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District Update September 2021
01/09/2021 By Symon Dunstan
Adult Helping Beaver with Craft

Sorry we’ve been a bit lacks with the info lately but here’s is the latest district info


It’s a bit of a DCs download this edition but there is lots in here for you all 😊



District Event Planning


As a district team we are meeting in Sept to put together our plans for the rest of the year and 2022.


Can you ask your YP what they would like us to be planning?


Ideas we are looking at already.


District Scouting skills day

District Target sprint weekend

Carol service 21 and 22

Damboree 22

Cub Camp 22

Leaders (with your own kids) Camp May 22

Kayaking taster sessions


But is there something different?? Let us know 😀😀😀


If you could feedback on here or by email by around the 12th sept that would be great...


Area AGM

You should all have by now received an invite to the area AGM and networking day on 25th Sept at The District Club Pontypridd, please can I encourage you all to attend, its your chance to meet other like-minded leaders, learn listen ad exchange ideas, also a chance to meet and discuss anything you like with the Area team, lastly you can get any modules validated. Please just register your interest via the link on the invite.


District Awards Night

12th November, Newbridge Memo. Please keep an eye out for more information on this event. It’s a chance for your YP to have all their work towards their top awards recognised, and a chance for us to recognise some hard-working adult volunteers also. Please keep the date free and come along to help us celebrate.



I like you have to do training, I have just completed my Safety and Safeguarding for another 3 years, But, do you know where you can access your training records? do you know who your training team is?

Compass is where you can find your Personal info, training records and requirements. You may have to register first off but then you have access to see what your training advisors have or have not signed off for you. If you are looking for links for training this link is a good starting point for you.

Your TA’s are as follows

5th Risca- No clear TA at present but Wendy Gray or Myself can validate or sign off modules for you.

1st Abercarn -Linda Terrell

1st Pontywaun- Linda Terrell

3rd Newbridge Linda Terrell (Shes a busy Lady)

1st Sirhowy- Elizabeth O Malley

1st Cefn Fforest- Debbie Williams

1st Gilfach – Symon Dunstan

1st Ystrad – Mathew Whitcombe

1st Sengenhydd – Maria Pitten

1st Caerphilly -Jeanette Baker

2nd Caerphilly – Maria Pitten

7th Caerphilly- Elizabeth O’Malley

Elizabeth O’Malley and Wendy Grey are both Local Training Managers (LTMs) who look after the TAs. If you would like to train as a TA to help burden the load, please contact me or an LTM who can advise the best course of action.


Nights away Assessors

As we now start looking to get out and about camping and holding nights away, don’t forget you need a Nights away permit held by at least one member of your trip, if you haven’t got a permit holder, we have assessors who can help you with this.

Alan Britt, Dave Humphries and Mathew Whitcombe are all Nights away Assessors (NAA), if you need any info on how to get your permits these are the guys to initially talk to.

We are looking to bolster our team of NAAs if you feel you’d like to train up to be one, please contact me in the first instance.


Activity Notifications

Don’t forget if you are looking to run a night away, I need your nights away notifications and a RA kept locally for me to see.

If you run an adventurous activity, I need an adventurous activity notification and you need to keep RA’s locally and available for me if I ask to see them

If you leave the hall, I need a message to say your leaving the hall via your GSL, again RA’s must be kept locally for checking if needed,

Any and all activities need RA’s kept locally please don’t get caught out by not having these stored somewhere.

All Activity notifications can be found on our website:


The Park

As always, we are working hard to improve the park. Over the last few months, we have installed new drainage at the top corner to improve the camping fields, built a purpose designed target range for Target sprint and various other target sports. Reclaimed the copse area for more traditional scouting. In the next few months, we continue the regeneration with three new roofs on the Barn, Lodge and loos, this will stop all the leaks we have encountered over the years and then allow us to start redeveloping the inside spaces. We are installing a specialist Hamock village, so you can borrow the hammocks we have for you guys to use and camp safely off the ground 😊, along with new signage and new main gates( the last ones were 45 years old and slightly rusted) it all looks fresh and new at the entrance, lastly we have just taken delivery of a brand new Grass cutting equipment, which will allow us to cut in the wet and later into the year, so the camping facilities will match the fantastic new buildings..


We need your help with this, please think about giving a few hours up if and when we run maintenance days, it really is a big help to get a few faces helping rather than the usual maintenance team who work so had to maintain our park.

CRAI Youth Council.

This has been emailed out but just a reminder....

Would your Young people like to represent their group within the District to ensure we are youth shaped in all our decisions. If so and they are a Cub, Scout or District Explorer then get them to be part of something bigger and join the CRAI Youth Council. The closing date is the 14th September 2021. Please complete this form to register interest of young person.


And last exciting piece of news.....


Squirrels arrive in Mid Glamorgan

As I am sure many of you are aware there is currently a pilot programme for Squirrels (aged between 4 –6) in Scouting. We have the first pilot Drey approved and ready to open in Mid Glamorgan within CRAI!! 1st Sirhowy Valley have been approved for this pilot will open their doors to a Squirrel Drey in the next few weeks. Updates will be added to website once the Drey is up and running. Good luck to all those involved with this new adventure, we can’t wait to welcome the next generation into this thriving group.


Any Questions, Volunteers to my plea for help or comments you know where I am


Symon, 07425153884


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News & Blogs

Platinum award
28/06/2021 By Rich Terrell

Congratulations to Ewan who has achieved his Platinum Award after completing his Expedition on the weekend.

Ewan worked though lockdown to do all the other sections and completed his Expedition this weekend.



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District Update March 2021
11/03/2021 By Jeannette Baker
Adult Support Scout Crafts

Can you really believe it’s been a year since we last met face to face!

I am so looking forward to seeing you at the end of lockdown and all of the restrictions.  I wonder what will be the first activity we will do face to face?

ADC Cubs

In this update I wanted to make you aware of Cubs 105.  This year is the Cubs 105th birthday and marks 5 years from the time when we went to Pembrey.

For Cubs 105, we are challenging our Cubs to 105 activities within 105 day and a chance to design a badge to mark the occasion.  All Cub leaders should have had an email with the details.

ADC Beavers

So as another term of virtual scouting is nearly finishing, thanks to you all for keeping the young people engaged. We have another District activity planned for 13th April, meeting Cardiff bats, please share this event with all sections. I am looking to put another event in place for May, if you have any suggestion for what the young people would like let me know and I will see if I can arrange it.

Dont forget our Alpacas sessions this weekend from Wye Valley Alpacas - They are very interesting.  Only a few slots left: Register here =

We have made the difficult decision to make Damboree this year a virtual event, I am working on the format and activities and will send details out ASAP of how to book. It will be a fun packed event and we have already got a live campfire booked for the event so please advertise to your Beavers and reserve the weekend of 19th/20th June for this!!

Thank you to those who have sent me invites for zoom sessions, I will try to drop in to as many as I can, as always if you need anything for Beavers please don’t hesitate to contact me. Stay safe!


As we hit the 1 year mark of not being face to face I would like to share with you the fantastic number of badges achieved by Explorers throughout the district.

2 Chief Scouts Platinum awards

1 Chief Scouts Dimond award

1 DofE Silver

1 DofE Bronze part completion

1 DofE Silver part completion

1 young leader belt

1 Chefs badge

2 Fundraising badges

1 preforming arts badge

2 Air Activities stage 1

4 Emergency Aid Stage 5

3 Emergency Aid Stage 3

2 Musician Stage 1

2 Nights away stage 10

1 Nights away Stage 15

2 Nights away stage 20

2 Digital citizen stage 1

1 Global issues badge.

Invested 3 new members.

 Well done all, even though we are Scouting at home this has been a great achievement.

ADC Inclusion

The Inclusion and Diversity pages on the TSA’s website (  has been updated but we are now looking for some positive stories to add to the pages from individuals with any of the characteristics and/or additional needs featured.  For example, this could be someone who is a wheelchair user, LGBT+, has a condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, mental health issues, is from a faith group, a BAME background, has autism or a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia.

Do you know a young person who would be willing to tell me what they like about Scouting, how it’s made a difference to them or even just a quote about their experience?  Their story could be featured on the website and help to shine a spotlight on their inclusive experiences within your group and CRAI.  If you know of someone, or would like further information about this project, then please get in touch (Becky Bennett-Wilding,


ADC Activities

We're all hoping that the end of lockdown and the return to Face 2 Face Scouting is now in-sight.  We have a lot of Activities at CRAI Scout Activity Centre and I will be starting the planning of training for Instructors in the next few Weeks. Please contact me if you would be interested in getting skilled up around the activities we have or, indeed, any other activities that you would like to look at getting up and running.  Our current Activities are:

  • Air Rifle Shooting (looking to arrange YPST Courses for Leaders to support Shooting)
  • Archery (We will be looking to arrange some Permit Courses and Assessments over the summer)
  • Backwoods Cooking
  • Canoeing (Open or Canadian Canoes)
  • Climbing/Abseiling
  • Fire Lighting
  • Plant Identification
  • Hammock Camping
  • High Ropes (Crate Stacking, Prussiking and Cave Ladder Climbing)
  • Hill Walking/Navigation
  • Kayaking (Closed Cockpit Kayaks)
  • Safe Blade Works (Knife, Axe and Saw)
  • Shelter Building (Using tarps)
  • Sports Crossbows (we will have two courses arranged early summer, dates to be confirmed - contact me if you would like to be added to the waiting list)
  • Target Sprint
  • Tomahawk Throwing

 Please contact me if you are interested in any of these activities (even if you just want to get something arranged to run for your Young People).


Parc Manager Update

We may be closed but over the last few months there has still been work going on at CRAI Scout Activity Park. General tidying up and our ADC Activities has been working hard creating a new skills area. Dave and some small helpers have cleared a big area of dead trees and brambles. Hopefully this will be ready to use when we open back up.  Dave has also been busy applying for grants for us to improve the site, we have had grants for new equipment, outside and inside lighting for the Activity Centre, making safe the tree line to name a few, and we are hoping to get some for structural repairs to the buildings.

I am looking forward to seeing you all using the site again, hopefully it won't be long.


District Commissioner

We have now appointed a new Chairperson of the Appointment/Awards panel.  Cerys Sage from Ystrad Mynach, has agreed to take on this role.  She is looking forward to getting started and more details of the new Awards panel and how to nominate will be in next month’s update so watch this space!

Well done and congratulations to:

Siobhan Haywood, Sirhowy on gaining her Woodbadge.

And 5 years’ service awards for;

Jeannette Baker, 1st Caerphilly

Simon Roberts, 1st Caerphilly

Terence Pearce, 3rd Newbridge.

Steven Gunter, Ystrad Mynach


Risk Assessments

If you haven’t submitted your Covid risk assessments, this is the time to do it as the assessors are waiting and ready to review them.  If you have already submitted a risk assessment and there has been no change you do not need to submit another one.

In addition to this, we will be expected to have a folder/file of risk assessments for every activity we undertake.  Please can you start putting this folder together, there is a folder in Microsoft Teams, Crai Leaders Lounge for you to share risk assessments across the district .



For some people Lockdown has given us the opportunity to catch up on training.  However there are a number of people who have not kept their training up to date for numerous reasons.  Please can we ask that you check what training you need and complete as necessary.  Feel free to contact your Training Advisor for assistance or your Local Training Manager for further support:

Module 10a - 10:00 – 17:00 20th March 2021

Email  Register here =

Managers & Supporters – Meeting Challenges -  09:30 – 15:30 21st March 2021

Email  Register here =


On Line Activities

How many of you have attended the Scouts Cymru Events?  I have been really engaged with the online sessions that we have set up as a district and the Scout Cymru Events.  Here are some coming up:

ScOUT of this world – Beavers & Cubs -  18:15 – 19:15 17th March 2021


We’re over the moon to announce that we’ll be hosting a space themed session for all budding astronauts across Wales!

Join us as we embark on an intergalactic mission, explore the stars and work towards our Space and Astronomer badges

Register here =

ScoutsCymru – Meteorology – Scouts & Explorers -  19:00 – 20:00 19th March 2021


This session will be a presentation by a gentleman that works at the Met Office. You will be looking at general weather and how the mountains affect weather and accessing mountain weather forecasts. The session will include information on, air pressure, wind, rainfall, showers, jet stream, visibility etc.  Badges that this session will go towards is – Meteorologist Activity Badge  Explorers Science and Technology Activity Badge. 

Register here =

Alternatively look at this link to see all of the events =


And Finally,

Following this years’ Thank you week, we (district) sent out a number of thank you cards to our volunteers who continue to support scouting.

DiolchThanks – GraciasObrigado Danke

The district team are still here to help, guide and advise.  

Jeannette Baker

Assistant District Commissioner Cubs



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Target Sprint is Coming to CRAI
26/01/2021 By Dave Cook
We are deighted to confirm that we have secured a £15K Investment in Target Shooting through Sports Wales (90% Grant Funded with a 10% Contribution from CRAI Scout District Council).
The Investment is centred around upgrading the Rifle Ranges we have at CRAI Scout Activity Centre to offer 10M indoor shooting, a wider variety of targets (Knockdown, bell targets etc.), investment in AirArms MPR400 Sporter PCP Rifles along with all of the additional equipment needed to support these, Targets, Pellets and Instructor Courses for Club Coaches and Three position Shooting (Kneeling Prone and standing) as well as the equipment needed to support these shooting styles.
We will also be purchasing an Outdoor “Pop-up” range to support an Activity called Target Sprint as well as running the necessary training to allow YPST Diploma Holders to run Target Sprint sessions.
We will be registering as a Target Sprint Hub (only the fourth in Wales) and will be looking to run Monthly Shooting sessions, supported by senior coaches from across South Wales, that will be accessible by the whole community (not just Scouts).  this will help us raise funds and establish CRAI as an importnt Community Location. We will be hoping to create shooting teams to take part in National Scout and Open competitions in Target Sprint and Target Shooting.
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in getting involved in Target Sprint, the Monthly Shooting sessions or the additional courses please contact me. Obviously all of the equipment and ranges will be availible for use by existing YPST Diploma Holders (restrictions will be in place on equipment that requires specialist training as you would expect).
And OBVIOUSLY all of these activities are currently restricted by the current Pandemic and our Face to Face Scouting status of "Red".
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Volunteer Update 8th January 2021
08/01/2021 By Elizabeth O'Malley

Happy New Year all, it is again ADC Beavers turn to write this volunteer update. Time to reflect on the last year and focus on the new. We survived 2020 and have challenges to overcome at the start of 2021 which we will. So, before we give you all the information of what’s going on in 2021 let’s take this opportunity to reflect on 2020.

2020 started off amazingly with our own DC, ADC Activities and Sirhowy Scouts attending Winter Camp in Gilwell, which was a remarkable experience for all involved, highlight of the weekend was seeing the Scouts excitement when coming off white water rafting “We capsized and nearly died! Can we go again!” There were Beaver sleepovers during Storm Dennis and literally the weekend before the whole of the UK went into lockdown Scouts and Explorers from across the District along with Gareth & Dave attended the Alternative Monopoly Run.

Then lockdown hit and Scouting as we all knew it was stopped. But as always so many of you dug deep, took stock of what this meant, started sending work packs out for the young people at home and many made the decision to go virtual for the young people.

So many groups & leaders of all ages have taken to running virtual sessions. Within our District we have had visits from RC Robert Redmond, Chief Commissioner of Wales Rhian Moore (who invested Cubs & a leader virtually) and UK Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd (who also invested a leader virtually). There have been so many different types of virtual sessions run, Magic Shows, Reptile Experiences, Air Museum Trips, Forensic, Water Safety, Visits from Assembly Members, Sign Language, Learning French & Spanish, Joti, District Beaver Sessions and many more. And to top all of this Abercarn have hosted groups from around the world on zoom calls making CRAI truly international!

As a District, thanks to the work of Dave Cook, we have received massive amount of funding (over £16K) from

  • Community foundation In Wales for COVID Supplies
  • Oakdale Community Fund for tree works
  • Gildermeister Community Fund for tree works
  • Church of Wales Fund for hammocks, tarps, fire ranges & storage cupboards
  • Sports Wales for sport crossbows

We had the exciting news that at end of August, if the time was right for leaders and young people, we could return to Face to Face Scouting. Many groups submitted Risk Assessments for both Amber and Yellow sessions and returned to actual meetings whilst still offering virtual sessions for those unable to return.

So now we are at the start of 2021 and unfortunately again in RED, so we have returned to virtual Scouting, for those nervous on running a virtual session why not contact the appropriate Section ADC and hold joint sessions with their groups? Please remember too that ScoutsCymru are also hosting events for all sections and we will send this information out for you to forward to all young people. Whilst none of us know when this will end, the District Team have already started to plan for the year ahead. Fingers crossed that these events will take place.

Beaver Damboree is pencilled in for 19th/20th June at Scout Park and District Scout Camp is also pencilled in for end of July 2021, please keep an eye out for information soon.

ADC Inclusion

This time last year I went to Gilwell Park to be invested into the National Inclusion Team.  Since then I have been working within the Resources Sub-Team where we have been updating the factsheets and website which can be viewed here

This is still an ongoing process and we have more resources that are planned.  New training units have also been developed on Gender Identity, Autism as well as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia and this will soon be available.

If you have any suggestions for inclusion resources and training that you would like to see then please let me know:  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need support with any area of inclusion and diversity or if you would like me to come and talk to your sections.

And our very own DESC and ADC Scouts have come up with an event that we can run even in RED! They have been busy putting the following together for us all

CRAI District Virtual Hike (V Hike)

With the District back in tier 4 lockdown we have put together a Virtual hike challenge where between now and the end of February the whole district undertake a challenge where Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers along with their family members can hike as one from their own front door. There will be a Winter, Spring and if it continues a Summer hike as well.

In taking part you will be able to claim a “hikes away” by meeting their specific section’s criteria. To take part all sections must, not only complete this requirement but obtain 20 points from criteria given. Links are included to some badge work too.

Explorers are to upload their photos to the CRAI Scout Explorer Facebook page.

Scouts, Cubs and Beavers are to do a short story of their hike with photos and send them to your own leaders and your section ADC.

Full details of the V Hike will be sent out separately and can be found here.


Stay safe all, don’t forget to contact any of us with any queries.


District Team







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