Qatar has its own Scout and Guide Association and invited British Scouting Overseas to set up and operate in Doha to provide a Scouting experience for expatriate children and has in the past offered use of their facilities to run a group camp.
The 1st Doha Scout Group was first registered in March 1987 and has evolved over time to meet the changes in demand of British Scouting within Qatar over the last three decades. At its peak, it was running two Beaver Colonies, two Cub Packs, one Scout Troop and one Explorer Section operating out of local schools who actively support and generously provide facilities for the Sections to operate. The group is currently run by over twenty adult volunteers and has a mix of expatriate Scouts from differing nationalities from varied ethnic, cultural, religious and geographical background. The Group has maintained around a third of its members being girls despite the provision of Guiding sections in Doha.
The group commits to providing a camp and adventurous activity each term per Section, and undertakes traditional Scouting activities such as pioneering, camping, backwoods cooking, hiking, wide games, survival techniques and all other requirements to obtain the challenge badges and Section awards. The local climate plays a huge part in their programme and ability to camp (forty degrees Celsius and above in summer), so in the summer the activities tend to be held indoors or water based adventurous activities such as power-boating and wake-boarding. In the cooler months, they have one or two night camps in the desert with a campfire and the most beautiful clear night sky. One of their most enjoyable camps was a kayaking beach camp.
Historically, the location being relatively close to other BSO groups within the Middle East enabled attendance to District camps in great numbers. More recently, they have attended BSO summer jamborees, Poacher and Chamboree, to connect with their international Scout friends.
A Scout Leader from 1st Doha told us their best moment so far
“…it was my first camp as lead with the Scout Leader ‘Chil’ having the permit and guiding me. The wide game was a walk for the Scouts with navigation to four points where leaders and adult helpers ran an incident site or task. ‘Chil’ was responsible for being the injured hiker, planted himself on a tarp, liberally covered himself in ketchup and lay in the sun for the day waiting to be rescued and treated. All good so far. One of the first patrols to reach him included a very young Scout, his first camp and his first wide game in the desert. He was so pleased at finding the location that he ran ahead, saw me and thought I was the leader to talk to….then happened to glance towards ‘Chil’, reacted badly, fell over, stood up, screamed “get the ambulance” and ran off! Only then realising it was ‘Chil’, turned around, fell over this time laughing and had to be led away by his patrol twenty minutes later, still laughing and in fact crying with laughter.
Not sure what the moral of the story was but it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in Scouting and was a great tale to tell around the camp fire that night. He did learn his first aid though and will react well if it is the real thing in future.”
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