Monday, 31 July 2006

Frank Cooper Sands Award 2006

The Frank Cooper Sands Award is given to packs who have done well in the year 2005. Packs are assessed on membership strength, quality of activities in the pack , number of badges awarded, participation in district, area and national events and participation in HQ fund raising projects.

This year 21 Cub Scout packs achieved the Frank Cooper Sands Gold Award at the initial round of assessments. 2 other cub scout packs later appealed and had their award revised from Silver to Gold, bringing the total number to 23. We are proud to be the only Cub Scout Unit in Yishun District to have been awarded the Gold Award in the initial round of assessment. We had achieved a total of 966 points out of a perfect score of 1000, standing tall and pround among the top 10 units in Singapore.

The award ceremony was held at the Singapore Scout Association on Saturday 22 July 2006 and Ikrimah, Senior Sixer of the Pack received the award on our behalf.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Partnership: Children's Cancer Foundation - Hair For Hope 2006

Cub Scouts and Mr Hoe participated in Hair For Hope, raising more than $2,600 in two weeks for Children's' Cancer Foundation! Brave!

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Some unhappy that girls can now choose Scouting as a CCA

The New Paper, 15 July 2006

THE decision to allow girls to join scouting as a CCA in primary and secondary schools has caused a stir. While some are overjoyed at the Ministry of Education's announcement, others are not. Girl Guides Singapore (GGS) chief commissioner Yvonne Lim said: 'It is regrettable that approval was given for the Singapore Scouts Association (SSA) to recruit girls into scouting.' This is because scouts and guides - seen as brother and sister organisations - will now 'compete' for members, said GGS deputy chief commissioner Jessie Tan. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, who founded both scouts and guides almost 100 years ago, had created two organisations because of the 'fundamental differences' between the sexes, she said. 'Or he wouldn't have started two separate movements,' said Ms Tan. So, she said, GGS would remain committed to being a single-sex organisation catering to the needs of girls and women. The scouts now focus on non-formal outdoor-based education for all youth, while guides seek personal development for girls in home, community, outdoor and international settings.

Mrs Chua Yen Ching, 47, principal designate for NorthLight School and vice-president of the guides' national council, said there would always be a place for guides. She said she developed confidence and leadership skills after becoming the teacher in charge of guides 20 years ago. Singapore Chinese Girls' School guide Christina Chew, 16, agreed. She said: 'It doesn't just teach you rugged skills, but homecraft skills. Nowadays, we are losing those skills traditionally taught to girls. 'We can't have a whole population of girls with no skills like cooking and tending to family.' But the scouts have a different take. Said one scout leader, who has been in scouting for 12 years: 'When Baden-Powell wrote Scouting For Boys, in that era and time, girls were not supposed to do what scouts do - running around in the jungle, going to camp. It was virtually unheard of, which is why he designed a special programme for the guides. 'That was 90 years ago. Now, society has changed and the girls want to assert their rights. What boys do, why can't they do?' Internationally, scouting evolved about 30 years ago. It's now a youth movement - regardless of colour, religion, and gender.

Today, 119 of the 155 countries with scouts - more than three-quarters - have girls in their organisation. Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan are among these. Said SSA chief commissioner Nicholas Tang: 'We felt that we need to keep up with the times. In this whole region, Singapore is the only one without girls in scouting in schools. We feel that girls can also benefit from the scout programme.' Hwa Chong Institution student and scout Anthony Chan, 18, supports the idea but has some worries: 'What if only one or two girls join a unit but there are many boys? Then the girls might be marginalised.' Han Jiaying, 16, a guide at Raffles Girls' School, added that the co-ed environment during physical activities would be awkward. She said: 'I would personally feel awkward and more withdrawn in the presence of the prying eyes of boys.' Ms Teo Hui Fang, 20, who joined scouts four years ago, said the boys may experience some inconvenience and adjustment issues switching from an all male to a co-ed environment. She recounted how the scouts in her unit learned to adjust and take her into consideration when planning activities and 'tone down' the way they speak and behave in front of a female scout.

Some scouts, like Lim Yuan Hao, 16, at North Vista Secondary, is fine with having girls join the CCA. There are already five girls in his school who love scouting so much that they have been taking part in the activities for a year without getting CCA points. He admitted it was 'quite a big change' at first, but he has since learnt how to bond with them. Tiong Yayan, 14, a girl scout at Yuan Ching Secondary, said: 'It's not girl or boy bonding. It's scout bonding.' More than 150 of the 10,000 or so scouts in Singapore are girls, while there are nearly 14,000 guides here. Mr Tang emphasised that SSA will not go on a massive recruitment campaign for girls. He said: 'We will leave it to the principals and educators. We are not going to push them. If they want to start, they can start. It must tie in with their educational goals and objectives.'

Friday, 14 July 2006

MOE allows scouts to recruit girls in primary & secondary schools from next year

The New Paper, 13 July 2006

FROM January next year, girls will be able to join their male schoolmates as scouts. Currently, school girls can only join the girl guides, not the scouts which accepts only boys. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced that it has granted permission to the Singapore Scout Association (SSA) to recruit girls in primary and secondary schools. Previously, though SSA opened its membership to both genders, it was only allowed to recruit boys in schools. Girls who were interested to join usually do so on their own accord, outside of school. In an e-mail sent to all 357 primary and secondary schools yesterday afternoon, the ministry explained that the move was to give students 'flexibility and more choices in CCAs'. Also, girls have been participating in scout activities in many countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong, for many years. An MOE spokesman said parents and schools were consulted on the change, and the response has been supportive.

The announcement comes as sweet news to SSA chief commissioner Nicholas Tang. He told The New Paper that SSA had first proposed the idea to MOE about two years ago. He said: 'In this whole region, Singapore is the only one without girls in scouting in schools. 'We felt that we need to keep up with the times. The rest of world has already changed. We feel that girls can also benefit from the scout programme. It's suitable for all genders.' There are currently more than 150 young and adult female scouts, out of over 10,000 scouts in Singapore. Said Mr Tang: 'Although we told the girls they won't get any CCA points, they said it's all right.'

NOT SEPARATED

He noted that in the past few years, three girls had received the President's Scout Award, the highest scout award for youth members. Mr Tang explained that girls will wear the same scout uniform as the boys. They will not be separated in two different groups in school, as the purpose of having girls in scouting is to see them develop through an integrated and common programme. An MOE spokesman said: 'Similar to other uniformed groups, schools need to ensure that female officers are present for all overnight activities.' SSA will also be writing a letter to schools soon and organising a briefing for schools interested in admitting girls later this year. The announcement was welcomed by principals like Mrs Edelweis Neo of Dunman Secondary School. She said: 'Every year, a handful of girls would come up to us saying they are keen to join scouts. This would be a good opportunity for them.' It was good news too for Ms Joanne Lio, 20, who joined scouts when she was 17 and went on to win the President's Scout Award last year. She said: 'All along when I was in secondary school, I wished there was female scouting, but there wasn't, so I had to find an alternative and join another uniform group.' Added Madam Rafeah Awang, 34, who has seven children aged 8 to 17: 'It's good. It's more challenging, and girls can learn to be tough.' But some had reservations. Mrs Tan-Soon Eng Peng, vice-principal of Cedar Girls' Secondary, said that her school already has two strong girl guide companies. She said: 'We wouldn't want to stretch our resources by offering something similar.'

SOME UNHAPPY

Mr Tang acknowledged there are some who are unhappy about girls joining scouting. Girl Guides Singapore chief commissioner Yvonne Lim said the decision was 'regrettable'. She explained that Lord Baden-Powell, who founded both scouts and guides, had started a separate programme for girls as there are fundamental differences between boys and girls. She said the guides would remain a single-sex organisation. Said Ms Lim: 'In the long run, we are confident that parents, principals, teachers and the girls themselves will realise that we have a very established, relevant and strong programme, specially developed for girls and women - by girls and women.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

NDP 06

This year is a milestone year for NDP. It would be the last time it would be held in the National Stadium. By this time next year, the Stadium would have been demolished to make way for an Olympic Sports City.

6 Scouts participating as part of the NDP Marching Contingent 2006. Here are the special panoramic shots of each week's rehearsals showing the build up and excitement as the last NDP to be held in the National Stadium approached on 9 August 2006.