After a intensive section event involving interviews along with team working and problem solving activities; we are delighted to announce that 10 Scouts have been selected to represent Mersey Weaver at the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, USA.
Aaron Bennion, Beacon Explorer Scout Unit
Ella Pickstock, 4th Frodsham Scout Group
Gemma Eager, Aquila Explorer Scout Unit
Grace Wheeler, 1st Newton and Kingsley Scout Group
Katy Wakeman, 1st Helsby Scout Group
Lewis Gale, 8th Widnes Scout Group
Louie Bostock, 4th Frodsham Scout Group
Melodie Buckley, 12th Widnes Scout Group
Ollie Lavery, 1st Moore Scout Group
Tara Jennings, Beacon Explorer Scout Unit
We are sure you will join the District Team in wishing them the very best in the challenge ahead and offer as much support as possible to both the contingent members and our two adult leaders, Matt Marnell (4th Runcorn, ASL) and Oliver Chambers (ADC Adventure & 4th Frodsham Scout Leader) who are going as part of the Cheshire contingent leadership team.
Over the next 20 months, the participants will have to work very hard as a team to fundraise the approximate £51,000 to attend the once in a lifetime experience. In addition, they will go through an intensive training programme that will ensure they make the most of their time away and set them up with many competencies that will be useful in future careers. While at the Jamboree, they will spend 12 days of international cooperation on the Summit Betchell Reserve with 40,000 other Scouts from over 150 different countries. They will learn and gain an understanding of different cultures, languages and religions. Either side of the Jamboree, participants will be pushed out of their comfort zone and stay with a host family either in the United States or Canada.
We would like to thank and recognise those Scouts and Explorers who were not among those selected. Every single one of you are to be commended for having the motivation to put an application forward and for your hard work and effort at the selection event. As we explained on the day, the competition was very fierce with over 30 applications for just 10 places. You were a great credit to yourselves, your Units/Groups and Mersey Weaver Scout District. We would encourage you not to be in any way disheartened and to apply for the next international opportunity.
We have subsequently gained an extra place and pleased to announce that Brendan Edwards of Cestrian Explorer Scout Unit will also be joining the contingent.
Due to personal circumstances, both Gemma Eager and Melody Buckley regretfully have decided to withdraw from the contingent however we are also pleased to announce that Jess McKay of Beacon Explorer Unit and Jared Hodgkinson of Aquila Explorer Scout Unit have joined the unit. We wish Gemma and Melody all the best with all their other Scouting endeavours.
Going to Norway for the world’s northernmost jamboree with a knee injury was not what I had intended after eight months of hard work fundraising and preparation. But, I was grateful that I was still able to go with the Mersey Weaver District contingent and promised to make the best of it. I knew the planned overnight hike and high ropes were definitely out for me, and I just had to see how I could manage with everything else, but at least I was going to be involved in some way (and as I had told my Scout leader that had to be better than being in school)!
To get to Bodo we had 24 hours of travelling with three plane journeys and an overnight layover in Oslo airport. After we arrived at the Jamboree site we met up with our Norwegian friendship group from 1st Fagerstrand Scouts, who had kindly loaned us some tents and had set them up for us.
I quickly became friends with a girl called Amalie- It worked out really well as the two groups were doing some different activities at different times, there were occasions when I was unable to join my group activities and instead joined in with the Norwegian camp based activities. I cooked, played card games, and learnt pioneering and improved my fire lighting and knife skills – they were great at lighting and cooking on open fires. Most of the Norwegian group could speak really good English which was a massive help, having put my wrist band on too tight Amalie was able help me translate to get a new one.
After the jamboree was over we headed South of Oslo to Nesoddento stay in a lakeside log cabin which belonged to our friendship group from Fagerstrand. Fagerstrand is a small area in the district of Høvik, across the fjord from Nesodden. One evening we cooked a traditional English roast dinner for our Norwegian friends so they could sample one of our favourite meals.
One of my favourite days was the day the Mersey Weaver contingent went to do the high ropes course, and I because I couldn’t go I was invited to spend the day at Amalie’s house and go to the Fagerstrand beach known as “Beauty Beach” with Amalie and her family for the day. I met Amalie’s school friends and spent the day swimming and diving in the sea. Later on for our final evening in Norway we were joined by the Mersey Weaver Scouts and the 1stFagerstrand group. We all had a lovely barbeque of reindeer and hotdogs on the beach and said our goodbyes to each other, all promising to meet up in the summer of 2018 at the Cheshire Jamboree known as Chamboree.
Spending time with Amalie, I was surprised to learn that many Norwegians have two kitchens and living areas to make the most of the seasons,large outdoor rooms for the summer months and a smaller inside rooms, which are easier to keep warm, with big fires for the cold winter months. The houses are so very different to here in England, mostly wooden and painted in brightly colours, with very steep roofs to help the snow slide off in winter. It was interesting to learn that all Norwegian houses must have external lights and in the winter these must be on constantly for safety reasons because it is always so dark.
My first international experience was not what I thought it was going to be, but in some ways I think because of the situation with my knee I enjoyed a greater sense of Norwegian hospitality and international friendship. I’m now looking forward to Amalie coming over to England for Chamboree in July 2018, and to her and her family hopefully staying with us next summer. Fingers crossed there will be other international opportunities I can take part in, but this time without any injuries. One of the biggest things I learnt was that international scouting gives you so many amazing experiences that don’t just end when the expedition ends.
We are pleased to announce that Hannah Deakin has been appointed as our first District Youth Commissioner. Hannah is an Assistant Beaver Scout Leader at 1st Halton and Scout Network Member.
Hannah is looking forward to championing, encouraging and leading the work towards the Youth Shaped 2018 strategic objective. Hannah will be an enabler and champion for the Youth Shaped work across the District in partnership with the District Commissioner and Chairperson of the District Executive Committee
The role is to ensure that young people from 6 – 25 years are involved and engaged in every decision that shapes their Scouting experience locally and to empower young people to share their ideas and have a meaningful voice in planning, implementing and reviewing their programme and opportunities. To that aim Hannah will be in her first year
Taking the lead on the District Youth Forum and encourage greater participation in meaningful Youth Forums; and
Ensuring that recommendations from the Youth Forum to the District Executive Committee and District Team are considered and appropriately implemented and that an effective method to provide feedback on outcomes to the Youth Forum is in place.
We are delighted to have as part of the team.
Welcome, Hannah, and we all look forward to working with you.
Carl Adshead has been appointed as the new Assistant District Commissioner for the Scouts Section.
Carl has a wealth of experience from his time with 1st Ince and Elton and from helping to organise numerous events around the District. He’s looking forward to taking on the challenge of leading the Scouts Section within our District and we are delighted to have as part of the team.
In 10 days time, 26 Scouts and Explorers from Mersey Weaver with embark on the adventure of a lifetime by attending the World’s Northernmost Jamboree in Bodø, Norway.
Situated at 67 degrees north, above the Arctic Circle with beautiful mountain views. Bodø is the capital of Nordland county and is surrounded by some of the most pristine wilderness in Norway including 17 Nature Reserves. As well as thousands of Scouts from all across Norway and Scandinavia, participants will be joining contingents from as far away as the USA, Australia, Netherlands and Hong Kong.. They will meet Scouts from other countries and learn about their cultures, make friends and maybe even swap a few badges!
The contingent will spend 10 days of self discovery in Bodø sharing a camp with our new friendship group 1st Fagerstrand. Together they will cook, eat and sleep as well as take part in some incredible activities including a 24 hour expedition, Sea kayaking and learn about the native peoples of Northern Scandinavia – the Sami. After the Jamboree, the contingent will head south by night train to spend four days with our friendship group in Nesodden, a peninsula just south of Oslo meeting their families as well as interacting with Beavers and Cubs. There will be time to explore Oslo and some of its culture including a visit to the Nobel Peace Prize Centre and a ferry trip down the Oslo fjord before returning home.
We hope to reciprocate our hosts hospitality by welcome 1st Fagerstand to the District in 2018.
To get to this point has not been easy and it all started back in October when participants took part in a selection event which included an interview and teamwork activity. Since then not only have the participants been hard at work fundraising the full £38,000 they needed to make the experience possible (a whopping 70+ events were organised over the course of 8 months) but also taking part in a number of preparation and team building activities along the way including:
Two Radio Interviews
Five Hillwalking Experiences
A Beaver and Cub Disco
A weekend away at our Clogwyn Activity Centre in North Wales
A REC Frist Aid Qualification
Six Hike practices
A week-long Camp at Great Tower in the Lake District
Mask Making Day
Night Nav Experience
Six Norwegian Lessons in Liverpool
Some Highlights of the Fundraising Events included:
Nord Battle of the Bands
Nord Helsby Family Funday
A huge thanks should go to Andy, Charlie, Fiona and James for all that you have done to support me making this experience happen for the Young People. Dex for all his support – I wish you and Nicola all the best with your new-born baby. Owen, Colin & Jeff for believing in me and giving me the backing. Cath for being an amazing treasurer and extremely prompt and efficient at making all the payments we’ve needed. As well as all those from the District Team, District ASUs, District ESU’s, District Executive and County Team who have contributed in one way of another to making this experience happen.
I would also like to thank all the local organisations, businesses, councillors, leaders, parents and friends of the District who have contributed financially to the project. We have seen great support from Cheshire Scout Council, Halton Borough Council, ETC UK, Frodsham Freemasons, Helsby Town Council, Helsby & Frodsham Lions, Howden’s Joinery, Inovyn Chlor, GMB, Essar Four Villages Half Marathon, Leslie Sell Trust, Frodsham Town Council, Helsby Rugby Club, Frodsham and Helsby Rotary, Soroptimists, Barclays.
And finally a huge B-R-A-V-O to all the parents and participants who have worked tirelessly over the last 8months fundraising.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on our Social Media Channels for updates while we are there; as well as our contingent mini site and blog https://nord2017.mwscouts.org
Oliver Chambers (ADC Adventure & Contingent Leader)
On the 9th/10th June, Scouts and Explorers from 11 different Groups and Units took part in an overnight hike which started at Forest Camp and finished on the border of Staffordshire. The Scouts & Explorer hiked through the night, stopping for only a few hours kip in bivi bags – an exciting experience in its self! The Scouts did immensely well braving heavy rain on the Saturday morning and still smiling throughout!
Organisers Richard Hamilton and Oliver Chambers would like to thank all the members of the Hillwalking and Trekking ASU for making the event possible as well as Alec & Mary Wynne for organising the basecamp, Louise, Stephen, Andrew, Dave for Driving the two minibuses as well as Breeda and Dave Worthington for providing First Aid support.
This weekend, Scouts from Mersey Weaver and other Districts in the County donned their backpacks and took part in “Cheshire Hike”. The event, now in it’s fifty first year is an annual competition open to all Scouts and Guides in Cheshire. The two day expedition is real challenge for all those who take part but with careful planning and good training, the Scouts that took part this weekend are living proof you can succeed! We are looking forward to hearing all the memorable stories from our young people and thank the leaders & parents that took the time to train them as well as the hike organisers and everyone that made the event possible.
Juniors 19km Saturday, 12km Sunday
Intermediate 25km (plus one optional 5km leg) Saturday, 16km Sunday
Senior 29km (plus two optional 5km legs), 19km Sunday
Senior Plus 34km (plus one option 5km leg), 19km Sunday
We would like to thank Richard, Carl, Mark and other members of the newly formed hillwalking and trekking ASU who put considerable effort in at a District Level helping to prepare teams for the event.
Well done to all the District Winners and Zac Hunter & Chloe Leyland from Cestrian ESU who won the Overall Senior+ category.
For any Scouts now considering taking part in the Hike next year stay tuned for details of our own event Mersey Weaver Trek for younger Scouts this Summer!
The release of the 2017 census sees the Mersey Weaver District celebrating another year of growth! With 1563 members in total in the District – 223 more than the previous year!
The UK Movement also celebrates it 12th consecutive year of growth with 573,000 members in total – 115,000 of whom are volunteers, 25% of the UK membership is female and 21 young people are now joining the Movement every single day (on average).
As a volunteer-led organisation, we would not be able to provide our high-quality Programme to so many young people each week without dedicated adults. Owen Campbell, District Commissioner, stated ” I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the adult leaders and supporters for their commitment and enthusiasm in providing a fun and rewarding experience to our youth membership”.
After another year of impressive growth, we know that even more young people still want to join the adventure and are actively seeking ways to give them that opportunity.
On the 19th August, over 40 Scouts from across the District took part in an all night activity at Forest Camp Activity Centre. The objective of the event was to successfully locate, triage and treat a number of missing casualties that had becomes stranded and injured while parachuting out of a crashing aeroplane. The Scouts had to build their own shelters and cook a meal using the resources they were carrying with them but could also request additional supplies over VHF radio flown in by drone!