Monday 10 July 2023

ShireJam 2023 - Scouts

 Oh wow! What a weekend!

Shirejam returned again after a 4 year break. It's a huge scout camp with all the scout groups from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire attending, about 4500 scouts plus lots of adult helpers and leaders to make things run smoothly. 

Our troop didn't have so many attending this time, I think last time we totalled about 80, but this time we were more like 30 from our section, and our beavers didn't camp over, just some of the cubs and scouts. 

Eldest and Middlest at the opening ceremony 

Time moves on, last time it was just me and our eldest attending camp all weekend when she was a beaver. We currently have one in scouts, one in cubs and one in beavers! Although the girls come and help us every week run beavers, so do a lot of scouting when you add it up.
I camped over all weekend as although I'm with beavers it's good to have more hands on deck, I could help out with food and keeping the young people moving a bit. I also helped a little with cubs when they needed it.

Our beavers turned up on the Saturday morning after what was a particularly rough nights sleep. Not because of the scouts, but the leaders in the tents next doors to our! They were much quieter the second night thankfully! 

We had nine beavers come for the Saturday and they loved it. My youngest was one of them (although he's getting to be one of the older beavers in the colony now) and he was so excited to come and be a part of it. It's shame we didn't have more overnight warrants as it would have been great to have a few of the braver ones camp over the Saturday night. 

The days are broken into sections - Bouncemore, Craftmore, Splashmore, firemore, survivemore, Strivemore. There were loads of activities but we did have to queue for quite a few of them, so we tended to split up depending what they wanted to do then come back together to move to another section or do an activity together. One of the beavers said the one section (survivemore) should be called "queuemore", but they were all really good at waiting in line. 

Our beavers really enjoyed the bounce section I think. They didn't get to do the splash one, but all the older scouts and cubs said that was their favourite. 

Middlest loving the zorb

Youngest doing a bit of bouncing! 

The weather wasn't the kindest it could be, there were a few heavy storms during the day but we did seem to miss the worst of them by being in the right place at the right time. We had some undercover eating areas set up at our camp so in a way it adds to the experience. 

One storm of many

I did get caught without a coat in the craft zone and ended up finding some plastic and making one! I thought it was a very scouting thing to do! Well more scouting if I hadn't left my coat in the tent I guess...

My eldest coped with her diabetes really well over the weekend. It was good to be there and help her if she needed it (working out carbs and stuff), but because I would have been there anyway it wasn't like I was being too over protective. I let her do her own thing, she went off with friends and did everything like everyone else, but I was at basecamp for her should she need it in the evenings. She did go high the first night (blood sugar levels) and luckily it was just when I'd woken up again so we got up, had a little walk to the toilets (helps bring levels down a bit) and give a correction dose of insulin. 

She was brilliant though and managed to keep within target for a good portion of the weekend, which is really tricky with so much going on. 

With me being in scouts it was good to be there for her, but her not think that was the reason I was there. Scouting is something we've enjoyed sharing together. 

Middlest having a go shooting an air rifle

I've been in scouts about 5 years or so now, it's become very much part of what the children and I do together and really brings us in. My Middlest got the award for the most mature and helpful cub this weekend as she was looking after some of the younger ones, which made me really proud. 

In fact I'd say seeing my children scouting has been the main takeaway from the last 5 years. When the girls started helping at beavers I got to see, first hand, how maternal and helping they are and how they're good leaders when given the chance, we call them our "young young" leaders as we already have three amazing young leaders. It's helped their confidence grow in so many ways. 

For myself it's amazing how, although I moan about scouts (it is constant and they always want more time from you), you feel part of this much bigger community. It's mad walking around the campsite and seeing all these hundreds of adults who have given their time to do this for all these young people, helping them grow into responsible adults. And I can tell you it's a fair bit of time, especially with setting up camp, packing away etc. 

And how that same giving of time bonds you with the other leaders, I've made some good friends in our troop through scouting, and walking around over the weekend there was so many friendly faces I knew from over scout groups from activity days or camps. 

I joked to my wife the best bit about a big scout camp is I can tell a child off, not even from our group, and they will listen! I won't get a load of abuse or back chat, they tend to just do what they're told, and normally it's not even something bad, just kids being kids (like chucking stones or something silly). But such is the way scouting is set up, and the kids that manage to stick at it. 

When I see people moan about the "lack of community" where they are, I always think just join your local scout group. They will be glad of your help and knowledge you can bring to the group, and in return you'll gain a community of people around you who are all caring enough to give up their time to help children enjoy their childhood. 

I wasn't a scout growing up, but looking back I wish I had been. I'm glad I've managed to be one so my children can see me doing that role as well as the one of "dad" to them.

I need a good rest now. My mind has been somewhat "fuzzy" today whilst in the workshop! 

Were you a scout or a guide?


  1. I was a scout growing up and really enjoyed it though we had a series of dud leaders that eventually caused our scouting organization to go defunct and the leader ended up in prison. I never made it very far through the ranks of the Boy Scouts as a result. But both my parents were big into outdoor camping and so I made up for it later in life.

    My oldest started in scouts, but over here, their focus is on selling cookies and she quickly grew bored and quit, never to return.

    1. ah that's a sahme when a few let down a whole organsiation like that.

      Our fundrasing is done wiht a big jumble sale each year, we raise plenty of money that way and enables us to do everything else (but mainly try to upkeep the scout hut)

  2. I went to a similar camp in Somerset in the 80's, it was a three county camp, and huge, I was a guide leader at the time, our activities were more natural ones, caving rock climbing, it was a great time.

    1. there was lots of rock climbing and things as well, but with stuff they had brought in, so climbing walls and a caravan with boxes in it for caving!

  3. Looks like a great way for kids to socialize and learn so many new things! I was a Brownie for a season, but I sure wish my folks had known about 4-H when I was coming up. It's a fabulous program.

    1. I hadn't heard of 4H until a few years ago, sounds great (except for that time to police shot that girls goat). I wish we had that here as well. We do have young farmers, but it seems to be quiet drink heavy.

  4. I have three grandsons in Scouts here in the US. I haven't been very familiar with the program in the past, but am very impressed with everything they are learning and how they are developing into impressive young men. The oldest has just completed his Eagle, the next one is starting on his, and the youngest is moving up. Their parents are very involved and committed, which is crucial.

    1. Yeah ours are currently working towards their bronze, sliver and gold (beavers cubs and scouts). Its nice becaseu the girls help me at beavers when the eldest started her volunteering part (the hardest bit to get) got signed off straight away. She was so pleased when the leaders told her.

  5. Looks like a lot of fun Kev!

    Hiking now in my 50's, I wish I had done more to camp outside in inclement weather, It is not nearly the big deal I thought it was, but I was very unsure of what it would be like the first few times (still not totally comfortable with it).


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