Keinton Sea Scout Group grew from 1st Charltons Sea Scout Group as a result of the move to Keinton Mandeville Village Hall. With local links to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, the group is the only Sea Scout Group in the East Somerset Scout District, and one of only 2 in Somerset (the other is based at Watchet).
After a period of decline the group was relaunched in April 2015, since when the number of young people has more than quadrupled. With the launch of a cub section due in January 2018, the group will almost double again; It has been a period of aggressive and sustained growth.
We started by sorting out a great programme with as much practical and adventurous activity as possible. When the seasons mean that indoor activities are required we have a carefully planned and structured programme aimed at giving memories that last a lifetime and opportunities you just wouldn’t have otherwise. As an example – we included ‘Food and Farming’ as a topic. Most groups would visit Tesco and let Tesco run their standard tour. We first visited a farm, then allowed the scouts to investigate food sustainability issues before a visit to Tesco, which we designed with their staff beforehand to be bespoke, to tell us how they provided farm produce, before offering the youngsters an alternative viewpoint by visiting both the village shop and the Tinkers Bubble self sustainable community. In our view the extra planning and organising is worth it as the young people receive a more balanced view of the world and are able to make their own, informed, decisions.
We focus, of course, on outdoor activities. We teach ‘old school’ map and compass navigation, with both a military Unit Expedition Leader and a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holder on the staff. Our scouts undertake a weekend expedition every year, with the challenge carefully calculated for each age group. The highlight is, of course the overnight camp!
We have worked hard to introduce water based activities into the programme, and in just 2 years have managed to organise sailing, kayaking and motorboating as regular features. In 2017 we completed the training and assessment of 5 adult staff as sailing permit holders, meaning we can run our own sailing sessions. for 2018 we plan to do the same for kayaking, offering the opportunity for kayak expeditions for the older scouts. We have also become affiliated with the Somerset Navigators Boat Club – the official owner’s club for the Bridgwater & Taunton canal.
If all that wasn’t enough, we have been very fortunate to benefit from the limitless generosity of the Sutton family, who have allowed us free unlimited use of a large secluded woodland area on the edge of the village. This has proved so successful that one of our staff has opted to complete formal Forest Leader training and we will be developing our current use of the woods into a Forest School for 2018. This will bring a whole new dimension to our scouting, as well as allowing the facility to be run as a small enterprise for outside groups, including a share of the proceeds helping to fund the Scout Group. We conduct a themed camp weekend each year in the woods; for 2018 this will be a ‘Pioneering Camp’.
We hope that has given you just a taste of what Keinton Sea Scouts is all about – please have a good look around our website to find out more.