Bells, Christmas Trees and Puppets

Well, if you havn’t already guessed what we were upto this week then you clearly didnt read the title ! 🙂  Tonight was all in readiness for the Christmas Carol singalong at Nayland Church on Friday 15th at 645.  The bells were made out of large lollipop sticks and decorated beautifly.  The Christmas trees were cards that were made in the shape of Christmas trees and messages written inside them and finally the puppets were of Rudolph, his bright red nose and sticky out antlers.  The Cubs sessions are now mellowing as we reach Christmas and there is more of a relaxed atmosphere rather than a get this badge completed and that badge completed.  It gives the Cubs a bit of down time.  This is another reason we do more craft around this time of year.  

There were some very unique puppet designs and the card designs were equally lovely but the bells i think won it this evening as they all ran around shaking their bells and singing a song that we intend to sing at church on the 15th.  (Another reason to come on down).

Next week we are singing carols at the train station for the Food Bank charity so I hope to have all your best singing voices and puppy dog eyes so we can squeeze as much dosh out of the commuters as we can 🙂

Thanks for all your help and see you next week.

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Tis the season to get Festive !

Every year at All saints Church there is a Christmas Tree competition that we enter to see if we can raise funds for our designated charity (this year it’s Colchester Food Bank).  With this in mind we had the Cubs all design and craft their own decorations so that they could festoon our little tree and make it sparkle with food related ornaments.  Every one of them made a little something and at the end of the evening we had a vast array of things to hang from the tree.  The tree was displayed over the weekend and although we didn’t win, I think we were a close contender 🙂

Thank you to all the parents who brought gifts for the food bank last meeting as they were well received and some of them also were placed at the base of the tree to help give it a bit more Christmas cheer.

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Recycle a Cub!

We were lucky enough to have the Colchester Council Recycling team in and running an evening of education and fun for us tonight.  This was led by Tim and Gary and began with a little presentation.  All the Cubs sat on chairs around the edge of the hall whilst they were shown the different types of refuse, what bag or bin it goes in and why.  We were also taught about how the different types of material are recycled.  Once this had finished it was time to put their new fond knowledge to the test with a relay quiz game.  They were split into two teams and in front of them they had approximately 7 containers for recycling and a huge bin full of objects that had to be put in he correct bin.  Once Tim started the game the hall completely melted into a noisy, running, screaming chaos as Cubs grabbed, chucked and shouted in order to try and win the game.  After three minutes the game was stopped and the points tallied.  To the amazement of the council team, both Cubs teams had scored exactly twenty points each ! it was a draw!  This could only mean one thing……..DEATH MATCH…..oh no.  Sorry, wrong venue.  RE MATCH !  With a one minute time limit the Cubs ran the same gauntlet as previously but this time the yellow team won by two points.  There was much rejoicing !

After the fun and games of the recycling it was time to invest Logan, Henry and Anne.  The investiture ceremony is a very special time in a child’s time in Cubs as it shows the start of their journey and inclusion into the 1st Gt. Horkesley Cub Pack.  Each Cub promised, infront of the leader and whilst holding the Cubs flag, that they would uphold the values and beliefs of the Cubs.  When they had completed this they turned to the rest of the pack who, as a sign of respect and welcoming, saluted their newest member.

Amazingly we had some time left at the end of the meeting and were able to play a quick game of heads or tails.  This is where the Cubs have to predict what side a tossed coin will land and if they get it right, they stay in the game.  When we got to the last three, they all chose tails and the coin landed heads up so they were all out !  But all the Cubs enjoyed this brief but fun game.

Thank you again to the Council Recycling team for their time and efforts as it was very much appreciated.

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In The Jungle With The Cubs !

In Cubs we try to cling on to traditions and ceremonies that have long been the back bone of its popularity and success.  Right from the start when Baden Powell started Scouting for Boys, there were processes and procedures that would pass down from generation to generation but they all had one thing in common when it came to the Cub Scouts.  The Jungle Book.  Baden Powell could see the fun but symbolic links between the journey that Mowgli took and that of the Cubs he would teach.  This is why we structure our names, ceremonies and laws around this tale.

There are many examples which are obvious cross overs from the book to today, such as investiture for one.  Mowgli was presented to the Wolf pack at Council rock to see if he and his fellow Cubs were to be allowed to join the pack.  Akela who was in charge of the ceremony then, as today, allowed him in and so began the journey.  Additionally, Baloo and Bagheera taught Mowgli the ways of the jungle and most importantly the “Jungle Law”.  This is akin to our law and promise that we all take when we join the pack and do our best to adhere to.

All of this information was so the Cubs could see that the book isn’t something that’s just referenced at random or chosen because it had lots of cool things in it, but within its words are real meaning, focus and links to what we do today.  With all of this in mind we asked the Cubs to perform, in a way of their choosing, a part of the tale to last no more than 3 minutes to the rest of the pack.  This I know for some was a very daunting task but everyone managed to contribute their own special role into the story and this helped them in their groups.  For me, the funniest part was seeing some of the Cubs using their scarves as trunks as they pretended to be elephants !  An ingenious idea!

The evening went very well and I hope that some of them at least will now read the book with a little bit more interest and for those parents out there who might now be thinking of getting it, try not to get the Disney version as its very different from the way things started!

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Remembrance Sunday Parade

It seems that on all important parades, someone is looking down on us and makes the day a good one.  The wind was slightly chilly but the sun made up for that and the blue skies certainly made it feel a bit more like summer rather than winter !  The turn out from the Cubs and parents this year was, I’m proud to say, grand.  We had most of our Cubs in attendance and they were all looking the part and certainly understood the meaning of “paying respect”.  The Guides, Scouts, Cubs, Rainbows, Brownies and Beavers all congregated outside the church with our colours (flags) at the ready to be marched down the aisle during the first part of the service.  All sections made us proud and as they handed their flag to the vicar it was time to take a pew (sorry for the pun) and continue with the hymns.  We had some lovely readings by some of the other leaders and the hymns were sung as best the Cubs could.  We all upheld the 2 minutes silence at 11 am and finally it was time to collect the colours again to complete the indoors part of the ceremony.  From here we would walk to the memorial, which stands in the church grounds, and the vicar gave blessings and prayers whilst wreaths were laid at its base.  This was the end of what was a lovely service and I am proud to say that all of the Cubs behaved themselves immaculately.  As did the other Scouting members.

 

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Lets Knot Forget Remembrance !

As we approach this years remembrance Sunday, and the parade at All Saints Church, the evening was dedicated explaining the role of Scouting through the war effort, practising some of the knots that they would have used, and still use and finally making crosses out of lollipop sticks which, if the Cubs wanted, could be laid at the cenotaph.

Before all of this was to take place, however, Oliver gave us an introduction to his card game collection and how it is played.  He uses a maximum of 60 cards at any one game but has others that he can swap in and out before he starts a duel.  He can also swap cards with other game players to make a better deck to play with.  He has been to competitions and exhibitions where these card games are taken very seriously and in some instances people have taken card decks in excess of thousands to play with!  Oliver hasn’t quite got to that level yet, but he certainly enjoys the level he has currently attained to.  Well done Oliver for enlightening us all about this game and getting another badge for doing so.  If your son or daughter has any hobbies or collections then please ask them to let us know and we can arrange a similar time slot for them to earn their badge.

Once the Cubs had been split into four groups they all started on their activities which they would rotate through.  The activities consisted of:
1.)Tying Friendship knots
2.)Tying Reef knots – with strawberry laces
3.)Tying a Clove Hitch
4.)Tying a Square Lashing to make a cross with two large lollipop sticks.

Tying knots is a foundation to any Cubs knowledge and the knots used tonight were only a handful of the vast array that could be used, however, these are the most common and useful for them at this time.

Tying the Friendship knot is always useful when you don’t want to take a woggle with you.  Times when this would occur would be on camp or other outdoor activities.

The Reef knot is used to secure a rope or line around an object

The Clove Hitch is a good binding knot and therefore will always be useful when tying up a boat to a mooring or a rope to a post.

The Square Lashing is used to bind two objects (in this case lollipop sticks) across each other to make a cross.  Starting with a Clove Hitch, winding around the back and front of the sticks in both directions and then finishing with a Clove Hitch will give you a bound cross which can be used at such occasions as the Remembrance Day Parade.

I hope the Cubs manage to retain the skill of each knot, as one day it will serve them well.

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Saints, Sinners and Cubs!

As per usual we had a lot of things to squeeze in but first on the list, and possibly the most important of the evening, it was time to invest Bagheera into our pack.  Whilst the pack stood as silent and revered as possible Bagheera said his promise and was given his uniform badges so he would finally be recognised as one of us ! I do hope he REALLY knows what he is doing 🙂

After the investiture it was time to play a game of match the Saint to the guidance of a person or place.  I was firstly amazed at the amount of Saints that I didn’t know of, and secondly the sorts of things that are covered by the saints.  For example, there are the obvious covers for travel and England but did you know that there is a Saint Agatha who is the saint for bakers, bell making and nurses!  I certainly didn’t.  The Cubs all loved learning about the random names and what they did.  At the end we had a round up of all the saints we had handed out and all the Cubs were so very eager to get their answer onto the board and hope they were correct!  And when they were, boy did you know about it 🙂

When the noise had abated and the Cubs were seated quietly we moved onto our next activity which was a Halloween hand puppet.  This was made from paper and simply made a mouth but there were a few pre set designs that the Cubs could use.  These ranged from Dracula to pumpkins.  Surprisingly the pumpkins were the most popular but all of them loved trying to scare each other.

Finally we got to the part of the evening the Cubs had been waiting for.  This was the Marshmallows, Fire and Sparklers.  We all donned our coats and gloves and went outside where the fire had already been started.  As a few Cubs got their marshmallows, the others were given sparklers and we all watched as the centenary beacon was once again lit to make the evening that little bit more special.

Everyone had a great time and at the end of the meeting we sung happy birthday to Colin, Buzzy and Mang who all have their birthdays imminently.  Happy Birthday Guys n Gals !

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Cubs “Go-Outdoors!”

This evening we took the Cubs to Go-Outdoors where they got the opportunity to Climb the wall and learn all about the type of equipment required for any adventure the Cubs and Scouts were likely to be going on. After being harnessed up, three at a time the Cubs all tried to scale the wall and get to the top. Some of them got close but there was no clear winner. No matter how much bravado went round ! It was interesting seeing them conquer their fears of heights and falling and trusting the equipment to hold them. Something which can be hard to do. Its very similar to a trust fall, hoping that when you fall back your friend will indeed catch you !

In addition to the wall was the kit and how/when it should be used. The Cubs were all shown sleeping bags, tents, stoves and rucksacks. They were all introduced to the different ways of measuring warmth on a sleeping bag, how big a rucksack is measured and the styles and reasoning of tent design. It is important when going on camps or moving up to Scouts to know that you will in most cases require at least a 3 season sleeping bag with a 65 litre rucksack and a tent that sleeps the right amount of people for the purpose. You could for example take 1 tent but for 5 people and share the load of that tent between them on a hike. If you were on a hike on your own, you certainly wouldn’t want to take a 5 person tent and therefore look to a much smaller, lighter 1-2 man tent.

All in all the Cubs all learnt a lot and enjoyed the climbing and I have no doubt we will be back here again soon.

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International Charities

As part of our International Awareness badge, we were looking at charitable organisations who are widely recognised and have an international presence.  The charities we chose to highlight were:

  • Red Cross
  • WWF
  • Oxfam
  • Water Aid

For each of the charities all the Cubs had to find out the charity’s logo, mission statement, where in the world they have been active, how long they have been established and an interesting fact.  All of this was written down in a small folded passport style booklet and taken from section to section.  I know the Cubs enjoyed finding out about the different charities, and although sometimes when copying the mission statement seemed a bit like a chore, finding an interesting fact was quite fun.  For example, the actress who plays Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series is a contributor to the Oxfam charity.  Equally, so are Coldplay, Blur, Amir Khan and Fatboy Slim but to my horror none of the Cubs had heard of them !  NOT EVEN THE ROLLING STONES !  I must be getting old !

Anyway……a good night was had by all and they all learnt something new about each charity which hopefully will give them a better understanding of what they see and hear in adverts and campaigns by such organisations.

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Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Litter Picking We Go !

Tonight was all about litter picking and a small hike.  We had been loaned some litter picker grabbers from the Council that the Cubs could use and headed out towards Norman Way.  There is a small walk around the schools and sports grounds where there are lots of bits of rubbish left by walkers and school children.  As it was getting dark, we had the torches out and pretty much any rubbish stood out as it shone up in the light.  As well as the litter pick, we were also doing some basic map reading skills.  Each of the Cubs had access to the route map and we stopped off a couple of times so they could show me where they thought they were.  Some of the Cubs had a vague idea and some none at all but this is the reason for doing these activities is so that they can become a bit more familiar with working with a map.

Finally after the hike and litter pick had finished, we had two black bin liners full of rubbish and a bunch of Cubs who couldn’t believe how much they had retrieved.  As we had some cake left over from the family fun day last Saturday it was handed out to the Cubs as the parents came to collect.  It was a great night and as it was a small hike there was little to complain about.  Even though Baloo said it was 12 miles !

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