It has been another busy year for the youngest scouts in the group with a full programme throughout the year with plenty of outdoor experiences, nights away and days out. Throughout we have given the Beavers a voice so they can have their voice heard and see it reflected in what they do each week.
During our weekly meetings we have learned skills in fire-lighting, photography, camp craft including knots, healthy eating, first aid, communicating, saving the planet, learning about space and including everyone we meet through disability awareness activities and kindness. Outside of our HQ, we also visited Pets at Home to find out about our furry friends, cheese-rolled down Bolton’s bench to celebrate the best of British, enjoyed Easter activities at Ferny Crofts and a walk and games at Deerleap.
While we have been involved in fewer county events this year we have been active in the district again with members of the colony attending the Soap-box derby, Remembrance day, swimming gala, Fawn Trophy, St. George’s day, cricket competition and picnic. In addition we have had even more nights away opportunities this year through working together with the district. In addition to our own sleepover in the Autumn term, we joined the district in a sleepover at the Royal Naval Submarine Museum in Gosport in January and a one-night district camp at Copythorne in June.
Summer comes with its own thrills and we received a lot of good feedback from the Beavers about the group takeover of Lymington Lido and our Beaver trip to the Mayflower theatre to see Matilda the Musical when it came touring in July.
As with all our events, these simply would not happen without our lovely volunteer team and the parents who step in to help our sessions and events run. This year our membership has remained stable with both sections having around 20 members and the Wednesday colony was at capacity for much of the year. We have transitioned a large number of Beavers to carry on their journey up to Cubs, both in the group and at other groups in the District as applicable. While we have had no difficulty in attracting new young people to the section we have been less successful in persuading new adults to join the team.
This year we had to say goodbye to Debbie as an assistant leader although she is not leaving Scouting altogether, instead supporting the group and the exec committee. Additionally, Tracy as a long term supporter of the section shall not be with us in September. Although she was a district Beaver leader, she had supported us this past year as a skilled team member and supported with a young person so they could enjoy Scouts like anyone else. She is now alas needed at another group in the district although she will still be seen within these walls as part of the Antler club and at district events. It is also with regret that I found out that Scott will be having to take a step back from Beavers from the summer due to family commitments. While we are not losing him, he may not be able to come along each week and support as the leader of the colony, instead helping out when and how he can as a sectional assistant.
In response, I have stepped up this year from an assistant leader to full Beaver Scout leader and I look forward to all the adventures we’ll have. We’ve also been lucky to have Alison and Jayne, our two parent reps on the exec committee, step in as sectional assistants to help out this summer with some of the admin tasks and everyday activities running the evening. My biggest priority this term is to build up the confidence of all the team helping me at the moment so they are confident in what they are doing and feel welcome as part of the team. This includes the three young leaders currently with the section: Callum, Stephen and George and encouraging them to complete their training and their missions to achieve the young leader’s belt buckle. My other priorities is to make sure the Beavers can have a clear say in what they do and see when their ideas have been completed; and to get even more of our young people to achieve the top award for the section of the Chief Scout’s Bronze Award.
Working with Beavers is exciting, active and with never a dull moment and I am incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve had this year to bring them a programme that is even more diverse and exciting. I look forward to doing so again next year and I hope that maybe a few others will want to join us in doing this for even more Beavers. After all for us thinking big starts on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.