Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Scouting in the U.K. Part 3: Volunteering at Morrisons and “The Peg Game”

February 19, 2010 · 2 Comments

This week I completed four more hours of the experiential component of my Humanities 310 project.

If you happened to be shopping at Morrison’s between the hours of 11.00 and 13.00 on Wednesday than you may have seen me in my scout uniform bagging groceries with the Explorer scout group I volunteer with… Yes that’s right, bagging groceries.  In the U.S. helping out at the local supermarket would never be considered community service since almost every store employs grocery baggers. In England however bagging groceries as community service makes a lot of sense.

Because you can take the 25 or 35 bus directly to and from Morrisons a lot of older people tend to shop there since there is less walking involved.  Often times these older people have difficulties bagging their own groceries. That’s where the scouts come in.  Although I found it a bit awkward at first asking people if they wanted their groceries bagged for them most people were quite happy to not have to do it themselves. Even many of the younger shoppers complied.  One young customer’s face lit up in a similar fashion to mine every time I go to a gas station in New Jersey.  Overall it was a good experience doing some community service in Norwich.  All of the scouts seemed to really enjoy themselves and Morrisons really appreciated our help. Ever since I stopped bagging groceries in high school I never thought I would have to do it again but this time it felt as though I was doing something worthwhile.

Tonight I attended another Explorer Scout meeting.  Lucky for me there was no twenty minute walk involved as we met in Earlham Park for a “Scoutwide Game Night”.  This meant that both the Cub Scouts (Ages 10-13) and Explorer Scouts (ages 14-18) were present. After distributing glow sticks to everyone we headed down towards the center of Earlham Park where we played two hours of “The Peg Game”.  I had never heard of this game before but it was actually pretty fun.  We were divided up into two teams.  One team was made up of “attackers” and the other team was “defenders”.  There was a clothesline strung between two trees about 4 feet off the ground.  The glow sticks were put in a circle surrounding the clothesline.  The “attackers” were given clothespins or “pegs” and the goal was to attach them to the clothesline without being tagged.  The “defenders” goal was to tag the “attackers” before they got inside the glow stick circle. If tagged the attacker would have to forfeit his/her peg to the defender.  Whichever team had more pegs at the end would win the round.

During the first round I was an attacker.  I managed to get a few pins on the line before the round was over and my team emerged victorious! Being a defender was not as fun. You had to be more stationary and it was difficult to spot the attackers running full speed through the woods.  We switched sides two more times and before I knew it it was almost 9:30.  My legs were quite tired from all the running by the end.  It had been awhile since I played a game like that but I really enjoyed it.  I even got told I was a fast runner by a ten year old.  Although I would beg to differ if that’s not a good compliment than I don’t know what is.

One thing i’ve begun to notice about scouting here compared to the U.S. is that it’s geared more towards the social aspects than the rank advancements. Although I have helped the Explorer Scouts work on their cooking badge, the other meeting I attended we made troop t-shirts and last week when I was in Denmark they went bowling.  Originally I thought it was odd that a scout meeting was scheduled on a Friday night from 7:30-9:30 but because of how social a group it is for these kids it now makes perfect sense.  All the scouts present really seem to enjoy themselves at meetings and everyone seems genuinely excited to be part of the group.  This is more than I can say about many scouts that I have encountered in the U.S.

Volunteer Hours: 4

Total: 9.5

Categories: Henry
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2 responses so far ↓

  •   Karl // Feb 21st 2010 at 09:47

    Do you have any idea yet why the US Scouts are more fixated on merits badges? It is something different about the two scouting cultures or just the US and UK cultures in general?

  •   hankreas12 // Feb 22nd 2010 at 06:03

    I think US culture as a whole is focused more on achievements in general. Because it has always been an attitude that you can “work your way up” in the US it makes earning merit badges more appealing because you feel like you are progressing.

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