Newsletter – September 2013

28 September 2013

After the coldest spring for 50 years the Jet Stream moved north and we ended the Term with some glorious weather and our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts took full advantage to get out and about.

Change is part of any organisations development and growth and so it is for our Scout Group. David Hutton has stood down as Group Treasurer and his place has been taken by Bob Smyth who has been a Scout Instructor and our Secretary for the last few years. Bob’s place has been taken by Michelle Abbasipour who responded to one of our articles in the “Matters Magazines” – the power of advertising!

To spread the load of the Treasurer, Helen Whitfield and Tracy Derrick will now be responsible for collecting Subs and keeping the Group records and Gift Aid contributions.

You will receive the request for Subs as before, usually with the Newsletter. Instead of sending the cheque or cash to the Treasurer there will be a locked post box in the Headquarters for you to leave the money in the envelope provided. The post box is situated just inside the Committee Room on the right hand side of the door. Please assist Helen and Tracy by paying your child’s Subs by the time requested, thus avoiding those embarrassing telephone reminders!

It is also important that we have a signed “Gift Aid Declaration Form” for each child as this is a significant part of our income – £1,823 this year. On a full year we can claim back £26.25 from the Inland Revenue for each child, not bad for signing a piece of paper! The cost of running the Group is in the order of £9,000 per year and this has to be funded from Subscriptions and Gift Aid.
Please remember to let us know if you change your address or telephone number.
At the Group’s AGM in June, Group Scout Leader Michael Edwards-Jones reported that 2012/13 had been another good year for the Group.

As the Queen celebrated her diamond Jubilee, and London hosted the summer Olympics, we celebrated 60 years of Little Stoke Scouting in style, with several events to help make it special. We rounded off this special year with our now regular Christmas celebration. Other highlights included some of our Scouts being invited to attend a Speakers Reception at the House of Commons, David and Pat Hutton representing the Group at a Royal Reception attended by the Earl and Countess of Wessex, a Family Camp and a meeting of Former Members.

David Hutton has been an institution at Little Stoke Scouts for as long as anyone can remember, some 37 years. He started out as a parent helper and became successively Scout Leader, Group Scout Leader (twice), Assistant Group Scout Leader (twice) and everything in between. He has been Group Treasurer and a sectional assistant for the last 10 years. David has decided that this year he will hang up his woggle for the last time. It is the end of an era. His will be a hard act to follow but he will be carrying out a few jobs behind the scenes.
Parents are the lifeblood of a Scout Group. We cannot do it without you. Helpers, Leaders and the background Executive (management) Committee must all come from among YOU, our members – PARENTS. There is no one else.

On paper, we may look strong but there are Leaders whose family, work and other commitments mean they cannot always attend. We need new Leaders to support and, maybe one day, succeed those we have. We would love to welcome Mums and Dads, particularly in the Beaver and Cub sections. The Executive Committee meets about eight times a year and exists to support the Leaders and the Group Scout Leader. Ours is top heavy with Leaders and Parents should always outnumber the Leaders. It is not an onerous job, but it does need to be done BY PARENTS. As a committee member or Leader, Scouting will not take over your life or it need not?

If we are to continue to thrive, we need you, our parents, to step up to the plate. PLEASE never think that someone else will do it. They won’t. Do not ever think that you could not do it, or are not up to it. If you have a few grams of energy and a sense of humour you will be ideal. You can do it. The Scout motto is “do your best”. You will miss out on the adventure of Scouting and some of the best times of your life if you never try it. Join in, and share the fun.

Overall another good year and with your help, we can make next year even better!
During the evening, District Commissioner Amir Cheema presented Long Service Awards to Sally Alford, 20 years and Peter Stephenson, 15 years.

As a way of getting ourselves known in the community the Group took part in the Stoke Gifford Village Fete and the Bradley Stoke Festival with an “Information Stall”. The Stoke Gifford Fete was held on Spring Bank Holiday Monday and was a cold and windy day, but the weather was very much kinder for the Bradley Stoke Festival in June. It was great to see a huge amount of interest in the Scout Group with people queuing to get information. The Beavers had grown plants and painted stones for the garden to sell and raised a commendable £63.50. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders helped out on the stall and were supported by parents.
Following on from this we have booked the Town Square at the Willowbrook Centre in Bradley Stoke on Saturday 28th September from 2 till 5pm. We have hired a Climbing Wall from” Vertical Extreme” for members of the Group and the Public to experience. We will also be running a tombola, cake and information stall. Please can parents send in donations of drinks, toiletries, gifts and cakes? Volunteers will be required, so please contact Coralie Thompson on 01454 615604 or 07806 984014 with offers of help. More information will be given out at Section meetings in September.

We ended the Term with our Group BBQ and activity evening at Woodhouse Park on a glorious evening with just over 100 children and parents taking part. Cornè Human organised the archery sessions whilst Tris Bird took the youngsters to new heights and the skills of “crate stacking”. This involved being strapped into a harness and adding crates to form a stack and to go as high as possible before they fell down. The evening finished with a BBQ prepared by Sally Alford and Steve Talbot.

Some of our youngsters have gained the Chief Scout’s Award for their Section:
Gold Award – Scout Calun Thomas.
Bronze Award – Beavers Rhys Tsang & Mitchell Gregory.
Leaders Samantha Ayshford, Neil Bath and Rob Obee have completed their Leader Training and have gained the Wood Badge.

The Beavers have been working towards the Outdoor Challenge Badge and have been venturing outside whenever possible. They played lots of outdoor team games and walked around the park to complete a Scavenger Hunt. They also learnt how to put up a tent and know what to put in a rucksack for a day visit.

Every 4 weeks a Beaver is awarded the” Beaver of the Month Woggle” which they wear for the whole month. A” Beaver of the Month Medal” has been introduced for the Beavers to keep. Beaver of the Month Awards have been – Bobby Derrick & Ben Herring. “Beaver of the Week Awards”went to Joel North, Tommy Taynton, Samuel Lee & Ben Herring.

This term we are delighted to announce that parents Vicky Lovell (Hedgehog) and Chris Hierons (Squirrel) have joined the Beaver Colony as new Assistant Beaver Leaders. They will start their training next term and go into uniform.
The Cubs have had an action packed final term of the school year with lots of outdoor activities making the best of the (very) hot weather. Badges gained this term included the Athletics and Cyclists badge.

Two weeks saw the cubs testing themselves on the new ropes course at Woodhouse. They all had a chance to try rock climbing and negotiating the low ropes course. The ropes course was particular challenging with the Cubs having to help each other around the obstacles and through the spider’s web.
The Athletics badge required the cubs to find out how to warm up and what to wear when exercising. They then took part in a sports evening running, throwing balls as far as they could and taking part on the long jump amongst other bases.

The last 2 weeks of the term were spent gaining the Cyclist badge. This included a ride around Bradley Stoke along the cycle path to the lake and back. For the last evening of the term they received a visit from members of the South Gloucestershire Council cycling team. They taught the cubs how to carry out a bicycle inspection and gave tips on riding and how to maintain their bikes.
All in all this was a very busy term but the leaders are already planning for the new term with lots of new ideas. So watch this space!

In the last couple of months the Scouts have been cycling around Bradley Stoke and many of them went on a Dragon Boat experience. Earlier in the year they had a T-Shirt design contest which was won by Indigo Welsh; the winning design was printed on to T-Shirts and these were then presented to the scouts as they departed for Summer Camp held at Huish Woods near Taunton.

Of course, as soon as the schools broke up for the summer the weather changed but that didn’t deter the campers. Whilst on camp, they visited the Willow and Wetlands Centre where they learned how to make a willow ring and then some went on to make a fish (to varying degrees of success), one scout even made a spider! A trip was made to an outside pool and then to the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Here they learnt about the history of aircraft and how they were used by the Navy. The scouts then cooked their tea after choosing their menu and shopping to a budget (increased on last year from £15 to £20). The camp was drawn to a close with a trip to “Go Ape” near Exeter where they swung through the trees and cycled along the forest paths. All in all, a great time.
We are pleased to welcome Thishi Manchanayake who originated from Sri Lanka as an Assistant Leader with the Troop.

We have re-vamped our web site, so do have a look at for information about the Group.
On top of the World!

Scouting can lead on to some exciting things. Early on the morning of Sunday 19th May, 26 year old Jonathan Gupta, who was a Scout with the 1st Thornbury Group, reached the top of Mount Everest, a fantastic achievement. His parents, who used to live in Little Stoke, said that it was the experiences that he gained from Scouting that gave him a love of the outdoors. Jonathan now leads parties of climbers on peaks all over the world. Where will you be in 10 – 15 years’ time?