Training Centre objective for Scout project – Towpath Talk, October 2015

Earlier this year Chris Stead and Keith Allen attended separate NCBA Trainers Courses.  Both obtained their Trainers certificate and are now looking  to upgrade their Project’s NCBA membership to that of an Accredited Training Centre (ATC).  Here they give a little bit more detail about their Project Wakefield District Scouts.

Jubilee Venture is a 47ft steel narrowboat owned and operated by Wakefield District Scouts.  Launched in 1977 following a donation of the shell to the “venture scouts” of Wakefield as part of the Queen’s silver jubilee celebrations hence the name.  The boat operated from Wakefield in West Yorkshire and cruises mainly on the Calder and Hebble but also having easy access to the Leeds and Liverpool, Huddersfield Broad and Narrow canals.

Fitted out with 10 bunks, cooker and toilet this provides basic facilities which allow scouts from all over the country to experience the world of narrow boating as well as promoting teamwork which enables crews to discover the canals around Wakefield and beyond. Going through several colour scheme changes, re plating and a recent new engine she is looked after by a team of dedicated volunteers who tirelessly work to keep the boat on the water and operational through the summer months, whilst the training team embark on a programme of training throughout the winter months, as well as a “sail with Santa” event in mid-December that allows beaver scouts to have a ride with Santa himself in his floating grotto.  They can then disembark at the end of the short trip with a bag of presents and a big smile on their face. Late December may bring a visit to the dry dock if needed then after a quite January and February March will allow for more training courses before the season will begin again.

Training has always been a vital part of JV’s history but with the advent of the internet bringing email and websites the demand from the scouting community has become more evident in recent years which also brought a rethink of the booking system and also a more comprehensive training scheme allowing scouters to benefit from this valuable resource to benefit our members both young and the not so young amongst them.

5 years ago two of the volunteers visited the narrow boat project in Harlow, Essex to embark on some training in the form of a CCBM course provided on behalf of the NCBA by the project and following a weekend of been put through their paces they successfully passed the course which planted the idea of one day Jubilee Venture becoming a NCBA Accredited Training Centre, which would enable the scout leaders of the scout movement to train in familiar surroundings but also gain a national qualification, thus enabling them to gain a scout adventurous activity permit.  This would allow them to become a master of the boat and lead their own groups on a self-drive basis giving a unique experience under the scouting banner with trips lasting just one evening up to a week-long covering various distances but usually from and returning to the same base.

Chris and Keith both CCBM holders continued to gain training and operational experience on the boat with the aim of working with the NCBA to become one of their ATC’s, 2014 saw Chris applying and been accepted on a trainers course at the SCAD boat in Skipton where he completed a trainers course, which took us further down the road of becoming an ATC and not just a member of the association. We hope following these courses we can now see the end of this road which will hopefully start another chapter of JV’s journey.

In the previous years the committee that looks after the boat has also been reformed to allow for more efficient operation of the boat in recent times.  This group is a dedicated team of scouters and non-uniformed personal who have in the past taken on the challenges of running a narrow boat which sometimes seem impossible but somehow keep the boat on the water and operational at all times, as well as coping with everyday issues that will be trivial but very relevant to the users to make sure a safe voyage is possible at all times.

Looking to the future we will hopefully see the continuation of a successful training centre and busy season’s with various size groups embarking on trips which will allow all members of the scouting association the opportunity to take part in educational and pleasure trips which will continue to benefit the young people of today and tomorrow.


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