Youth led, adult supported

Pfadfinder has been offering more and more opportunities for our youth members to lead our scouting activities.  As the youths progress from joeys to cubs to scouts to venturers to rovers, they are given more input opportunities and chances to practice their leadership skills.

This doesn’t happen without adult support, however, and on the scouts’ recent bike tour, I was the nominated adult.

It will be fun, they said!

Punctures, getting lost, it getting dark, getting lost again, searching for drinking water, repairing bikes on the run… all the while hearing this phrase over and over in my head:

It will be fun, they said!

Trying to keep the patrol together, following the patrol as they were biking up staircases, biking across bridges, biking under bridges, retracing our route to get back on track…

It will be fun, they said!

Biking through clouds of flies, ringing for backup, inquiring about the need for first aid, watching the patrol figure out where we were on the map and their phones, and hearing them calculate how dark it would be by the time we got back to the scout hall…

It will be fun, they said!

Caring for the stragglers, encouraging the scout patrol leaders, enjoying a beautiful sunset over the lake, sharing a fun learning experience with enthusiastic scouts…  What a privilege.   They were right:  It was fun!

Join our adult scout leader team and help support and enable young people to be their best.  It will be fun!

Leaders at Pfadfinder

Mental Health initiative

Spielwelt has recently established a relationship with BeYou, a national mental health initiative with an enormous number of resources for families and teachers, to promote and protect children’s mental health and well-being.

Well-being and learning can’t be separated, because well-being underpins the way children feel about themselves and how they relate to others.  It affects how children think, learn and engage.

At our German Playschool and Pfadfinder scout group, we promote healthy messages throughout each session, touching on our favourite topics:  resiliance, affirmation, inclusivity, adaptability, respect, friendship, kindness,  compassion, being mindful, healthy eating, self-belief and more.  These help build children up, and gives them tools to cope with  the epidemic of anxiety and depression which has been emerging in Western societies in recent years.

We are delighted to have the support of our very own mental health coordinator, who can be reached on mental.health@spielwelt.org.au

We also have a support library and help pages for families who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, family violence, separation, dying/death of a loved one, addiction, or other stressful situations.  Read on by clicking the square below, and talk to the teachers or director.  We can help you to help your child.

Supporting Children in Difficult Times

 

German Author Visit

The children in our Thursday/Friday GAP class thoroughly enjoyed a visit from Almut Weiler Andersen, her daughter Hannah and teddy-bear Rosa.

Almut is a native German-speaking preschool teacher working in Sydney, and she was the national winner of the Early Educator of the Year award in 2018.

Almut kindly agreed to visit us at GAP, meet us all, and share a children’s book she has recently published, called “Auf der Suche nach Rosa“.

In the story, Hannah (whom we all met in real life) follows a trail of clues left by her teddy bear Rosa (whom we also met).  Rosa has a lesson for Hannah, we hear.

The children listened attentively as Almut read the story and discussed how Hannah had to become brave in order to visit a few local places, like the local bakery and playground, and a seek help from a friendly neighbour in order to find her teddy bear, Rosa.

After overcoming some of her fears in order to follow Rosa’s trail, Hannah finds her teddy.   Rosa has a lesson for Hannah:  Be brave. Tell yourself, you can do it.  We all practised saying, “Ich schaffe das” (I can do it), and it felt positively good to say it.

The little illustrations in the book are Hannah’s own work, and the photographs are great, as we could see a glimpse of a normal child’s life and their normal local surroundings in Germany.

Danke, Almut, Hannah und Rosa for visiting us.

A copy of the book will be available shortly in the Spielwelt library, for families to read at home.

Handmade Teddies

One of our beautiful mums hand-crafted these adorable teddies for us.  They are the perfect size for each child to take one to snuggle at rest time.

As we are keen to be green, we noted with great delight that the teddies were lovingly created from re-purposed colourful woollen gloves.

The children and teddies joyfully showing a big “Danke” (thanks)

Leaders Honoured

Some of our Pfadfinder leaders and adult helpers were recently formally acknowledged for their leadership, enthusiasm and dedication.   Our Joey leader (Kerria), Cub leadership team (Baghira and Gerald), and Scout leader (Nala) were each the very deserving recipients of Children’s Week Awards for their unwavering contribution to Child Development and Support.

An excerpt from one of the awards:

Kerria is a dedicated and highly conscientious Joey scout leader. She willingly volunteers her time, week after week, planning, preparing, and delivering an educational and fun program for chlidren aged 6-8 years. She considers the needs of the individuals and the group in her programs, and presents her activities in an engaging way. Kerria incorporates elements of science and environmental care [two of her passions], and helps widen the horizons of the children. All this is done in German to encourage the children to embrace the use of their second language in the exciting and supportive environment that Kerria creates for her Joey scouts. 

As one of the awardees was quick to point out, it is very rewarding being a leader in scouting, not just with award certificates, but with smiles, friendship, admiration, a feeling of connection, a sense of achievement, doing something really positive and worthwhile for the community and children, and even personal growth and one’s own mental wellbeing.

Congratulations to our wonderful award winning leaders! They rock our Pfadfinder world!

On The Cutting Edge

We love to be on the cutting edge at the GAP.  So when one of our new families, recently arrived from Germany, shared with us that children in some German kindergartens are learning to use sharp knives to cut their fruit, we decided it was time to start our own knife skills lessons.

What better way to learn to cut safely than to make a big fruit salad together to go with the very German Reisbrei we cooked?

Thanks to our recent mango fundraiser, and the delicious smell of mangoes in the hall, some of the children have been heard singing the Mango Mango Mango song.  (Here are some German school children singing the Mango song, so you can sing along at home.)

Arboretum Excursion Nov 2018

The Monday/Tuesday GAP class enjoyed a wonderful excursion to the Arboretum recently.  We just love to learn about nature and spend time appreciating it.

We started our day by exploring the amazing Acorn Playground, and what an incredible playground it is.  There are sounds, sights and a wide variety of sensory experiences to be had on the play equipment, both on the ground and high up in the air.

After morning tea on the deck, overlooking sweeping views of Canberra below, we were joined by our positively amazing guide Heather, who we all love to bits.

Heather showed us lots of things and told us lots of stories about the plants, birds and animals at the arboretum.  At one point, we stopped under a tree where we could see a bird’s nest and hear little birds twittering and see them flitting about.  We learned that these clever little “butter bum birds” (yellow-rumped thornbills; not to be confused with the North American “butter butt bird”, which is a yellow-rumped warbler) hide their nests underneath decoy nests in order to protect their young from cuckoos and  predators.

After Heather shared her favourite garden fairy story book with us, we were allowed to examine the national bonsai collection and choose where we might live if we were tiny forest dwellers.

The excursion was wonderful and we learned a lot.  Our return journey to the GAP included a ride on an ACTION bus and then a walk, and was an adventure in itself.  We all enjoyed our lunch back at the GAP, sharing stories of our adventures.

Venturers “game on” with Joeys

Five of our Scouts and Venturers attended a Youth Leadership course on the weekend, put on by the ACT Scouts branch, where they learned about what it takes to assist or lead a Joey or Cub scout program.

Two of our Venturers immediately put their new knowledge to good use, and ran a fun and rewarding games session for the Joeys on Tuesday evening.

First up, was “Find the Venturer” where the Joeys had to fan out into the park to find their two venturers.  There was even one hiding up a tree!

This was followed by many styles of racing and running games, a vigourous game of indoor soccer, and an increasingly challenging game of catch and throw where Joeys could practice their skills.

After so much running around, it was time for a drink of water and a fruit break.  No, the Joeys are not worshipping the Venturers in the photo below, but rather, they are participating in our Pfadfinder Puppy Dog Water Bowl Challenge.   It’s a favourite for some of the kids, and something it seems they don’t get to do at home!

Pfadfinder Puppy Dog Water Bowl Challenge

At the end of the evening, the Joeys enjoyed crowding around their new Venturer heroes and laughing at some funny pictures taken during the evening.

Thanks, Venturers! We had a great night, and are looking forward to more scout- or venturer-led programs in the near future.

 

Patrol Cooking Challenge (the woke edition)

In internet-savvy teen parlance,  “woke” means environmentally / socially / politically / ethically aware and responsible.

The Pfadfinder Monday scouts (12-14 year olds) enjoyed another patrol cooking night.  This “woke” edition of the cooking challenge was developed by one of our scouts, and was a whole lot of fun. (Other scout groups wanting to run this activity should contact us for the rules – they are available in English and German!)

We met at the local shops and each patrol was given a budget of $30, with which they had to feed their entire patrol and the two judges (two lucky (or brave) leaders) …. with a THREE course meal!

Extra points were awarded for effort in their presentation

Patrols’ dishes were judged on taste, how complex the dish was, how healthy the dish was, and how sustainable the ingredients were.

In the sustainability category judges were looking for ingredients with minimal packaging, recyclable packaging, best animal welfare, lowest food miles, least amount of water / resources to produce, and so on.

Patrol members eagerly await feedback and scoring from the judges

In addition, patrols were scored on how engaged everyone was, how their team worked together, and how well they cleaned up afterwards.

We all enjoyed the evening – the dishes were delicious (and no leaders became ill in the judging process! On the contrary, leaders reported being well fed up! (Oh, wait!))

The scouts discovered the hard way (once again) how much time it takes to clean up – but that’s the fun of the learning.

Spielwelt