There isn’t a Scout group in existence that doesn’t wish that their stores had more in common with the TARDIS(external Link) – or perhaps less if it has been a while since it was cleared out – for a group with no fixed base, like our blended scout group* 26th Milton Keynes this becomes even more of a challenge. 

Like all scout groups the 26th has acquired stuff and there is only so much you can get in a garage that’s already full! 

Jenny Ryder, Group Scout Leader of the 26th, approached Stuart Ball about the forthcoming challenges and he suggested an idea that he and Dawn M, from 1st Crownhill, had been kicking around prior to 26th being formed, around the idea of “Programme in a Box”. With the sad closure of two groups and the need to ensure the assets from those groups were put to best use, and some good value fire pits,  the idea grew into the District Equipment and Activities Library (DEAL). 

The DEAL will allow groups to borrow equipment and pre-packed activity boxes, from tents and stoves to model-making tools and kite making materials.  The pre-packed crates will contain all equipment and consumables, template risk assessments and how-to guides, all checked and maintained ready for use.  

With support from Stuart Bailey, District Commissioner, the brief is to make the packs affordable to Groups/Units whilst also “wiping its nose”, so the aim is to ensure that it’s cost effective to use the library, whilst also enabling maintenance of equipment and investment in future expansion of library content. 

With technology investments already made by the District & Damboree, the necessary components were available to include the DEAL booking system into the District online shop, so with the technical aspects of the library in place the 26th Milton Keynes will soon start piloting the booking system for a limited number of offerings.  

Jenny is project leading DEAL, so if you have ideas you want to share, or want to help write Risk Assessments or how-to guides, or help develop existing or new packs, you can reach her using the form below: 
 
Contact – Milton Keynes Scouts Resource Centre (mkscouts.org) 

Release Schedule

Once piloted, kinks ironed out, and product content padded out to include the template risk assessments, programme ideas, badge links, and links to any relevant third-party content we will begin on the following release schedule. 

ContentDateNotes
Pilot Testing Release 0 26-Sept Technical testing & product refinement 26th Milton Keynes Only 
Initial Release 1 teaser comms 08-Oct Outlining the initial release of packs & availability dates 
Release 1 Booking Availability 22-Oct All Milton Keynes Scout Groups 
1st Pickup – 30th October 1st Return – 6th November 
Release 2 Comms 03-Dec Outlining the second release of packs & availability dates 
Release 2 Booking Availability 07-Jan All Milton Keynes Scout Groups 1st Pickup – 15th January 1st Return – 22nd January  
Release 3 Comms  04-Mar Outlining the  third release of packs & availability dates 
Release 3 Booking Availability 11-Mar All Milton Keynes Scout Groups Registration for Other Youth Organisations in Bucks/Northampton 1st Pickup – 19th March 1st Return – 26th March 
Release 4 Booking Availability TBC All Milton Keynes & Registered Groups  
As currently planned

 
We will roadmap Releases 4+ as we receive feedback from the first releases, and any ideas that come from the District Lodge Leaders, Sixers & District Patrol Leaders Councils/forums. 

Accessing the Library 

The library will only be accessible to book if you have logged into the Shop with your MKScouts email address/user ID. This is due to mkscouts.org email addresses being the way we guarantee that any DEAL booking is for an MKScouts Group, and not a Parent booking something for a kids party. If you need help accessing your account, of if you haven’t yet obtained one, please contact us through the support desk https://help.mkscouts.org / support@mkscouts.org 

Adding to the Library 

We’re looking at ways for Groups/Units to donate equipment & activities to DEAL to reduce their storage requirements without affecting their ability to deliver a good programme, but also enable other Groups/Units to use the equipment. We’re also looking at ways to offset donations of equipment such as coupons/vouchers towards library bookings. However, these are at the “blue sky thinking” stage, and would need District Exec approval.

Getting Involved

We after some help with adding content to the Packs such as:

  • Sample/Template Risk Assessments – creating and reviewing
  • Activity ideas – Step-by-step activities for all sections that a pack is for.
  • Pack Ideas – If you, your group or your young people have an idea for a Pack, please let us know

Release 0 

Release 0 is currently being prepped and tested, if you would like to see and follow our progress, and offer any feedback suggestions, have a look, and get in touch: 

Equipment Library – Milton Keynes Scouts Resource Centre (mkscouts.org) 

 
Stuart Ball & Jenny Ryder 

*Blended Scouting has been described by Akela to one of our cubs  
 
T & Akela who are in Coniston Cubs, 26th Milton Keynes:  
T: Akela, so we’re a digital group without a hut. So, what do we do in winter?  

A: We get to have fun & adventures outside even when it is dark, provided it is safe  

T: Do we have to meet online through winter?  

A: We meet online when it is unsafe to meet outside OR if online is the best place to meet in our Digital Scout Hut  

T: wow, that’s really exciting. I love being in Cubs. 

T & Akela from 26th Milton Keynes Scouts