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Troop Report – November 2019

The first half of the autumn term has gone so quickly and I can hardly believe that we are planning for the November Fayre, Christmas, and camps in 2020.  It is our Open Evening next Friday when we will be doing presentations on all the three different camps we went on in the summer.  Maybe a couple of Award presentations as well, and an investiture, or several.

Comings and Goings

Shreya’s friend, Claudia, appeared in September and she has been joining in everything, with a smile on her face since then. She even came on the Expedition!  Shreya, and Claudia’s friend Isabel, has only been with us for one week, and she seems to have a big smile too.

It has been a month for bringing friends because Thomas has brought Solomon and Nathan to join us. They seem to be enjoying themselves too.

We are hoping to invest Claudia and Nathan at our Open Evening next Friday. Solomon cannot be there on that night but his turn will be just after Half-Term.

The other big news is that we have been joined by some of 6th.Tolworth’s Scouts and those coming up from 6th.Tolworth Cub Pack.  Judi, Beau, Sharfin and Warwick are now with us.  They will be retaining their identity as members of 6th.Tolworth, in the hope that a new Scout Leader will be found and they can, at some point, return to their own Group.  Meanwhile, we are pleased to have them with us and the only difference will be that they will be proudly wearing dark red scarves, just as we proudly wear ours of Royal Blue.

Friday evenings

Since the summer break, we have had our traditional games evening to start the term.

There has been preparation for the Expedition – routes, food, who is in which team and getting the tents, stoves etc. out on the night before we went.

Stuart Thompson, our ADC (Scouts), kindly came down and talked to the older members of the Troop about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and how it works in Scouting. Thanks Stuart.

We went to the Dustbowl in Oxshott Woods and took part in three different activities. Stuart organised a task which involved locating and digging up buried golf balls and throwing them into a circle a metre or so away. I sorted out, with the help of the Young Leaders, Capture the Flag but played how we did in Sweden. Nadine, aided by Peter, Briony and the others ran Lighthouse – always better outdoors with trees to hide behind instead of up-turned Gopak tables!

Graham and John masterminded the points and drinks & chocolate biscuits.

A good time was had by all, even if it was a little showery.

The Young Leaders built an Assault Course in Sparks Hall, for the Scouts to move vegetables around, only using their noses. (I got the knobbiest ones I could find – the potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc. that is – NOT THE NOSES!)  Meanwhile, while they were setting things up, Graham was getting the rest of the Troop to consider how life would be if we had FIVE fingers and TWO thumbs on each hand!  I haven’t quite got to the root of that one.

We spent almost a whole evening considering how to welcome and look after the Scouts from 6th.Tolworth. We didn’t take into account that we might frighten them away on their first night with us, when we met at Southwood in the rain.

Stuart, aided by Alex, and Phil from 1st.Malden, brought his Impossible Ladder. This is a giant inflatable neon green and black structure. You have to climb up the rope ladder but the ladder has a tendency to twist and throw you off. Add the rain to the mix and you can guess the results!! Some people managed to get up to the top, some failed and some were not even brave enough to try. Wonder why???

Indoors, Michael and Graham were involved in organising pitching a Hike Tent – indoors.  Two members of the team were in charge, but they weren’t allowed to actually touch the tent or DO ANYTHING. The rest of the team had to act on their instructions but they were all wearing blindfolds.  You might think that being indoors might complicate matters as it was not possible (or even advisable to try) to put in any tent pegs. Do not worry, in 20 minutes, none of the teams were even approaching that point. I don’t think that any of them had even got all three poles in the sleeves, let alone tried to get the tent off the floor.  Ah well. Another time maybe!

In the next room, Peter was organising various team building exercises, culminating in getting everyone sitting sideways on chairs in a circle, then leaning backwards so you were, in essence, lying on top of the person behind you, whilst your feet were still on the ground and knees flexed to 90 degrees. That is just about okay, although a slightly unusual way to make new friends, until the Leaders started taking the chairs out.  Ideally, they should have just stayed where they were, with the whole circle supporting itself.  It worked well with one of the groups and emboldened by the success, we tried it with the whole Troop.  I have to tell you that it didn’t quite work out how it was planned, and everyone landed up in a hysterical circle on the floor.  What a surprise!

  Here is Matthew’s account of our trip to Strategy last June

First we got on a faulty minibus with a broken end of the crankshaft therefore we pulled over after the power steering went and a puff of smoke came out of the engine so we pulled over only 200m away from the scout hut. Next we waited for a bit and then a bit and then a bit more before the AA van turned up revealing the problem and telling us we couldn’t use that bus so there was a minor panic about what we were going to do. However, about 1 hour and a half we came up with a solution. Stuart, one of our Scout Leaders, is also a 2nd Cuddington Explorer Leader and so we could use their old bus. So once we had come up with a plan we had to put it into action. Three 2nd Cuddington Leaders helped us by taking our bags and giving us a lift to 2nd Cuddington Hall where the mini bus is located. So finally after originally leaving at 5.15pm we left around 8.00pm. We were finally on the road and after getting to Cobham Sainsbury’s we needed fuel so we stopped and the first fuel pump we tried was broken and not filling up so we moved to the other pump in front of us and we got fuel for the trip to Cirencester Park which was reckoned to be about a 2 hour drive.  Nearing the end of the drive all the scouts fell asleep as it was almost 10.45pm.

Finally we arrived at the camp after having a roller-coaster of emotions. We got the 4 tents out of the mini bus so we could set them up and surprisingly we set the 2 scouts tents in 20 minutes with the help of some 1st Hook scout leaders next we took our kit to our tents. Next Stuart needed help putting his tent so Leo Charlie & I helped him. Then finally at 12.15am our area was set up and we could go to sleep.

The next morning the boys were up around 6.30am and the girls 6.40 and then at 7.00am a loud tannoy spoke loudly ‘bing bong wake up happy campers bong bing’ so we were up early but we had to as for breakfast we were the second group to eat. And breakfast was important as we had a long day of walking and activities. For breakfast we had the options of bacon or sausage bap or porridge. Once we had finished breakfast and washed up we had the morning briefing around 8.45am which we were told what we are doing and explained the rules. We set off on a 45 minute walk to hub C which was one of the main bases in the walk.

After that we could start going to checkpoints and the first thing we did was a total wipeout special the big red balls which we got 35 out of 49 points next we went to the hub B where they had a sprint drill where u would run 10m as fast as you can and it measures your speed. The third thing we did first aid where we had to assess and perform CPR on which we got 150/150. The next thing we did as we had a late night and early rise we were very tired after lunch so we found a line of trees and grass and set up a place and ate and chatted for 30 mins. In the afternoon we did some interesting games such as blindfolded walk along a rope and we also played a game where you had seven floor pads and have to get from one point to another. We finished our activities and got back to base camp at about 4pm and went to relax until dinner which was pasta Bolognese or curry. Once we finished dinner we started to go around the camp looking for some other people to hang out with. There was one group of friends who we joined and then spent the rest of the night hanging out with each other until about 11.30pm which is when we finally went to bed. The next morning we got up at around 7.00am and had breakfast at about 7.40 and had the same as the previous morning on that day we had the presentations about the bases and hubs had the carnival. We met up with our friends from the previous night and went around with. But first we competed in the football tournament and waited for about half an hour before we played our match which we lost in the first round. We met up with the leaders at about 2.00pm to get on the  road back to 2nd Cuddington Hall, with no problems at all.

Here is Ben’s take on the World Scout Jamboree

It all started when I heard about the selection weekend to go on an amazing trip to West Virginia and attend the 24th World Scout Jamboree. The selection process involved showing certain skills such as leadership, survival skills and social skills. I was very excited when I found out I was going!

After 2 years of fundraising, it was amazing to finally go to West Virginia and be part of the 24th World Scout Jamboree. After hours of bag packing and several cake sales, it was great for me to unlock a new world.

First, we went to New York and Times Square was filled with the whole 4,000 Scouts belonging to the UK Contingent. The next stage of our incredible adventure was the trip to the campsite itself. It was massive and buses were used to get from one side of the site to the other.

It took us two days by coach to get to the campsite, and along the way we saw the natural wonders of West Virginia, from rolling hills, to lakes and vast rivers. When we first arrived, it felt great to have finally got there. There were 45,000 Scouts from 152 nations all around the world. I was part of a unit called the Double Deckers (36 explorers and 4 leaders) and we were responsible for ensuring our camp ran smoothly for the time we were there. This included food shopping, cooking, washing and cleaning and working as a team. There were many activities to take part in such as water sports, BMXing, mountain biking and shooting at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. The campsite was a massive 10,600 acres, surrounded by wilderness that expands for many miles.

After 12 days of activities, trading badges, scarves and bags we went to Washington DC where we saw the White House, The Capitol Building, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial and many other iconic buildings. After that, we went to Montreal, Canada for 3 days where we visited the Granby Zoo, which has one of the two white Rhinos left in the world.

Our incredible journey at the Jamboree had finally come to an end and it was time to go home. Whilst I was glad to be on the way home, I had created some wonderful memories and made some great friends who I plan to keep in touch with. I would wholeheartedly recommend that you take the opportunity to go to the 25th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea.

Leo has written the story of the GLSW Expedition to Sweden

We got on a plane at Gatwick South, and the flight to Copenhagen was about 2hrs.  Once we arrived and collected our luggage, we were all shuttled onto a coach to drive to Svedala scout group in Sweden where we would be staying for the next few days.

We had to drive across the Oresund bridge to get from Denmark to Sweden, it took about 10 mins to get over it. When we arrived at Svedala we set up our sleeping kit in the surrounding buildings, and chilled out after our long journey.

Our first full day in Sweden, we got onto a train and went “Dressin” cycling, which is cycling on disused railway tracks with modified cycles. We cycled in pairs, so one of us could rest while the other cycled. We had to be careful as the tracks crossed roads, so we had to stop and get off and walk our bikes across at those junctions.

On the second day we went to a Viking Recreational Museum, which showed how Vikings lived. Our tour guide, Tomas, showed us the traditions of Swedish Vikings and told us about the legends of Norse Gods.

We then hiked up the country for 3 days to Yiddinge, we had to hike on the beach, up a mountain, across streams, and through native Swedish woodlands. After we arrived at base camp, we met the rest of the Swedish scouts and all of the German Scouts. At base camp we canoed, swam in the lake, forged crow bars and cast a scout logo in aluminium, and loads of Wide Games. We also had a cultural exchange, where we made tea and welsh cakes.  I had a brilliant time, made loads of friends, and we were all upset to leave.

John, Graham, Michael and the Young Leaders took the rest of the Troop to Tolmers for Summer Camp

It sounds like they had a brilliant time with lots of different activities, an all day hike, campfires, get togethers and singing. I really have to thank my Leaders, particularly John, for running this camp – only the second time I have missed a camp that the Troop has attended in all the years I have been Scout Leader!

What a wet autumn it has been so far!  The Expedition Weekend was no exception.

Two groups of Scouts were walking. Livvy was in charge of one group with Annouska, Maddy, Will and Dexter.  The other was led by Amelie and Charlie, with Matylda, Claudia and Shreya.

We started at The Queen Elizabeth Country Park on the A3 near Petersfield. From past experience, we know that there are far more paths on the ground than there are on the map, and that getting through the Country Park is, as far as navigation is concerned, the hardest bit of the weekend.  It is true to say that, unless you make mistakes, you do not learn.  Marcelina and I spent quite a time inside the Park, hoping that we would locate our Scouts. Shall we just say that there was a lot of learning going on that day, and leave it at that?

Although dry during the early part of the day but it was raining by the time they reached the overnight stop at 1st. Harting Scout HQ.  However, tents went up quickly and cooking on the Trangia stoves was done indoors, or everyone and everything would have been cold and waterlogged.

Graham had, unfortunately, had to go home at teatime on Saturday because of a family emergency.  Apparently, it rained most of the night. (I can sleep through most things except for Scouts awake at 3am.) John and I had decided before Sunday breakfast that it was just not going to be safe on slippery rocks in wind and even more rain, to send our Scouts up and down, and up and down again, the hills on the last part of the route. We got going more slowly than usual and after eating, packing wet tents and clearing up, the Scouts set off in their two groups. We met them on Harting Down, got them drying off in the minibus and broke the news that we were not letting them continue, on safety grounds. They coped well with this disappointment (!) and we headed home rather earlier than planned, all safe and sound.  Thanks to John, Graham and Marcelina for their help with this venture. It wasn’t the most restful way to spend a weekend!  Also to Stuart Thompson, who supported us on the phone through our worries about departing Leaders and horrible weather.

What’s next?

Our Open Evening on Friday with Chief Scout’s Gold Award presentation.

Quiz Night on Saturday 9 November to raise funds for Finland 2020 – see Flyer.

November Fayre – Saturday 16 November.

Scouts running meetings for Cubs and for Beavers this term.

Is it too early to say “Happy Christmas”?

Caroline Marsden

Scout Leader

Scout Troop

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