AGM 2018: River Test and Blackwater Beavers report

BeaversOur year of adventure: 2018.

This past year has been quite a ride for our youngest scouts. No report can quite go into detail about what we’ve done so here are some highlights and how we’re meeting the challenge to make our scouting even better.

Over both our colonies, we currently have 40 young people enjoying the fun and friendship of Beavers, an increase on last year. We have also managed to include more girls than ever before in the colony and are working hard on ensuring we are inclusive of scouts of all needs through the ‘Carers in Scouting’ project.

Together, we’ve been on many adventure this year including visits to the Solent Sky museum, Redbridge fire station, a Sikh Gurdwara, Ferny Crofts Scout activity centre for some  Easter activities and Paulton’s Park for the annual county day out. In April we entered four teams in the District Fawn Trophy and walked away with the trophy for the first time after a day of team challenges focused on problem solving, teamwork and communication – just some of the skills scouting gives our young people.

Every term we have given the Beavers a chance to have their say on our programme and we use this so the Beavers themselves can shape their scouting for the better. They chose to spend a night achieving the Builder badge making LEGO and K’nex models, picked the activities for our sleepover and helped make St. George’s Day a success by asking for a space themed celebration which the group’s leaders transformed into an uplifting service encouraging us all to ‘Reach for the Stars’. They have also made change in our HQ by asking for recycling bins to be put in following an evening looking at global issues such as plastic waste and by making our field a more attractive place for nature.

Keeping our promise to help other people is important and we do this a number of ways. Last month we combined a walk around Testwood lakes with a litter pick so we could improve the environment as we walked and ensure no local animals were harmed.

We also encouraged the Beavers this year to do good deeds and in the process help raise money. In late summer last year we were able to treat the Beavers to a day out in Bournemouth via train to visit the beach, aquarium and enjoy a fish and chip lunch from the money they raised.

When challenged again earlier this year to raise money for Water Aid (chosen as part of A Million Hands) they were given an extra incentive – the Beaver who raised the most would cut off half of Fisher’s hair! The ploy worked and together they raised hundreds of pounds to help others in far away countries.

You will hear a lot tonight about what skills Scouting can give young people. As well as the teamwork and social skills already mentioned, we’ve also help nights focusing on looking after yourself, keeping safe, thinking like a computer and using technology at the Apple Store. We’ve also looked at some early scout skills such as some basic knots as well as looking at how to pack a bag for camp.

Last autumn we held a Guy Fawkes themed sleepover which was much enjoyed and we are already looking ahead to another nights away adventure early on when we return from the summer.

Of course none of this could be possible without the volunteers who help run Beavers and the many parents who have helped out at our activities and evenings. Without you so many of the things we do could not happen so a massive thank you. We have seen some changes to our team this year as one leader had to step down and another moved to another part of the country where they are continuing their scouting journey. To keep on doing the amazing things we do we will need to grow our team so please speak to any leader if you could volunteer and help prepare young people with skills for life.