Features

Cardiac Arrest

  1. Reek Sunday, 2016.

3 A.M.

My alarm woke me, and I completed my usual routine of getting ready for the day ahead. Except today I was part of the first aid cover for the 25,000 pilgrims hiking Croagh Patrick. My lift arrived and we set off for Mayo. We stopped for food at a deli, that wasn’t serving hot food, so we settled for cold sandwiches. We arrived on site, after a painfully long car journey. Having signed in and received our radios we barely had time to catch our breath before we headed out almost immediately. Ten minutes along the track we reach the “Papa 1” the first of two first aid posts.

Then someone died.

Earlier in the day I had complained about tiny things like getting up too early or having to have cold food. They were big things at that time. But where you hear “Cardiac Arrest…requesting Doctor,” everything becomes irrelevant. The sinking feeling in my chest was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It wasn’t a pain resembling the death of a loved one, but rather realisation of what I have signed up for.

At “Papa 1” we hear over the radio the on-goings of the Arrest at the Medical Centre. The Helicopter was flown in by the Sligo Coast Guard and they transported the patient.

Then the day continued as normal.

That’s when I realised that the world didn’t stop. The medical volunteers didn’t grieve; they weren’t even affected by it. On the inside I was still processing it. I’ve trained countless times on how to deal with it. Maybe if it happened in front of me, the adrenaline would kick in and it wouldn’t get to me. I didn’t have adrenaline. I had a digital radio.

I was somewhat taken aback that it was nothing to all these medical volunteers all around me. And it hit me like a tonne of bricks that I was going to end up like that. I need to be like that. People die. If I’m going to continue in the medical field I’m going to have to get used to that. I need to detach, separate what happens on duty from my personal life and thoughts.

I didn’t write this to be read. I wrote this for myself, to cement in my own mind that this happens. They’re not just stories to tell at training; they’re real events. Events that I need to become accustomed to. Events that I need to leave behind once I take off my uniform.

 

Because if I don’t, I won’t be wearing it for much longer.

 

Luke Coulton Dillon

Seán Cronin in discussion with Mick McGrath about the Backwoods Adventure on JamÓige

 

On the last day of JamÓige 2016, the energy and enthusiasm of the hundreds of Cub Scouts was unleashed on the biggest backwoods base Scouting Ireland has ever hosted. In their Sixes, the Cubs got a chance work on fire lighting, food, and shelters. I got in contact with Mick McGrath, the Backwoods Adventure Skills team lead, to find out about the bases and how Backwoods can be used in the Cub Scout Programme.
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The activities were shaped around these 3 fundamentals of backwoods. “For JamÓige I took elements from these to deliver to the Cubs so that they could take it away with them and pass onto others.” said Mick, “I wanted the Cubs to be capable of constructing a shelter, light a fire and filter water.” For the fire they got the Cub Scouts to make charred cloth and then to use this to light a fire. They placed it in a bundle of hay, striking it with a flint striker and carefully blowing on it until it ignited. The Cubs also made a water filters from plastic bottles and used natural elements, such as sand, gravel, moss, grass, to filter the water.
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It is vital for all sections to have programme that helps the youth members develop their outdoor skills. Mick believes that “By passing on our knowledge to the Cubs at a young age we afford them the opportunity and time to become more skillful and educated in this Adventure Skill”, while simultaneously evoking “an appreciation in them for nature, the outdoors and our country side.” The skill set manifested in the backwoods adventure skills also has significance in the real world outside scouting.  Mick explains activities like the Backwoods Adventure help children to “develop an ability to overcome obstacles, to adapt to changing environments, to have a positive approach and to think on your feet.”  “The best approach to teaching Backwoods skills to children is to make it adventurous. All kids want to be Bear Grylls or Ray Mears” he added, the backwoods bases are ” pitched at their skill level, in a safe environment and to ensure that they come away from every event with a win – that way they will have an appetite for more.”

The event staff often get as much joy and satisfaction out of organising these activities as the Cub Scouts taking part in them. Mick says that his “favourite moments of running the Backwoods at JamÓige was when we took over 330 Sixers into the woods on the Sat night to teach them the bases”. All the Cubs then congregated on Monday morning to take part in the bases, with the Sixers assisting in the running of the activities. “On top of this, to stand at the top of the fields and see 2,428 Cubs all taking part in the biggest single backwoods event in the history of Scouting Ireland was certainly a sight to behold” elaborated Mick, “A lot of credit has to go to the Sixers and the staff who delivered the bases.”

That was pretty much the low down on backwoods at JamÓige 2016 and the importance and significance the backwoods skills hold in the development of these young members of Scouting Ireland in general. I’d like to thank Mick McGrath for his help with this piece.

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What It’s Like To Do The Belt, And Not Get It – by Aoibhinn Moyne

Ciao amici,

My name is Aoibhinn Moyne. I’m a rover from Errigal County and I took part in this year’s Explorer Belt expedition. Before I left I had decided to write an article on what it is like to do the belt and its ties with mental health, but now, after being home for almost a month, I have decided to share something so much more important with you all; “What it’s like to do the Belt, and not get it”.

I have been involved in Scouting for 13 years now and have wanted to do the Belt for as long as I can remember. When I think back on all the stories people have told me over the years, not one bit of information I was given scared me. All of the pain and hardship faced by the participants was overcome by the immense sense of relief, pride and happiness that was brought by receiving the belt. But what about those who didn’t complete the challenge? What was there to mask all of those intense emotions for those who didn’t get to wear that beautiful leather belt? Nothing? While at first, it certainly felt like it, I can finally tell you that that is most certainly not true.

The Belt itself was of course, everything I had expected. It was tough, painful, and gruelling at times, yet one of the best things I have ever done. I was lucky because I had an amazing partner with whom I shared the journey. We laughed, sang and made the most out of every obstacle we faced (and trust me there were many). I don’t think I would have gotten as far or have been able to write this without her positivity pushing me onwards. When we were taken off the road on day 8 I was a mess, I cried for two days, no word of a lie, but she helped me see and appreciate everything I had done and for that I can’t thank her enough.

One of the things I noticed whilst on the road and something that was also noticed by another team was that even with all the stories we were told, nobody tells you just how hard it really is, and at the time that made me feel quite angry because maybe if I had known I could have prepared myself a little more. Now though as I think back on my journey to write this I struggle to remember the bad things and I can understand why others struggled to tell me the whole truth; it’s because they couldn’t remember either.

Coming to terms with everything after our journey ended was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do and to be quite honest I am still struggling with it today. I was so beyond disappointed in myself and embarrassed. I felt a tide of envy and anger at the other teams for completing something that I thought I wasn’t strong enough to do and yet I was so proud of them all. This mix of emotions almost broke me and put a strain on a few friendships but thanks to the people around me I was able to control it and begin to separate all of those temporary negative emotions from the long-term positives. Still though, sometimes I look at the photos of the successful belters on Facebook and I envy the bond they share. I read the private jokes from base camp that I don’t understand and all I feel is sadness. Sometimes when I’m telling people about my journey or hear people talk about theirs I forget about what I have achieved and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry, and guess what I learned? That it’s okay!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter, not in the slightest. I stood at the front of the crowd waiting to welcome the team home, my team, because I am so proud of them all and I know that my day will come.

The people around me were amazing. I really can’t thank Fr Dave, Richie, the sweep team in Italy, those who welcomed us at the airport when we came home, those who listened to my cries and stories and of course my Belt partner enough. It was you all who helped and are still helping to keep the smile on my face.

The moral of the story is that sometimes you don’t reach your goal and that it is absolutely fine to feel sad or angry about it as long as you keep your head up and keep trying. I want people to read this before they go and understand that if it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, you will get through it. It has happened before and it will happen again.

I’m already thinking of my application for next year’s belt! It is a one of a kind experience and has most definitely changed me for the better.

What’s a Programme Review? And, why does it matter?

What’s a Programme Review? And, why does it matter?

Megan Little asks Richard Scriven about the Programme Review. 

The Review of the ONE Programme has been launched this week. Megan and Richard talk about what is involved, and why you should take part in the online survey. 

You can take the survey here: https://my.scouts.ie/resources/national_initiatives/programme_review-402.html 

Megan: What’s the programme review all about?

Richard: The idea of Plan, Do, Review is very important. So we should use it for all parts of scouting, not just our activities. The ONE Programme is now six year’s old and it is time to review it. There are several stages involved in the review, it’s like a research project. The first big stage is an online survey which will gather opinions from as many members as possible. There is also a poster survey to help Beaver Scouts and Cub Scouts participate. The second main part will be Provincial Consultations which will happen in the autumn. At these people will be able to discuss ideas, share experiences, and offer suggestions to improve the programme.


Megan: Do you feel this review will be a success?

Richard: I believe it CAN be a success. But, that success depends on people taking part. It is up to each member of Scouting Ireland to share their experiences of the ONE Programme so we can all learn. The review is based on valuing how each young person and adult volunteer uses the programme and what they think of it. Also, this review will lead to real change in the programme, once it is supported. David, as the new Chief commissioner (Youth Programme), and the new Youth Programme team are fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the review. If enough people participate it will give them the mandate to bring in the need adjustments and improvements.     


Megan: What are your opinions on the programme, do you feel much needs to be changed?
Richard: Oh, Megan! That’s a loaded question. I’ll give an honest but general answer, as I don’t want to bias the process. I like our programme. It think the fundamentals are excellent. The SPICES have changed the way we do scouting in Ireland; they focus us the main aim of scouting, they make us better scouts. Also, the ONE Programme has given us increased opportunities for young people to take control of their programme, with appropriate adult support, in all of the sections. This is the essence of the Scout Method. And, there is a greater equality among the sections: we now see each section as a part of an overall programme.

Yes, there always need to be changes. This is true of everything in life: there is always room for improvement! The changes to the ONE Programme will depend on the feedback received. From my experiences as Scouter in a Venture Scout section and from being on the Scout Team I am aware of aspects of the programme that I think need changing, but that is only my opinion. Each person has their own experiences, and only by collecting all of these can we fully understand the changes required.     

Megan: Do you feel many people will take the time to fill it out?

Richard: Yes, I am confident they will. The first stage is a simple online survey which only takes a few minutes to fill out. Each youth member and Scouter has invaluable insight into the programme and I believe they will want to share it. Some of it maybe critical, and some of it will be complimentary, and some of it will be unsure. And, that’s all fine. Also, we’ve developed a poster survey to get the opinions of Beaver Scouts and Cub Scouts to ensure they add to the process.

Megan: Why should we bother fill it out?

Richard: You should fill it out because you are filling it out for yourself and your Group. It is your programme and it should be the programme you and your Group needs. If you think something is great and we need to keep it, fill out the survey. If you think something is awful and needs to go, fill out the survey. If you think something needs tweaking or is too complicated, fill out the survey. By filling out the survey, you are helping yourself, your group, and scouting.

Richard is a member of the Programme Review Steering Group 

These Ears Were Made For Listening

Get informed about the latest resource available to you and your group on national camps:

The Listening Ear Service – by Mary-Liz McGrath

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to sit down and listen: Camps can be places where
some of our greatest memories are made, the strongest of friendships are forged, and where
the most valuable of life lessons are learned. Camps can also be draining and stressful
experiences when things don’t go according to plan, when there’s a breakdown in
communication, or when matters outside of our control bring dilemmas of their own.
Whatever the reason, the Listening Ear Service is there to help.
The Listening Ear tent provides a casual drop-in- drop-out counselling service for Scouts of
all ages. The principal objective of the service, according to Mary Fricker, a pioneer of this
new initiative, is to “safeguard young people” attending national events. Eimear Boyd, a
representative from the service, explains “It’s not just for youth members” – “(the tent) is just
somewhere for anyone to come and vent.”. Visitors to the tent are assured of a cup of tea, a
biscuit, and a listening ear (you might even get some sun cream there on a warm day!).
“People can stay as long as they want”, there’s no time limit for visitors. The tent is also open
outside of programme hours, from early in the morning to late at night, so that no one has to
miss programme in order to avail of the service. The team also have mobile members of staff
patrolling the site, identifiable by their Listening Ear ID cards.
Although the service is still in its early trial stages, the initial success of the programme on
events such as the World Scout Jamboree 2015, and most recently, JamÓige 2016, bodes well
for the initiative. The team are hoping that a continued presence at such events will help the
service attain lift-off in the coming years (hopefully in a spectacular fashion akin to
JamÓige’s soaring tent, which, according to on-lookers, interrupted the flight-path of a low-
flying plane).
We wish the Listening Ear Service the best of luck in their endeavours and encourage all
members of Scouting Ireland to drop by on upcoming national events.

  • Mary-Liz McGrath

Throwback Thursday

Hi everyone
As you know this year is the celebration of Cubs 100 and Beavers 40. To celebrate this we have a number of projects for throughout the year that we want to run in conjunction with as many people as possible basically.

The first one is called Throwback Thursday…the idea is that we all become Beavers and Cubs again by sharing old photos. We would like photos of you as a Beaver or Cub or photos of you now but wearing your old uniform etc

The idea behind it is that we can show the membership that Scouting is a massive Journey and that we all started in this association as Beavers and Cubs.

The photos will be posted on the SI Facebook pages, Inside Out, Insight etc (so if there’s other people in the photo, make sure you have their permission to use it!!)

Please send all you photos to rnevin@scouts.ie along with your name, current section and the year you joined Scouting

We would like as many people as possible to get involved in this, it won’t work otherwise!

Thank you

Humans of Scouting Ireland

“If it wasn’t for scouts I wouldn’t be who I am today and today I happen to be an elf in Santa’s grotto”
– Fiona Young
13th Clane

Get on board with the project – take a picture of one of your scout friends, get a quote from them (it doesn’t necessarily have to be about scouts) and send it into us at scoutingblogblog@gmail.com

Caoimhe Fitzgibbon & Nicola Murphy Debate The Motion That “Irish Is a Dying Language, With Little Relevance Today”

It is compulsory in all primary and second level schools in Ireland to study the Irish language from when you begin, aged around five, to when you leave at eighteen or nineteen. Here, Caoimhe Fitzgibbon & Nicola Murphy debate the relevance of it in a modern context, where a very small minority of people actively speak the language outside of the education system, in a feature that we will hopefully see occur regularly on the blog – if you would like to propose a motion for two scouts to debate, please drop us an email at scoutingblogblog@gmail.com

 

“Irish Is a Dying Language, With Little Relevance Today”

Caoimhe Fitzgibbon on The Difference One Person Can Make, and How We Might Underestimate Our Ability to Speak Our Native Tongue

Ladies and gentlemen, I am strongly against the motion in question and will be taking into account a number of elements of the survival of the Irish language and its role in a modern Ireland.

  • Irish in the media
  • Thriving ‘Gaeltacht’ areas
  • Our underestimation of our capabilities speaking ‘As Gaeilige’
  • How just one person can make a huge difference in the revival of a language

I’m sure we all know of TG4, Raidió na Gaeltachta and other Irish speaking media outlets like them, even if you don’t watch, listen to or read them personally. But they wouldn’t be able to survive without viewers, without listeners, without support. I’m sure many of us can remember when TG4 showed Harry Potter in Irish? I thought that was the coolest thing as a kid and so I watched it in amazement as one of the most popular movie franchises in the world was being shown in my native tongue.

Ever heard of the ‘Gaeltacht’ areas? They are fully functioning, thriving communities full of people young and old alike who love the language and speak it daily. They are not just a distant hermit kingdom of old, traditional Irish speakers. “Well that’s only a handful of people”, you could be saying and, “they’re all fluent, I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with them” – bringing me nicely on to my next point.

Unbeknownst to ourselves some of us could in fact have a bit of Gaelige in us. Even if you don’t do particularly well in the subject in school, that doesn’t mean you can’t string a sentence or two together. In school we have to study prós, filíocht agus aistí: stories, poetry and essays. 40% of the exam may be your oral but an incredible amount is basically the subject English through Irish. If you aren’t gifted with natural proficiency in English in the first place, chances are you will find Irish a bit more difficult because of it. Thousands of students go to the Gaeltacht (Irish college) every year to improve their Irish and every year they are surprised at their own progress and level of understanding of the language! Even those who don’t go to Irish college often pick up the ability to communicate with other Irish speakers.  You may tell yourself and others repeatedly that you don’t have a lick of Irish, but you’d be surprised what you can remember when you put your mind to it.

Finally I’ll move on to my last point- one person has the power to make a huge difference in the world. They can do this in a multitude of ways but I’m going to use the example of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. This man was the driving force behind the rebirth of the modern Hebrew language. Can you imagine that? He resurrected a whole way of speaking, literally!  He was so passionate about his language that he made massive efforts towards the revival of Hebrew. Now thanks to him being the driving spirit behind this Hebrew renaissance there are over 9 million modern Hebrew speakers worldwide – to me that’s astounding. And it all started with one person. This, more than anything, should give us hope for the future.

Nicola Murphy on The Extinction of the Irish Language and the Flaws in the Education System

The Irish language is alive in the same way tigers survive in the captivity of zoos.

I believe the Irish language is falling into extinction. Almost 60% of the Irish population have absolutely no capability to speak Irish, and a quarter of those who can said in the last census that they rarely ever do. This means that 85% of our population never speak our native language outside of the education system. Gaelige is far from thriving in our country.

One of the main catalysts for this is our flawed education system. In the junior cycle very little emphasis is put on spoken Irish. While I was in junior cycle I always thought this was great and alleviated a lot of pressure but looking back now I can see how much of a positive impact it could have had on my schoolwork this year. I know in my own school at senior level we are bordering on having more students taking ordinary level than higher level Irish. This is not all because of people having difficulties with the subject; a large number of students have just decided Irish is not a necessity. When it comes to choosing a subject to drop to relieve some pressure Irish is the obvious choice. It’s not needed for the majority of college courses; unlike a European language it’s rarely ever going to be useful at a later stage. Also there’s so much learning to be done with all the literature and oral work, it consumes a large amount of time which could be spent on other subjects.

The fact that it is compulsory in schools doesn’t help it much either. Sure it makes it seem as though it’s keeping the language alive but the majority of students will never speak Irish again after their leaving certs. This is where the tigers come into it. The extinction of tigers is avoided by keeping and breeding them in captivity. Few will be left in the wild. Irish is ‘kept alive’ in schools and Gaeltachts but few Irish speakers exist outside of these areas and over 30% of those living in Gaeltachts can’t speak Irish.

The Irish language is fighting a losing battle. The amount of people speaking Irish is steadily dropping. Only 1.8% of our population speak Irish everyday outside of the education system, this demonstrates just how endangered the language is. As hard as it might be to accept and as much as we may wish to deny it, the Irish language is becoming a dead language. A relic of a lost culture.

 

 

Humans of Scouting Ireland

“Travelling from Donegal to Dublin to meet my Jamboree troop for the first time was absolutely unbearable, I was a wreck! I was so scared to join a troop that already knew each other and felt as though I’d always be perceived as the “newbie”. How wrong I was – they accepted me with open arms and I am now having the time of my life here in Japan. (They do however still laugh whenever I say “flower” or “down”)”
-Catherine Leeson
9th Donegal Muff

Get on board with the project – take a picture of one of your scout friends, get a quote from them (it doesn’t necessarily have to be about scouts) and send it into us at scoutingblogblog@gmail.com

Humans of Scouting Ireland

“When I was younger I really struggled with telling people that I was a scout. I thought people would think I was weird or nerdy. However, upon realising myself that scouting is a platform to meet the most amazing  variety of people and do the coolest variety of activities, I was really able to embrace my identity as a scout. I think scouts is cool and I’m not afraid to let other people know that anymore.”
– Brian Loakman
3rd Port Dalkey

 

Maureen Kenny pioneers our first running feature, “Humans of Scouting Ireland”. Get on board with the project – take a picture of one of your scout friends, get a quote from them (it doesn’t necessarily have to be about scouts) and send it into us at scoutingblogblog@gmail.com