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13th Wimbledon Scout Group and St Saviour’s Explorer Scout 

Unit Newsletter

January 2017

Young scouts learn the basics

The youngest scouts – most of whom had not yet been invested – and the older cubs launched the term with a 'cross-over' camp to teach them the basics of scout camping. Eleven cubs and eleven scouts learnt how to collect wood, light fires and cook on them, pitch and strike tents and a range of other skills. These are all crucial scouting skills that will help them to settle in quickly to any scout camp and begin to make a valuable contribution.



Washing up

The scouts had a number of successes in District competitions during the term. Their teams won the Monopoly Challenge – chasing around London finding famous locations featured on the Monopoly Board – and the Scout Quiz and came an impressive 2nd in the Swimming Gala.

The scouts also came 2nd in the District incident hike. They have now come first or second in this event in each of the last four years.

The stream by the camp

The stream by the camp

Beavers have a dam good term

The Beavers had a very busy term working on their personal challenge badge alongside the cycling, collector and emergency aid activity badges. We were very grateful to Joseph Hood Primary at the start of term for the use of their playground to work on the cycling badge providing a safe environment to practice road craft and road signs. This was followed by the Beavers bringing their very varied collections to show everyone including skulls, dinosaur relics, feathers, card collections and toys.

We were lucky to have some paramedics visit from St George's hospital who ran a very informative and enjoyable meeting which allowed the Beavers to practice their first aid and achieve their Emergency Aid Badge.

For their Personal Challenge all the Beavers gave a talk to the rest of the colony about something they have an interest in and this gave everyone a chance to learn something new. They also took on a further challenge away from the weekly meeting involving tasks which usually lasted a week such as washing up every day, no screen time or looking after a pet. They all did very well and received their badges.

There was also an activity day at Bow Lane Headquarters where Shakeel helped the Beavers have a very enjoyable afternoon and a chance to meet Beavers from other colonies around our district.

We are very grateful for the many generous donations given to support the various charities adopted by the Group this term. Billy did a great job of representing the colony by carrying the Beaver flag at the Harvest Festival Service where some of the gifts were passed to the Christian Care Merton charity.

Cubs pack a lot in!

Following the crossover camp the cubs had a very busy term. They tackled the new Digital Maker badge, where they learnt about web sites and designed their own computer games and completed the Global Issues activity badge, where they took part in a charities Call My Bluff competition.

They worked towards their staged swimming badges and tried out for the District swimming gala one evening at Wimbledon baths. At the gala itself the cubs came joint third against very tough competition which helped to ensure that the Group came 2nd out of the 13 groups participating in the Group competition.

An evening of fire safety culminated in a firework display and hot dogs. They also visited Wimbledon Fire Station where they learnt about the role of the fire service, and got to look at their fire engines and equipment.

The Cubs rounded off the term with a presentation on 100 years of Cub Scouts at our Group carol service.

Their final meeting was on the Common where they played wide games and drank hot chocolate, a very cubbing way to end the cub Centenary Year!

Peak performance

The scouts and explorers had a great weekend in the Peak District in October. Staying in a bunkhouse in the middle of the countryside they ventured up to Kinder Downfall.

On the way back they were introduced to the hazards of peat bogs, which are a main feature of The Peak District Nationa

Ruby demonstrates one technique to avoid getting stuck in the peat

Of course it can go horribly wrong!

Young Leaders show the way

The young leaders are doing a great job in all sections. Jess Marais and Alex Jackson have been supporting the beavers, Charlotte Barton, Joel Delaney and Alex Swain the cubs and Jess Nguyen the scout section.
Jess Marais, Joel and Alex attended the crossover camp and guided the young scouts and older cubs through camping skills that will stand all in good stead for the future. At the carol service they received Young Leader badges and woggles and Alex Swain also received his Young Leader's belt buckle and certificate.

Their challenge over the next term is to run activities and games as they need to complete four missions.
Thanks to Graham who has done a great job in coaching our Young Leaders through their awards.

Harvest Festival dramas

The Group attended St Saviour's Harvest Festival service in October. The scouts performed a series of mini dramas, largely written by themselves, designed to focus attention on people who, through no fault of their own, do not know where their next meal would come from. The tone was set by a poem, movingly read by explorer scout, Megan. The first drama was set in a school room in Aleppo just after a bomb had destroyed their classroom. The second told the stories of people making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in a leaking boat. The third was set in a house refuge in Merton where a group of strangers had been thrown together by varying misfortunes.

Megan reads a poem for Harvest Festival

Scouts perform mini drama

The poem and performances were inspired by the work of Christian Care Merton which, for 50 years, has supported those who find themselves in desperate situations where the normal State support services are unable to help.

Gifts collected from members of the Group before and during the service resulted in 30 bags of groceries and £237 of collections to augment Christian Care's emergency supplies.

Church warden, Heather Aldridge, thanked the parents and members of the Group for their generous gifts and noted that 'The congregation and priest were thrilled with the content of the service and were very appreciative of all your hard work'.

Celebration of Christmas and the Year's Scouting

For the third year running, the Group held its own carol service at St Saviour's to launch the festive season. After traditional carols and readings the beavers entertained us with Christmas jokes, the cubs celebrated 100 years of cubbing with a short history and renewal of the cub promise and the scouts told us of some of their scouting adventures throughout the year.

Charlotte was invested into the Group before the District Commissioner, Deborah Carter, and Alison Edwards, Assistant District Commissioner responsible for Young Leaders, presented her and explorer scouts Alex, Jess and Joel with Young Leader awards.

Deborah also presented Olivia with her Chief Scout's Gold Award and Skip with an award for 40 years' service to the scout movement. (How does he do it?!)

The helpfulness and support given by the church wardens, Janis Hone and Heather Aldridge, to the Group over the past year, was recognised by making them honorary members of the 13th Wimbledon. Akela (Steve) presented Janis with Group scarves as a token of our appreciation.

Gifts collected in the weeks leading up to the service meant we were able to put together 14 Christmas bags of goodies for families that Christian Care Merton support to make their Christmases a little bit

special. Thanks to all those who contributed and to the explorers who helped to put the bags together.

The evening concluded with refreshments in the hall, the youngsters finding Wally to claim a prize and scouts Nico and Bazzy giving their rap rendition of a specially written Christmas poem, which was quite good if you were in the front two rows but was sadly largely inaudible for anyone else!

Other Charitable Endeavours

The Group was also active in other charitable ways this term. Many parents sent items along to fill shoe boxes with Christmas goodies for different age groups of children in support of the Samaritan's Purse 'Operation Christmas Child'. In total we were able to fill 26 shoe boxes which have been distributed to children throughout the world who would otherwise not have had presents this Christmas. Thanks to everyone who supported and to the explorers who helped to pack the boxes and wrap them in Christmas gift paper.

The Group also sponsored and decorated a Christmas tree as part of the Trinity Church, Wimbledon, Christmas Tree Festival. Cubs, beavers and scouts produced their own special decorations for the tree and several cubs and scouts went along to help decorate it just before our Group Carol service. Over a 3-day period over 1000 people came to view the trees and £3000 was raised for the Samaritans. Well done to Guy and Pam for making this happen and those who turned up to decorate our tree.

The Group Remembers

Our scouts and explorers attended the Remembrance Day Service in Wimbledon Village on November 13th. The cubs and beavers attended the Remembrance service St Saviour's.

The cubs worked hard on making Remembrance Day poppies out of clay and bottle bases. They made an impressive display in the church and received a special mention in St Saviour's Parish Magazine:

“… a solemn service with uplifting hymns, ending around the cenotaph outside where we observed the two minute silence and placed our crosses in the earth. The cubs had produced a cascade of painted handmade poppies, draped all over and down the font. I thought it great and again shows how the input of young people somehow makes our congregation feel complete, especially as we all stood outside with some of them holding the flags and Rae laying the wreath.”

The scouts in Wimbledon Village

Cubs and beavers represent the Group at St Saviour's

The cubs' poppy display

It's a numbers game

It looks like we will be heading for another record year when our annual census falls due in late January. The pressure is growing in all sections but particularly the scouts. We now have 34 members of the scout troop with five more due to join in January and numbers expected to rise to between 45 and 48 by September! It is going to be challenging given the space and leadership resources that we have and we are discussing how best to adjust to these unprecedented circumstances!

There will be particular challenges for major events such as camps when parental help will be critical. Parents can help in a number of ways. One is to come along to assist on camps and trips as part of the leadership team. Another is to provide transport for people or equipment to and from the camps. Another is to gain a permit to drive one of the 17-seater (including driver) minibuses that we hire from Merton Council. Changes in legislation a few years ago mean that only those who passed their driving tests before January 1997 can 
legally drive these vehicles, which is now becoming a problem since Merton Council phased out their lighter weight 15-seater buses earlier this year.

Acquiring a permit requires you to attend a vehicle orientation course at the Merton Minibus depot, near the recycling centre off Garth Road, for around 3 hours one weekday morning. The scout Group will pay the £50 fee. Please let me know if you are interested.

Last term we were delighted to welcome Anthony Chilcott as an assistant with the scout troop. He has settled in well and already made a significant contribution to the troop. This term we will also be welcoming Tom Jones to assist with the troop. Tom was a scout and venture scout some years ago and I am sure will prove a great asset.

We are also still urgently looking for another two adults to assist regularly with the beaver colony on Tuesday nights from 5.40 to 7.00 pm. If you feel you could help please talk to me (Skip) or to Shakeel or Fiona.

Group Receives International Peace Light


The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organised by the Austrian Broadcasting Company as part of a large charitable relief mission for children in need in Austria and abroad. Since 1986 there has been a great deal of co-operation between Scouts and Guides in many countries which has allowed the light to travel throughout Europe, such that the light is passed on to 30 European Countries and for the past few years, on to North America, Mexico and Canada.

Each year, a child from Upper Austria kindles a flame from the "Eternal Flame" from the Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The light is then flown to Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries for use at ecumenical services throughout the Continent.

Scouts and Guides can then take the light on to other churches, hospitals, old people homes, prisons, and places of public, cultural and political importance – to anybody that appreciates the significance of the "gift".
This year the Peace Light was received by explorer scout Joel, scouts Nico and Maya, cub scout Owen and beaver scout Ben at the St Saviour's crib service on Christmas Eve.

Can we prove we are the big shots?

Nearly every scouting activity provides great photographic opportunities – new challenges, new skills, new adventure, youngsters having fun and making friends. But often I seem to be the only one capturing this on film, well digitally anyway!

But now is a great chance for all our members, from the oldest leader to the youngest beaver, to win prizes for the best photos. The theme has to be 'The Spirit of Scouting' and the pictures need to be taken at a recent scouting activity. Entrants simply take a picture on a camera or phone and email it to photos@wimbledonandwandlescouts.org along with their name, Group and section. They can enter up to three pictures each.

There are five age groups and five great prizes. The closing date is Sunday 26th February and winners will be announced at St George's Day Parade on April 23rd.

5 age groups – 5 prizes

Beavers: Fujifilm XP90 Tough Compact Black & Yellow Camera* with 16Gb memory card
Cubs: Fujifilm XP90 Tough Compact Black & Yellow Camera* with 16Gb memory card
Scouts: GoPro Hero Session Action Camcorder* with Head strap, Quick Clip & 64Gb memory card
Explorers: GoPro Hero Session Action Camcorder* with Head strap, Quick Clip & 64Gb memory card
Adults 18+: GoPro Hero Session Action Camcorder* with Head strap, Quick Clip & 64Gb memory card
* or suitable alternative available at the time of presentation

The normal reminder about subs 

Finally, if you have not yet paid subs, please could you do so, preferably online, and inform your section leader you have done so. Payment to:

Account Name: 13th Wimbledon Scout Group 
Sort Code: 30-91-35 
Account Number: 03230034 Bank: Lloyds
Reference – 

Please provide as a reference
'Subs' then 'B/C/S' depending on section then surname
e.g. SubsBSmith would be subs paid for a beaver surname 'Smith'.
NB bank details for explorer subs are different