Larah Korrison, National Archivist
Friday 10th of July 2020
Earlier this year we launched the SSAGO Memories project, we wanted to hear about past member’s experiences, whether that’s at a club level or national. A few months on and we wanted to share some of those precious memories that we’ve gratefully received!
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has confined us to our houses. For some of us that might mean more people under one roof, or having to move back home sooner than expected without the end of year meal or even a SSAGO ball.
We have had to explore our local areas, find creative ways to make time go by and some have had to work from home, perhaps for the first time.
It’s been an opportunity to spend more quality time with our families (whether we like it or not); I sit opposite my brother every day and it’s been nice to chat whilst we work. We’ve had more time to do the hobbies we’ve always wanted to do, using our time to complete virtual badges, explore Minecraft or chat to old friends.
For some it’s been a time to reflect on life’s achievements, ambitions and decisions.
Earlier this year we launched the SSAGO Memories project, we wanted to hear about past member’s experiences, whether that’s at a club level or national. A few months on and we wanted to share some of those precious memories that we’ve gratefully received
Thank you to everyone who shared our posts and we now have a dedicated website ssago.org/special/memories
Here are some highlights so far
John Nutt - Birmingham University 1963 - 1968
“At this time rallies in the autumn and spring were usually held in a school with use of the kitchen for catering, classrooms for sleeping and the hall for the usual Saturday evening Ceilidh. Numbers were around 250 so the dancing was crowded and often very well received by the band and caller as there was no struggle to get people on to the floor and a good proportion knew the dances. It was here that I first came across ‘Ninepins’. This is a version of the Cumberland Square dance with an extra person in the middle whose purpose is to swap with one of the others while avoiding getting hit in the charges across.
The day time activities usually involved visits to local places though these were often low key as people tended to arrive late on the Friday and the dancing went on until midnight on the Saturday and then the singing (an electric campfire often appeared) started. There were a number of songbooks published by various clubs. Birmingham had a simple duplicated one whilst Bangor had an excellent printed one and I can recall a Kudu songbook but that might have been from SAGGA.”
Martin Whelan - Loughborough 2000
“The SSAGO I joined was very different to the one that I left. When I joined, the organisation was searching for its role in a changing time for Scouting, with the decision having been made to retire Venture Scouting but the details of its replacement (and implications for SSAGO) not yet clear. The organisation I left was vibrant, proud and looking to the future or at least that’s my perception.
The first rally was in the north east of England near Durham. The rally came at a very difficult time for SSAGO with organisational difficulties (which were quickly overcome) but for the rally the state of the country made things more difficult than usual. Weeks of heavy rainfall had resulted in widespread flooding; a major train accident highlighted safety shortcoming across the network resulting in an extended closure of major parts of the rail network and it came just two months after the fuel strike. The fuel strike had resulted in the country effectively running out of petrol and diesel in September and there was a serious attempt to replicate the blockade in the week of the rally. Within ten minutes of being around the campfire I fell in love with SSAGO and started to make friendships which nearly 20 years on are still going strong.”
Penant from the 1963 Birmingham Inter-Varsity Scout and Guide Rally