Report written by: Dr Peter Rookes
Our 10th annual Faiths for Fun event , organised jointly by Birmingham Council of Faiths and Birmingham Scouts, for children aged 7-12 years was held on Sunday 11 th March at Hamstead Hall Academy. As always, we were given excellent facilities for the event.
The event has successively been sponsored by VSO, Near Neighbours, West Midlands Police Property Fund, Grantham Yorke Trust, William A.Cadbury Trust, and this year Baron Davenport Trust.
2. Participation The Buddhist event was difficult to plan this year because of the short term between half term and the early Easter. As usual, we tried to avoid other events, but we did end up coinciding with Mothering Sunday, which we were aware of, and St Patrick’s Day celebrations, which we expected to be held the following Sunday as the day after St Patrick’s Day. Some groups hadn’t met in recent weeks because of bad weather, which constrained communications.
The number of Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Guides, Brownies, and youngsters from Faith Groups attending this year was well below the average, and allowed us to experiment with more efficient registration systems.
The faith breakdown was as follows:-
Baha’i – 0, Buddhist – 0, Christian – 10, Hindu – 0, Jewish – 0, Muslim 11, Sikh – 3, No Faith – 2, Unknown – 5
There were also over 40 baseholders and other adult helpers, including those involved in the parachute game, registration, refreshments, timekeepers, team leaders, team movers, campfire, setting up at the beginning and clearing up at the end.
3 Activities As previously the afternoon commenced with youngsters joining the parachute game, after they had registered. This was followed by the official opening and the youngsters in multifaith teams visiting the bases in turn. Each team was guided by an adult leader.
Base activities included Rangoli and Hindu festivals, Pillars of Islam, Buddhist meditation, Jewish story of Moses and the Passover, Baha’i cooperation, Sikh mothers, Christian Easter and Footsteps trees and the environment.
Unfortunately, some of these activities were found to be unacceptable by the 309 Muslim Scout group, who were attending for the first time. This issue will need to be addressed before the 2019 event.
Halfway through the afternoon there was a break for refreshments, and a simulated campfire at the end.
4. Changes We maintained the changes implemented last year, which were generally popular:-
- Greater streamlining of the registration process
- Limiting the age range to 7-12 years
- Having a simulated‘campfire’ instead of the sports.
5.Official Guests David Bradnock (Scout County President and Deputy Lord Lieutenant), and our Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Shafique Shah, officially opened the event and visited each base to talk with the children, baseholders and other helpers. Other guests included Nick Thomas (Deputy County Commissioner), Rob Roche (District Commissioner).
6.Evaluation The overall response was that the event was successful despite the small numbers, the children got on well together, except there were some issues regarding the 309 Muslim group.. Most of the youngsters wanted to come again.
a)Date needs thinking about
b)Well organised and well run
c)Children very interested and engaged
d)Need more children
e)Use recyclable cups
f) Muslim children kept themselves to themselves and arrived late due to prayers..
As always, we are very grateful for the support we get from Mike Watson at Hamstead Hall Academy.
Secretary & Sector Liaison Officer, Birmingham Council of Faiths
County International & Faiths Adviser, Birmingham Scout Association
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