Post written by Mark Matthews - GSL 1st Uphill
Jane Platt – Akela, 1st Uphill Scout Group, 1974-1981.
It is with great sadness that I belatedly report Jane Platt, who many will remember, passed away 14th November 2020 having been diagnosed with Lymphoma 18 months earlier.
Jane joined 1st Uphill (7th Weston-super-Mare) in 1974 having already been Akela at both Winscombe and Corpus Christi Cub Scout packs. She took the helm starting with 19 cubs and quickly grew the pack to 36 where it remained for many years. Jane moved in 1981 to Brunei with her family. Scouting didn’t stop and in Brunei she continued, introducing many more boys to the movement and trained adults to become leaders.
From my perspective it’s wonderful to think that Jane still has a connection to 1st Uphill as two of her Cub Scouts, Ian and myself remain as active leaders. I am sure she influenced many more boys who have gone on to make positive contributions to their communities.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a Scout and both Ian and I recall wonderful pack evenings, summer camps and excursions to London (HMS Belfast) and Portsmouth (HMS Victory). My first cub camp was at West Bagborough, Quantocks and I got a great big shiner of a black eye but didn’t fail to enjoy the weekend and earn the Map Readers badge feeling completely at home under Jane’s leadership.
Ian recalls how he was welcomed into the pack having moved from South Wales and within a few short weeks was invested. Jane was at the side of the football pitch most Saturday mornings supporting 1st Uphill Cubs in the then thriving cub football league. We also enjoyed regular church parades, bring and buy sales and carol singing at Russell House every year.
Jane’s approach to scouting and particularly Summer Camp which involved her whole family and that of the supporting leaders set a model and left a legacy at 1st Uphill that has continued for many fantastic years.
Ann, (Akela, GSL & Chairman) was Chil at the time and best recalls Jane and the impact she had. Ann’s own son returned from cubs after his 2nd or 3rd meeting and announced Akela needed help with the swimming badge. Ann stepped forward in 1974 and never looked back.
“I believed wholeheartedly in the movement as did Jane and the dedication that I saw from her and the various leaders in the District, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my spare time. Jane was an enormous influence on Scouting in the District, she had a complete belief in the movement and her main object was to introduce as many youngsters as she could to the benefits of Scouting”.
Beaver Scouts (6-8 yrs)
So, what are we up to now? Despite still only being able to meet on zoom, the Beaver Scouts have continued with an active programme every Monday. They have continued working towards the Great Indoors Badge, which has meant some very interesting activities.
Highlights have been pilates, making various arts and crafts, including thank you cards for the staff at Weston Hospice after a visit on zoom by one of their staff, making musical instruments out of recycled things, making pancakes and biscuits, and learning how to stack the highest tower possible using unusual objects for building, such as shoes or cushions. The tallest was about 5ft / 1.5 metres made from sofa cushions.
Part of the focus of the Great Indoors Badge is to think of the world and our impact on it, hence the towers made from recycled objects, but we also looked more widely than that and thought about endangered animals and global issues generally.
One thing we enjoyed greatly was a visit on zoom by a GP and a paramedic, both of whom were teaching the Beavers some very basic first aid and what they should do in the event of an emergency. It is worth remembering they are only 6 or 7 years old and so we cannot take for granted that they know these things.
On an exciting note, we have in last month or so welcomed 6 new Beavers. We hope to meet them soon if we can get back to face to face scouting.
Cub Scouts (8 -10/11yrs)
Akela writes “All our Cub Scouts have been fabulous and adapted really well to Zoom meetings. They take part with great enthusiasm and are constantly teaching each other and us new things. We as leaders have really enjoyed our Zoom evenings and are really proud of our cub’s behaviour and positivity each week”.
As Group Scout Leader I have joined the meetings on Zoom and was really impressed with how the young people have adapted to the Zoom meetings, given each other time to contribute on the screen whilst furiously updating the streaming text that runs along with the meeting with their views and anecdotes.
The Cubs have with confidence run the meeting on occasion with Luke hosting the Christmas Quiz, whilst the Artist Badge has been completed with another Cub providing the instruction and the technique to be used. The results of the work being aired in subsequent weeks.
Zoom meetings are filled with lively discussion, guided by the leaders but the content definitely coming from the young people. Activities have further included, how many items can you tie to a length of string, cryptic clue scavenger hunt, making of juggling balls and practicing juggling skills. They have learnt about Founders Day, Lord Baden Powell and scouting traditions. All mixed with several favourite games that work with the Zoom format.
Scouts/Explorer Scouts (10-14-18)
It’s much the same with the Troop meeting regularly on Zoom and this format becoming all too familiar. I must say a big thank you to Jon our Explorer Leader who has stepped into the role of Scout Leader, but we ideally need an enthusiastic person to step into this role who would benefit from a great leadership team supporting them.
On the Brightside with the current UK road map to release us from lock down face 2 face scouting may not be too far away and we may be able to meet as normal once again. Starting with reduced numbers hopefully the sections will be able to meet after Easter and develop as confidence returns.
As noted above the Group would really appreciate the support of a new Scout Leader but all of the sections would welcome any assistance that can be provided. Each section has a great team, and the leadership load is shared. Most importantly the leaders have almost as much fun as the Young People and have the satisfaction of making a positive contribution. Turn off the TV and get in touch here - https://www.axescouts.org.uk/volunteer/