Scouts were asked to bring a scary story to contribute to the evening. We intended to sit outside in the dark on the river bank and scare them to death, but in the face of torrential rain and fffffrrrreeeezing cold we retreated to the hall, with lights out and the eerie red glow of the heaters the scene was set.

Strange tales came out featuring crazed murderers, ghostly dogs, long dead children and nice fresh corpses. We had haunted churches and ghostly mansions. Rather oddly we got mixed up with a bread based monster that vomited rainbows and did unspeakable things to the dreams of brownies. Really, don't ask - we have called in specialists to help.

Stories were read out, recited by heart (well done Jacob) and invented on the spot. Shrieks, growls and creaking doors featured on the sound effects list. When confusion reigned we even acted out the events so everyone got the punch line (the hook was on the car door handle, Max). All in all a good evening's work...perhaps next year we'll try it round a camp fire. Come and join us if you dare?

We stand with Paris and all victims of terrorism.
We stand with Paris and all victims of terrorism.

Games night started seriously with a discussion about the events in Paris. We talked about the detail of the attacks and the experience of victims and survivors. Exploring what drives people to such acts was challenging with Scouts understanding the conflict between empathy, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, justice, crime and punishment. It's a complicated world!

 

Games Night - Scouts at Play
Games Night - Scouts at Play

Changing the mood we switched to a shortened Games night. Scouts had brought in their favourite games to share. From the selection available we ended up playing Cluedo, Pigs and 4 handed chess. For those who don't know this involves four players in two teams and a rotating chess board. Very confusing for old brains so leaders as always comprehensively beaten.

Badge Presentations are always interesting. Tonight we had a talk on Flight and the Spitfire with demo paper planes. This lead to an interesting discussion on price inflation since the war! Well done to Jacob and Elias for completing Stage 1 of their Air Activities badge.

Next up Chris with local knowledge on the Maldon area. Did you know the doctor to patient ratio in Maldon? Nor did we but we do now! Good job Chris. Badge well earned.

Finally Knotty Nick with more jokes than knots in his talk. Looking forward to seeing your pioneer siege engine when it is ready.

Joanne in charge! Be very afraid...
Joanne in charge! Be very afraid...

Our activity for the evening was rope work. What happens when scouts, ropes and knots get mixed up? Well the answer is a teamwork challenge for trussed up scouts to get to the other side of the hall. They made it and we did release them eventually. Honest!

Camping at ScareFest at the weekend meant tents to prepare and the all important flagpole to plan. This is the first camping trip since the relaunch of the Scout Troop so there was lots to plan and check. Busy Scouts did complete their tasks in the allotted time but it was a close run thing. Even the dry run of the flagpole (assembled from pioneering sticks and cord) seemed viable if a little ambitious.

Whilst there was some thought that a scout could be impaled on the flagpole as camp gargoyle, there was little consensus as to the ideal victim (well, Max but it seemed a little harsh). Instead we opted to make a gory head to be the crowning glory.

Preparations complete we called it a day.

Weekly meeting in the hall to prepare for night time manoeuvres next week. For orienteering training, we used a compass to take bearings of objects around the hall and practiced walking along a bearing. Finally we figured out how to plan a route with map and compass, which is easy in a warm dry hall and MUCH harder outside in the cold and wet!

Pioneer Basketball with the wreck of a bridge support!
Pioneer Basketball with the wreck of a bridge support!

In a fit of madness we then tried to repeat our bridge building exploits of last week using our scouts pioneer kit. The words pathetic failure seem appropriate but there were some lessons learned. Most important, use long enough bits of rope or a clove hitch does not hold!

The debris served as a goal for basketball scoring practice which is pretty much all it was fit for.

Enjoy your successes, learn from your failures, carry on regardless.

After the Scout meeting the leaders met to work on plans for Beavers and Cubs sections. Any young people of the right age or parent helpers, please get in touch!

We started work on the new round of badges this week.  Scouts prepared plans to work on aviation, cooking, local knowledge and pioneering. They are going to be busy!

Scouts balloon dance after preparing for autumn Badges
Scouts balloon dance!

We talked about ways to contribute to the local community and the scouts are firming up ideas for the autumn.

Balloons

...and  then....well...balloons appeared as if by magic attached with varying degrees of security and open warfare ensued.

Scout reversing hazard
Scout reversing hazard

We experimented with different rules and playing styles: the "killer hug",  "mob attack" and "snatch and grab" did well. Overall we decided the balloons won which was a surprising result! Next time cheaper balloons.

Scouts retired from the affray bearing many scalps in the the form of balloon debris dangling from string on their belts.

Next week building bridges...

Squaring up for the duel
Squaring up for the duel

We met to discuss plans for the autumn/winter and to allocate tasks for the season. The lone wolves patrol will be led by Jacob for the period assisted by Chris as second. Jack, our retiring leader, was sadly not well enough to be there but was represented by Beryl. The scouts wished Jack well and thanked them both for all they have done over the years.

Rollerball - Defending the Goal
Rollerball - Defending the Goal

Rollerball was the game of the night which went down well with all concerned.  The competitive nature of certain scouts came to the fore (you know who you are) as the referees were tested to their limit. A 2-0 victory was the well deserved result for those who stuck to the rules!