Up until the Corona pandemic the Beaver Colony was in excellent health comprising 21 members, but with projected numbers rising to 27 in the final term of 2020 and remaining there for at least the next 2 years.
The leadership team has seen the addition of Archie Holmes, Beaver parent and former County Skills Instructor & AESL, and many years ago Assistant Group Scout Leader for 133rd Bristol (now closed). Uniformed leaders thus comprise myself, Chil, Rosie, Alicia and Archie, working with 2 DoE volunteers Alex Hoad and Benji Morley.
Work pressures have impacted slightly on adult training progress for Rosie and Alicia, however both learners are steadily taking on greater responsibility for planning and delivering activities and games within section meetings. Alicia has stepped up as Leader in Charge for Brownsea sleepover due on 21st August 2020, which at the time of writing is still planned to proceed as a joint event with Warminster Beavers but obviously may yet be cancelled subject to ‘lockdown’ measures.
Key Activities/Events (up to 11th March 2020, final section meeting prior to Corona lockdown):
1/ Sleepovers. Two were held this year, both very well supported:
i)Group Camp June 2019. This was a Group event with all BGH sections represented. In total 19 Beavers attended, participating in archery, ‘Taskmaster’ challenges in mixed section teams which worked brilliantly, and wide games in the woods.
ii)Boomerang Softplay Centre, Bowerhill, October 2019. District event organised by Chil, (as last year) with over 100 beavers attending. The Centre has been rebooked for this coming October, but will likely be cancelled due to corona social distancing measures.
2/ Hikes. This year we have again completed 4 hikes, as last year, and again including one night hike, this time from the Barge pub at Seend Cleeve along the towpath to Seend Park Farm where the Colony planted 2 oak saplings just inside the entrance to Giles Wood. In September we repeated our popular Woolley Grange to Avoncliff hike, returning to Bradford on the (very packed) evening commuter train. Former BGH Beaver leader Tawney joined us for our now traditional end of summer term Hike ‘n Swim to her outdoor pool at Woolley Green. This was a near perfect event, though I say it myself! the only sadness being that for the lovely Phil & Audrey it was the final time they would host us all for tea and biscuits at their home at the mid point of the hike – they have now moved to Wadswick Retirement Village in Corsham. (we did see Phil there in November when the Colony visited for an indoor campfire as part of their World Challenge Award).
3/ Visits. In July we again visited ‘Doddy’s’ model railway in Broughton Village, sadly in Alan’s absence who had died earlier in the year, but his son Kevin bravely let the Beavers loose on his giant Lego models as well as giving tours of the remaining model railway. In September we were visited by ‘The Little Zoo’, which provided close up engagement with an armadillo, a python, a hedgehog, meercat and tarantula. In January we visited Trowbridge fire station and had a fantastic time handling the equipment and manning the hoses.
4/ District Challenge, March 2020. Cancelled due to Covid 19 pandemic
5/ Skills. Amongst many others we have this year learnt: archery, basic science, 1st aid, and how to tie simple knots.
Badges/Awards. The Bronze Chief Scout Award scheme continues to be very challenging. I was already setting ‘homework’ for older Beavers in their final weeks before Swimming Up to Cubs before the Corona pandemic, but have now instigated a series of online ‘workshops’ for continuation of Challenge Badge requirements during the lockdown for all. Anticipate ‘virtual’ Swimming Up of 3 Beavers in May.
Many Bronzes have been awarded this year, and apart from those who have missed a significant number of Beaver meetings, most continue to gain their award as or before they move up to Cubs, (whether virtually or otherwise!).
Most Beavers this year completed their Space badge and Emergency Aid level 1
Despite Covid 19 another very rewarding year with lots going on and great support from other section leaders and parents alike.
Jon Giles BSL /(Brock).