This report covers the year to the end of March 2020. Unusually, as a result of the impact of COVID-19, it is being presented as a written report. It doesn’t cover the activities of the sections. They are inspiring, so if you haven’t already seen them, you can view each of them here: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts.
As Group Scout Leader (GSL) I am responsible for the whole group. I work with a fantastic team of leaders who run the sections and an excellent Exec Committee who look after the business side of the group. I’m supported by Cathy, my assistant GSL, who amongst other things looks after waiting lists, section movers, the census and the majority of training in the group.
We run six sections in 1st Highworth, two each of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and cater for more than 130 youngsters aged 6 to 14 each week. Sadly, during the year, four of our leaders have moved on with our grateful thanks for all they have done. We will also soon be losing Emily from Northview Scouts as she is going on maternity leave – but we hope to see her back with us in a few terms time. Everyone at 1st Highworth Scouts wishes her well. Happily, we were delighted to welcome 4 new leaders to our team. With more than 30 leaders, around 12 young leaders, and a strong exec, we are in a great position, but there are always some areas where more help would be useful. If you know of anyone who might be interested in having fun as part of a fabulous, successful team, then please get in touch using the contact form.
This year we have continued to build our adventurous activity provision. Three more leaders completed their Archery Instructor training and six were trained as Rafting Instructors. We purchased rafting equipment to get several groups on the water and were delighted to see it being used and enjoyed throughout the summer. Later in the year, we bought 16 second-hand kayaks improving and expanding our stock of equipment. This should make it easier to run activities away from our normal lake.
During the year we have been working on a couple of projects:-
- Firstly, Cathy set a challenge for the Group to raise enough money to buy a Defibrillator, for use by the local community. The sections have responded magnificently raising the majority of the money needed. With the addition of some very generous donations from the Round Table and the WrdeUp festival, we have reached our target. The new defib was about to be ordered when the COVID-19 lockdown started but will be high on the agenda when it ends.
- Secondly, our older minibus has been replaced. Thanks to our contributions, and to the generosity of The Thomas Freke and Lady Norton Charity and the URC we were able to purchase a newer second-hand minibus – one that can be driven by some of the younger members of our leader team.
On the International front, 5 Scouts and 1 Leader attended the World Scout Jamboree in America last summer. They had a fantastic experience camping, mixing and sharing experiences with more than 40,000 Scouts from around the world. If you haven’t already, have a read of the brilliant article describing their life-changing experiences.
Of course, our year of face to face Scouting ended rather suddenly with the COVID-19 lockdown. I have been really pleased that we have been able to provide information about badges that can be completed at home. There is no pressure as some families have more than enough on at the moment, and although take-up has been mixed quite a number of youngsters have taken on the challenge enthusiastically. Some online meetings (via Zoom) are planned, and a virtual camp, but that is all for next year’s report. The Scout Association published activity ideas in ‘The Great Indoors’. We circulated this, not only to all our members but also to the wider Highworth community through local Facebook pages.
I want to finish with some thanks:-
- To the Exec for all their work in support of the leaders.
- To Cathy, my assistant, who I couldn’t manage without.
- And to all the leaders who have again been fantastic this year, and who in my view are the people who make the Group a success.
Steve Mollart, Group Scout Leader