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Traditional Scouting and Skills for Life

20 May 2018

It's been an exciting week for scouting in the UK, with the launch of our new "Skills for Life" 2018 - 2023 strategy and our new brand. It was also an exciting weekend because this weekend saw the relaunch of the scout section Dryburn Camping Cup and Vaux Ambulance Shield first aid competitions - both originally dating back to 1919.

Both of these competitions haven't run for the last few years and the numbers of teams had been dwindling. Although the skills are as relevant as ever, the format was a little tired and 'rigid', and was appealing less to scouts who have come to expect more fun and excitement from county competitions.

As I report in this week's video blog from the Moor House camp fire circle, both competitions have had a reboot and while they are testing the same old skills, it's in a new and more enjoyable format. The Vaux Ambulance Shield went off-site with an hike based incident challenge (think road traffic collisions, serious burns from trangia stoves, heatstroke on a summer walk etc) all with the help of some great first aid 'make up' and some serious over-acting.

In a similar way, the Dryburn Cup has been updated so although it still tests camping skills, it's now about making the best use of what camping equipment your troop usually uses to camp, there's more emphasis on teamwork and leadership and there's also a lot more fun in the programme.

The thing I also liked was the 'sense of belonging', which is something we talk about promoting as part of our new branding. For me, the weekend really reconnected me with my sense of belonging in scouting, working with a great group of leaders, young leaders and some super scouts in the various patrols taking part in the competitions.
It reminded me that I'm still a simple scouter at heart and that we all share the same values of belief, care, cooperation, integrity and respect - all of which were very much in evidence this weeeknd. It's great to see so many people coming forward to help with county events and competitions and thanks once again to everyone involved.

Our new national strategy is all about helping young people develop #skillsforlife - and that's nothing new. In Durham, through the Dryburn Cup and Vaux Ambulance Shield we've been doing just that since 1919. Our core values and method of working haven't changed in all that time. The new strategy and the new branding is all about helping those outside scouting better understand what we do, and supporting leaders to help prepare and deliver programmes that provide those #skillsforlife.

If you haven't yet caught up with the new strategy please do take a look at Skills for Life - our plan to deliver better futures - I think you'll like what you see.

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