Thank you to all those who have welcomed me to meetings over the last couple of months. Apologies to those I haven’t mentioned.

I would like to start by recognising and congratulating Victoria Campbell, an Explorer with Discovery Unit in Bury St Edmunds. Victoria and a friend witnessed a vehicle come off the road and strike a wall in Ixworth just before Christmas. It transpired that the driver had an epileptic seizure behind the wheel and Victoria and her friend, calmly managed the scene, called the emergency services and summoned assistance until the paramedics turned up. The grateful driver later appealed in the Bury Free Press to locate the “Good Samaritans” and was reunited with his rescuers to say thank you. Well done, a splendid effort in the true spirit of Scouting.

In January, I spent a very productive evening with the Explorer Leaders and DC for Bury St Edmunds. As well as discussing the Top Awards, Balanced Programme and Explorer opportunities, it was identified that in common with a number of other districts, there was an immediate need to recruit Adults to assist with the Explorer sections across the District. The district are now actively seeking to recruit to ensure that there is an effective Explorer provision for all Scouts when they turn 14. I’m sure all support will be gratefully received and look forward to being able to share their learnings and successes in the coming months.

I also spent a fantastic evening at Red Lodge Scouts, discussing all the opportunities that Explorers have to offer and the type of adventurous activities that are accessible in Suffolk. By the time this comes out, I will hopefully have managed to visit at least two more troops.

CattawadeAwardsIn February, I was privileged to be asked to visit Cattawade Explorers and present 4 Bronze, 1 Silver and Two Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Fabulous effort, congratulations.

It was great to be accompanied by the Youth Commissioner for Wolsey, Andrew Reynolds. As well as exchanging neckers as part of Youth Shaped month, I also learned about the history and composition of the necker and about the project to build a much needed new hut.

I was able to have a chat with a number of the Explorers about the additional areas to complete the Chief Scout Awards and show that these shouldn’t require too much extra effort. I have shared the leaflet on the Facebook page from the Association Website which shows how these link together.

I was also delighted to be able to present a Bronze award in Bury St Edmunds at their District Bowling Evening.

We are currently reviewing DofE across the County and are planning to run courses for Supervisors and Assessors. It is hoped this can be run over two dates around April to be in time for the current expedition season. Whilst the Supervisory course is voluntary, it is important as it makes sure that we are providing DofE expeditions to a consistently high standard across the County. Please email me if you are interested in either or both of these courses. Both have some pre-course learning and to attend the Assessor’s course, you must have a nomination form from your DC. We hope to be able to follow this up with a Top Awards, DofE and Explorer conference. It will be useful to explore the use of Nights Away Passports and the change of expedition focus from distance to journey time and explorations. We are also exploring the provision of alternative expeditions and will shortly be asking for details of those interested in undertaking a Bronze Expedition in Bell-Boats. Training and assessment will be provided to ensure competence. We will need to make sure the boat can be handled comfortably by 7 explorers to fit with DofE expedition sizes before making a final decision, but the training will still be fun.

HQ are shortly due to release updated Young Leader Materials and I hope to explore the Young Leader Provision across the County in the coming months.

I would again commend the work of the Water Activities and County Mountain Teams for continuing to provide fabulous opportunities in Suffolk and for the ongoing commitment to enable Explorers to train toward and achieve Personal and Leadership permits for Adventurous activities.

Please remember to send through programme ideas to share with our friends and partners in South Africa.

I will contact DCs, DESCs and ADC (Scout) in the coming months to arrange to meet up..

Yours in Scouting

Peter (Rama)

ACC Youth Programme 11-18