Group Scout Leaders Xmas Message

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Group Scout Leaders Xmas Message

29 December 2015

christmas scout logoSeasons Greetings from the GSL!clive xmas

Well it’s not long until the fat man comes down the chimney, and before anyone says it, I’m not talking about me!

t’s that time of year when I traditionally wish all members and supporters of 1st Bradley Stoke Scout Group, a very happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.  It’s also an opportunity to update you all on what’s ahead for the Group in 2016.

Our Year…

2015 has been another great Scouting year.  Our ever enthusiastic leaders have continued to provide diverse programmes delivering fun, friendship, challenge and everyday adventure for our young people…and adult volunteers!  Without any doubt, we provide the most diverse range of opportunities and activities for young people in the community than any other organisation…and exceptionally good value for money too!

At the beginning of 2015, we opened an additional 2 Beaver Colonies and another Cub Pack (based at Holy Trinity School).  This brought our Group sections to 4 x Beaver Colonies, 3 x Cub Packs, 2 x Scout Troops and our partnered Explorer Scout Unit (Trident ESU).

xmas 3 fireAt least half of the Group attended BJAM15 at the end of May.  This was a District Jamboree held at Woodhouse Park.  Aside from allowing some our younger members (and leaders!) to experience their first nights under canvas, it gave them the opportunity to meet the wider Scouting family (around 1000 participants).

One of the highlights was one of the most entertaining camp fires sing alongs I’ve experienced…it takes a lot to get the GSL dancing!

xmas 4 raftOur ‘Water Rats’ section successfully ran their first full season of activities.  All sections took part in raft building at Trench Lane and other activities such as canoeing & kayaking were held at Bristol docks, Clevedon lake and Yate leisure centre.  We have been very fortunate to not only inherit around £6k’s worth of equipment from a closing canoe club, but were also were awarded a Spielman Trust grant of £1.8k.  This has provided us with a firm financial foundation to build the project and enable even more young people from within and outside the Group to experience these activities.

Our 2nd Remembrance Parade ran successfully in the Town Square and the rain (just about) held off!  Even greater numbers attended this year and once again, proved what a successful project this has been not just for the Group, but the community as a whole.

The year ahead…

Whilst already serving approximately 210 young people, we nonetheless remain a victim of our own success and still have to manage lengthy waiting lists.  By no means is this a badge of honour and as a result we are currently planning a 4th Cub Pack by next Easter and a 3rd Scout Troop within the year.  This of course will only be possible by maximising current availability at Holy Trinity School (Brook Way has more or less reached maximum capacity), and the successful recruitment of additional adult volunteers to support the new sections.

With good strategic planning, these sections and the Group as a whole will be sustainable.  However, we will have to give serious thought to any further expansion as there has to be a manageable limit.  Undoubtedly some young people will be disappointed that we can’t accommodate them.  We routinely guide them in the direction of our neighbouring Groups but not surprisingly…they want to join the local one!

As proof that it only takes a spark to make an explosion, further to a suggestion following last year’s remembrance parade that we perhaps formed our own marching band…it’s happening!  Following a successful pilot evening and subsequent planning meetings, this new project will be starting in January and meeting at the new BSCS primary school.  All ages membership will be from existing section members and led by both new & existing adult volunteers (including qualified music teachers).  Now we really will be able to blow our own trumpet!

Following our attendance at BJAM15, at the end of next May we will be attending the County Jamboree to be held at the South Gloucestershire Showground at Westerleigh.  Keep an eye out in January for invitations to attend and I would encourage all our members to join around 4000 of their Scouting brothers & sisters in a great range of activities over 3 days & nights.

Finally, it’s going to be a big year for our Cub & Beaver sections who are celebrating their 100th & 30th Anniversaries respectively.  They’ll both be taking in part in some special events and activities to mark this.

All the above is obviously in addition to the weekly section meetings and weekend activities…from abseiling to zorbing!

Fundraising…

Just a quick word about fundraising.  Without the continuing support of our fundraising team and their initiatives, we would struggle to financially maintain the Group.  Please check out our fundraising page at http://bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk/fund-raising-3/ and in particular, our ‘fundraising’ portal at http://bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk/fund-raising-3/easyfundraising/.  By utilising this simple portal when you shop online, you will raise Group donations from the retailers (over 2700 of them) without it costing you a penny extra!  This really is a licence to print money and the more we can encourage people to utilise it the better!

If you have any ideas for fundraising or perhaps would like to join our fundraising team, please contact Belinda Hodgson at fundraising@bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk.

Our volunteers…

Of course none of this would be possible without the continuing recruitment of new adult volunteers, and the dedication and support of our existing ones.  Nor must we forget our Young Leaders who are a vital part of our leadership teams and are rightly regarded as such.

We are always on the lookout for additional support.  If you feel you could contribute in any way, large or small to help us out, please let us know by either approaching your section leader, Nick Nelson chair@bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk or myself.  All the adults in the Group are volunteers and undoubtedly like you, lead busy lives.  However, volunteering with us is easy, fun and flexible – how much time you give is completely up to you.

Recognition…

It was particularly inspiring for our latest British astronaut (Major Tim Peake) to be quoted as saying that Scouting was the first step of his long life journey to the ISS.  I often say to new volunteers…and those experienced ones who sometimes wonder whether it’s all worth it…never underestimate the influence you can have on a young person’s life.  Small acts can transform the world and we should be privileged to have that opportunity to inspire, teach and influence in a positive way.

One of the Associations goals (and mine!) is to recognise the dedication of our volunteers and where appropriate/possible, ensure that this is publicised.  If you feel that one of the volunteers (whether a leader or a supporter) within the Group deserves special recognition, please do let me know.  There are various ways in Scouting that this can be done.  I have had the pleasure to present several long service awards over the past year.  This proves that our volunteers either don’t learn(!)…or seriously enjoy what they contribute and experience working within the Group.

In addition, you may like to nominate them for the annual South Gloucestershire Chair’s Community Awards which recognises local ‘community heroes’ – people who have made a real difference to their community.  There is still time to submit nominations for the 2016 awards (deadline 31st January 2016).  Web link at…

http://www.southglos.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-democracy-and-elections/council-chair/chairs-community-awards/

Finally…

Thank you for choosing our Group for your child to join in the adventure of Scouting.  If you would like to discuss anything further, or have any concerns or queries, then please do get in touch.  Also, keep an eye on our website and facebook page for up to date Group news and information.  http://bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk/

Have a very happy Christmas and a great New Year…I’m off to think about an aviation section!

xmas 5 sig

Clive Mason – Group Scout Leader

gsl@bradley-stoke-scouts.org.uk

neckie