Being District Commissioner brings many high spots in every month, and also other issues we could all do without! I have to say the positives far outweigh any negatives and it is these great events I look back on to drive me forward. Likewise joining in Scout Troop camping gave me a breath of fresh air and a quiet time to consider a few thoughts. This month I want to mention a couple of BEAVER stories as well the development planning in the District and throughout UK Scouting.

However first of all I am going to mention COUNTY events – because we have just experienced the Scout & Explorer BIG CAMP in early July at Beaudesert (Campsite on Cannock Chase) and we have some great plans ahead.

BIG CAMP was excellent and our colleagues across Staffordshire did a brilliant job. My only regret is that whilst we were a BIG District we didn’t get every Troop there and we didn’t have a District approach to being there. Having said that it was a great camp for those that went and the ranks of Burton upon Trent Group / District Mini buses trailers were admired by a number of other DC’s!

So to 2015 and 2016 – in a good move for planning County have booked Beau for the first weekend of the next two years – so next July is COUNTY “SUPERHEROS” CUB CAMP and in 2016 it will be a BEAVER extravaganza.

BURTON UPON TRENT will be going to CUB CAMP as a DISTRICT and leading the planning is Dawn Stewart from the 12th. I am keen to see EVERY Pack represented on way or another and I will be ensuring all Packs understand how this can be facilitated. 2016 is the 100 years of Cubs and will be celebrated in the Districts but more another day.

I am pleased we have had Scouts in Belgium during the 100 years anniversary of the “Great War” – 11th Burton will have had a truly international experience.

So to BEAVERS: Pipkin (Jeanne our ADC) held a lovely section meeting in July and as the social side of it began I started to realise we must have over 275 Beavers maybe more. Well done everyone as we polled the District and counted 302! We have new Colonies this year, one of which is the 9th Burton which meets at LANSDOWNE Infant School Eton Park.

On Tuesday 5th August it was a hive of activity as Beavers, friends and family packed in to the hall to take part in an Eid party. The event was hosted by the 9th Burton Beaver Colony – the first in the District to cater more for children from a Muslim background – and gave visiting children an insight into a culture they had never experienced before.

As our Media Manager Laura Hammond (aka Burton Mail Senior Reporter) said

“And they loved it. The hall was filled with laughter and the excited shrieks of childhood fun as the group played games, enjoyed party food, and watched the Burton group as they performed a version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar which had been adapted for the occasion.”

Raffia Arshad, one of the leaders at the group, told the Burton Mail: "It has gone really well and they've all enjoyed it. Next year we're hoping to have a much bigger event and have all of the beavers there. "It's nice to be inclusive and have people from other groups with us.

"It's about teaching people we are not much different."

So I turn now to the future as I read the DC Briefing again that comes out from UK Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt. Like all organisations we have to circulate information on a need to know basis some times and just take the view from a few before we lunge into something full tilt. The Programme is being refreshed next year, and we are already gearing up in the District to support the Colonies, Packs and Troops. From Wayne the following can be shared now:

The key messages for the Programme will focus on:

Outdoor & Adventure forming 50% of the programme in each section, the programme should be shaped by young people in partnership with adults

A focus on teamwork and leadership skills amongst young people, not just roles

Increased focus on community and the impact Scouting can have

Promoting individual personal development, and individual challenges, as well as participation

Supporting leaders and making the programme easier for them to deliver and inclusive for all

Progression through the sections remains a key aspect of the programme

All young people to strive and have the opportunity to achieve the top award for the section.

Cub centenary planning

Planning is well underway and the celebrations will focus in 2015 on a year of adventure. Resource material will be available and liaison with Scout Activity Centres will take place to increase the access and opportunity for members of the section to take part in adventurous activities.

The centenary year in 2016 will include:

 The special centenary badge - available for wearing on uniforms from 2015

 Our Journey – an exciting resource of programme ideas to run throughout the year

 Thanks events – to be run locally between January and March 2016

 Cub Scout Adventure Camps – to be run locally between April and October 2016

 Promise Party – to be run locally by Cub sections all over the UK on Friday 16 December 2016

As a Scout District I will want to ensure we all enjoy the next 2years of Adventure be it in a Colony, Pack, Troop or Unit – in Your Group, Your District or Your County –or any way you Scout!!

Graham D.C.