Spring Ahead

Third late post in a row and hopefully the last late one for a while. Once again, the lateness has been caused by something noble; last weekend I went to a district camp for the Scouts.

I was not looking forward to this camp at first. I was told for weeks that the weather was meant to be rubbish and I really didn’t want to be sleeping in a mud field, especially as I’ve had a cold for the past week courtesy of our Akela. Fortunately we had really lovely weather, something I hadn’t expected and wasn’t prepared for. I came home more sun burnt than I’d expected to in March.

The basis of Spring Ahead is that each group only has to organise sheltering and feeding their Scouts, with each group and network organising one or two activities for them to participate in during one day. It gives the Scouts the chance to try something new as well as giving them a chance to compete against each other and win a few prizes. Having the good weather and some super competitive Scouts meant that they rushed around as many bases as they could, regularly with me in tow with a camera to attempt to document our weekend. We walked away having won two of the challenges and with two Scouts winning a further prize for a “knock out” style game on the last morning. The best part of winning these challenges means that we won back the trophy we lost last year. On top of that, I became properly cemented in our Scout troupe.

There have been a lot of jokes about there being a “gap” between our group and the others and all the while I’d been with Scouts, I hadn’t really believed it. It’s a real thing. We are not liked within our district. I can sort of see why. For starters, we’ve got some of the youngest leaders within our district, with me being just 22 and the other leader being a few years older than me. Without our ages coming into it, we’re also possibly the most lax of the leaders who were there. We know we let our Scouts get away with a lot; discipline just isn’t high on our agenda. On top of us being the… “cool, fun” leaders, our Scouts are super competitive, are pretty good and know it. They’ve got this borderline arrogance which makes them challenge every other Scout possible. Even with my fiercely loyal pride to my Scouts, I can admit that this arrogance is our downfall. It makes them either not care about getting involved or it makes them too competitive. We’re connected as a district so rarely that it’s not something we ever consider stamping out.

My major issue with this “gap” is that everyone knows about it. Even the kids from other troupes are aware of it, only getting involved with ours when there’s a competition to be won. The other leaders don’t help by being less willing to talk to us and more harsh towards our kids. It’s strange because nobody within our troupe seems bothered by it. In fact, they embrace it. They like being the outsiders in this situation. I’ve just spent the best part of a year forcing my way into positions in groups where I wasn’t completely welcome. It’s harder for me to accept our position within our district because I didn’t grow up with it. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to, whether we become more accepted within the community or not.

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