AGM 2017 – Beaver scouts

Beaver scout logoThe Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on Tuesday 20th June at our HQ. We were joined by parents, leaders and scouts from all sections to hear about what we have achieved over the past year. This is one of the reports presented that night:

It has been quite some year for the youngest Scouts. Not only did we celebrate our 30th anniversary in style but we have welcomed more young people than ever before while still enjoying some of the best in adventure, fun and friends.

As promised a year ago, back in September we split in half creating the new Blackwater colony on the Tuesday to complement the existing River Test colony on the Wednesday. Blackwater colony has grown from small beginnings, made up of some of our younger Beavers, to a thriving colony of 15 with a distinct character of its own. Adding in the 21 Beavers of the River Test colony, we have 36 young people enjoying the challenge and fun that scouting can offer. As well as welcoming new members, we have also strengthened our links with the Cub packs by making sure our 8-year-old members ‘swim up’ to the excitement of Cubs.

Scouting is all about adventures in the great outdoors and that is no less true about Beavers than for any of our other sections, from Cubs through to Network. During the last half of 2016 we got lost following tracking signs round Boldrewood and Bolton’s Bench, enjoyed a good old fashioned summertime water fight, spent a day exploring the historic house and grounds of Mottisfont Abbey and returned once more to Paulton’s Park where we sampled the thrills of the new Lost Kingdom along with Beaver scouts from across the county. We also enjoyed an evening of campfire singing with the rest of the Beavers in the district to conclude a truly epic 30th birthday year. Such was the success of that night that the event will happen again this year where some of our own leaders are helping to run the event and lead the singing – voice permitting! Finally we enjoyed a Christmas sleepover in this very HQ complete with games in the dark, a movie to finish the night and snow on their sleeping bags as they awoke. Magical!

Since the start of this year we have continued with this active streak. We put up tents in January and discovered just how many Beavers you could fit in a tent without breaking it – 12 in one case! We then took on the Fawn Trophy in March, with our six-strong team completing several scouting challenges. We came close to winning this year and our goal for next year is to get more Beavers involved in this excellent day. We finished it off in April with a day out at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre for some games and an Easter Egg hunt in the woods, with the occasional help of some of our Scouts camping nearby. It was a brilliant event, helped by the sunshine and was a real testament to the dedicated organisation from our newer leaders.

No list of our adventures outdoors would be complete without mentioning Group Camp, an occasion you’ll probably hear a lot of tonight. This was only our second 2-night camp (after last year’s Beaver birthday camp) and it was to prove a brilliant experience. With climbing, aeroball, backwards cooking, wide games, adventure courses and a picture hunt around Ferny Crofts it was far from quiet! Many memories would have been made that weekend, whether that be the activities or sleeping under canvas only time will tell. We were really impressed by how the Beavers conducted themselves and we are already thinking ahead for a next time to make this event even better.

While we quite rightly get outdoors for a large amount of our programme, it is not all that we cover. In our modern world, it is even more important to learn about the world around us. Last year we learnt about other religions by working on our Faith badge and visiting a Jewish synagogue in Southampton, led by a local Scout leader. It was a really interesting visit and one that the Beavers gained from enormously. As well as visiting other places that we’ve already mentioned we invited some special hedgehog friends in to visit in January and looked further afield in February by gazing up into the skies and learning about the planets and constellations in a wonderful set of evenings run by Joe. From making our own planets to exploring space on our own make-shift planetarium and learning about current missions there was lots to discover.

Of course, a big part of learning about the world is learning how you are a part of it. Doing something for the community is something Scouts are famous for and our Beavers excelled themselves in the past year through their efforts as part of A Million Hands. A year ago, the Beavers chose to learn about mental health and to do something about it and back in September that is exactly what we did. We ran stalls at the district Soap Box Derby to raise money for the Garage Youth Centre in Totton who work with young people to improve their mental health and their resilience. We manged to raise £166 which we presented to the group in October. We learnt that with it they bought a new entertainment system so the young people can have fun and while doing so build the social connections and have the conversations that are so important at their age. We will soon be looking to give this another go and support another cause in the coming year.

Fitting in between all of this we have also been keen to develop our own skills. We’ve learnt how to look after ourselves and keep ourselves clean and healthy through healthy eating and exercise. We were visited by the Stanley’s Own scout band for a night making musical instruments and managed to fit in some acting and performing last autumn. We also achieved our Emergency Aid stage 2 badges by practicing how to help those in need, had a go with cameras to gain our photography badge and invented our own machines.

As you can see we have been very busy this year and the growth in our numbers and the feedback from the Beavers whenever we hold log chews show how successful we have been. Our recent nights building bat boxes and making smores with our parents involved has shown what we can do when we have a strong team of adults around us. If we are to continue to grow and be the best we need more adults to volunteer their time to help. If you are interested then please speak to any of us at any time.

However, I need now to close this by thanking everyone who has made this year possible: the dedicated volunteers who give up their time to help, the wider team who help when they can, our amazing parents for your support and finally to the Beavers themselves for coming along and having such an amazing time.

Thank you for being a part of our adventure this year.

The Leaders of the River Test and Blackwater colonies.