“Scouting Changed my Life” – Will Lister

When I applied for a place on the Wiltshire World Scout Jamboree Unit, back in 2017, I hoped that I would get a chance to visit another country and to meet Scouts from around the World. I hadn’t had the opportunity to travel very much, and this was the biggest attraction for me. I didn’t really expect it to change my life in the way that it has.

Although I was one of the youngest members of the Unit, we all clicked and as a group we still all chat online most days – even nearly a year after we went away together. I’ve made friends who will be friends for life, I think. Before the jamboree, I was shy about playing my guitar in public and didn‘t really know what I was going to do with my life as a job but one of the leaders brought their guitar along to the Monopoly Run (one of our first training camps) and some of the Unit members who knew I could play encouraged me to play for a group sing-along. This ended up happening at most of the camps and really built my confidence for playing in front of people. I’m now taking Music GCSE as a performance option and don’t think I’d have been brave enough to perform in public without the opportunity to grow my confidence with the Unit.

I think the biggest life-changer, though, has been that I have discovered a new passion for film-making and photography and I’m determined to pursue a future in anything camera-related, particularly film-making. One of the first films I made was the one documenting the Jamboree trip, which you can see here. Friends of friends from the Jamboree have already asked me to edit videos for them and so I’ve already begun my film-editing career all thanks to Scouting!

The Scout Association’s hashtag is “#SkillsForLife”, which people probably think of as the core skills – resilience, independence, confidence, teamship – and all the clichéd Scouting skills of tying knots, making fire and campfire cooking and songs, but there is so much more to it than that, and often the benefits of Scouting are harder to see and less obvious or expected. It’s definitely changed my life for the better.

Our American Adventure – George and Will Lister

Ready to hit the road

Our summer holiday started on a high this year as the day after we broke up from school in July, we set off to America to take part in the 24th World Scout Jamboree as part of the Wiltshire contingent. We’d been working hard for almost two years to raise the £4,000 each we needed to take part and also to prepare as part of our group, with 8 training camp weekends and numerous fundraising activities.

So many people from the Broughton Gifford and Holt Scouting families and the group itself supported us with donations, jobs, purchases and more that we wanted to thank everyone once again and tell you a bit about where your donations went and what it meant to us. It wasn’t just about us, though, as part of the money we raised went to support a scout from a developing nation, who otherwise would not have been able to afford to go to the jamboree, which is all about giving scouts from all over the world the opportunity to meet.

It’s hard to put into words the sheer scale of the Jamboree. After a flight to JFK and a whistle-stop tour of New York in less than 24 hours, we had a long coach trip to the Summit Bechtel Reserve, in West Virginia, where 45,000 Scouts from all around the world were gathered for 10 days of activities, exploration, cultural exchange, getting to know one another and, of course, fun. You might have seen some of the news reports, such as on BBC Breakfast, as the event is held only every four years and is unlike anything else you can imagine. There were orange, two-man tents as far as you could see and activities on an epic scale. The entire reserve is bigger than some small countries! And the area covered by the jamboree camp and activities was the size of a town, so there was a lot of walking over long distances. We had spent the last two years working as a unit at training camps to understand what we needed to know to prepare ourselves for the event, including fitness training, teamwork, getting up before dawn to walk to the stores to get food for the unit for the day and lots more.

Our unit of 40 Wiltshire Explorer Scouts and leaders were camped between a group from Sweden and one from South Korea. Our ‘buddy unit’ from the USA were an hour’s hike away in a different area of the camp. We met so many people from so many different countries and learned such a lot about different ways of life and scouting in other nations. A bridge through the middle of the site was one of the main ways to get from place to place and it could take an hour just to get across the bridge as there were so many people to meet and get talking to. One whole day of the 10-day jamboree was Culture Day, where all the activities like mountain biking, paddleboarding etc were closed and we spent all day visiting the camps of other countries, where everyone put on displays and food to showcase their culture. The opening and closing ceremonies and the Unity show, on Culture day, were like the biggest music festival you could think of, multiplied by 10 again and they’re experiences we will never forget.

After the jamboree, all 4,000 of the UK contingent went to Washington DC for two days, where we all got together for a big party, had some time to sight-see and relax, and went to a baseball game. The scouts got a lot of publicity at the baseball game as the Orioles are not doing well this season, and haven’t been getting very big crowds, so 4,000 UK Scouts all sitting together and cheering a game they didn’t really understand was quite a spectacle! One of the Orioles players, Anthony Santander, was fielding near to us and the crowd loved him. By the end of the game there was a UK Scouts Anthony Santander Fan Club.

Our next stop was Canada. All the UK units went to Canada to spend time with local scout groups to learn more about scouting in Canada and to meet local families to learn about life there. We were incredibly lucky to be with the 22nd Niagara Scouts, who were based about 5 minutes away from the Niagara Falls. It was spectacular. And the Canadians were really welcoming and looked after us with home-cooked food, after quite a few weeks of terrible camp food.

We feel really fortunate to have been able to have this amazing experience through Scouts and through the support of our family, friends and community. Hopefully a few of our pictures will give you some idea of what it has meant to us. Thank you.

It was easy to get lost looking for your tent
A bridge across site was one of the best places to meet people
Just about one fifth of the bags from the UK, lined up in New York for us.
We traded badges, neckers, clothes, bags and all sorts of equipment with scouts from other countries to come back with souvenirs.
On Culture Day we visited lots of other countries in their base camps. Here, Will is dressed for a Colombian wedding.
At the baseball with the Queen. She came with us to Canada, too.
George at the ‘Top of the Rock’ (Rockerfeller Center) in New York
Will in front of Niagra Falls
Will’s video

Broughton Gifford Leaders hit the target

Chil, Brock and Hammy (BGH Group Chair, Beaver Leader and Assisant Beaver Leader respectively) attended a two day Leadership training course for archery on 16/17th February 2019, held at Youlbury Outdoor Scout Centre.

  • Brock, Chil and Hammy

The course was very thorough and intensive, but our instructor and assessor, Alex, was superb throughout and made it fun as well as hard work. Our aim – no pun intended! – was for each of us to gain the Scout Leader Archery Permit, so that we can run more archery sessions for the Group at camps and section meetings. At the end of our practical assessments Alex talked us through how well we did, and happily is recommending us all to the District Commissioner for our Leader Permits. Until now, we have only had one archery permit holder in the whole Group, so this should mean we can offer a lot more opportunities for our young people to safely learn or improve their skills on this fun activity.

By a coincidence, our instructor’s Cub name was also Chil, as was one of the other Cub Leaders on the course, Fiona, who even more weirdly shared the same birthday as our own Chil! In her 40 years of Scouting, our Chil had only previously ever met one other one before this course – perhaps with the growing popularity of Scouting people are wising up to the lesser known characters of the Jungle Book (Chil = kite bird which helped Mowgli escape).

Broughton Gifford Scouts are off Stateside

Two Broughton Gifford Scouts have been selected to join the Wiltshire contingent at the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in the US in the Summer of 2019. Twin brothers George and William Lister attended a selection weekend in early October with 109 others where they were tested on their scouting and teamwork skills. They were chosen to join the final team of 45 to represent Wiltshire and will join 39,998 other scouts from around the world in a week of activities, fun and festivities at the Summit Bechtel Reserve

They now need to get busy raising nearly £4,000 each to fund the trip (they are not only funding themselves, but also aiding a Scout from a developing nation to attend) so don’t be surprised if you see the odd fundraising event organised over the coming months. Clean car anyone….??

Hut gets a makeover

The hut is in the middle of getting a spruce up in getting some rotten boards fixed and then a coat of wood preserver. Did you know our lovely hut was once an MOD First Aid building on Salisbury Plain.

Many thanks to the Melksham Area Board for their support in funding this project

Thank you

Thank you for the nearly 10,000 Sainsbury’s Active Kids Vouchers. We were able to “buy” sports equipment, kitchen equipment and a couple of camp table.

Scouts Clean up at Annual Karting Competition

The Scout section recently swept up at the 2017 district competition with “Chariot on Fire” winning the overall timed trials (also setting a new course record – not bad for a set of recycled pram wheels) and “The Coffin Dodgers” the constructors’ championship. Well done Scouts and watch the video here

Scouts Karting

Camping kings

20160925_171303000_iOSA group of Scouts from 1st Broughton Gifford & Holt Scout Group triumphed recently in the West Wilts District Maurice Gullis Camping Competition.

The six boys – Curly, Harvey, Alex, Digger, William H and G – demonstrated outstanding teamwork, organisation and cooking, as well as succeeding in a range of challenges. Of particular note was the way the team pulled together and the quality of the meals they cooked on an open fire. The competition has been run since the 1920s in memory of a Scout who loved camping. This was the first time we’ve entered.