Hedgehogs in a Year…

2nd  Howdon Hedgehogs adventures started over a year ago, when nearly all 16 places for hedgehogs were filled in 45 minutes.

Fast forward to now and the 2nd  Howdon Hedgehogs celebrate their 1st  Birthday! 

Our official birthday was 29th January 2020. Our celebrations began with a visit from The Scouts Chief Executive Officer, Matt Hyde and the Senior Leadership Team on the 28th January 2020 and then the following week we celebrated with a cake and a good old Happy Birthday sing song!

What an amazing adventure we have had! We have followed the Hedgehogs programme on a plate that is based on six themes;

Adventure, Outdoors, Around the World, Skills, Creativity and Helping Others.

As part of the pilot we have adapted the programme to suit the needs of our Nest and provide invaluable feedback to improve the programme for when the Hedgehogs was to be rolled out.

Overall, the programme aims to provide Skills for Life. For example looking after ourselves, good manners, walking to the shop with road safety and paying for healthy snacks and receiving our change. We even weigh out our own ingredients for making pancakes. 

It has not been all work and no play! Of course not! We have a growing list of games and some of our favourites include: ‘Captains Coming’, ‘Fruit Salad’, ‘Tails’ and ‘Full team Hockey.’ Yes, we can play hockey.

The District Youth Commissioner Team were very impressed by our behaviour and said, “We played better than Beavers.”

We have got ourselves out and about too. We have attended a lot of District events and our first County Event. County Beavers Fun Day and Tynemouth District Events included Animal Zoo Day, JOTT 2019 and most recently Polar Express at Christmas.

We visited our Group Camp at Powburn Scout Adventure Centre too which we were able to take part in Archery and made our very own S’mores in the campfire circle. Our Hedgehogs are well rehearsed, confident and safe around a fire.

As our Hedgehogs grow up so fast, we have had a number move on to Beavers, even into different colonies around Tynemouth! Those new Beavers at 2nd Howdon recently took part in their very first sleepover with no wobbles!

Our Hedgehog Nest is a true part of the scouting family not only by moving up to other Tynemouth Colonies but also how our Hedgehog Team is formed.

Tracy Mitchell “Fern” from 5th Tynemouth has contributed invaluable
experience and knowledge to the pilot from day one and also Erin “Kaa” has decided to be our Young Leader from 5th Tynemouth too.

We are all pulling together to make the pilot the best it can be.

The teamwork extends past Tynemouth District to a County Level, as not only are our Young Leaders from 2nd Howdon and Tynemouth District, but also from other District within Northumberland County. Two
Young Leaders are Explorers from Whitley Bay District. The growing level of engagement, rapport and confidence is amazing to witness within the Young Leaders.

The Hedgehogs they support each week is fantastic and they are truly a credit to Scouting. Not only is there amazing feedback for our Young Leaders, Parent Feedback is amazing and providing insight into the effects of the pilot. Each parent supplied a case study as part of the Pilot Evaluation and some of the comments are inspiring and motivating. Positive comments on changes in behaviour and improvement in confidence. They are developing their personalities, determination and independence at home and at school. Teamwork and helping others has also been commented on not only by parents but also their teachers.

2nd Howdon has seen an increase in Leaders, SAS Support, Committee Members and an increase in amazing parental support! This also has increased our Waiting List which currently could open another Hedgehog Nest right away! This proves that good news and results travel fast and that there is demand and need for Scouting and #SkillsForLife with in our community.

We continue to play our part in Tynemouth Scouts and we actively promote all the Groups in the District and surrounding area, as we simply
believe scouting is for all and should not be missed.

We thought that by sharing our Hedgehog Adventure with you from the past year, you, like us will be rooting for a ‘Yes’ from The Scouts Board of Trustees for this programme to be scaled up nationally. So that the next
chapter in the Early Year Scouting takes shape and becomes a firm and fitting member of the Scouts, like Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Network.


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