It had occured to myself and Badger that we were getting a number of queries about what Damboree is, why we exist and most importantly what’s the point?

So we thought it would be a good idea to remind ourselves why we’re doing Damboree, and why we want as many people involved as possible.

In a nutshell, which is a stupid analogy, Damboree is about getting young people camping, and the leaders permitted to take young people camping.

The more permits, the more opportunities, the more camping, what’s not to love.

I was asked to do an interview for Scouting Radio at Gilwell Reunion 2018, if you have Facebook you can see it here, which neatly sums up Damboree…
Scouting Radio Interview on Facebook

But Why a Damboree?

It all started as a response to the large number of questions around Beavers camping, and the fact that despite the rules changing in 2015 to remove the restrictions on Beavers camping, a number of Group Scout Leaders, District Commissioners and other managing roles were either not aware of the changes, or had placed their own artificial boundaries/Local Rules on Beavers Camping.

This offended the sensibilities of a number of Scouting people, including our own Grand High Meerkat, Andy S., and, at the suggestion of Chris W., decided it would be a cracking idea to try and get as many Beavers camping as possible. Oh how we laugh at it now…..

Putting “The Band” Together…

There are 106 miles to Gilwell, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of Skittles, we’re Scouts and we’re wearing neckers.

Meerkat approached a number of us who he felt had the skills to be able to help him pull off this ridiculous notion, he needed people who felt the same way as he did about Nights Away, and doing it right, who know their way around Social Media, could rustle up a website, and a badge supplier.

Did we fully appreciate what we were getting into? Nah.
Did we think it was The Right Thing(tm) to do? Very much so.
Did we expect the levels of participation? Really not!

Just How…

…do you get as many Beavers camping as possible? Well you need as many Beaver Leaders holding camping permits as possible to make that happen. But historically Beaver Leaders mostly held Indoor Permits, how do we encourage Leaders to make that step to camping?

Social media, and a sales pitch that “Beavers Can”, and are not second class Scouting citizens. Also get a camping permit, you can get a Gold badge. The use of Facebook to promote the Damboree message that #BeaversareScouts_ScoutsCamp has been a feather in the cap of the positive effect that social media can have, and make real change to the lives of young people, when you have a gem of an idea people can get behind.

Also the idea that there were badges for adults was important to us, not just for permit holders, but those who already have permits, or Adults, Young Leaders, Parents who support making a Damboree event happen. We were very conscious of ensuring that the wider participation in Damboree could be gratefully recognised.

The Results?

The outcome has been over 200 camping permits taken out by Beaver Leaders, as part of Damboree. Whilst we will never know how many of these would have been new/upgraded anyway, the positivity it has generated is incalculable.

The number of Beaver related camping questions is markedly down on the Facebook groups the team is members of, which means the message is getting through. We’ll count that as a win.

So Why Now Cubs?

The Team decided at Reunion, that if we were going to do it again for 2019, we wanted to challenge ourselves, we can do Beavers now, we have a programme, we have a method, we could repeat it easier using lessons taught to us, and improvements in logistics. Without really breaking a sweat, we could do Beaver Damboree 2019.
But where is the fun in that….

So we looked at what our ultimate aim was, and that was to support leaders giving members the experiences to be able to go out on Event Passports when they are Scouts. The all important #SkillForLife is being, and taking, responsible for yourself, others and your actions.

Also we had Cub Leaders asking to be involved…They wanted “Shiny” too

How do we get there? Well we recruited some Cubs specialists who knew the Cub Programme better than us to devise a badge scheme Cubs could earn, which followed the Damboree tenets, largely the Outdoor Badge with some added bits.
Cubs was a also natural progression to where we wanted to get to, which was #EveryoneInTents

Cub Leaders who upgrade their Indoor Permit to Campsite will qualify for Gold, as will any Cub Leader getting a Campsite Permit for the first time.

We encourage any Cub Leader to has sufficient experience to talk to their DC about becoming a Nights Away Advisor, as we realise many Cub Leaders will have a camping permit already. This is same as for the Beaver Leaders.

Why not Denboree? That’s more “Cub-y”…

We decided that we wanted to keep our brand, such as it is, we had established a name, a web-domain, and reputation as Damboree. We wanted to keep that and not dilute our message of #EveryoneInTents, and save money on domain names and brand protection.

Not everyone has agreed with that position, and wanting something more Cub related, but whilst we can understand that position, we respectfully disagree..:)

What’s next then?

Well we still need to get 2019 delivered, we’ll be recruiting some helpers to make that happen, to ensure that the logistics and messaging go without a hitch, but we’ll be looking at the Scout Damboree Programme over the coming year.

Route to Unificaton

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