DC bits n Bobs – September

Posted on 6th September 2021 by Greg Piskosz

Dear All Adult Volunteers

Firstly I trust that you and your families are all well……Many of us are returning to Scouting after a very well earned summer break, I hope that you all feel refreshed and ready for the next phase of our challenging Scouting Life.   Recent months have seen significant progress along the Governments Road map and for many of us, life is returning to something similar to Pre Covid.   Scouting has also moved along it’s own path out of Covid restrictions and the benefits are for all to see when you look at the amazing things our Groups and young people are achieving.

Gone to green
You will all probably be aware by now that the Scouting readiness for England has Changed to Green.   The major change from our Yellow Status is with regard to Nights Away Activities.   Residential activities will no longer be limited to six people sharing accommodation. This means more flexibility for Groups when planning their nights away activities, although members should still be managing the spread of COVID-19.   COVID measures such as good hygiene remain in place, and lateral flow testing is strongly recommended to take place immediately prior to departure and twice a week throughout the trip and on return for those age 11 and over.   Groups can mix and adult volunteers can move from group to group.  Day visitors to residential groups are allowed.

So while to all intents and purposes restrictions are over, please remember that Covid has not gone away, and we still need to take care.   To me it makes sense to continue with the good hygiene practices we have in place – it doesn’t affect the delivery of a good programme.   Similarly, if it is practical we should still try and use as much space as we can for activities.   More information on how we should be operating can be found at Getting back together safely | Scouts

District Scout Incident Challenge
As circulated in District Commissioner’s “Bits and Bobs” before the summer break, we are pleased to be running a district Scout Incident Challenge Hike again this year, from 25th-26th September.  All Scouts will get dinner from the 1913 chip shop, a hot chocolate supper and a simple breakfast after a night’s camping.
WHEN: Saturday 25th September, 10.30am until Sunday 26th September, 1.30pm
WHERE: Beamish Museum (meet outside main entrance)
COST: only £40 per Scout

We are asking Scout Leaders to do the following:
Please confirm asap if your Scout Troop is likely to be participating. One way of doing this is to ‘accept’ the event on OSM.
Please let us know if you will be sending any leaders to help on the event. You can reply to me with this information, or when you ‘accept’ the event on OSM, you can add each leader as attending.
Please let Tony Brewis know FINAL numbers of attendees (Scouts and leaders) by 16th September.

District Young Leader Awareness Activity Day
There will be a fully funded District Young Leader Activity Day held in mid-October at Moor House Adventure Centre, for any existing Young Leader and for older Scouts who might like to consider being a young leader once they turn Explorer Scout Age. Only those older Scouts who have had their record shared on OSM with the Explorer Unit will be able to be invited. (To do this on OSM, select the member record[s] in ‘Personal Details’, click on ‘Share with another section’, select section by age ‘Explorers [and Network]’, then type in “Chester Le Street Centurions ESU: Explorers”).

District AGM
This is a statutory requirement in POR that a AGM is held annually to approve the District accounts and elect District Officers.   Last year due to Covid we held a virtual meeting on Zoom, and for practical planning purposes we will do this again this year.   The meeting will be relatively short but will ensure that we fulfil our obligations.   It is my intention to hold an all leaders event in early December to allow us to come together and reflect on the past 18 months and discuss what our priorities, aims and objectives should be for 2022.  Format and process will be the same as in previous years. though you will need to provide your own refreshments after the formalities have been conducted.  The date of the AGM will be Monday September 20th, a Zoom invitation will be sent out a week prior.

As in previous Years we will be seeking to elect volunteers onto the Executive Committee.   The Executive provides a vital supportive role to the effective functioning of the District, providing advice, governance and oversight to ensure that all that we do is in the best interests of our Young people, Adult Volunteers and wider Scouting. The roles we are looking to fill are :
4 Elected Members

Please send any nominations to either myself or Carole Atkinson current District Secretary

Midnight Madness
Midnight Madness is back! Durham University Scout and Guide Group are once again running MidMad – an overnight incident hike for teams of 4 to 6 Explorer Scouts from across the county. This year Midnight Madness will take place between 23rd & 24th October based at 2nd CLS HQ. Spaces this year are limited, so sign up quickly! Plans are being made subject to the Covid readiness level at that time.   More information can be found at    DUSAGG – Durham University Scout and Guide Group

Thank you all for all the work that has been put in to getting training completed, both Mandatory and Woodbadge training.  I appreciate how hard this may have been during these difficult times.   However we are in a much better place now.   Our New Training Advisors will soon be contacting adult volunteers to support them with their training requirements, and we will be focusing on those people who have been in role for in excess of 3 years and not completed their woodbadge training.

First Aid
With the changes in how we can operate under Covid we will be looking at how we can accelerate the First Aid training that we are currently offering.   Thank you to those that have completed the two on line elements, we will be looking to organise the final and practical part very soon.   The Trainers and myself will be meeting soon to discuss what we will provide and how and will be sending out further information in the coming weeks.

Remembrance Sunday Parade
Planning for this years parade is now underway.   With the changes in Covid restrictions it means that a parade will actually take place.   However there are some issues to resolve.   With the new works on the restoration of the Burn running through CLS the Market Place area that has been used in the past is substantially smaller.  Also there is also concerns over a mass gathering with upwards of 2,500 people being  at the market place.   The organisers are considering asking groups to limit the numbers, which gives us all a massive headache in terms of selection and participation.   As we get more information we will share.

And Finally…………….

I can’t say thank you enough for the efforts that you have all made since we have had an easing in the lockdown.   You only need to be back around our Young People on a meeting night or on an activity, away at camp, on a DofE Expedition; to see the beaming smiles, the loud laughter, the messing about, the excited chatter of friends being back to together to appreciate that what we do is Life Changing…. So worthwhile, lets remember who we are and what we do….

We are all part of one, huge extended Scouting Family, unified by our Promise.

All we can ask of each other is ..

…To do My Best,
….Up hold our Scout Values
……To help other people

Look after yourselves, Be Safe.