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Volunteer Update: 22nd May 2020
22/05/2020 By Symon Dunstan

Hi all

We hope that this email finds you well. It’s the turn of our District Commissioner, Symon Dunstan, to pull our Volunteer Update together this time. You will see that we have moved to a 3-weekly model during our response to the COVID pandemic, this is largely so that our Volunteer Updates tie in with the launch of our Challenges for the CRAI Great Indoor Challenge. Speaking of the challenge, what better way to start off our Volunteer Update than with 2 big announcements!!! 

CRAI's Great Indoors Challenge

We as a District Team have decided to provide a staged award for our young people to complete during the COVID pandemic. This will be a series of challenges, which started on our last update with the Necker Challenge (you can see the resulting video here!). A huge thanks to Skip from 5th Risca (Rhys Bennett) for pulling that video together!!

We've decided to go with a staged award, so any Beaver, Cub, Scout or Explorer who participates in 3, 5 or 7 of our challenges will get a Staged Award. We will be running a challenge later in the summer to design the badge, but have some other challenges to do first. All details are on our dedicated Great Indoors webpage. Our page also links back to previous challenges, and so if you didn’t get the chance to submit your Necker Challenge in time to be in the video, you can still submit it towards the award. We also plan to keep this page up-to-date with anonymised progress for members of each group towards the award.

CRAI's Got Talent! – Friday 26th June 2020.

We have decided to put on our first ever Scout Show as CRAI Scouts, and want Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers from every group and unit to take part. It really doesn't matter what the talent is, what matters is that we are all taking part, and as it’s part of our Great Indoors Challenge, it counts towards your award! 

The way this will work is simple, firstly we would ask you to get the details out to all of the parents in your group/unit (we have provided a suggested email template attached to this Volunteer Update for those receiving it via email). Make sure that they follow the instructions on the Great Indoors webpage so that we can make sure that the videos are consistent. All videos need to be recorded and submitted to us by Friday 12th June 2020 at 5pm. We will then work our magic pulling all of the videos into a Scout Show, and are hoping that a few important guests might even show up! The resulting show will be broadcast to the world via YouTube Live in a very special showing on Friday 26th June 2020. 

From the DC

In the last few weeks I have joined many Zoom meetings, it's fantastic to see so many groups keeping Scouting going in such strange times. I have said it many times to all, but once again a Thank You from me to you for all that you are doing, whether it be Emails, Teams meetings, What’s App or Zoom meetings, keeping the wellbeing of the YP and Leaders is at the heart of what we are doing is paramount by keeping this contact in.

Could you be the next District Chair?

Jonathan Thorne our District Chair has indicated that he will not be standing for re-election at our forthcoming AGM. I’d like to thank Jon for all the work he has done on the Exec and will continue to do as part of the Park team and other projects he’s going to stick around to do once he stands down.

If you feel you know anyone who would like to step up to the position of Chair, please feel free to contact me to discuss or pass my details on to them, so that person can speak with me direct. Please keep an eye out for a communication regarding a date for the AGM.

CRAI Beaver Zoom Meeting 

Our wonderful ADC Beavers has agreed to hold a CRAI Beaver Zoom for ALL BEAVERS in CRAI! Yes... you read right! Wednesday 3rd June from 4:30pm-5:00pm. And all of the details are available here, please do pass these on to your Beavers, who I'm sure will absolutely love the scavenger hunt and games that Elizabeth has planned!

From the ADC Scouts - Gareth Haywood

It’s great to see groups starting or continuing zoom meetings across the district and it’s been great to pop along and have a chat with some of you. As always, I would love to get an invite to any of your meetings.

Congratulations to 1st Abercarn for the success of their Cookie Competition. You can find the details of the winners here.

Don’t forget Scouts Cymru would also be more than happy to join in your meetings just follow this link and get in touch:


From the ADC Activities - Dave Cook

As lockdown continues and with no sign of face to face activities resuming anytime soon it’s worth thinking about any permits that you hold and what you can do to keep your skills from fading.  Everything from using shoe laces to practise your climbing knots and rigging, to practising your navigation for Hill Walking permits.  Obviously, there are some permits that aren’t quite so easy to keep up to date (My Powerboat and Kayaking permits look as if they won’t get much use this year – and look at the weather they would be perfect!).  If you are practising and have some suggestions that other people can make use of please share them on the Facebook page.  I must admit I’m lucky as I have some of the climbing kit here for inspection and for photos for the High Ropes Manual that we have been writing – I’ve been tying knots and rigging in my garden.


As a District Team we recognise that skills will fade, and we are looking at what we can do to run some refresher sessions when we can (this will be quite high on our Scouting Priority list to get as many activities back up and running safely).  Part of any activities is a Risk Assessment, and as part of any Risk Assessment you should consider your fitness to run sessions, if you have any doubts about running sessions when you come back please reach out to us and we can fix it.  If you have permits that expire due to a lack of use, we will do what is needed to get you re-assessed and the permit re-instated – but we do all need to recognise that skills will fade unfortunately.


Talking of permits – do I have an opportunity for you!  We have been awarded just under £1,500 to bring Sports Crossbows to CRAI Scout Activity Centre.  We’re waiting for the cash to hit the bank and I will then be ordering the equipment.  We will also be arranging a YPS Cross Bow Course (it’ll be a weekend course involving a lot of very satisfying thunks!) at CRAI when we return.  Please let me know if you would be interested in taking the course, getting your permit and giving Young People the ability to take part in Crossbows as an activity next year!  Obviously, dates will need to be confirmed – if we have enough demand, we will run two courses, much as we did for the YPS Air Rifles.



UPDATED - Using this down-time to get your Mandatory Learning completed

Here is a gentle reminder of the training modules you could be completing during this time.

Initial Modules (learning)

The links that you may need:

·       Module 1: Essential Information (all roles other than Executive Members)

·       Module 1E: Essential information for Executive Committee Members (including GSL/Commissioners who are trustees)

·       Module 3: Tools for the Job (Section Leaders)

·       Module 4: Tools for the Job (Managers and Commissioners)

·       GDPR Awareness

Initial Modules (validation)

For those of you looking for a way to validate modules 1, 3 and 6 during the lockdown where you aren’t able to meet with a Training Adviser face to face, we have developed the following Validation Quizzes as a new way of getting these 3 modules validated and signed off. So here are the links to those:

·      Module 1: Essential Information Validation Quiz

·      Module 3: Tools for the Job (Section Leaders) Validation Quiz

·      GDPR Awareness Certificate Uploading Tool

·      Module 6: Changes in Scouting Validation Quiz (although this isn’t one of the initial mandatory modules, it is an easy one to get completed as part of your journey towards the wood badge)


Mandatory Ongoing Learning

For those who have completed Module 1 more than 3 years ago, you will need to renew your training for the following 2 elements:

·       Safeguarding Awareness

·       Safety in Scouting

We have created a form where you can upload your certificate for these modules. You will need to log in using your CRAI Scouts Office 365 login details to access these forms:

·      Safeguarding Awareness Certificate Uploading Tool

·      Safety in Scouting Certificate Uploading Tool


Our website

Don't forget that our website ( is now the one-stop-shop for everything that you need to know about what is going on in the CRAI. We are trying to make sure that everything you need is on the website rather than you having to search through various social media platforms and emails to find what you need. If you think that something is missing or needs changing, please do let one of the District Team know. 


Many thanks



CRAI Scouts


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News & Blogs

7th Caerphilly Camp at Home
31/05/2020 By Ruth Morgan

7th Caerphilly

All our group were invited to join in our lockdown sleepover and it was fantastic to see that many encouraged members of their family to join too.  There were some great looking dens and tents, the food looked delicious, maybe a ‘feed the leader’ activity will have to be developed!  The weather was fantastic and the great conditions allowed the Scouts to do some star gazing.


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CRAI Beaver Scout Zoom Meeting
22/05/2020 By Elizabeth O'Malley

I am holding Zoom meeting for ALL Beaver aged young people within CRAI, purely for "FUN and FRIENDS (New & Old)" . Many of our Beavers are not able to social the way that the elder sections are with their phones and electronic devices and maybe at home without social interacton with other children their own age and I am pretty sure they will be missing their Beaver sessions so I am hosting a District Zoom Meeting just for fun, scavenger hunt & games evening. Please pass this information to all Beavers within the district! The more the merrier! 

Wed 3rd Jun (4:30pm - 5:00pm)
All young people between the age of 53/4 and 8 (Beavers age) within the district are invited to ZOOM meeting for "Fun and Friends (Old & New)"
Games night. Please spread to all of your Beaver colonies!


Please forward this link to all Beavers parents as they need to register individually to be given entrance to the meeting. If their name is not on the form I will not be allowing them in from the waiting room for safety reasons.

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1st Abercarn Cookie Competition
22/05/2020 By Alan Britt

Here are the much awaited results from 1st Abercarn Cookie Competition

Thank you all for entering our competition with interest being received from Bahrain, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Czech Republic and France 

 The Competition  judge , Amanda Verren , decided to split the entries into classes or groups. Her encouraging  comments are shown below. and we thank her for giving up her time to judge all the entries we received .

 Class winners were;-

Giant cookie class    Seren from 1st Abercarn Scout Troop    " Good use of colour and ingredients"

 7-10  Cubs class     Thomas from 1st Abercarn Cubs  "W/L"  " Camper van cookie Great shape of cookie and fantastic decoration."               

10-14 class  Fynn from  1st Market Bosworth Scouts Leicestershire   "  Great shape of cookie with excellent decoration "   

2nd Place       Amelia from 1st Abercarn Scout Troop "Very successful shaping of the dough which looks an appropriate colour for shortbread. Simple effective decoration" 

3rd Place        Rhodri from 1st Abercarn  "Lovely recipe using delicious ingredients. Aim to improve the shape next time you make them. I bet they tasted really good. "

14-18 class     Jonathan  from  1st Market Bosworth Scouts Leicestershire (Y/L) Butterfly Cookie "The cookie is a great shape and is neatly decorated. It would have been good to have a little more detail in the method so someone else could make them if they wished to"

 Pablo Picasso class - under 60’s Kirk Parsons  from  1st Market Bosworth Scouts Leicestershire  "A thought provoking piece of cubist artwork. You have extended the boundaries and flouted the traditional methods of cookie making, with subtle use of bland colour and texture. A true work of art"

 THE OVERALL  WINNER  OF   THE  1ST ABERCARN ( CCBC )  INTERNATIONAL  COMPETITION  IS :-                                                                    FYNN

                  Achievement  Certificates will be issued to all those  shown above....



Many thanks to all the participants who entered and hope you all had some fun entering this competition and that the Charities  you supported  will be appreciative of your donations.



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Volunteer Update: 1st May 2020
01/05/2020 By Dave Cook

Hi all

It's the turn of ADC Activites (Dave "Deadshot" Cook) to write the update this time.  The District Team hopes that you are remaining safe and well during these strange times.  Please reach out to the District Team if you think we can support any of your Scouting or non-Scouting activities at any point.


Launch of CRAI Scout's Great Indoor Challenge

Those of you who follow our Social Media channels will have seen that earlier this evening we have launched a CRAI Scout Great Indoor Challenge. This was as a result of a video call that was held between some of our volunteers last week who wanted to offer an extra challenge for our young people during this lockdown. We have agreed to have a fortnightly challenge, which will be launched alongside our fortnightly Volunteer update.  The first challenge is the Necker Challenge, so please do have a look at the page we have set up, and encourage your young people to participate. 


Thank You from Symon

As most of you are aware, our DC sadly lost his mother 2 weeks ago, and so has taken a brief break. Symon has asked us to pass on his thanks for their well wishes and thoughts over this difficult time. We are pleased to announce that he is back as of today, and so any activity notifications etc are to be directed to him as normal. In fact, it's Symon's turn to prepare the next Volunteer Update!


Celebration of Scouting

CRAI was very well represented at the Celebration of Scouting on Sunday, we hope that you were able to attend, if not, or if you just want to replay the event you can see a recording at by Clicking this Link.  Feel free to share this link with your Young People and their parents.


Scouting Online

We are still seeing some great activities happening within CRAI, we've seen recreations of famous works or Arts in Pontywaun, Virtual Trips to Sirhowy Adventure Park with Sirhowy Beavers, Guests presenting talks to 5th Risca, Visits from the Chief Commissioner f Wales at 1st YM as well as the more standard Scavanger Hunts and Kahoot Quizzes.  If anyone else fancies having a crack at an on-line meeting but you don't really know where to start feel free to contact a member of the District Team and we can share what other people are doing.

If you want any evidence that on-line Scouting is worthwhile look at this message we recieved from one of our Cubs after their first session last night.


Pantomime 2020

Following the successful trip to the Pantomime last year we are arranging another CRAI pantomime evening this year. It will be Thursday 17th December 2020 to see Cinderella, cost will be £10.50 this year, just ticket no treats sorry! Again, it will be open to all young people/leaders and family members. Blackwood Miners have confirmed that should the performance not take place then full refund will be given. Dates for actual ticket numbers and payments will be given ASAP.  Please complete the following link to register interest, thanks. You know you want to join us! (Oh yes you do!!) is link to event on website


Update from ADC’s

Don’t forget that your ADC’ s are still here and would also love to join in any online meetings you may be holding. They are still looking for your photos and messages to put out on twitter


ADC Beavers

1st Sirhowy Valley Beaver Colonies have been awarded the Welsh Beaver Award this week. As soon as the criteria was released the colonies decided to cover the award within the first term of 2020 with most areas being completed during a sleepover, Leaders and Young People had great fun, during Storm Dennis to complete many activities, making love spoons from salt dough, playing Welsh bingo singing songs in Welsh, finding out where places were in Wales. They also made doggy poop bag dispensers and placed them within the local walkways to help the community. Great achievement by all young people and leaders, Ymdrech ardderchog i gyd. Pob lwc i Gilfach, as they are also busy working on this award, hopefully they will be able to submit their evidence soon.


ADC Cubs

You may not be aware but our very own ADC Cubs is one of those "Key Workers" in the NHS that we clap each week,   She is flat out with the day job and unable to be as active as she would like to be within Scouting at the moment.  We all recognise the need to prioritise Family, Work then Scouting is order of the day, stay safe Jeannette and thanks for all that you and the other key workers are currently doing.

Jeanette has asked that if you have any photos of Cubs taking part in the regular “thank you” clap on ST Georges day you email them to her as she would love to see them.  If you have any enquiries for ADC Cubs at this time, please reach out to any of the other ADCs and we will do all we can to support you.


ADC Scouts

There are some great examples of on-line Scouting going on at the moment, and it's great to see.  Abercarn have even challenged Scouts across the Globe to take part in a Cookie cooking competition. 

We are also looking to run our first Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders meeting, could you please drop and email to if you would like more details.


From the Desk of the DESC

First I would like to congratulate Cerys on completing her Young Leader Belt. Cerys undertook her final mission by adapting her programme plan to be done under lockdown and wrote up her final mission. She then got sign off from her mentor leader and is now implementing the programme during lockdown. Congratulations Cerys.

There are a number of staged badges such as digital maker ( that you can complete during lockdown so why not have ago.


There have been some temporary changes to the DofE programme and the Scout Programme to allow for the lockdown and they can be found here:-


Temporary programme changes

To help you keep supporting participants, both now and when the lockdown ends, we’re introducing these temporary changes:

  • Participants can now volunteer for family members, for example by mentoring or coaching younger siblings.
  • Participants can now change section activities more than once. Time spent on previous activities will still count towards completion.
  • DofE staff members may be able to act as Volunteering, Physical and Skills section Assessors, if required.
  • When expeditions are able to resume, Silver and Gold Expedition Assessors will temporarily be allowed to be known to the expedition group.

More details can be found here

The Explorer Scout adaptations can be found here.

For those of you who need the International section for your Queen Scout Award why not take a look at this?

Looking for an international adventure in summer 2021? While the idea of going abroad may seem a million miles away, that’s not going to stop us from planning for future adventures. The UK Contingent are currently recruiting participants (18-25), and International Service Team Members (26+) for the World Scout Moot in Ireland. You can go on a two-week international adventure with Scouts from around the world to share cultures, gain new skills and learn from each other. Currently we’re not asking for any financial commitment. To register your interest and find out more, visit

Finally I am holding Zoom Meetings on Friday nights if you would like to join in your leader gets sent a link on Thursday before. Please ask them to send it on to join in and let me know you are joining. You will need to log in with your real name to be allowed access as I will check this against the list of names given.


Adult, Young Leader and Explorer Training

If you are finding you got some spare time during lockdown or want to improve your map reading skills, Ordnance Survey have some great resources that can be used online and can be found here . Using these teaching aid will allow parts of your stage Navigation badges to be awarded.

Once you refreshed your navigation for those doing their DofE why not start planning your expedition routes. I have attached a link to how to do it here.


Don't forget that our website ( is now the one-stop-shop for everything that you need to know about what is going on in the CRAI. We are trying to make sure that everything you need is on the website rather than you having to search through various social media platforms and emails to find what you need. If you think that something is missing or needs changing, please do let one of the District Team know. 


Many thanks


CRAI Scouts

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