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 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
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.
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).
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….??
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.
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
A local Broughton Gifford band, The Debonaires, who use the Scout Hut to rehearse, are playing a gig in The Bell on Saturday 17th December and raising funds for the Scout Group. Please go along and support if you can. Full Poster here
Chil’s now infamous Easter egg hunt will take
place on Broughton Gifford Common on Saturday
19th March. Turn up at the Scout hut ready to start at 2pm. Also attached is this year’s quiz – Easter Chocolate & Sweet Quiz 2016.
Please compete and return to Chil (Anne
Cranham) or a Section Leader not forgetting the £1 fee.
We’re proud as punch to announce that our very own Chil has been named Melksham’s Person of the Year, 2015 by Melksham News. Of course we all already know how wonderful she is, but now everyone else knows, too! Thank you to everyone who took the time to cast a vote.
Chil, aka Anne Cranham in real life, has been involved with Broughton Gifford and Holt Scouts for the last 37 years, since becoming Chair of the Executive Committee in 1978. She remains our Chair, but is now also Assistant Beaver Leader (since stepping in as a temporary leader in 1999) and wears other hats within the group, not least Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at numerous events, fundraising ventures and camps every year and Hider and Keeper of the lolly sticks for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Common. Beyond BG&H she overseas all the district Beaver colonies as ADC – Assistant District Commissioner – organising many joint opportunities for fun for the young people, from the annual New Year Party to the frankly crazy district sleepover at Boomerang. An ADC does not usually also work directly with the young people in a group, but dedicates his or her time to organising larger events within the district. Chil somehow manages to do both.
She has an amazing skill to motivate children and gives them just the help and encouragement they need to do things for themselves, even things that, in every day life, might be considered beyond their ability. She enriches lives and helps children to discover interests and talents that they didn’t know they had. But she is also an amazing support and inspiration to the other leaders in the group, always ready to offer advice to someone when they are daunted by a new challenge.
As well as hut sleepovers, the biennial Beavers expedition to Brownsea Island and our annual Group Camp, Chil is also an invaluable presence at the annual week’s Scout Camp – not a soft option when it’s a greenfield site with no services or facilities in the Brecons in the rain! Her campfires are legendary. Chil knows all the best songs and she can get the shyest child or moodiest teenager involved and singing along – children are still singing the song weeks after a camp.
Of course, there is lots of hard work in the background that makes it possible for us all to have all this fun. The fundraising efforts Chil drives are vital to the group’s financial security and without these extra funds subscriptions would be substantially higher, and potentially out of reach for some families whose children benefit from the activities and experiences offered by the Scout movement.
Whenever something needs repairing, costumes need to be produced for a Christmas show or templates made for a craft session, Chil is there. For more ‘industrial’ jobs, like making a BBQ or repairing the generator, the long-suffering Mr Chil is roped in.
She is that rare mix of dependability, loyalty, dedication and selflessness. And the children respect and love her.