Regular updates for adults involved in Scouting across Berkshire.
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22 June, 2020

Hello! Welcome to our latest news digest, detailing some of the current activities and information from Scouting in and around Berkshire.

In this latest edition:

- Hear some heartening words from our friends in Uganda
- Look ahead to a summer camp with a difference in July
- Get the hump with 1st Wash Common Scouts
- Check out our latest safety advice as lockdown restrictions ease
- Read details on our support webinar for Gift Aid
If you ever wonder about the impact that Scouting in Berkshire can have around the world, our Project Africa initiative is a hugely valuable reminder. Almost twelve months on from our last expedition (yes, it really has been that long!), we received this wonderful video from children and parents at the Buwenda site.

With funds heavily reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding through Berkshire Scouts and Project Africa has covered the costs for the Soft Power Education pre-school programme for a whole year. Skills for Life means that lives can be truly transformed for the better.   
All face-to-face Scouting activities are still suspended, but we can’t let the summer term go by without a camp, so we’re joining The Scout Association’s latest initiative - The Great Indoors Weekender (or #TGIWeekender, for those of you partial to a hashtag).
We are encouraging Groups from around our county to join in the Great Indoors Weekender (11-12 July), the UK’s biggest digital summer camp - whether it’s from your living room or garden, it doesn’t really matter. What’s most important is that Scouts from around Berkshire can join together for a summer camp - from their own homes.
There will be a host of activities over the weekend from The Scout Association, and for the older Scouts and Explorers missing out on Gilwell 24 this year, it might offer an opportunity - if you’re brave enough - for a 24-hour challenge! 

Equally, for those of you with other commitments, you will be able to dip in and out, entirely at your convenience. The Great Indoors Weekender will be entirely flexible. We just want as many people involved as possible!
Worried about running a virtual camp? Don’t be! Our Deputy County Commissioner, Simon Pickett, spoke to Group Scout Leader from Burghfield and Sulhamstead, Andy Hodgson, to find out how his group managed their recent camp weekend.
Andy, when and where was your camp?
Before lockdown we already had a Group Camp planned for June. Rather than cancel it we decided to carry on with our members simply camping in their own gardens. We ran the camp from 2pm Saturday to 10am Sunday.

How many campers did you have?
In total we had about 50 households take part, including young people from Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers plus a lot of parents joined in too.
How did you arrange things?
We sent out the menu and outline programme a week before and offered to loan pop up tents and other equipment if required. We issued challenge sheets but everything was optional so they could do as much or as little as they liked, they could change the menu, it was really up to them.  It was all about joining in and having some fun. 
How did you keep in touch with everyone?
We set up a separate private Facebook group where anyone could post pictures, videos, or go live so that we could all share what everyone was doing without admin overload. We also used a series of Zoom meetings. The Zoom meetings were fairly short, just intros, instructions and updates and a chance for people to ask questions.  We did flag break and renewed our promises and ran a live campfire at which we invited households to do a sketch, tell a joke, play an instrument and sing along with us – there were lots of action songs! Lots of families lit their own fire pits and cooked smores or marshmallows. 
Where did people sleep?
The aim was for people to sleep somewhere other than their bed so in a tent, hammock or an inside den, some built a shelter in their garden.
Did you manage to build in elements of the section programmes?
Yes, each participant got a night away and a hike away (if they completed the scavenger hunt) added to their OSM record. Each section leader also awarded activity badges where these were completed.
What were your personal highlights?
Seeing the posts from the families was amazing. It’s incredible how creative people can be in the name of Scouting. We asked them to dress in hats and ties for dinner and make a table centrepiece, for example. We also had a loose based points system, ended up with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place households and delivered some prizes to their doors (in a socially distant way of course!).
How was it as a Leader?
Overall, it was really easy for us as we didn’t have to take part in the activities other than the Zoom meetings, water challenge and campfire.  We set up a small socially distanced base in on the leader’s gardens with a flagpole and alter fire, got a takeaway and went home to sleep!
Would you recommend it to other groups?
Absolutely. It was a good opportunity for the leaders in our group to deliver something they love doing and the amount of work involved was far less than running a normal camp!
Read more about The Great Indoors Weekender - Summer 2020.

As we enter the final week of our Care for Care Homes campaign, it's time to look back at the incredible and ingenious ways that Groups from across Berkshire have embraced this initiative. 

From balloons and paintings to poems and joke books, there has been a lovely response to support so many care homes. This contribution, from 1st Wash Common Falkland Troop, was particularly imaginative and captured the spirit of the Care for Care Homes idea. Sit back with a cuppa and enjoy 'How the Camel got his Hump.'

More Care for Care Homes creativity will be featured in the coming weeks, so please share with us what you've done locally.

Face-to-face Scouting remains suspended until Scout HQ advise differently. In the meantime, there are a number of ways we can prepare ourselves:
  • Take a look at the sections "Use and maintenance of Scout premises as restrictions ease", including safely maintaining Scout premises, and guidance on third party use of Scout premises
  • Join the All Members Call on Wednesday 24th June at 7pm. During this call, Scout HQ will cover a number of key topics: preparing for a safe return to face-to-face Scouts; support for local Scout funds; membership fee proposals; and a financial update.
  • Check out the webinars in the Keeping Everyone Safe series throughout July.

    2 July - Preparing for the safe return to face-to-face Scouts
    9 July - How we do things safely - changes to our processes
    13 July - Having the knowledge you need to keep everyone safe – Changes to training 
    15 July - Knowing where to turn if you have a concern – changes to policies


We know that Gift Aid can come across daunting for those not familiar with it, or people may have got part of the process done and not quite completed it. To support Scout Groups to make a Gift Aid claim, we are hosting a webinar which will help to explain the background, walk people through the steps, and offer an opportunity to share different approaches to getting this done.

The webinar is open to all and will be on Thursday 25 June at 8pm (note the change from 24th). We will run it using Zoom, and we are asking people to sign up beforehand so that we can let you know details, as well as circulating support information shortly afterwards. There is a box in this sign up form to mention any particular questions or concerns you’ve got and would like us to cover.

Scout HQ ran a webinar called Local Funding for Scout Groups which you might find handy in the interim. You can watch this back and it gives an overview to Gift Aid and other sources of support. We’re planning our session on 25
June to complement this and go into more of the “how to” details of making it work.


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