Edward Oliver Greer

Blog: Scouting

Thursday 23 June 2016

Recipe, Scouting


Midweek recipe: Special Pasta

Many years ago I took over the role of catering the annual 6th Northwood summer camp. It’s a big task – nine days and up to thirty people is a lot of food. A couple of years in I started to bring my own recipes in to replace some of the older less successful. I compiled all Keith’s original recipes and my new ones in a handy recipe book we could use year after year. Here is one of my first creations, quick and simple and the Scouts seem to love it.

Serves 4

5 Sausages
150g Mushrooms
1 Onion
150g Garden Peas
500g Cream Cheese
3 tsp English Mustard
500g Fusilli Tricolour Pasta

Cut each sausages into five meatballs.
Slice the mushrooms and dice the onion.
Put pasta on to boil.
Fry the sausages, mushrooms and onion gently for 10 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through and the onions are just browning.
Spoon in the cream cheese and allow to melt.
Add the mustard and peas and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese begins to thicken to coat the sausages and vegetables.
Drain the pasta.
Stir sauce into pasta and serve.

Monday 20 June 2016

Essays, Scouting



Five years of service

This weekend was the Ruislip Eastcote Northwood family camp to celebrate 30 years of Beavers and 100 years of Cubs. I had a surprise though at the closing ceremony and was awarded my five year service award. It’s been an interested five years so I thought I’d examine it.

I’ve detailed before how I joined scouting aged 6 as a Beaver in 1999, but come 2011 I took the next step and took a warrant. Coming to the end of my time as an Explorer Scout, a few months before my 18th birthday I filled in the forms and sent them off. By already being a Young Leader it was inevitable that I was going to go on to become an adult leader. The appointment came through quicker than expected which is why I technically received my 5 years early. Although you only get a warrant from the age of 18, the membership database holds my start date as when my CRB check was applied for, four months before my birthday – they were slower in those days than the updated DBS checks we have now.

However, the first two years as a leader were rather intermittent. My birthday being July, I only ran a few meetings at the end of the summer term before heading off to uni in September. This limited what I could do so it was rare for me to don the uniform during my first two years, only really doing so for camps and large district events at weekends as well as a run of late summer meetings after the end of the term.

In a way, I fell out of Scouting a bit but my placement year allowed me to get back in to it. I returned to my family home to live and work and thus was able to run meetings again during the week. I remembered how much I actually enjoyed it, I was reinvigorated. I knew I couldn’t allow my final year to let me slip through the net once again so I had an idea.

I first met Soph at the end of our first year and we had begun our relationship at the start of our second, but because she wasn’t on a sandwich course like me, she stayed in Canterbury while I was working in London. It was this circumstance that led me to suggest she go and help with the local Beaver Colony (she is better with the youngest section whereas I prefer Scout section where you can do more adventurous activities). When I returned to Canterbury for my final year, and Soph stayed on for a Masters, I went along to Worthgate Scout Group and offered my services. This was what I needed to stay in the loop and it is something we need to encourage with all Young Leaders who may not take the warrant due to university.

It’s been a year since I graduated, and it has been a massive year for my Scouting life. I have been awarded the Queen’s Scout and taken up a new role as the District Youth Commissioner to ensure that the youth have a real say in how their Scouting life is shaped and run. I’ve finally got my hand on the adult training that really should have been done earlier and I am enjoying my larger voice in the wider Scouting community. I look forward to seeing what the next five years bring leading me to a 10 year service award, the one my father was awarded concurrently to me.


Sunday 1 May 2016

Essays, Scouting


Hanging Scarves – part II

Continuing my exploration of my collection of Scout scarves I have collected over the years, we rejoin in 2011.

13. Gillwell 24 with friendship knot
On my third visit to Gilwell 24, they had changed their scarf styles. Gone were the reflective trims and choice of colours in favour of black with red printing. I don’t know if the colour changes every year like the T-Shirts now, I had just turned 18 so it was my final year attending. Incidentally, we arrived in a stretched Hummer as the minibuses were all in use. Seeing the faces of fellow campers when we arrived was very amusing!

14. 6th Northwood (adult) with iScout tangle
My original adult sized scarf for my group. I display this with a tangle I wore while in the Queens Honour Guard at the cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday 2015 although it wasn’t this scarf. I had replaced my adult scarf earlier that year as the colour had faded noticeably.

15. Brownsea Island with Brownsea Island woggle
I’ve been to Brownsea many times, most recently kayaking across from the main land last summer, so this scarf is the one that is potentially out of sequence as I can’t remember when it was acquired. I do recall, though, that my parents brought it back for me after they visited on one occasion.

16. Chilly Goat Challenge with Scout leather woggle
The Chilly Goat Challenge is my districts annual winter camp for the Scout section. On you first attendance, it is usual that you get a scarf. Most years a blanket badge is produced alongside it so that you still get a memento if you already have the scarf – so far all of these were designed by me. I was rather late to the Chilly Goat party, not having attended as a Scout and was always caught up in the January exam season while I was an Explorer. This scarf is worn with you group scarf for the event only.

17. 2012 Olympics with friendship knot
A strange scarf in that I have no idea why they felt they needed to produce it. Inspired by 2012 it reads, but there were no requirements to ‘earn’ the scarf. You just bought it.

18. REN Network with loose Friendship knot
By 2014 I’d officially been a Scout Network member for several years, but it wasn’t until around this time that we formally ran a district one due to a lack of people around my age. Therefore I was invested very late and, due to university, after most people three years my junior. The investiture was memorable however as it took place in the departure lounge at Heathrow on our way to Kandersteg. I was invested with a woggle but as it is usually worn with my 6h Northwood scarf, I use a friendship knot so the group can come through the Network.

19. RENtenary with Scout leather woggle.
2014 was the centenary of Scouting in Ruislip Eastcote Northwood and we organised loads of events to celebrate, the main one being a district expedition to Kandersteg. This is our expedition scarf (the concept is explained in the notes to scarf 9) with the badge on the back a larger version of the centrepiece of the occasional badge for the year that I had designed.

20. Kanderteg (2014) with WOSM woggle
As mentioned earlier, Kandersteg produces a different scarf design every year nowadays and this was their 2014 design I picked up on the RENtenary expedition.

21. Messengers of Peace
I also picked up another WOSM scarf in their chosen white this time branded with their “messengers of peace” campaign – the idea being that scouts unite the world and bring peace to it. Again, I have never bought the matching woggle for this scarf.

22. Worthgate Scout Group with Worthgate woggle
During my final year at university, I decided to do more local scouting as opposed to the desk based approach I had taken in my first two years. For this I helped a Beaver Colony in Canterbury where my girlfriend had already begun as a leader – after I had pushed her into Scouting. Incidentally, she is now Assistant Beaver Scout Leader at the 6th Northwood.

23. REN with leaders leather woggle
This year I took another role in Scouting and added another scarf to the collection. I am now the District Youth Commissioner for Ruislip Eastcote Northwood, a new position in which I encourage our district to become more youth lead with the young people influencing their own Scouting journey – mine has certainly been a vast, interesting route and long may it continue.


Wednesday 27 April 2016

Essays, Scouting


Hanging Scarves – part I

Last week I decided to do something strange. I have a large amount of Scout scarves accumulated over seventeen years in Scouting and I wanted to display them. At a loss for what to write about this week, I’m going to talk you through them; where they came from and their significance to me.

Scarves 1-4

1. Beavers (6th Northwood) with plastic Beaver maroon woggle
I was invested into Scouting on 5th October 1999. At that time every beaver in the country wore the same colour scarf. Turquoise – which is why the modern beaver uniform is that colour – with an awful grey tracksuit uniform. My group badge on the back was the only difference from other groups.

2. 6th Northwood (youth) with plastic red woggle
I moved up to Cubs in 2001. This was the year that the modernisation changes started with new uniforms that year and new badges introduced in 2003. As such, my cub uniform has a mixture of 70s/90s triangle badges and the current round design. The scarf however has been the 6th Northwood group scarf colour since 1932. Indeed I still wear 6N gold to this day. This was my youth scarf that I wore until around 2009 when it was looking a bit short on me and I switched to using an adult sized scarf (number 14).

3. 2007 Join In Centenary with original friendship knot tied in 2007
2007 was the year I moved from Scouts to Explorers and was also, and more importantly, the centenary of Scouting. To celebrate The Scout Association created these colourful scarves for which four badges could be earned to make up a diamond on the back if you completed certain tasks or attended certain events. Join in centenary was a troop night programme with activities designed to look back and forward into Scouting past and future. The Scouting Sunrise was to be on parade at sunrise on 1st April, the day 100 years earlier that Baden-Powell had gathered his first Scouts on Brownsea Island for their first morning on the first camp. Centenary Camps was to attend a camp that celebrated the milestone. Ours was organised at district level. Bring a friend is rather self explanatory, though I can’t remember who I introduced into Scouting that year…

4. 21st World Scout Jamboree with 2007 One World, One Promise woggle
The World Scout Jamboree for 2007 brought Scouts from around the world back to Britain to celebrate the 100 years. My parents, brother and I visited Hylands Park, Essex, for a day meeting people from around the world, trading badges and trying out activities. The scarf also doubles as a map of the campsite when unrolled.

Scarves 5-8

5. Poindextor ESU also with 2007 One World, One Promise woggle
September 2007, I left 6th Northwood to join the Poindextor Explorer Scout Unit. Although I turned to 6N a week later as a Young Leader to support the new leadership team in the Troop. As such, I nearly always wore this scarf and my 6N scarf together. Poindextor still does not have a badge for the back of the scarf although I did begin a design for one while in the Unit. Coincidentally, a production error a couple of years later meant that the yellow trim on this scarf became the same gold as my 6N scarf for newer members. By the time I left the unit I wouldn’t have been wearing the 2007 woggle but I decided to display the scarf with the original design.

6. Gilwell 24 with Gilwell 24 woggle
Gilwell 24 is an annual event for Explorers where the aim is to stay awake for 24 hours by doing loads of activities. This was my first of three visits to the event and I purchased a black scarf and woggle as a keepsake. Many other colours were produced at the time, all with a reflective trim which proved useful during the dark hours of the night. For those that keep track of the events via the T-Shirt colour (it changes every year), this was the red year. This was also the year that Bear Grylls took over as Chief Scout from Peter Duncan, the handover forming the bulk of the opening ceremony for this event. A humorous scarf depicting ‘Bare’ Grylls was produced but swiftly withdrawn after a complaint though not before I had purchased one for my father.

7. 1st Harefield with Scout leather woggle
The less said about this one, the better. I briefly helped an ex-girlfriend of mine with her Beaver Colony at the GLMW Beaver Bonanza. 6th Northwood were also present so i found myself torn between the two despite wearing this scarf for the day.

8. Gilwell 24 with Gilwell 24 woggle
In 2010 I attended Gilwell 24 for the second time. I decided to buy a different coloured scarf to record the different event and opted for white this time. I never did like the bright pink or highlighter yellow!

Scarves 9-12

9. GLMW Kandersteg Expedition 2010 with Scout leather woggle
2010 marked my first visit to the Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland as part of an expedition organised by the Greater London Middlesex West county. When travelling abroad, it is traditional to wear a scarf to signify which country you are from rather than your group and this is the international scarf designed for this trip.

10. Cow print with friendship knot
As part of the opening ceremony for the Kandersteg expedition, everyone was given a cow print scarf and tasked with getting people to sign it from all over the world. I signed the point. Coincidently, I went on to complete my Queen’s Scout expedition with one person who signed it, though I did not realise until studying the scarf long after that event.

11. Kandersteg with kandersteg woggle
As with the Gilwell 24 scarves, I decided to buy another scarf to show I’d been to the centre. Recently Kandersteg has varied the colour each year as a collectors piece, but I don’t believe this was standard practice until after I purchased this one in 2010.

12. WOSM
I bought this at the same time as the Knadersteg scarf, but I don’t know why. It is the scarf of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement and is a ridiculous colour – white will never stay white on camp! I’ve always meant to buy the matching woggle from the online shop but have never got around to it.

This has become rather long. I’ll tell you about the rest later.


Sunday 24 April 2016



Windsor for St George

The closest Sunday to St Georges day has been the day for a parade for me since I was six years old. This year, however, was extra special. I wasn’t going to be marching the streets of Ruislip, or Eastcote, nor Northwood or even Canterbury as I had done last year; this year I was in Windsor by the graciousness of Her Majesty.

Last year I finally got my Queen’s Scout Award signed off. This is the highest award in Scouting and the Windsor Castle parade has been organised every year since 1934 to recognise the achievements of this elite group of young people. I and 600 other award holders from around the United Kingdom and its’ islands marched from the royal mews up to the Queen’s private lawn, where the public do not usually get to go, for inspection by Prince Michael of Kent, the Chief Scout and the outgoing Chief Commissioner (the having ceased attending these events personally a few years ago). After the inspection, we paraded down to the magnificent St George’s Chapel for the National Scout Service that was relayed outside for friends and family. Finally, upon leaving the chapel, Mr Edward Grylls addressed us from its’ steps before the procession returned to the royal mews via the streets of Windsor.

The day was long and cold, having had to rehearse for several hours in the morning before the parade in the afternoon but I am very honoured to have been there. I do hope that we see more Queen’s Scouts coming out of my District to follow in the footsteps of the two of us there this weekend. It is a throughly enjoyable experience to complete the award and it does give you some level of respect amongst other members of the movement. If you are under 25, go out and do it.


Queens Scouts of GLMW