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Troop Report – September 2017

Newcomers

Before the end of term we invested Jasper, Ethan, Bradley, Tamsin, Matthew, Ava, Poppy, Matylda and Maddy. Very smart you look too!  Unfortunately Rosie felt that other commitments before Scouts left her so tired that she couldn’t enjoy the meeting.  Maybe she will be able to re-join us if the situation changes with the new school year.  Hope so.

Friday Nights

The theory for Mechanics Badge took up a lot of time at the end of term for those who did it and we had to work around that.  Harry did his presentation on St. Matthew’s Church and Holly did hers about Tolworth History, both for part of World Challenge and their Personal Challenge. We did some work on survival kit which need to be prepared for those tackling Survival Skills Badge in the autumn.  We did some cooking on Trangia stoves to assess what sort of foods are appropriate for expeditions.  Lots of games too!

Finland Fund Raising

Thanks to Lyn Stone, ADC (Beaver Scouts), we had another chance for some fund-raising at Beaver Sports held at Kingsmeadow.  Lots of people made cakes and we had a regular flow of people wanting cups of tea and coffee.  Mariola again donated some of her luscious ice-cream which was collected from Pistachios by Karen.  Lyn wouldn’t let us sell any ice-cream until the races were done (lest the Beavers be unwell on the track!) and unfortunately, the rain was starting to fall by that time but lots of hardened ice-cream addicts weren’t put off and had to try …  We raised a total of £240.68.  Well done everyone!

Strategy

This was a new camp for us but it had been recommended by a reliable source (1st.Hook) so we gave it a go.  Graham did the long drive in the minibus to Cirencester Park and we took 9 Scouts in the end.  This is a new large event which is growing year on year. The plan is that you arrive on Friday night and pitch tents then enjoy the delights of Disco, Talent Show heats, dancing, food stalls and a chance for a good gossip. Saturday is taken up with an incident hike but you can go to any check-point you like, in what order you like.  The idea is to amass as many points as you can.  All leaders have to help but you don’t really know what you will be involved in until you arrive at your check-point.  Graham and I helped to run “Supermarket Sweep” which was later voted as the most fun of all the check-points.  Our two teams did really well (43rd – Holly, Keira, Giacomo and Lily – and  66th – Lex, Thomas W, Marcelina, Isabella and  Leo) out of 268 teams considering that we didn’t really understand the subtleties of the scoring and the competition until afterwards.  Some of us maybe learned some hard lessons about how to work as a team, or at least, how NOT to do it.  Saturday evening was similar to Friday except that there was the final of the Talent Show.  Sunday morning involved sports and crafts.  Our team was 3rd in the Tug-of-War.  I took advantage of helping as well as spying out some new crafty ideas for use this autumn.

A really enjoyable weekend.  Very well organised.  Thanks to Graham for the transport. Worth it, I thought.  Let’s hope that I can find us a driver for next year!

Mechanics Badge

The Mechanics Badge course went well.  Michael led 3 evening teaching sessions on Friday nights and everyone went to one Saturday morning session at Kingston College with Paul and Michael. Lovely set-up they have at the College.  Cars in bits everywhere but all so CLEAN!

11 Scouts finished the course but they still have a tiny bit of work to do over the holidays and prove to Michael that they done this. (I’ve forgotten exactly what Michael said.  Did you notice?!)  Thanks to Michael and Paul for organising this. Excellent!

Badges in General

We’ve had another crop of badges at the end of term. Quite a few Scouts are now very close to their Chief Scout’s Gold Award.  Some have been working hard in the holidays too.  Details next time because my list is buried. Harry is virtually there and we will be presenting his “Gold” on our first evening back. (21.00 Friday 8th. September.  All welcome.)  More about Half-Term, I predict.

I have persuaded Robert to do some testing for Sports Enthusiast when we are back so if you follow Football, Rugby or Cricket, get busy!

Summer Camp

 Both Marcelina and Isabella have written their thoughts on Summer Camp which was held at Buddens Scout Campsite, near Wareham in Dorset.  As background, after Camp last summer, the older Scouts said that they wanted to do a whole lot of Water Activities next time.  They should know not to challenge me like that! They certainly got plenty of chances to get wet!

Isabella’s Thoughts First

We set off to summer camp at the British Legion on Saturday morning. When we arrived at site, we pitched all the tents before eating dinner that was a very tasty curry made by John. We woke up on Sunday and after we ate breakfast we went down to the lake for some canoeing and kayaking. When we did canoeing we enjoyed playing cops and robbers where the cops had to catch the robbers who were running away (and capsizing most of the time!) With kayaking we played many different games including handball. In the evening, the patrols all cooked their own beef and vegetable casseroles and we ate some cake before bed because it was Leo’s birthday.

On Monday we woke up early to go to Cumulus activities to do some coasteering, climbing and abseiling, all of which were down cliff faces! With coasteering, we learned how to safely jump into water with shallow and deep water entries and with climbing and abseiling we got to go up and down natural walls.

On Tuesday we stayed at site to do some monkey climbing and raft building. Monkey climbing, for those who were not at camp, is climbing up a tree with hand and footholds drilled onto it while being attached with rope and a harness. With raft building, we were split into groups of 4-6 and we had to build a raft using sticks, rope and barrels full of air. My group’s raft broke as soon as it hit the water so we couldn’t play games on the rafts like the other groups did but instead we all tried to balance on a barrel for five seconds, something a lot harder than it sounds as no one could do it! In the evening we cooked our own dinner again and this time we made gammon steak with peas and potatoes.

On Wednesday we went to the Tank Museum where we had the opportunity to watch some tanks drive around, learn about the evolution and purpose of tanks and ride around in a tank. On Thursday we went to Splashdown at Tower Park where we all got to play on the water slides for two hours. Some water slides were dark, some were fast and some had doughnuts. We went on a canoeing expedition in the evening where we travelled down a river and played more canoeing games such as the evolution of canoes (that involved balancing on the edge of canoes), fruit salad, sailing a canoe and who could find the biggest jellyfish in the river! After that we went back to Tower Park where we had McDonald’s for dinner.

On Friday we began taking down the tents and we also went crate stacking but with a twist. Instead of one person going up a stack of crates, two people had to, meaning that we had to use more teamwork than normal crate stacking to help your partner stay on top of the crates! We went home on Saturday after a very tiring but fun week and we had McDonald’s again for lunch!

I also want to say, on behalf of all of the other Scouts, a massive thank you to all the leaders and young leaders for making this camp possible.

Then Marcelina’s

What a week!

Coasteering, raft building, canoeing, kayaking, the Tank Museum, crate stacking, tree climbing, and of course, the water park! Everyone had fun, and no wonder we all want to go to another summer camp next year.

When we first arrived at Buddens Scouts Campsite, we all had to do quite a bit of teamwork. Then we had to erect the dining shelters, the mess tent, the cook tent, and then we had to unpack our own bags! Deciding it was enough for one day, we had a delicious dinner and decided to get a good nights rest for the next action-packed day.

On Sunday, we finished organizing camp, and as soon as our leaders were satisfied we had worked hard enough (it took us quite a while!), we were split into teams. One team went canoeing, one went kayaking, and the remainder had ‘free time’, which was actually finishing tidying up camp. Certainly many people capsized, both in kayaks and canoes! We all had fun though despite the freezing water… Hopefully nobody caught a cold?

We had the privilege of making our own dinner that night! We all managed to light our own fires successfully, and I don’t know about everyone else, but that dinner was probably the best I’d ever had (sorry John… your food’s delicious too!)

The next day, after breakfast, we were sorted into two teams for abseiling and coasteering. We went part of the way there in the minibuses, got our gear, and then hiked down to the coast. Coasteering may have been a little bit scary for some people, but, really, everyone had fun. Rock climbing and abseiling was also fun, because instead of a climbing wall, we used cliffs! Then we had to abseil down another cliff, which was terrifying, but so much fun!  After we had dried ourselves off back at camp, we got time to relax before dinner, and a good nights sleep.

On Tuesday, we were split into three groups for raft building and monkey climbing (the third group got to relax!) Monkey climbing was a new, amazing experience for everyone – a tree covered with handholds and footholds like a climbing wall and nearly all of us got to the top! Well done!

Raft building was a lot of hard work, but plenty of fun! Each team had to build their own raft and was there one that fell apart as soon as it was put in the water? Some of our knot work needs working on!

We all got to relax and recharge in the afternoon before our fire lighting skills were put to the test – in the pouring rain! Umbrellas came in handy, and so did Peter’s fire kit!

And so, after a very stormy night, Wednesday came, thankfully with sunny skies, and only a few clouds drifting across the horizon. We ate breakfast and had to pack our rucksacks quickly – we were scheduled to spend the whole day at the Tank Museum!  It was incredible. We all got to watch tanks in action, learn about their special features and why they were valuable during wars, and then we got to explore! After lunch, we sorted ourselves into teams of three/four and went around the museum, taking in new and interesting information from the eye-catching exhibits that surrounded us. Once we had spent a few hours walking around taking in facts (and pictures) we got to go to the gift shop! We bought postcards, toys, tank cards, and of course, sweets! Candy canes, lollipops, chocolate, clotted cream fudge… I think many of us found it hard to leave!

The next day, we had to wake up quite early as we needed to get ready to go to Splashdown and Tower Park! We definitely all had an incredible time going on the Infinity, Dragons Lair, and the Mississippi Drifter! I think most of the leaders spent the whole day in the Jacuzzi (they needed a bit of relaxation!), and some people went on all of the rides! Impressive work guys!

But there was more excitement to come. Our Leaders decided to treat their Troop to a Canoeing Expedition!

Our challenge : to rope two canoes together and ‘survive’ as a team for the afternoon! We somehow managed to play lots of on-the-water games, including competitions, Fruit Salad, and much more! Not too many of us fell in the water, but that doesn’t mean that plenty of us didn’t get wet! I think the mot interesting competition was who could pull the best wheelie… it certainly was a challenge!

When we had all dried ourselves off, we were each treated to a slice of Vicky’s Mum’s delicious homemade cake.

On Friday morning, we had the incredibly important job of taking down the tents but we were timed! We had crate stacking in the afternoon, and none of us wanted to miss it!  We were all split into two groups. One group had to finish their half of the campsite, and the other went crate stacking. Then we switched once the first group was done.  All of us had done crate stacking before, but this was almost entirely different because we had to do it in partners! It was almost impossible to wobble precariously on a tower of crates, and try to catch crates that were being thrown, but most of us managed to get to at least ten crates high!

But because we had taken down all of the tents, most of us had to spend the last night in the mess tent! And two small, lucky groups got to sleep in hiking tents!

The group in the mess tent was quite noisy, playing card games and cracking clever jokes (some of us should really be comedians). So noisy that Caroline and Briony had to tell us off a few times!

On Saturday, we managed to finish tidying up camp earlier than expected. All that camp food gave us the energy we needed to finish taking everything down, packing it up, and doing litter sweeps. It was a long drive home though… Hope you all managed to catch up on sleep!

All in all, it was a fantastic week, one that we learned lots of new skills, worked towards our challenge badges, and had lots and lots of fun!

 What more can I say?

We were comparatively lucky with the weather, which was showery a lot of the time but with two really hot sunny days when we were coasteering and abseiling and the following day, on site for raft-building, monkey climbing and a bit of a “chill-out” in the afternoon.  We knew that bad weather was coming from Friday afternoon, hence the panic tent strike that morning but nearly everything came down “damp”, only the one Mess Tent was really wet.

This gave us a lot of work when we got home to hang or spread-out to dry all the canvas, then pack it away. We had 5 evenings down at the Hall.  Some people were there most times, lots of others one or two.  Thanks to all who helped. I’m not naming names because I am bound to miss someone, but you all know who you are.  Noted that Mums are quicker and neater at folding tents than Scouts! Just especial thanks to Tim Kerridge who let us use 22nd Wimbledon’s Hall to hang and dry the Stormhavens. Also Helen Blows for the burgers to keep our energy levels up and Reg. for his invaluable support.

To echo Isabella’s comment, enormous thanks to Graham and John, Stuart as well as the Young Leaders – Peter, Briony and  Thomas H.  Karen was with us from Tuesday evening – a valuable addition to the team – as well as Sam, who helped with transporting the personal kit in his Transit van at both weekends.  Couldn’t have done it without you!!!

Coming up soon

The first meeting back on Friday 8 September is Chief Scout’s Gold Presentation.

No meeting Friday 15 September.

Expedition 23/24 September.

Survival Weekend 13/15 October.

 

Caroline Marsden

Scout Leader

Scout Troop

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