Tag Archives: scouting

Stan Dup or Ben Dover?

Yesterday was St. George’s Day. It may not be of much significance to most people. One exception are English patriots and churchgoers as St. George is England’s patron saint.

Another exception is scouts. As steady readers of this blog know I’m a scout, and though I belong to a non-denominational scout corps we still celebrate St. George’s day. We hear or re-enact the story of George before he was a saint and just was a soldier. He slayed a dragon and so saved not just a village but also a fair princess about to be sacrificed to the dragon. And then he turned down her father’s offer of half the relam and her hand in marriage because a good man does not help for personal gain. He helps because it is his duty to help his fellow man (and princess!)

So we tell the scouts that story and remind them that helping others should always be second nature to a true scout.

Then there’s the part they all look forward to: The handing out of stars.

When I was a girl scout in the YWCA they were real, metal stars. Nowadays they’re just embroidered material that you stitch on to your left uniform pocket. On the star the number shows how many years you’ve been a scout.

My new star says 8. And in my group there’s a custom that once you get that you get no more stars. Instead you just tilt it to show the sign of eternity.

So: Should my star stand up or bend over?

Think I’ll leave it standing. And next year break group consensus and swap it for my old “6”. Upside down, of course.

You have to haggle!

Or: How I bartered my nice neighbour for laminated copies of dead currency

Scouts are an odd bunch. I speak from knowledge as I’ in my eight year as a scout, and that’s just counting my adult scout years.

So let me expound on odd: We pay good money just to be allowed to be with other peoples’ children in our spare time. Often as not away from our own families. We volunteer to stand post at night even in winter and rain. We think woodsmoke is the best perfume imaginable. We walk our feet sore beyond belief for a tiny badge to show off on our uniforms. And just to top it we know no greater joy than adhering to a concept for an entire week-end, using a story frame to play silly buggers.

So this week-end I spent with the scouts. Nothing we did was any surprise to me as I volunteered to help plan the whole thing.

We set the story frame to be ancient Rome: The rooms in the cabin were adorned with signs saying “culina”, “dormitorium”, “triclinium”, “vestibulum”, and “cubiculum”. Not one cub had a clue why. The older scouts either asked about is a dozen times – each –  or overlooked it.

Friday evening the 10-12 YOs built role play weapons and shields while the 12-16 YOs built an acquaduct out of discarded plastic tubes from a carpet store.

Saturday saw the arrival of the cubs. They set to work adorning triclinium with columns (more tubes) and stick-on mosaics while the others practised weaponry / built a steam hut to double as a “caldarium”.

Saturday afternoon saw all scouts invade European regions to spread Roman civilisation. In Slavia they had to crawl belly-up, crab-style over odds and ends to feel for their patrol tote animal. They fired a catapult in Bohemia to get a very silly dining rule: “Always top your neighbour’s glass”, “Always stand while Ceasar sits”, “Make sure potatoes and meat DO NOT touch” etc. Had to give up conquering the Gauls. That kind of thing.

Saturday evening late saw the 10-16 YOs meet the red tape of Roman civilisation. The idea was to turn the rule democratic. My post was one as a slave keeper at the Colosseum. They had to haggle with me to buy free my enslaved neighbour, and I was tough on those scouts.

Yesterday I felt great again after a 12-hour night’s sleep. So now I’m ready to go again next Saturday.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. But the badges are neat!

A shiny new coat

Bird houses for Burundi. It actually makes sense if you hear the whole story:

A retired Dane went into his garage out of boredom, emerged with five identical bird houses and hung them on his fence. He ran out of space in the garage. While making some more he was disturbed by a rap on the door. How much did those bird houses cost? He said he had to ask his wife.

The wife was – still is – a woman of business and compassion. She told her husband to ask ca. 50 dollars apiece but paint them first. The surplus would support a development project in Burundi, a country riddled by mines and other scars of war.

By now they have turned a tent camp into a regular village complete with a soap factory, a tailoring shop, a school, an bicycle ambulance et c. All on the proceeds of bird houses. They have different people paint them and sell / auction them off.

In between a man with a gardening program with lots of wievers heard about it and made half an hour’s TV about it. And I saw it. Convinced my fellow scout leaders that we should paint and sell bird houses with our cub scouts to perform duty to others.

Today I gave them a final coat of lacquer to preserve the paint in rainy weather. I spent 3 hours in boredom and fumes, and it felt great.

Because when the parents buy those houses, we’re helping a couple more families get home, jobs and education.

I love being a scout!

A friendly pat on the back: Well done, cubs

ulvepote

This weekend was spent with “my” cub scouts and co-leaders. It was the yearly long weekend with two nights away, a walk in the dark Friday evening and a long walk – some 7 kilometres – Saturday. As a recognition I print a wolf paw on their uniforms. They are after alle only 7-9 years old and find the weekend to be a challenge in different ways.

The problem is it’s a challenge for me too: I get far too little sleep. And Saturday afternoon I had a screeching pain in my sinuses from fatigue, had to lie down for just half an hour before I could face the stack of 26 uniforms.

But now it’s done. With wear and sun-bleaching those paws will become more and more visible. Just like mine in the snap above.

The devil’s in the detail

devils-food

No, it didn’t take me a week to do this. Just part of a day where I also cooked up some two gallons of apple sauce + odd domestic chores.

I’m still kind of proud of it. It’s a devil’s food cake, and most of it went with my daughter to treat her and her scout friends who had a hard night scaring children at a Halloween do. A big one in Danish terms, about 2000 people all in all though not all went to be scared by their black mass.

This year’s theme was religions. Hence the black mass. And the devil’s food adorned with bones making up an inverted cross made of sugar paste.

And the rest of it tasted good too. Hell yeah!

 

 

The Seventh year stitch(es)

Yes I know full well I’ve been at it before. And now I’m at it again: Scouting. Well it’s just a sign that it takes up a lot of mental room. Hardly surprising since I have this proof of just how long time ago I first donned my blue uniform:

årsstjerne

7 years in blue. And ridiculously proud to show it. As a girl I was in the YWCA for 6 years. And no that doesn’t mean I should have a star saying 13 years on my pocket, which is where it’s sewn on. Because I’m in the non-denominational uni-sex Danish Scout Corps now.

And I think I’m ready for seven more years, one at a time. So is it much of a craft to sew on a small piece of material? Not really, though our uniforms are made of sturdy cotton woven the same way as denim.

What is a genuine craft is coming up with idea upon idea on how to train each girl and boy scouting skills, cooperation, cameraderie, how to overcome being homesick, pitching tents et c. And still keep up your own enthusiasm. OIt’s only possible because scouting is so wonderful it attracts other adults that become friends. Oh yes, I am SO ready for seven more years. Itching to get back to it all!