We didn’t vote. I did briefly consider registering. Then I realised that I really have crossed that ex-pat line where I live in a country when I can’t vote and don’t understand the politics, but I also no longer understand the politics in the other country where I would be eligible to vote. I have tried to follow it on the news, but the main impressions that I have managed to glean are that UKIP are a bunch of fascists, the Greens have forgotten about being green, and everybody else is a clone army of posh gits arguing over the croquet lawn. None of which seemed like a great basis for casting an informed vote.
Scout camp last weekend was fun and frustrating in equal measures. We went by bike to Josefina, a little village around 15 kms away from here. The 11-18 ages in our Scout group have been going by bike to local camping destinations for the last couple of years. Good for the environment, and the physical fitness of the kids, it also deals nicely with the fact that quite a few of ours don’t have access to any other forms of transport. Having taken over the 11-15 group this year, I got to go by bike, hoorah, sleep in my own tent, hoorah, and cook every meal on a fire, hoorah. When I went trawling around on the internet putting together ideas for activities, it amused me to discover that these days in the northern hemisphere, Scout groups talk about “survival camps” as being something special when the kids have to make their own fire and cook their own food on it. To Argentinean Scouts, that’s just “going camping”!
The bit that is probably going to take me all year to figure out is how to relate to this group of kids. They have a reputation for eating Scout leaders for breakfast, which is how I’ve ended up with them because they’ve munched through most of the rest of our adult contingent over the last couple of years, and no-one else wants to take them on. I never planned to work with teens. But I’m finding that it’s a similar set of skills I think to the ones we are developing in relationship with our Teen – maximise spending time with them, lots of close-watching of reactions and interactions, figuring out when to ignore and when to be robust, and learning to pick the right moment to capitalise on receptivity to any attempted intervention.