Category Archives: Pfadfinder scouts

Our Solar Panels are on

Some say the Turner Scout Hall is a power house of energy and sunshine! That’s all the more true since our solar panels went on today.

The children at the GAP sang a traditional German children’s song about busy tradespeople (Wer will fleissige Handwerker sehen? (sing along if you wish)) while the installers Carn and Ambrose were hard at work on the roof installing the panels and Rhys was wiring up the inverter.

When the workers were finished, the children came outside to admire the panels and talk about what they were for and why we are “keen to be green”.

Thanks to Mark and the team from Captain Kilowatt who organised it all for us, and Eshan at ActSmart who helped us with our feasibility study and picking the right components.

We are very grateful to the ACT government: Our contribution of $5,000 was matched by the ActSmart program, and we are now the proud users of a 6.48kW solar system with Jinko panels and a Fronius inverter.    

Based on current electricity consumption, and using our new SmartMeter, our investment will pay for itself within 3.5 years. 


Outrageous Picnic in Haig Park

The Monday scouts and venturers enjoyed an outrageous picnic in Haig Park. This wasn’t just any picnic!

White table cloths, a candelabra, colourful table lights, classical music and black-tie waiter service were the order of the evening. All set up under twinkling coloured lights in the park at night.

Table settings before the scouts arrived

The scouts had each brought something yummy to contribute to the picnic – home-made bread, delicious winter soup, dips, crudite, drinks and German desserts using Oma’s secret recipe.

The main course was “freshly delivered Turkish pide”, courtesy of a Cathy (in a pink flamingo costume, of course, because you know, it’s scouts and an outrageous picnic) and her team from the Haig Park experiments project.

Our fancy menu, auf Deutsch

As it was a scouting event, there had to be plenty of silliness. Our black-tie venturer scout waiters were harnessed and tethered to nearby trees with bungee cords, making it highly entertaining to see them try to deliver food and drinks to the tables.

Scouts enjoyed a three course meal. At each of the three courses, an envelope was delivered and its enclosed instructions were read out: During the Vorspeise, scouts could not feed themselves, but had to feed those next to them. During the Hauptgang, scouts caught speaking anything other than German had their food swiped by a waiter and had to beg (auf Deutsch, natuerlich) for it to be returned. During Nachtisch, scouts had to be blindfolded with beanies or scarves, and eat without seeing anything.

Then the bill arrived at the table. Oh dear! Rather expensive! Nearly 1000 Euros, including the Mehrwertsteuer and Gastronomie fees. The scouts were given three options for payment: cash, sing, or wash the dishes. Predictably, they chose the singing option and were given the lyrics and forced to sing four German children’s songs as a choir. It was really good fun!

We are grateful for the wonderful support of the Haig Park Experiments team.

Keen to be Green report: This event produced about 200 grams of waste to landfill. A great result, Pfadfinder scouts!

Landscaping in Haig Park

In response to community consultation, the ACT government is trialling some changes to Haig Park. One suggestion was to formalise the walking tracks into paths.

The Pfadfinder joey and cub scouts volunteered to help spread bark chips along one of the paths. Our Pfadfinder kids sure know how to turn work into FUN!

One of our venturers gets things started for the joeys and cubs

Five cubic meters of bark chips were delivered to Haig Park, and in the dark of night, we beavered away spreading bark and beautifying the trees lining the path.

Filling up the cub and joey scouts’ buckets from the dingo shovel!

We wanted to work quickly so that in the morning local residents would wake to a picturesque path.

The scouts had prepared beautiful natural objects and colourful birds to hang in the trees. There are even two hand-crafted eucalyptus bark baskets for people to admire, which had been created by a parent for our lantern walk.

Hanging the colourful birds (courtesy of Byrd) and natural objects.
A beautiful eucalyptus bark basket

Many hands (and buckets) make light work, and we had time for a few races up and down the path in the wagons, bike trailers, billy carts and wheelbarrows that we had used.

Preparing for the races!
The bike trailer and billy cart were so fast, we couldn’t capture them on film!
Preparing for a joy ride! (photo courtesy of Anna)
Singing one of our traditional scout songs amongst the trees in Haig Park

The sun rose the next morning on our picturesque path, all finished. We hope local residents enjoy the scouts’ contribution to Haig Park.

Lantern Walk 2019

What a wonderful winter walk we all enjoyed. This year’s traditional German lantern walk was a magical evening.

Many volunteers helped to put the event on: providing food, drinks, shopping, cooking and serving on the BBQ, cleaning, providing the audio/visual magic, and much more.

Families started arriving from all sides of Haig Park, with big grins and lanterns in hand
Our busy event organiser surrounded by the hungry hoards collecting their soup, Thuringer sausages, sauerkraut, rolls, Gluehwein, Kinderpunsch and yummy baked goods.
Soon the crowds were enjoying themselves, eating, drinking and chatting with new and old friends.
We assembled to sing the songs, surrounded by several magical jellyfish lanterns held by volunteers ready at all times to reunite any lost parents with their children.

The walk took us along a path lit by lanterns, to a wide circle area in the forest. There we enjoyed more singing together while the children paraded inside the circle with their lanterns, and we heard a special choral performance by the joeys and cubs.

Returning to the hall, we were entertained by a play about Saint Martin who is associated with the lantern walks in Europe.

After the procession, some stayed on to enjoy the bonfires.

We are grateful to the ACT government for their ongoing support of this event, through the ACT Multicultural Grants program.

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.

At Spielwelt, we promote healthy messages throughout each session, incorporate our favourite topics like friendship, kindness, resiliance, affirmation, inclusivity, adaptability, respect, 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.

Our mental health coordinator can be reached on mental.health@spielwelt.org.au

You can read about our mental health and well-being program here.

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.

Supporting Children in Difficult Times

Another sustainability award from ACTSmart

We were suprised and delighted to be acknowledged once again at the ACTSmart Sustainability Award ceremony this year.

Last year, we won the Energy and Water Star award, and this year we received “highly commended” for the Small Business award, presented by ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability,  Shane Rattenbury.

Spielwelt has  made over 50 green changes to its operations, including installing LED lighting, triple-glazed windows, energy efficient reverse cycle heating with shut-off timers, solar space heating and instant hot water; we have draught sealed the doors and curtained off areas we don’t need to heat. This has reduced electricity consumption and continues to save us $1100 per year and 4 tonnes of CO2.  Our families’ use of single use soft-plastics has greatly reduced as our GAP and Pfadfinder children have their own bees wax food wraps.  Our Pfadfinder scouts have taken their green lessons to heart and now regularly include green practices in their activities.

You can read about our many other changes in our Keen to Be Green posts, and read about the awards on the ACTSmart awards page.

Further education for our children on environmentally responsible practices is planned for this year, and thanks to ACT Smart funding assistance and their expert guidance navigating the world of solar quotes….

SOLAR PV PANELS are coming to Turner Scout Hall!  Watch our roof!

 

 

ACTSmart Sustainability Award Winner

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

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!

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.