups held.

    As a scout we did pioneering every term. We had a garage behind the hut (known as the dirty stores) for the altar fires, pioneering poles, stakes, etc... and the pioneering kit was regularly used. We built bridges, assault courses, zip lines, etc.

    As a leader I'd have loved to do similar but we didn't have the poles.... The ones the group did have were dried out and brittle and fit only for making kitchen stands or other non load bearing tasks.

    I still use square lashings regularly at work though... even more so now that we are trying to be more environmentally conscious and reduce our use of cable ties

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    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    I can thoroughly recommend the world famous pioneering course at Bentley Copse, run by Surrey County.
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
    GSL 1st Aylburton & Lydney, TA, ESL(YL), District Campsite Warden & webmanager .....only 1 hour a week, they said (not pointing out that was what was left)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    I can thoroughly recommend the world famous pioneering course at Bentley Copse, run by Surrey County.
    Never attended but heard good things. Sadly.many of today's leaders aren't that interested in pioneering... same goes for a lot of the kids too. Its a dying art. As a scout I found the basics boring but it was worthwhile because we got to build a bridge or a zipline once we had learned the basics. These days no-one would let scouts build a zipline, and relatively few would have the confidence to take pioneering as far as a decent bridge or suchlike.

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    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    But why is it a dying art? Is it that the leaders have lost the skills or that the YP don't want to do it. Another 'skill' that's becoming rarer is singing round the camp fire. Why?

    (My wife's just told me to stop being so grumpy so I'm going)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Airobat View Post
    But why is it a dying art? Is it that the leaders have lost the skills or that the YP don't want to do it. Another 'skill' that's becoming rarer is singing round the camp fire. Why?

    (My wife's just told me to stop being so grumpy so I'm going)
    Maybe (at risk of sounding old) it's because getting to the point of being able to build something fun and exciting takes a lot of time learning the basics.... Maybe today's kids want the instant gratification of achieving something in a single troop night.

    The basics of pioneering - the knots and lashings - are pretty dull to learn. But you must learn them and be good at them if you're going to build a structure that is load bearing... particularly with dynamic loads.

    I'm sure we've all seen a pioneering near miss or accident. The bridge that collapsed, the zipline brake that failed, the swing that toppled over, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Maybe (at risk of sounding old) it's because getting to the point of being able to build something fun and exciting takes a lot of time learning the basics.... Maybe today's kids want the instant gratification of achieving something in a single troop night.

    The basics of pioneering - the knots and lashings - are pretty dull to learn. But you must learn them and be good at them if you're going to build a structure that is load bearing... particularly with dynamic loads.

    I'm sure we've all seen a pioneering near miss or accident. The bridge that collapsed, the zipline brake that failed, the swing that toppled over, etc.

    I think it IS possible to build something that is fun and exciting in an evening – just not a “super-duper” all singing all dancing monolith.
    I think part of the problem is the perception among many leaders that whatever you do has to be really good and work perfectly first time. There is a reluctance to try something and be prepared for it to go (safely!) pear shaped or to start with something simple because they think that “others” are doing something “better”.


    We do pioneering with the Cubs. We teach them a square lashing and they build simple “A frames” and take turns to be carried round on them or basic catapults that fire sponge balls.
    Obviously leaders check them before they are used, but as long as it’s not dangerous we leave well alone – suggestions to redo a lashing are usually ignored in the excitement to “have a go”.
    It’s unusual for any structure to survive more than one Cub/launching– but as it falls apart from under them, they understand why the lashings should have been tighter – we laugh and re do the lashings …… same mistake is made multiple times but eventually some of them become pretty good and we get a halfway decent structure
    BUT we achieve something, if not perfection, it’s been done by the Cubs, not a leader and it’s FUN and they then want to do more.
    June 2017 they even managed an hour glass tower – yes a bit of adult help but they did most of it themselves. No it wasn’t perfect, yes it was all done with square lashings and when they were on it they, and the structure, were very carefully supervised but they did it, it held them all and they had a massive sense of achievement.


    Same with camp fires. We do them. I lead them. My (lack of) singing voice is legendary but that doesn’t stop me. I enjoy singing, the fact that it’s nowhere near perfect means the Cubs don’t feel embarrassed and eventually any other leader with a halfway decent voice gets so fed up with my voice they offer to lead some of the more “melodic” songs in sheer exasperation. So… - we get more leaders prepared to help run camp fires – result! We also find Cubs are happy to lead songs - again they just cannot be worse than Akela!
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

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    A swing is a good "fun thing you can build in an afternoon", though having YP involved it might take longer than a Troop meeting it's a good camp activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Never attended but heard good things. Sadly.many of today's leaders aren't that interested in pioneering... same goes for a lot of the kids too. Its a dying art. As a scout I found the basics boring but it was worthwhile because we got to build a bridge or a zipline once we had learned the basics. These days no-one would let scouts build a zipline, and relatively few would have the confidence to take pioneering as far as a decent bridge or suchlike.
    Depends on the kid and leader. Only this weekend a couple of our cubs built a flag pole using a tripod and upright down the centre using traditional lashings as part of our virtual St George's Day camp. The flag pole was real - the cubs were brothers. No social distancing issues - just in case!!

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