bridges (16) campsite (25) cartoons (15) centenary (2) discussion (5) experimental (38) gadgets (21) gateways (9) lashings (20) models (9) raft (71) resources (25) sculpture (15) software (22) techniques (31) towers (40) trebuchets (5) treehouses (17) tutorial (9)

December 5, 2014

Pioneered Christmas tree by Puddle Pirate Rover crew


Day and night photographs courtesy Akela Joy
For the East Rand District end of year Cub Christmas Camp, Puddle Pirate Rover Crew built this pioneered Christmas Tree. All of the guests at the camp bought gifts which were
used to decorate the tree and these were later donated to a charity.

December 1, 2014

Gift ideas- knotting and pioneering


With the festive season upon us, I've put together a list of pioneering-related gifts that you might find useful.

John Sweet's Scout Pioneering is a classic reference, and there are a few different editions in print. Your best bet is to hunt one down in a second hand bookshop, but there are a few online options.

The Ashley Book of Knots is the definitive reference to knots, and a great gift for someone interested in pioneering and knotting. Over 4000 illustrations cover everything from the simplest slippery hitch to complex decorative knots, splices and lashings.

Geoffrey Budworth's Complete Book of Knots is a smaller book that is easier on the pocket than Ashley's but still a good general reference.

Knotcraft: The Practical and Entertaining Art of Tying Knots (Dover Craft Books) by Paulette and Alan Mcfarlanis a useful little book- apart from guides to tying knots, it has some practical application tips, magic tricks, history and folklore. Also available as an eBook.
 
A multi-tool with a saw is a pretty useful tool for pioneering. I prefer the Victorinox models with saws- the Farmer , Camper or new Soldier.

The International Guild of Knot Tyers publishes a quarterly magazine and also offers a number of other publications. An annual subscription is available here.

November 27, 2014

Four resources I'm thankful for

(Although I'm not American, being thankful is something I can get behind, and today seems an appropriate day to reflect on some of the resources that have helped me as a Scouter over the years)

I've been fortunate to have great mentors, from Patrol Leaders as  a Scout, to Troop Scouters, Group Scouters and training team members who have helped me, challenged me and supported me as a Scouter. Today I want to talk about resources that are available to everyone that have been a great help to me.

The Dump
I was fortunate to inherit an extensive library in my Scout group, going back to the founding of the group in the 1940s. These old books have fantastic information, but they are not easy to find anymore. The Dump is a library of scanned PDFs of old Scouting resources, collected and curated by Scoutscan.com. Everything from BP's earliest, pre-Scout writing, to specific merit badge advice, is available here.

ScoutmasterCG.com
Clarke Green has been blogging since 2005 on Scouting, and gives sage advice, shares useful tips, and also has a weekly podcast that is very entertaining and informative. Clarke aims his advice at Scout leaders, no matter what capacity you are serving in, and has written a few books in addition to the blog. The Index is a good place to dive in to nine year's worth of material.

Akela's Cubs
Joy was the Pack Scouter during most of the time that I was Troop Scouter at Ninth Benoni, and we started blogging within a few months of each other. Joy blogged the day's Pack meeting every week for years, and this blog collects these meetings as well as many other ideas for camps and outings for Cubs.

Scouts South Africa library
South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to have Scout Troops, and the oldest group in the country dates back to 1908. This collection of books includes some stories of B-P's adventures in South Africa, great resources for teaching, and a glimpse into how the programme is run here in South Africa. The pro-plan charts are a collection of posters for teaching all of the basic skills in the Scouting programme.


October 17, 2014

Sandringham JOTA JOTI 2013 Tower



The largest annual Scouting event in the world, The combined Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet, starts today. Around 700,000 Scouts and Guides from around the world are participating.

Last year, this tower, designed and built by Sandringham Scout Group in Johannesburg was voted the best JOTA tower internationally out of all the entries for the weekend.

Some more shots from my FormIt model (downloadable here):

September 19, 2014

Obstacle Course by Carpe Diem Scout group in Arendonk, Belgium

Scouts Carpe Diem Arendonk in Belgium built this obstacle course structure outside, around and over their Scout hall. This timelapse shows the construction process:

While these photos from their Facebook page show the structure in use:

September 12, 2014

Building your first treehouse

A simple treehouse, 6 feet off the ground in a willow with multiple stems.
Tree houses are a fun and challenging pioneering project (if the safety rules of your Scout Association allow them) that provide a memorable adventure. But starting with a 9 metre high platform isn't easy. This post will discuss the basics of building a treehouse and how to get started.

Choosing a tree
For any tree house, and especially your first one, selecting a tree that has a few branches radiating out at the same level will make things much simpler. For a first treehouse, a tree like a willow that splits low down is ideal.
Building a treehouse
The starting point, and the part that will probably take the longest, is getting your first pulley established to raise everything else up. A heaving line, with a weighted bag, beanbag or other weight with a lightweight messenger line will help you get the first ropes up. You can then use the first rope you establish to Prussik up and place a pulley for raising items up. Everyone working at height should be using harnesses and fall protection measures.

Rigging and raising the first pole is your next task. Once it's in place, and lashed onto the tree using hessian or padding, you can raise the rest of the base poles up and set them in place.

Having established the base, the next task is to get safety railing and any roof or other superstructure up. In my experience, you can expect to spend about a third if your time getting the pulley in place, a third of the time on the first two base poles, and the final third on the rest of the structure.

August 29, 2014

Hourglass Tower at Oppikoppi festival


Following on from the Belgian music festival last week, Oppikoppi is the largest music festival in South Africa, held annually on Northam Farm.


1st Northam built this tower for the 2014 festival, and the five minute time lapse by Donald van der Westhuizen shows how it was built. The tower was put up by building it completely on the ground (method 1 according to this post) by this team: