Our Colony Meetings take place at Stoke Row Pavilion at the Sports Ground, Newlands Lane on Wednesdays, term time only, from 5 – 6.15pm. We manage to spend half the year’s meetings outside, the rest of the year we are inside the pavilion.
We take boys and girls aged 6 and 7. There are a maximum of 24 Beavers in our Colony, coming from as many as 8 different local schools, and every week there are at least two uniformed leaders present and enough parent helpers to meet the requirements of the Scout Association regarding the adult:child ratio.
We must stress that becoming a Beaver is not like going to an after school club. Beavers are mini scouts and they have some key principles which are:
Having fun, making friends, trying new things, keeping the Promise, sharing, using a variety of groupings and making progress.
The Beaver Scout promise is:
I promise to do my best, to be kind and helpful and to love God*
The Beaver Scout motto is:
Code of Conduct
The Beavers have drawn up their own Code of Conduct and signed it thereby agreeing to keep to it, to help make the Colony meetings more fun for everyone. Each Beaver will receive a copy and the Code will be regularly reviewed.
Blue Turquoise sweatshirt is compulsory and must be worn every week at the beginning of the meeting for Register and Lodge Inspection. Turquoise polo shirt and navy blue Scout trousers are optional. The Group supplies the turquoise scarf, woggle and badges at Investiture which is normally just after half term. New Beavers can wear home clothes until they are invested.
In 2018 they are £30 per term, payable at start of term.
We take full advantage of the wonderful neighbouring countryside and it is very rare for rain or snow to get the better of us!
Our varied programme of activities are interspersed with fun and games and include cooking and eating, visiting foreign countries, doing experiments and various art and craft activities, holding entertainment and fund raising evenings, singing, chatting, playing sports – football, mini rugby, cricket, tennis, going biking and swimming, discovering and looking after our environment and community - pond dipping, litter picking, orienteering and exploring, going on treasure hunts and tracking, scoutcraft – making camp fires and camping, visiting a wide variety of places, and having an interesting range of visitors.
A typical evening consists of quiet arrival activities followed by Registration and Lodge inspection and then the evening is interspersed with energy release games and quieter activities, ending with Handouts and the Beaver Howl.
A new Beaver is invested once he/she has attended 5 or 6 meetings, so this Ceremony normally happens just after half term. By being invested, a Beaver becomes a member of the worldwide family of scouting as well as a member of our colony. It is an important Ceremony which we take seriously and we invite all family members of the new Beaver to attend. All the young people and Leaders say the Beaver Promise (see above) together and the new Beavers are awarded with the turquoise scarf, woggle and badges, having been prepared for the Membership badge. A blue ‘Badge and Awards Book and how to earn them’ is available for £4.
The Beavers can gain several badges, many of these will be earned by taking part in all the activities during our meetings but others can be carried out by themselves at home. When going up to Cubs at the age of 8, most boys/girls should have gained their Chief Scout’s Bronze Award. To obtain the Chief Scout’s Bronze Award, a Beaver needs to have obtained all six challenge badges, as listed below. We do one a term so over a two year period, a Beaver should have obtained all six.
Our Badges are: – My Outdoors, My Adventure, My Skills, My World, Teamwork and Personal – every element of each badge has to be gained in order for a Beaver to earn the Chief Scout Bronze Award.
There are now 20 Activity Badges and 14 Staged Activity badges – we do a couple of these each term at Beavers but many Activity Badges can be done at home.
To meet the requirements of the Scout Association regarding the adult:child ratio, all parents/carers of Beavers are expected to help out at meetings twice a term and as they are in contact with young people they will need to complete a Criminal Record Bureau form and Scouting Association Reference Forms. This is a requisite for the parents of each boy/girl wishing to join our Colony. The term’s programme is issued near the start of each term and parents are asked to sign up on the Parent Helper Rota. Parents normally find this fun as well as rewarding – and they find out what the Beavers get up to first hand!
* A non religious alternative is also available.
News from Tarka.
Tea with the Queen
On 31st May this year my husband I had the pleasure of having tea with the Queen! As a result of serving as a Beaver Scout Leader for 23 years, I was invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace along with a guest, so my husband Tony accompanied me.
Bad weather was forecast so everyone took brollies and as a result we had a lovely sunny and warm afternoon! We arrived at the Palace in plenty of time for the opening of the Gates at 3pm. At the entrance, all guests had to show two forms of identification as well as their Admittance Card and ladies had to wear a hat or fascinator... though some ladies managed to get in without wearing either I noticed!
We all filed through to the courtyard at the front of the Palace, through the Palace and out on to the Terrace the other side. Scouts were standing by the Terrace doors welcoming and giving directions to guests.
While the Guests gathered on the back lawn and ate the delicious and beautifully presented tea, the arrival of the Queen, accompanied by Prince William at 4pm, was announced by the National Anthem played by one of the two military bands. Gentlemen at Arms formed lanes for the Queen, Prince William and other members of the Royal Family to move through on the lawn. Some individuals were chosen to be presented to the Queen or Prince William – I had practised my curtsying and correct form of address for the Royal Family, just in case.... We got very close to both the Queen and Prince William and could almost hear their conversations, as they walked up the lanes talking to the chosen guests. The Royals then had tea in the Royal Tea Tent and the rest of us were free to walk anywhere around the garden. Tea was served in a long tent and there were many chairs in the garden for people to use – had it rained all 2,000 guests would have been quite squashed in the tea tent!
The garden is very informal, like parkland, and must have acidic soil as there were lots of plants commonly found around Stoke Row - rhododendrons, azaleas, foxgloves and roses – the Rose Garden was the only really formal bit of the garden. There is quite a large lake with coots, moorhens, shelduck, mallard ducks and geese with young – who definitely knew they were Royal! Near the Hyde Park entrance to the Garden I was surprised to discover a hard tennis court – very carefully concealed by shrubs and flowers. I am wondering which Royals play tennis there?
Throughout the afternoon Tony and I really enjoyed talking to many people – volunteers, staff and bandsmen as well as guests. The guests were of all ages and from all over the UK and indeed the world. Among those we met were a councillor (for 40 years) from Kent, a primary school teacher from Northern Ireland, a foster mother, Church of England Vicars (husband and wife team), a French Army Officer, a Scout leader from Lancashire still going strong after 30 years, four members of the Salvation Army who told us about their chat with the Queen, a Serbian University Professor and a young man from Hull running a children’s charity in his spare time. Everyone was very friendly and we were all taking photos of each other.
Soon after 5pm the Queen and the Royal Family left their Tea Tent and we watched her party go back into the Palace, again accompanied by a band playing the National Anthem. During the afternoon when one band had stopped playing, it lowered its signal flag as the signal for the other band to start up and vice versa! After a further wander, Tony and I were one of the last to leave at about 6pm. I was really amazed how fast the three hours had gone. We had really had a very memorable and happy afternoon at Buckingham Palace.
Julia Barry aka Tarka
I would also like to add that I much enjoy meeting my former Beavers and witnessing their successes. For example we watched Tim Clarke row at the Henley Regatta this June and we were thrilled when his crew from the Leander Club went on to win the Visitor’s Challenge Cup, many congratulations to him, James Steyn has been fantastic at helping me with my IT problems and Elliot Brown now has two young sons!