Held in May each year, the awards night allows us to reflect on the previous year of Scouting and all family members are welcome to come along as we will be recognising 3 members from each of the Joey, Cub, Scout and Venturer sections. The awardees will be presented with a monetary reward generously provided by the Bendigo Bank – Upwey branch.
Each section leader has provided a summary of the last 12 months and added some photos.
I have had so many moments this year when I have been so happy and proud of our little mob of Joeys that it is hard to name just a few.
In January we celebrated one year of Joeys starting again at 1st Upwey and I think that our exciting adventures this term were a great way to celebrate the occasion.
We had our first Upwey Joeys (only) sleepover at the hall on a very hot night and you guys were amazing – you all fell asleep with the help of many fans and a bedtime story and it prepared you beautifully for our first Joey camping adventure under canvas which we went had with the Venturers in April school holidays at Gilwell Scout Park. With our fearless Leader in Charge ‘Old Baloo’ and lego provided by our health and wellbeing expert ‘Akela’ we were well-fed, well-exercised and challenged by exciting activities like the flying fox, archery and a long hike to Kurth Kiln – many thanks to our Venturers and Michael for piggy backs and great tunes!
We have had three visits to Menarock Aged Care to catch up with our elderly friends, singing songs, a Christmas performance and a board games night have forged a union that I hope will always remind you that helping other people feels good and can be fun for both people.
We had a train ride to Bayswater train park to catch up with 1st Vermont Joeys, Jamboree of the Trail, a Market Stall Fundraiser and a 5c Challenge, night hike, canoeing and a crazy culinary adventure – just to name a few.
I feel that you have all grown up so much and now even our newest members of the mob have been invested just this evening (though you have all been an important part of the mob for a few months now). I love to see the care and respect that you show for each other and your leaders. I also love how amazing your parents and carers are at helping make our Joey program happen – thanks for choosing such great families Joeys!
I hope that you have enjoyed the last year at Joeys and that the friendships you have made and adventures you have had will prosper as you continue you journey into cubs and beyond.
Yours in Scouting,
In Scouting we concentrate on developing different aspects of our youth including social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional and spiritual. Each program is designed to meet different criteria but all with the Scout method in mind of community involvement, learning by doing, outdoors, promise and law, patrol system, a symbolic framework, personal progression and youth leading with adult supporting.
Term 3 2018 our theme was Save the World. We started with night all about recycling, reusing and reinventing using things we already had. Cubs were asked to think, create and problem solve and have some community awareness of the excess stuff we have. We did a survival food night where cubs made different raw foods and put together healthy snacks for adventuring.
We did some more working together on puzzles with a Cub version of an escape room, pushing the cubs to work together and find solutions. We visited the Animal shelter in Coldstream. We had an indigenous Australia night where we looked at it from the perspective that it is our culture and what we can do to remember, respect and understand how our nation has been formed. Fathers’ night was fun as always with the Dads doing a joke off.
Cubs brought in their toys for a toy swap and we had a lot of personal struggle as Cubs discovered the need to be fair, even and not always get what you want. We were concentrating on Character development and the need for Cubs to be honest with themselves and each other.
We shared a sleepover with Kallista Group and cubs developed social skills as they out performed each other with sleepover songs and games.
Cubs realized just how much they could persevere as they went on a 38km ride along the Yarra trail. Physical tiredness was overcome by many of the Cubs to complete a very long ride.
We welcomed 2 new leaders into the Pack in Pelyta Sarris (Chil) and Antony O’Callaghan (Viper) who have added their unique energy and ideas to our programming.
Cub Pack is youth leading and adult supporting so themes and programming ideas are put forward by the Cubs and the Leaders job is development and support those ideas into the Scouting method.
Term 4 was themed Cub Survival training and it was all about rethinking how we do things. This included going on District Spy Camp, medieval survival kits, District Fright Night in Ferny Creek, going to Birdsland for some nightly fun and adventure. Most cubs also achieved their 10km hiking badge by running around exploring our local community.
Term 1 2019 was themed Adventures in imagination as Cubs had expressed an interest in Road Dahl books and what sort of activities we might get up to. We built a magic faraway tree (slight detour from Roald Dahl to Enid Blighton) that the Cubs entered into Cubs each week. We hosted the Joeys in a BFG night and Cubs developed an idea that they are now getting older, more mature and setting the example for younger people.
We dug in plants at Birdsland and had a wonderful night in drizzly rain that meant we were lucky enough to be under double rainbows. We climbed to the top of the world to see the perspective of the far of city scape from the idyllic natural environment of our local reserve.
Cub Pack also tried out Street racing which is an orienteering program where they must race to follow a map to find checkpoints. They joined 380 other young people (mostly scouters) to have an awesome night. We had peaches and cream, crazy taste testing, and to finish the feast of Term 1 we had Charlie and the Chocolate Factory night. Cubs had to use toothpicks to mine
Term 2 2019 theme is Out of this World – From our world good things come. Anzac day, Mothers’ night, night hike, games, bigger games at the footy oval, birds land, fishing at the quarry, and a camp to freeze your toes off are all planned to keep the adventure going. There will also be leadership opportunities for our Cubs and plenty of outside fun.
The Cub Section is booming with Cubs and more on the waiting list. We continue to work hard to provide a program that extends their skills and thinking while doing activities that the Cubs direct us towards. More leaders are always welcome so please feel free to volunteer to be part of the best section in the Group.
Yours in Scouting – Akela
2018/2019 – Getting our processes bedded down!
We have maintained the high numbers in our troop this year with new cubs/scouts moving in and keeping us with about 30 youth members. This maintenance has meant ensuring that our processes for enabling leadership by scouts continues to be important which has happened through troop council discussion and decisions. We must also continue to thank Judi Liddell and the 1st Upwey Cub leaders who continue to feed us with new scouts.
The continuing major focus for this past year was been the development of basic skills as well as leadership skills particularly as we moved towards Jamboree at the start of this year. Troop Council has continued to assign planning and running of most nights to individual PLs and their APLs and this works well as planning skills are grown within these scouts. Over the whole of the year, we had a variety of camps and activities such as Cultural Cooking Night, Gang Show, Kendo Night (hitting our guest presenters with sticks while yelling at them….the scouts loved it!), Fantastic Race, Theatre Sports, Scouthike, Mosque visit and Emergencies night among a range of other night activities. We plan to focus on continuing to develop leadership and a hiking culture in our troop. Troop Council has been having some great discussions which have demonstrated their increasing ability to think through issues and lead our troop well.
It should be mentioned that camping and hiking are pivotal activities in the development of all scouts and therefore should be the focus of involvement. Scouts participate to the level that they are able but it is getting them outdoors and away from their normal environment that really develops their personal and leadership skills and we will continue to strive to get everyone on camps as frequently as possible. Please have a chat if this is difficult for any reason including financially.
We have been continuing payment and recording through TryBoooking which has been easy particularly for combined camps and activities with other troops. We have been using an online board called Trello for keeping our Info Sheets and programs in a single place accessible to parents and scouts as well as leaders. Troop Council uses this as a planning tool for activities and other discussions which has been a good thing. Vicki has been managing this and many parents are connected already.
This year we had 13 Upwey scouts enjoy the many activities and amazing variety of people at Australian Jamboree at Tailem Bend near Adelaide. We also had 11 scouts from Carrum Downs and 4 scouts from Cobram along with 6 Scouts and their leaders from Korea. Our scouts don’t, as a rule, have a lot of interaction with people from other countries so this was an amazing opportunity and one that we will seek to continue. It was so good to see our Jamboree troop scouts sitting around playing cards and learning from each other with no clear indication of which troop they come from. Our Korean friends invited us quite strongly to come to World Jamboree in Korea in 2023 and there were a number of our scouts who were very keen. We will start the thinking and fundraising process this year to give plenty of time. We had a great pre Jamboree Camp at Mafeking Rover Camp along with a number of leader visits to meet with parents and scouts in their home troop to understand their strenghts and challenges. Tim led the Jamboree Troop and Vicki attended as the welfare leader and we had a leader from Carrum Downs and one from Emerald with us as well. Jamboree often has parents commenting on the positive growth in their children on their return. We travelled up to Cobram a few months after Jamboree for a weekend of calf feeding, feeling unborn inside cows, hay rides, bush sleeping shelters and a scavenger hunt around town, thanks to the Cobram scouts.
We received a Junior LandCare grant for a Group project including a variety of seed gathering, propagating, planting, discussion and recording owl and platypus numbers at Birdsland Reserve with a view to beginning a longer term relationship with this local reserve to keep our scouts and our other sections engaged with our local environment. We have done some environment investigation, had a talk from a local owl expert and have some planting days in June and July.
We will continue to work on planning a number of hikes and other patrol activities. Upwey Billy Cart Race, Fantastic Race (our hall is one of 3 checkpoints in this area and has become a sleep point), Cohen Shield, JOTA and ScoutHike continue to be regular major events that we will always support. It has been great to become more involved in the running of the Upwey Billy Cart Race as a way to support this great community event. We were heavily involved in the District Camp at Eumeralla campsite at Anglesea again this year and it was a great time with a train journey up and back for the scouts being one of the highlights along with Harry Potter theme. This camp was a really great way to prepare for Jamboree in terms of persevering through challenges of longer camps.
We have had 2 scouts leave for a variety of reasons and 5 scouts advance to Venturers while 5 cubs advanced and 5 scouts join/transfer so the registered numbers have increased by 3 overall since last year. In terms of numbers, 1st Upwey Scouts currently has 31 scouts and 4 leaders with a further 2 people trying out scouts at the moment and 2 cubs about to advance. We have retained a higher percentage of cubs this year and so need to continue our combined nights and visits over the year (2 have decided not to continue out of 8 who were due to advance). Some of the patrol leaders have visited cubs to help out on specific occasions but this should be planned into the cub program more specifically. We remain one of the bigger troops in the district and consequently aim to assist the growth of other troops by supporting them where possible.
It is so good to have the Foresters Venturer Unit sharing our hall and we have advanced another 5 scouts over this year with a further 2 in the process of linking. We continue to plan some combined activities with them to allow scouts to get to know the Venturers and thanks Michael Walker for his proactivity in this regard. Thanks Michael, Matt, Ben and Bruce!
Ben Harris has had a leave of absence over 2019 but provided gentle and encouraging leadership for our scouts over the latter half of 2018. Michaela and Ross continue to grow as scout leaders and they have completed most of their online training and need to complete the face to face component. It continues to be such a blessing to have 2 engaged and willing female leaders in Vicki and Michaela. Girls do significantly increase the richness of experience for all scouts and gender balance will always be a part of our strategic thinking and an important part of our leadership team planning.
We continue to enjoy the benefits of having four leaders which means that we have capacity to be flexible. A good number of leaders has also meant the ability to function as a sleep hall as well as café for Fantastic Race last year. We also continue to work on the principle that it is good to support and combine with other troops for events.
We will return to visiting other troops during this coming year as pairs of leaders to see how these troops function. These visits will allow us to think about how we choose to lead well at 1st Upwey and will be clearly an important reflective tool for Ross and Michaela. Even though our numbers are bigger, our patrol leadership is improving in skill and clearly we will choose nights when it is not vital to have all leaders there and may ask for more parent help on those nights. We have visited a number of troops in the past and found it a useful time to reflect on our practice. It is important that we continue to learn as leaders. I believe that this investment in our leadership of the troop is paying off in the increasing engagement of PLs and APLs in the discussion at Troop Council.
We have been very grateful for the support of a number of parents on a number of camps and other events. We are currently beginning a specific group of parents to assist Ross with hiking development so that we can run more hikes to get scouts out and hiking a range of beautiful places. They will be registered as parent helpers and if you are interested please have a chat to Tim or Ross. An ex leader, Mike Liddell, assisted with facilitating Kendo night so we owe him our thanks as well as Glenn Hickingbotham on our CFA visit night. Thanks Mike and Glenn!
We will continue to need the involvement of parents in transport and on some nights to ensure that activities can run safely. Thanks to all parents for your help this year in many ways, without assistance we cannot run the program we do!
Development in our scout leadership team!
As indicated, we continue to be large with 31 scouts and more needing to advance from cubs and some new ones waiting in the wings. We have 4 1st Upwey scouts who have recently attended a district leadership course, some of which have been moved into leadership positions already. We have been impressed with the quality of the new leaders coming through and it is worth the comment that leadership is not linked to age, length of time in scouts or anything else other than demonstrated leadership skills. As is our pattern, we will run a 1st Upwey special leadership camp to develop the skills of and reward our PLs and APLs which is likely to occur in the first week of the second term holidays this year. We are seeking to develop leadership that encourages respect and teamwork and does not stress the PLs and APLs too much. We have moved to practice of selecting PLs and getting them to choose their APLs to facilitate the partnership between them. PLs have been encouraged to arrive at scouts 15 minutes early to understand what is happening on the night so that they can lead their patrol more effectively. We also take the opportunity of ScoutHike and similar events to provide leadership opportunities to those who have demonstrated some skill. Clearly challenges enable learning and I am often grateful for the graciousness of our scouts towards us as leaders and their PLs and APLs.
We continue to be very grateful for our quartermaster – Ken Stanford. Our storage is still problematic and we continue the process of taking inventory labelling our equipment and planning efficient storage. The amount of equipment continues to expand and we are grateful for the annex of the Q Store (old Venturer room) to house our equipment in a manner that provides easier and safer access. The shelving in the Q Store Annex provides this and we are continuing the discussion about safe and easy storage including the use of the Resource Room next door to this. Patrol Boxes will now be stored empty and the requirements for each camp selected from storage on shelves and cleaned and returned at the end of the camp. The big new marquees were great at AJ2019 and have been used at many events for most of our sections.
We have a collection of equipment which can be borrowed to enable scouts/parents to gain an understanding of the range of equipment before buying their own if they choose to and save the expense of buying equipment for rapidly growing scouts. This includes a variety of packs, rain coats and overpants, gaiters, Triangia hiking stoves, compasses, and hike tents. Please have a chat to us if you are considering buying equipment and we can give you some pointers before chatting to shop staff who may not have the expertise that you might hope for.
Our funds continue to provide replacement options for specific scout equipment as well as a subsidised night at the end of each term to return these benefits to all scouts among other things. These big nights have included Bubble Soccer with the other sections as well as Gang Show. These nights often involve 40 or more (depending on the activity) Scouts, Venturers and friends as we invite other troops, units and friends to these larger fun nights.
We are committed to making the most of events such as the Upwey Billy Cart Race, the Anzac Day march to both support our local community and advertise our presence and activities. This year our presence at the Anzac Day parade was continued with 4 of our scouts in historical uniform forming the color party at the front of parade and at the front of the service which is such as great opportunity for these scouts. This will continue into the foreseeable future. Supporting events which grow our community is an important part of modelling engagement/service to our growing scouts.
We are now operating with 32 registered Venturers and have well and truly seen a change of the guard. Our program has included the following:
- A soggy camp in the Cathedral Ranges
- Anything Goes
- A beach camp at Sorrento
- Canoeing at Lysterfield with a neighbouring unit
- Water slide night (a unit favourite)
- Top Gear Venturer
- Much more
We helped at places like the Puffing Billy Fun Run, Scout Hike and some Venturers volunteered their time at local groups with the younger sections.
We continue to have 4 leaders in the section and leader training is progressing well.
We need your help to encourage your Venturers to get out and do stuff. Venturing is NOT just about Monday nights – it’s about getting outside and making the most of the many opportunities we are afforded. It’s about taking ownership and responsibility. This doesn’t just happen.
The unit currently has approximately 32 members, some linking Scouts and remains the largest unit of the three in the district. We have members who call 1st Upwey, 1st Belgrave South, 1st Rowville, 1st Selby, 1st Gembrook, 1st Wantirna and 1st Kallista (and more) their home group. The Unit is almost a 50/50 split of male/female.
We just farewelled Molly and Julian as they turned 18. We have advanced some scouts from local troops welcomed some new members to Scouting and have others continuing the process of linking and advancing. Throughout this year we will see more scouts begin the linking process and make the jump as they see fit.
Our Unit Council have terms of 6 months and we have continued to improve their operation. The current council of Blake, Riley P, Zach C, Olivia and Gabby are doing a great job and we thank them and the previous council for their hard work.
The 2019 Leadership Award is this year awarded to a Venturer who has been in Scouting for several years and displays their leadership through a commitment to the unit, attending both regular nights and other Venturer activities on a regular basis. A positive attitude, combined with a love of getting involved also sees her as the current Chair of the State Youth Venturer Council – a massive achievement and workload.
Regular attendance sets an example to others and is one of the great qualities of this Venturer. She’ll give most things a go, encourage others to give it a go too and likes to push boundaries. While doing all this she is working towards the Queen’s Scout award and will no doubt succeed in this endeavour.
This years’ Service award recipient puts his hand up to help out at many activities, organises camps and gear and he is always there with a smile. He assisted at Scout Hike, he volunteers to participate in Queen’s Scout Hikes and our own program events among many other activities. He is full of great ideas and enjoys participating in the program and wishes many of his unit peers would do the same.
The Watch Your Step award recognises the efforts of a member of the Unit by taking into account their willingness to give most things a go, while also giving of their own time to serve others.
This years’ winner has come to Scouting for the first time during the past 12 months and has made the most of every opportunity. She has already spent 6 months on unit council and approaches everything with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is infectious and it’s great to see the unit embrace her as she has embraced the unit.
And one last thing. Coincidentally, this is National Volunteer Week. I’d like if you could join me in showing your appreciation to the many wonderful leaders, committee and helpers of our fantastic scout group.
It’s been another big year for Foresters Venturers and the group is constantly evolving. In the coming 6 months we’ll be working to get the unit outside for some more adventurous activities.