What a lovely afternoon, we had over 60 people of all ages join us for our picnic on Saturday aftrenoon. Thank you for coming out to join us, despite the sudden, heavy rain that drove everyone under tarpaulins and umbrellas’ during the first 10minutes of the afternoon! It was lovely to see everyone all together at our first group event since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Lots of marshmallows were toasted, cakes eaten and songs sung at our campfire.
1st Bisley Rainbows are thrilled to celebrate the first ever Rainbow Gold Awards to be presented to members of their unit. Rhe Gold Award is the top award that Rainbows can earn, and the three girls that have completed it have earned over 50 badges between the three of them – it’s an amazing achievement given that we’ve been meeting online, in person, indoor, outdoors and occasionally not at all through the last three years. We celebrated by having a joint meeting with our friends at 1st Bussage Brownies, made Easter cards, chocolate nests and had an Easter Egg Hunt organised by our Guide Helpers Cassie and Amelia. All the Rainbows and Brownies went home with an Easter Egg and a cake with a Rainbow on.
We are thrilled to welcome 1st Bussage into Eastcombe Scout and Guide Group this term, meaning that all four Girlguiding sections now meet at the HQ once again. The Brownies will meet on the same night that they were at their previous venue, and are for girls aged 7-10 years in age. You can register for their waiting list here: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/information-for-parents/register-your-daughter/
All the young people in both our Guiding and Scouting sections have the opportunity to earn that sections top awards during their time in each section and whilst all our units are enjoying their summer holidays we’re going to take a minute to celebrate those the awards that have been earned this year.
How do the awards work?
In Guiding each section has Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards that girls work towards by earning Theme Awards that accumulate towards each award during their time in Rainbows, Brownies, Guides or Rangers. To achieve a theme award a girl must have earned an Interest Badge, Skills Builder and done lots of exciting activities from that theme. All the information about these badges are in each sections badge book.
In Scouting each section has one top Award, the Chief Scouts Award – Bronze for Beavers, Silver for Cubs, Gold for Scouts, Platinum & Diamond for Explorers. To achieve the Chief Scouts Award a young person must earn all the Challenge Awards for that section (i.e Beavers, Cubs, Scouts) and a number of interest badges, although the Platinum & Diamond awards are a bigger challenge with nights away and other elements. All the information about these badges are on the Scouts.org.uk website and in the each sections Badges & Awards book.
Has not really been like any other year, with the majority of our units meeting online for much of the last year, it’s been even more challenging for our young people to complete these awards. So, we are very proud to congratulate the following young people for their achievements:
|1st Bisley Rainbows|
Rainbow Bronze Award
|1st Bussage Brownies|
Brownie Gold Award
|1st Chalford Guides|
Guide Silver Award
|1st Eastcombe Scouts|
Chief Scouts Gold Award
Scouting presents good service awards every year and what with the lockdown and the like last year, some of the awards took a little while to reach their intended recipients in 2020 and 2021. So Eastcombe Scout and Guide Group is proud to congratulate Tony (Group Treasurer) for reciving the Bar to the Award of Merit in 2020, as well as Tigz and Guy (Scout Leader & Assistant Scout Leader) and Petra (previous Cub Leader) who recieved the Chief Scouts Commendation for Good Service in 2020 too.
One presentation for a 2020 Award that took place in the last term was to Jim, Assistant Cub Leader with 1st Eastcombe Cubs at one of their first face to face cub meetings. Jim was presented with Award for Merit by Group Scout Leader Dave. The Award for Merit is a Scout Association award for outstanding and dedicated service to scouting – Jim has been a cub leader for many years, including with British Scouting Overseas and subsequently is fundamental to keeping 1st Eastcombe Cubs running, including learning how to run online meetings.
Girlguiding Gloucestershire have a set of their own Good Service Awards, the most recent ones having been presented at the (virtual) County AGM. This included the Inspiring Leader Award which was made to Mary, Rainbow, Ranger & Guide Leader.
To mark a just over a year of lockdowns, re-openings, closings, and meeting online and off line, and everywhere in between the Group Scout Leader and Group Guide Leader/Girlguiding Bisley District Commissioner worked the the Group Executive Committee to provide all our young people (and volunteer leaders) with an Easter gift. This was done alongside out sister unit at 1st Bussage Brownies, to make sure all the young people in the District were included. We’re celebrating the enthusiasm and support of our young people, their families and volunteers that’s brought us through the last year.
Therefore, over Easter Weekend many of the volunteer leaders shared out the egg deliveries and have been out and about around Bussage, Eastcombe, Chalford Hill, France Lynch, Bisley and Brimscombe (and beyond!) to distribute these Easter treats. Just over 100 eggs have been delivered, and whilst enjoying them the leader team are looking forward to seeing their units again, in person, after the Easter Holidays for the first time since December.
The two youngest Sections of Eastcombe Scout and Guide Group have been meeting online since the start of the 3rd lockdown in January with the support of their volunteer leaders and the delivery of little packs of resources to their doors each half term.
1st Bisley Rainbows had a wonderful autumn term when they were able to meet in person – learning new games and skills, earning their Camp Stage 1 badge (which included cooking dough twists over an open fire – a firm favourite) and their first ever Virtual Sleepover where everyone built a den at home and we met in an online meeting to show our dens to each other and share a bedtime story. Rainbows from January were back to being entirely online again and the volunteer leaders and the girls have chosen a program for this term to keep everyone entertained whilst we’re at home. There has been balloon karate (which has to be seen to be believed), learning Makaton and a new song, very funny treasure hunts (“MUM! I need a leaf!!”) and celebrating some of the girls earning interest badges too. We expect to be online again after half term and are planning some gardening, Mothers Day Cards and more – volunteer leaders Natalie & Mary are brave enough to even consider Easter Bonnets….
Eastcombe Beavers had farewelled three of their leaders at Christmas after a few years with the unit – during last term this team and the Beavers were able to meet in person outdoors, with some highlights including cycling, scavenger hunts and a campfire. Group Scout Leader Dave and new volunteer Richard have picked up the unit for the time being and are hoping that when we’re able to meet in person again they will be able to recruit some new leaders, to support the young peoples adventures further. In the meantime Beavers have been meeting online too, this term they’ve done their First Aid Stage badge, played lots of games and held a virtual wassail. The next half term will include a virtual pet show (probably better online!) trying some experiments to earn the Experiment Badge and preparing for a joint virtual sleepover with Eastcombe Cubs later this term.
Often meeting online for both Beavers & Rainbows respectively has been a means to let off a bit of steam and see their friends, and even though we are online just now, there continues to be opportunities for young people to learn new things and have fun together in Girlguiding and Scouting. This is the case in all of our age groups, ably supported by a small team of volunteers, and with the bemused support of the parents and careers, who must occasionally wonder what on earth happens for 40minutes a week that requires “two paper straws, sticky tac, tissue paper and an empty pop bottle”
Spaces are available at both Eastcombe Beavers (firstname.lastname@example.org) and 1st Bisley Rainbows (email@example.com) after the Easter Holidays and we’d always love to hear from potential adult volunteers too.
Mary Lodwig – 1st Bisley Rainbows, 1st Chalford Guides & Spotty Dotty Rangers
Dave Lodwig – Eastcombe Beavers, Eastcombe Cubs & Eastcombe Group Scout Leader
Over the previously three months a group of volunteer leaders and parents from across the sections that meet at Eastcombe Scout & Guide HQ have been working to prepare the building, and therefore the Group, to reopen. The Re-Opening Working Group have undertaken a lot of risk assessment, discussion, deep cleaning, planning and consultation with other volunteers and the community groups that meet at our HQ as well.
One of the final steps was a working weekend over the first weekend in September, where a group of volunteers got together to work through all the things that our preparations had identified as essential before we reopened. In terms of Covid secure works, we’ve removed the soft furnishings from the main hall and replaced them with frosting on the patio windows, and covered all of the display boards with sheeting that can be cleaned much easier, and is kinder than removing each group of young peoples work. We’ve also built a new outdoor woodstore and renewed the campfire circle (with thanks to Chalford Building Supplies for the wood and hardcore). The current guidance (September 2020) suggests that our youth sections are going to be meeting outdoors to enable social distancing and we’ve worked hard to make this a nicer, safer, place for the young people in our group.
In addition to some Covid secure works, we also did some overdue maintenance – repainting a neglected storeroom, renewing a lot of the safety signs and filling in the much grumbled about holes in the car park. Several members of the team also brought the car park edges under control, re-establishing a number of car parking spaces and improving visibility. There were also several odd jobs to be completed such as cleaning the holds on the bouldering wall and dusting the CCTV cameras!
All in all, and with grateful thanks to the groups executive and volunteer leaders, their families, and members of the Second Table on the Left for giving up their time this weekend. Everyones hard work has improved our meeting place and prepared the HQ for the return of our youth sections: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Guides, Rangers & Explorers, as well as our regular community users, this term.
Currently, following the guidiance from Girlguiding Headquarters, Scout Headquarters and the UK Goverment all Youth Sections are suspended from meeting in person. Some sections are meeting online via video calls or email, please contact your section leaders for further information or look up Girlguidings Adventures at Home or Scoutings The Great Indoors for activities to do whilst our sections are not able to meet in person.
Similarly the day time groups (Funky Monkeys and Ballyhoo Dance school) that meet at the HQ are also not meeting during this period, please get in touch with your local contact for further information.