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Issue 76 April 2013

sac scouts newsletter

From the Courtyard feature of the month

My Memories of Cubbie It is already almost three months since John A Mizzi better known as Cubbie went home. It was on the 4th of February 2013 that we got to know the sad news that Cubbie went to meet the Lord after 87 years, most of which he dedicated to the scout movement, and in particular to our St Aloysius College Scout Group. In this article I would like to highlight how important Cubbie was in my personal and scouting life - which saw me go through my teenage years to adulthood. When I was younger I have to admit that not always did I understand the aims behind Cubbie’s actions and attitudes. Now with hindsight I do look back and understand the importance of what I have learnt from this great man over the last 22 years or so. I still remember clearly the first time I went to scouts aged 14 where I was encouraged by my friends to start attending scouts. As SAC students, we used to escape from the college break in the outer-ground to go and shoot penalties in the internal yard at our headquarters. Sometimes, but less often, we also used to do some exam-revision at scouts and slowly scouts was gradually becoming like our second home. Even though I had shown my initial reluctance to attend scouts and the commitment this seemed to involve, Cubbie accepted me straight away and got me involved immediately in a number of activities which made me stay on for all these years. Cubbie used to involve us in a number of activities amongst which I can recall the historical re-enactments held at Mdina and Birgu where we used to wear soldier costumes with uncomfortable tights, fund-raising activities like peeling stickers on fruitjuice packets at our headquarters, selling soft drinks at Trade Fairs and acting out in one of Shakespeare’s plays held at San Anton Gardens. He made me understand and realise that in order to earn money, one must work hard. During my first days at scouts, I still remember Cubbie assigning me with the responsibility of the bar after the Wednesday meetings. I used to go with him in his classic red van buying soft drinks and all kinds of chocolates and sweets to be sold at the end of the meetings. On one particular trip, we were going up the Saqqajja Hill in Rabat when the van’s back door (which was always damaged and could


Issue 76 April 2013

From the Courtyard

never be locked) suddenly opened and half the soft-drink crates finished on the road. We had to stop and divert traffic to collect what remained of the soft-drink crates! Of course all this was justifiable as the aim of all this was to make a small profit for our scout group. This profit used to be allocated as a travel subsidy for the most deserving boys who contribute most to scouts. Most of all, Cubbie will be remembered for the number of trips abroad he used to organise for the college scouts. He travelled extensively all over the continents. Regrettably I only took part in a handful of trips with Cubbie primarily when we went to Russia, the United Kingdom and a few times to Sicily. I learnt from him that no difficulty is insurmountable and with perseverance and patience, he used to address all the issues that inevitably crop up during an overseas trip with some 30 scouts ranging from lost passports, lost luggage and language barriers. For sure Cubbie used to stand up for his rights, was rigid and disciplined with his scouts but he certainly never gave up under any circumstance. This is another value I still treasure from Cubbie till this very day.

His photographic skills were also excellent and it was Cubbie who taught me the basics of photography. I took up photography as a hobby myself after seeing him taking pictures all over the world. Since Cubbie spent a number of years as news editor of The Times, I used to refer for his advise very frequently during my journalism studies at University and always regarded him as a point-ofreference in my decisions as to what career to pursue.

Till very recently I used to inform him about all the cubactivities being planned and he insisted with me that I always let him know. He would pop over and say hello to leaders and cubs attending these hikes. His old age was never a barrier and he always used to visit us even during a cub-hike in the middle of nowhere. I am proud to have had Cubbie as my mentor throughout all these years. I will definitely always treasure the memories of this man with a heart of gold. Stefan Pullicino Cub Scout Leader

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From the Courtyard

GSL’s note

Issue 76 April 2013

Easter Camp - As anticipated last month was a busy month for the Group as most leaders and members were involved in Easter camp. It was a very successful event and all went well. April also turned out to be a busy month for most leaders and members. We had works carried out on the flooring of the cub and troop room and this led to a lot of shifting around of equipment and furniture which up till end of April is still not yet in place! Annual parade -We also had a lot of preparations for the Annual Parade held on April 21st. SL Benny had a though job to do training new drummers with Group and section leaders had to ensure members were properly drilled for the parade. In all, seventy-five members attended the parade and comments from onlookers and parents were overall very positive. Fundraising - some rovers and ventures also helped out in a fundraising event wherein we

GSL’s note

pitched some tents of ours that were hired for the weekend. Quite a few hands appeared on Friday evening but unfortunately on Sunday not many turned up. This is very discouraging and does not augur well for similar future events. I guess some things are taken for granted, however there may come a time when things may hit the wall. Cubbie memorial - on a more positive note, a number of former scouts and Group leaders met up to establish the way forward and decide on how best to celebrate Cubbies life as a scout and honour his work within the Group. It was decided that a life size bust will be commissioned and set up near the HQ. To this end, fund raising events will be organised to collect funds for the bust and any surplus funds (if any) will be used to assist members in their scouting needs. In the coming days more information will be provided in the local press, the SAC Facebook site and Group website about where donations can be sent towards this effort. The month of May promises to be busy too although exam time is fast approaching. Please pay attention to circulars and emails we send so you can attend events. SICILY TRIP JULY15-20th - Finally, all members that have shown interest in joining us on the trip to Sicily are to submit the deposit of â‚Ź50 to the GSL as soon as possible.

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From the Pack

From the Courtyard

Works in progress! Cub Room Face lift (or floor lift!) As many of you have probably realised, the courtyard has borne a striking resemblance to a construction site ever since we returned from Easter camp. Maintenance has been going on since then and one of the rooms to receive a well deserved facelift was our trusty cub room. The main task involved resurfacing the floor meaning that all the equipment, furniture and a couple of resident bugs had to be temporarily moved out of the cub-room and into the troop room or the courtyard. The work was carried out over a couple of weeks, leaving ample time for the cub leaders for a thorough clean out and re-organisation of all the accumulated knick knacks. With the floor finally level, work turned to installing a loft at the back of the room, taking advantage of it’s high ceiling to maximise on storage space. Needing regular breaks from studying, I spent a few days with the Quarter Master and his team painting the loft’s support beams and re-purposing the old cub-room benches into anything from compartments for the spars to storage boxes. With enough woodworking skills (and a little bit of luck) we’ll probably be able to make a new points board and notice board specifically for the cubs. Ongoing Training

Developing skills and improving knowledge does not stop at the Venture or Rover level. As leaders, we frequently have the opportunity to enrol in courses intended to help us improve some aspect of scouting or leadership. Over a course of six months, Akela, Raksha and Bagheera and GSL Edward Cassola attended the Understanding Disabilities course organised by IHQ. The sessions, given by Kristina Frendo, introduced those present to a number of learning and physical difficulties we might encounter and how, as leaders, we can take steps to make scouting more inclusive for those children with special needs. A different disability was tackled each session, starting with a general definition and introduction and moving on to the difficulties encountered by these children on a daily basis and, more specifically, in the scouting environment. We would then move on to possible ways in which leaders can make a scout meeting or activity more accessible to a child with a specific need. When it came to this part, the debates were heated and often inconclusive with the recurrent argument being that we are not trained professionals, LSA’s or teachers, and try as we might, it will remain very difficult for Section Leaders to give a child with special needs all the attention he requires. We often concluded that, in order for the child’s time in scouting to be fruitful, the parents’ full cooperation is needed. Yet a number of leaders present said the parents’ reluctance to approach them on the subject hindered the child’s development as a scout as well as the leaders ability to help the child. With only the final session left, I feel that this course has been beneficial to all those who attended and while we’re not (in any way) experts on the matter, it is clear that with a lot of determination and a little bit of unhindered communication a lot can be done to make the scouting experience accessible and beneficial to all. Emma Gauci

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Issue 76 April 2013


From the Courtyard

EXAM FEVER!!

Issue 76 April 2013

Ahh yes... It’s that time of the year again! Venture meetings are currently at their lowest point due to most of the Unit being tied up studying and preparing for their O-Level and A-Level exams. Bring on the sleepless nights... The junk food... The endless distractions... The STRESSSSS!

From the Unit

For that matter, dear Ventures we have included a Stress Reduction Kit on the next page, please use it freely and tell us if it works. Cub Leaders take note, this could also be useful for you!

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So here’s a big GOOD LUCK to all the Ventures for their oncoming endeavour . May you all do well so that soon we can start planning a great summer!

And remember guys, Gandalf says:


From the Courtyard

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EXAM FVER!!

Issue 76 April 2013


From the Courtyard

The Therapeutic Effect of a Circular Saw

Issue 76 April 2013

From the Crew

Over the last few weeks, and probably to the dismay of a few neighbours, our headquarters has been buzzing with the sounds of power tools. As a lot of the much needed renovations have been taking place. Although I'm sure many of the scouts and cubs like to believe there is a merry bunch of elves, who only come out after Wednesday meetings and make all these little changes that some of you would have noticed over the last few weeks. This is in fact the handiwork work of a small elite (and I use this term exceedingly loosely) team of Rovers, who have been living at HQ recently.

Firstly, one of the most major changes you may have noticed is the floors of the troop and cub rooms. Historically known for being a mirror of our famous local roads, the floors have been cleaned up and resurfaced, now providing a smooth, safe and oddly red walking surface. This is one of the few projects, the rovers themselves cannot take credit for, as it is one of the only occasions were the guys step back and actually call in the professionals. I mention this though, because this project has been the catalyst for all the other works which are now taking place. It is at this point I would also like to thank Mr. Sant for his time and patience in installing the new loft in the cub room, a project very dear to our newly instated Quartermaster, Gabriel Rizzo, who has taken up the behemoth of a task of taking inventory and reorganising of the generations worth of equipment filling up the HQ. The Rovers would also like to remind you to have a look at the spice colour of the beams under the loft, as they are the only SAC touch on the project, which will soon be covered by a layer of panelling. The removal of the benches from the two rooms has left us with an ample supply of surplus wood. This has created a dream come true scenario for our expert team of amateur carpenters, who are using this wood to create a whole assortment of ever increasing projects to leave their own mark on HQ. Almost every other day, after work, school or in between frantic exam study sessions, the Quartermaster and his crack team invade the courtyard to cut, hammer and paint everything from benches to shelves. Personally, I have become accustomed to the therapeutic experience provided by using the circular saw, whilst others have discovered the pleasures of power drills or the calming effect of painting a masterpiece using only one colour of industrial paint.

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From the Courtyard

Issue 76 April 2013

From the Crew

The creative process behind these projects is anything but professional. Armed with nothing but a measuring tape and a basic understanding of the laws of physics, the methods of creation involve a level of meticulous planning and measuring, followed by flashes of manic inspiration and lead to a final product so far from the original plan that whole thing may end up being repurposed. Some would call this unproductive but this level of creative madness has led to bigger and better things, and with the list of projects getting longer and more ambitious, we are looking forward to providing you with a staggered yet ingenious rejuvenation of the structures inside HQ. Although I'm sure that the only concern on the boys' minds is the clearing of the courtyard for the rebirth of Hotdog Wednesdays, my apologies to those whose hopes were crushed with the cancelation of last month's event.

With regards to the stock take. Over the years, the group has accumulated a vast inventory of tents as well as other camping equipment, so much so that even in the early stages of the endeavour, we are unearthing relics of scouting past. We hope that this whole project will allow us to give the boys an even better experience at camp as it will provide a new variation of tents and equipment in a more organised system ( also a sigh of relief for all those involved in the setting up of equipment at the camps). Although at times stressful, this whole project (or series of projects amalgamated into one massive effort) has provided a very interesting experience for those involved. We would like to thank all those who have spared the time to come in and help wherever they could, the parents who have forgiven our prolonged late night absences enough to still leave us a warm plate of food for when we finally return home, and most of all, something which this whole endeavour would be impossible to do without, the kettle, which has been severely overworked to provide the near endless supply of tea and coffee needed to fuel and motivate the team. George Zammit Montebello

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From the Courtyard - April 2013