13th Wimbledon Scout Group and St Saviour’s Explorer Scout
Newsletter May 2016
Great turnout for the Group Camp
Beavers receive instructions on the finerpoints of dam building
|Cubs cooking twists over the embers|
Over 50 young people aged from 6 to 13 attended our Group Camp at Walton Firs at the end of April. Apart from the leaders they were joined by parents from each of the sections and explorer scouts who assisted with the beaver and cub camps.
Many thanks for all those who supported; without them the camp could not have gone ahead.
While the scouts learnt the basics of scout camping and cooked their meals on open fires, the cubs and beavers engaged in a range of onsite activities such as caving, crate stacking, archery and cooking twists over fire embers. Saturday night saw the whole camp come together for a big wide game followed by a rousing camp fire featuring traditional camp fire songs.
Although the nights were cold, the weather was remarkably kind particularly on the Sunday when all the tents had to be taken down.
|Cubs lay siege to the mess tent||Cubs and beavers on parade|
The camp was followed by a family BBQ and the Group's AGM. The younger children braved the dragons and disappeared into the woods in search of treasure. Later, our chairman, Patrick Hill, reported on the health of the Group and thanked the leaders for their hard work and enthusiasm on behalf of our young members. Patrick was reappointed as chairman of the Group and Patrick Daly was elected as Group treasurer. Maggie Tunna stepped down as secretary after three years service and we are delighted to welcome Alison Easton as our new Group secretary. Also elected to the Group Executive as parent representatives were Anita Saville and Wendy Shepard.
A copy of the Group Scout Leader's Report, which echoes the themes Patrick addressed, appears later in this newsletter.
The District Commissioner, Joe Rogerson, attended the meeting. This was his last official engagement before he stands down to take up the role of County Commissioner for Surrey. He was presented with a gift from the Group in recognition of the tremendous support he has provided us, and all the Groups in the District, over the past 7 years.
The Beavers have been busy this year culminating in their annual camp which they thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to the help of Graham and Steve for organising and doing a great job of looking after the Beavers when Dan's job meant he could not run the camp. Hopefully their excited tales of camp will inspire all the younger ones to go next year.
This term they will be getting out and about making the most of the better weather and lighter evenings with many activities such as nature walks and orienteering. They will be working on the new My Outdoors challenge badge alongside the safety and emergency aid activity badges.
The colony is thriving with a large waiting list of very eager beavers and it would be great to move them from the waiting list to the register. However, the colony really needs another warranted leader to attend the weekly meetings and help with planning activities. Could this be you?
Cubs have been kept busy this term showing the rest of the pack their hobbies to gain their hobby badge and discussing safety in different terrains so they are ready for anything Skip throws at them when they move on to scouts. The camp rules used on the spring camp came out of a base run by Alex, one of our Young Leaders. They have achieved stage one of the Air Activity Badge and have all been working on the Emergency Aid badge. For a little bit of light relief, one of the cubs ran an animation base around Minecraft. They also visited Pets at Home to achieve the Animal Care Badge. Through exploring other cubs' hobbies they have discovered several few musicians and avid book readers.
|Akela with one of the cubs.||A cuter bunch of cubs.|
Having had a successful camp where Chil and Akela gained their Nights Away Permits, there are more adventures to come with District Sports Day, Adventure Day and the District Centenary Camp.
Challenging conditions in Snowdonia
The annual Scout and Explorer Scout trip to Snowdonia turned in to quite an adventure. Unable to stay at the County's base in Bethesda this year, they managed to rent a centre owned by a Merseyside Explorer Unit at Port Penrhyn, right next to the Menai straights. Indeed the side windows gave a magnificent view of Port itself. The building was originally used to split and load slate arriving by train from the Bethesda slate mines before shipping them out around the world. The centre not only had well equipped dormitories, kitchen and dining area but also games rooms with table tennis and pool tables and a pretty decent indoor climbing wall.
The walking was pretty impressive too and with contrasting conditions. The first day was bright and sunny providing magnificent views from Y Garn across the various Snowdonia ranges and an opportunity to experience how to use a walking rope to belay down a snow slope.
The second day included below zero temperatures, strong winds, rain and 20 meter visibility on the slopes below the Glyders. Such conditions drive home the need for the proper equipment and clothing, some of which proved less than ideal. As a result, Skip has produced an illustrated guide for parents on what scouts should wear on the mountains. This can be downloaded from our website at http://www.13thwimbledon.org/guide-parents-scouts-need-wear-mountain/
They also had a day of sightseeing visiting the impressive Dinorwig Hydro Electric Power Station and the Slate Mine Museum in Llanberis.
Scouts and explorers win the double
In March the Explorer Scouts competed against 40 other Explorer and Scout Network teams to win the coveted Red Flare night hike. This 15-mile hike through the countryside south of Croydon, has been going for many years and this is only the second time a unit from the Wimbledon and Wandle District has won it.
The following weekend the scouts won their equivalent night exercise over 7 miles. Again, they competed against around 40 teams scoring a total of 444 points gained for their time completing the course and their performance on a number of team tasks along the way. They won by just 3 points over the second placed team.
|Red Flare 2016 winners||County Night Exercise 2016 winners|
Other scout achievements
Apart from tramping the hills and camping the scouts entered two teams in the county cooking competition and were unlucky not to win due to mis-timing in cooking the chicken. Never mind, both teams performed well and learned a lot from two parents who guided them on how to cook, as a result the scouts all deservedly earned their chef's badges.
They have also been paintballing, competed in the District 5-a-side football competition, and attended the annual St George's Day Parade through Wimbledon village.
Chris becomes D of E Assessor
Our Assistant Explorer Scout Leader, Chris Warren, has passed his final assessment to be able to assess those setting out to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards. The Chief Scout's Platinum and Diamond Awards and the Queen's Scout Award are designed to be very similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Consequently meeting the requirements of the one often means meeting the requirements of the other.
Chris's authorisation will mean that those who want to do the DofE Awards can do them either at school (if available) or through the Explorer Scouts or both.
While most of the Group were at the Group camp, six of our Explorer Scouts were completing their D of E Silver Award hikes in the New Forest around Hayward's Heath.
The future of St Saviour's
Four major things have happened at St Saviour's over the past few months.
First, members of the church voted by a 4 to 1 majority to overturn the commitment made by the Parochial Church Council in 1994 to exclude women priests, thus bringing it into line with the mainstream of the Church of England.
Second, the retirement of the vicar in January means that St Saviour's is now in a period of Interregnum, which means it has time to reflect on where it intends to go in the future.
Third, the election of church wardens and a PCC who are committed to making St Saviour's much more focused on listening to, and meeting the needs of, the local community than it has, in my view, been for many years.
Fourth, it has a commitment to hold a consultation meeting, open to all stakeholders, which, in my view, includes all parents, leaders and officers of the Scout Group, to explore the questions: 'What should St Saviour's stand for in the community, what should its vision be and what should it be doing to realise that vision?'
Our Scout Group was re-founded by the vicar of St Saviours, the Revd Eric Eyden, in 1945. The Group's officially registered name is '13th Wimbledon St Saviour Raynes Park'. Reverend Eyden had the foresight to register the Group as an 'open' Group meaning that there is no requirement for members to belong to the Church of England.
One can imagine that at the end of the war there was a great sense of a need to put the horrors of the previous 6 years behind them and build a peaceful, happy world for our young people to grow up in. I suspect it was very much part of the Revd. Eyden's vision for the future, not only of St Saviours' but also Raynes Park and the world, when he established, not only the Scouts and Cubs but also the Guides at St Saviour's. So I would hope that when St Saviour's come to define their vision that we might be able to contribute to that and that we might work together to realise our vision in scouting, summarised by Baden Powell in his last message to scouts as 'to leave this world a little better than we found it.'
Scouts help to raise money for the Church Hall at St Saviour's May Fair on the Bank Holiday
Group Scout Leader's Report, May 2016
It has been another year of achievement and adventure for the Group. We celebrated our 70th anniversary since the Group was re-formed at the end of the war in 1945, with a carol service in December and a souvenir history. The most recent census in January showed the Group had 89 youth members, including explorer scouts, the largest number we have ever had. Six of our explorers attended the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in August . The rest of the explorers and the scouts had a most memorable adventure in Austria, hiking across the Alps, staying in mountain huts and unexpectedly being hosted by a group of German scouts in Cologne on our way home.
All sections have maintained very active programmes throughout the year. The scouts and explorers have continued to build on their achievements and reputation as skilled hikers and navigators winning both the coveted Explorer Scout Red Flare 15-mile night hike and the Scout County Night Exercise in each case competing against around 40 other teams from across Greater London South West. All being well, our AESL, Chris Warren will qualify this weekend to sign off explorer scouts on their D of E Award requirements.
Numbers in each section have remained buoyant and the cubs and beavers both have waiting lists.
We have great leaders in each section and are grateful for the support we get from parents and from those explorer scouts and young leaders who assist with the sections when their studies allow and which counts towards their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards.
The cubs have thrived under Steve's leadership, ably assisted by Graham who has lead the cubs on this camp in order to qualify for his nights away permit. Steve very nobly stepped in to run the beaver camp this weekend as our Beaver Scout Leader, Dan, had to drop out at a week before due to work commitments.
We have welcomed Shakeel, Kelvin, Dawn and Guy who have stepped forward to become warranted leaders. However, we are restricted in both the numbers we can accommodate and the range of activities we can undertake by lack of warranted leaders, particularly in the beaver section. Dan's changed work patterns mean that he is now unable to attend a large proportion of beaver meetings and is having to cut back on his involvement.
A leader's role requires a lot of commitment – attendance at the weekly section meetings and occasional planning meetings, as well as supporting trips and other activities, undergoing a modular training programme and taking responsibility for delivering a lively and stimulating programme while looking after the safety and wellbeing of those in their care. However, the rewards more than make up for the commitment of time in terms of seeing the youngsters make friends, share adventures and develop as individuals with a positive outlook on life. So, if you are able to help, particularly with the beaver section that meets each Tuesday from 5.45 to 7.00 pm., please let me know.
Our finances remain in good shape, boosted significantly by large tax rebates from HMRC. Our thanks to our treasurer, Patrick Daly, for his persistence in pursuing this.
I am delighted that Patricks Hill and Daly have agreed to serve as Group Chairman and Treasurer respectively for another year. I would like to thank Maggie Tunna, who is stepping down from her role as secretary after three years service, and welcome Alison Easton who has kindly said she would take on that role.
Finally, our thanks to our District Commissioner, Joe Rogerson, who is stepping down from this role to become County Commissioner for Surrey. Joe has been an outstanding District Commissioner for 7 years, and a great supporter of our Scout Group. We are honoured that his final duty before he formally steps down as DC at the District AGM this week is to attend our Group AGM! We wish him every success in his future role.
Peter Hutton, Group Scout Leader, 13th Wimbledon Scout Group, May 1st 2016
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
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'.