Beach Day and South West Scout Summit 2018

I really should put more effort into my blog titles…

This weekend saw the South West Scout Summit 2018 happen. As you might have read from a previous post I’ve been in Scouting a while and this year was invited, as a Local Training Manager, to attend the South West Summit to find out about the 2018-2023 strategic plan for Scouting and the change of logo!


New Scouting logo, replaces the 2008 ‘swish’ logo with a more modern, website friendly one.


Our South West Regional Commissioner, Hamish Stout, welcomed us to the event and our guest speaker was the Chief Commissioner England, Alex Peace-Gadsby, who was sat at the same table I was and was just lovely and friendly.


Our programme for the day. 



Scouters from all the counties and districts in the South West.


There was a lot of good reflection points over the weekend – the role of the leader being the factor in why a young person would stay or choose to leave Scouting – opened up a lot of discussions. An influential, exciting and engaging leader enhances the Scouting experience for the young person and encourages more memberships!


We split into groups for three twenty minutes sessions. Our first was the focus on the Quality Programme Checkers and why they aren’t be utilised within Scouting as effectively as they should be and how to get people using them to review their programmes.


Another session was looking at running district workshops to inspire and help adult leaders learn new skills – one particular workshop was a game one – getting adults learning new games to keep the young people interested and enthused… so, a district youth commissioner showed us all how to play Extreme Rock, Paper, Scissors.

The group splits into two, faces each other across a line, they have to decide as a group whether or not to select Rock, Paper or Scissors and once decided have the use their bodies to be the object. On the count of three the groups will ‘be‘ the object, if they are defeated they must run to the back of the room on their side without getting caught –  if caught they join the other team and the round starts again until only one person is left (or the group get rowdy or bored). As you can see from this photo I was having a fun time… haha.


Making my ‘scissor’ motion whilst pulling a face.


After the workshops and a good lunch, it was on to a discussion about inspiring adults, ensuring they are enjoying volunteering (“Tasks not titles as a way to increase the number of adults”) and how to help support them then on to youth involvement and looking at the different generational needs and expectations and how to encourage more young people to join Scouting. A lot of good points were raised. Lastly, we had a look at the strategy and spoke together as a county about the development plan focusing on some key areas.


Then it was home time as soon as it had begun. Today (15th May) is the launch of the new Scouting logo and the branding – there will be a few changes over the next couple of years as the association works towards its 2023 vision – 50,000 more young people in Scouting, 10,000 adult leaders and 5,000 young leaders. To quote them:

“By 2023 we will have prepared more young people with skills for life, supported by amazing leaders delivering an inspiring programme.

We will be growing, more inclusive, shaped by young people and making a bigger impact in our communities.”

So I look forward to being a part of that and supporting their vision.


I had been watching surfline web cameras all week at the beaches so suggested to Terry early on in the month that he pack the van camper and pick me up from the Summit and we head straight to the beach! #microadventure weekend! He agreed and drove to collect me with Bailey in the van and headed toward Putsborough Beach in North Devon.

The journey took less than expected and when we arrived we paid to keep the van camper overnight on the hard standing above the car park overlooking the beach and the sea.

It was gloomy when we turned up. The rain was hammering down and we did wonder what the next day would be like…


Bailey wishing he could go outside and run about in the rain.

Still, we wanted to be by the sea. I haven’t been to the sea for months and I was missing it. There’s something very calming yet exciting about seeing and hearing the waves. I spent ages watching this view from the van until the rain stopped and we went for a wander.

We did question when we turned up why they didn’t allow vans/cars to spend overnight in the car park until later on when about 30 cars turned up and the night fishermen/women got out and wandered down to the sea with their kit – I don’t know how late they stayed out for, I was in bed by 11pm, but they were still fishing… it was fascinating to watch them. I’ve never seen night time sea fishing before and researching into it sounds interesting – fishermen can catch cod, whiting, pouting, dogfish, bass, conger eels and many others from the sea and the best times to fish are between 8pm and 3am with high water before midnight. Who knew? (clearly, sea fishermen/women!)

The view from our camper on the hardstanding.

It was such a delight to wander along the beach, watch the fishermen, theorise why they do it, watch the sun setting and return to a very mild night – so mild I could sit with the side door open in my sleeping bag and watch the surf. Bliss.



Panoramic view of the beach before sunset.


Unfortunately, my iPod died and when I found out Terry had forgotten to pack my electronic equipment so did my ability to take photos; but this turned out to be a good thing as more time was spent ‘in the moment‘ this weekend than staring at a screen.

Terry did have his drone though and caught some amazing shots with it.


Walking along the beach in the early morning.


We decided to get up early and walk along the beach after a quick breakfast and we made the right choice – we had it practically to ourselves for over an hour so used the drone without worry.

We’ve been to this beach several times before; Putsborough Sands is the southern part of Woolacombe Sands. It is a sandy beach with some rock pools, protected by Baggy point from the prevailing southwesterly winds and above the beach is a small caravan site, beach shop and the cleanest toilets you’ll ever use. Dogs are allowed on this beach (though not all of it) all year round.




The beach is huge and Baggy Point is in the background (good Geocaching route around the point).


After an hour or so of walking on the beach and playing with the drone and Bailey, we moved the van camper so the rear doors faced the beach from the car park so we could relax and watch the surf and surfers.

The rest of the day was spent with the body boards in the sea (this time Bailey didn’t want to get on a board with us which was a shame as I was hoping he’ll learn to be comfortable on a board), sunbathing, eating, drinking and relaxing before deciding to head home in the late afternoon. Just perfect. I didn’t even mind the sunburnt red face the next day. So worth it.

I’m planning on going back to the beach – this time with my ‘shorty’ wetsuit in warmer weather (Terry forgot to pack my new wetsuit, so had to use my itchy old one) – might check out another beach or return to this one as we love it so much. For now, I have these videos to keep watching…

– Just Joanne

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