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

Newsletter May 2016

Owl Steps Down

After over ten years as a leader with the beaver colony, Dan Sanders ('Owl' to the beavers) has had to step down. Dan joined the Group as a cub in the early 1980s and went on to be a scout and venture scout before going to university. He returned when his son, Jonathan, turned 6 and joined the beaver colony in 2005. Always a wiz with ropes and pullies, the beavers benefitted from many adventures usually reserved for much older scouts!

Over the past year his changed work schedules have made it increasingly difficult for him to attend the weekly meetings and our thanks to Fiona, Shakeel and Dawn for running the meetings in his absence.

Dan has made a huge contribution to 13th over the years and many youngsters have benefitted from his expertise, guidance and leadership. Dan is 13th through and through and he will continue to support our scout camps and mountain trips when his work commitments allow.

The numbers problem – we are too successful!

The trouble when you have a great team of leaders and lots of enthusiastic members and put on great programmes is that people get to hear of it and want to come and join! None of us want to turn away anyone who wants to be a scout so we have let our numbers rise to more than we would generally like. However, we now have a record number of members and this is becoming an increasing challenge.

For each section we require a minimum ratio of adults to young members these are:

Beavers: 1 adult to 6 beavers plus the leader in charge
Cubs: 1 adult to 8 cubs plus the leader in charge
Scouts: Recommended 1 adult per 12 scouts plus the leader in charge
All sections must have a minimum of two adults.

This table shows our current and projected numbers of both members and leaders/helpers:

      Due to move to next section:   Leaders/helpers   Target number leaders/helpers
  Target Num. Expected Aut 2016 Jan. 17 Easter 2017 Sep. 17   warranted Regular adults unwarranted Regular young leaders (U-18)   Warranted Regular adults unwarranted Regular young leaders (U-18)
Scouts 30 39 0 1 3   2 2 1   3 2 1-2
Cubs 24 27 4 6 4   3 0 3   3-4 1-2 2-3
Beavers 24 23 6 1 4   2 1 2   3-4 1-2 1-2

Without additional adult support we are likely to be in breach of this requirement in all three sections every week! The way we manage this in the beaver and cub sections is to run a rota of adults to assist on specific evenings. This is very helpful, and appreciated, but it has drawbacks. These include the fact that some parents don't turn up when they should do and, without being involved each week, they don't get to know the members well and are limited in how much of the programme they can take responsibility for. Over the last year or so we have benefitted greatly from young leaders – those aged under 18 and who are mainly members of our explorer unit. They provide support at the weekly meetings and on camps and trips, but they don't count towards the adult/child ratio.

The other main constraint is the size of the hall. Running a meeting for 12 is very different to running a meeting for 30+ and there are different issues when they are aged 6-7 to when they are aged 11-14. We can overcome some of these constraints by breaking the members into groups and utilising the narthex and possibly the vestry when not in use by the church, but this again needs regular adult support both for health and safety reasons and to continue to deliver a vibrant programme that is rewarding and enjoyable both for the young people and for the leaders.

So there you have it. We are too good, we have too few leaders for the number of youngsters and don't want to turn anyone away!

Can you help us? Please talk to me or one of the section leaders.

Summer camp

The scouts and explorer scouts spent a fantastic week in the Brecon Beacons at the end of July. They camped at the Parkwood Outdoors Activity Base in Dolygaer, a few miles east of Merthyr Tydfil, in a valley next to a river accompanied, at times, by a flock of sheep and a stray sheep dog!

Every day brought a new adventure. The commercially run base provided a superb choice of activities with professionally qualified staff providing instruction and guidance. These activities included kayaking, rock climbing, raft building and gorge walking. We also visiting the Big Pit National Mining museum at Blaenafon and went body boarding in the Gower Peninsular.

The older scouts also undertook a two-day hike through the Welsh countryside with the girls staying at a campsite in Llangorse and the boys at a site in Llantony next to the ruins of a 12th century priory.

With 22 scouts and 10 explorers, this was one of the biggest summer camps the Group has run and would not have been possible without the support of leaders from across the Group and parents who came along to help for part of the camp. Apart from Skip and Kelvin from the scouts and Chris from the explorers, we also welcomed beaver scout leader Dan Sanders and cub scout leader Steve Lyon as well as Alex's mum Rachel Simmonds, Joe's dad, James Hopkins, young leaders Daniel Engley and Lauren Horsford and parent and ex-Group Chairman Jon Horsford who kindly transported all our equipment to and from the camp. So thanks to all of them without whom this could not have happened!

Summer Camp







The stream by the camp







       Body Boarding on the Gower Peninsular







Big Mine Museum







Gorge Walking







Expedition Challenge







Train spotting

Beavers Summer term

The Beavers had a great summer term getting out and about making the most of the weather and the lighter evenings to work on their My Outdoors challenge badge. Alongside this they also gained their emergency aid and safety badges including first aid, the green cross code, the water safety code and keeping safe at home. With Dan/Owl's hard work they were treated to some great assault courses which they thoroughly enjoyed.

We were very lucky to have a visit from Thomas' grandad who was kind enough to give a fascinating talk on his exciting time as a pilot in the RAF which gave the Beavers the opportunity to earn the first stage of their air activities badge.

Cubs summer term

Getting out was the aim of the term. Joseph Hood primary school helped us with space to run a night of cycling seeing the elder cubs achieve their badge riding out on the road rather than the pavement. Leaders got on their bikes too along with a group of the parents to help.

Sports day saw a young team have a go and never gave in and the 13th are the masters of the sack race with both winners of the under and over 91/2 races. Second place in the tug of war showed that it is not all about size.

Bagheera lead his first evening in charge and got the skills challenge badge underway with a bit of window cleaning round the church for which the church wardens were grateful.

Adventure Day run by the district saw 5 of our cubs pit their skills to be the top marksperson with archery and air rifle shooting, getting ready for scouts in lighting fires with flints and traversing the boulder wall, flying down aerial runways and experimenting with water filled rockets.

District Camp to celebrate 100 years of scouting saw 18 of our cubs attend, some camping for the 2nd time this year.

We had an exciting talk from Alan who was a test pilot for the RAF who flew some of the best planes since WW2.

Our young leaders followed this up with their advice and guidance on what you should and should not take on a hike. And then a week later took them round Wimbledon Common on a hike. Those that attended completed their Adventure Challenge Badge.

Shelters were constructed on the common having already had an evening of putting up and taking down tents at the church the cubs are ready for anything.

 The district football tournament saw us put a team out, to be always known as the “Fight Five And Half”, supported by a Beaver who stepped up with the big boys and played his part. We saw our team put the ball in the correct net 17 times, a record for the Thirteenth. With two players down and no reserve the cubs who played wore their hearts on their sleeves and played themselves into the ground. Injuries did not stop them in their quest for goals.

We rounded the year out with a centenary evening with cubs doing skits and playing their musical instruments for the entertainment of their parents and then had chilli con carne in a bun, a birthday cake and a camp fire sing song lead by Skip.

Sporting triumphs

The Group maintained its strong athletic tradition at the annual District Scout Sports. The scouts came 3rd out of nine teams and the cubs 6th out of 8 teams. Both were very good results against stiff competition. Had the cubs gained just 3 more points they would have come 4th. Overall the Group – cub and scout points added together – came third.

The scouts won the tug o' war competition for the third year running.



District Training camp

In June the district ran a training camp weekend for scouts. The main theme was about cooking on fires. These are patrol leader Nico Delaney's and new scout Matthew Coverdale's reports.

The Skills Weekend – Nico Delaney

On Saturday 25th of June we drove about half an hour to a campsite submerged in the forests. We arrived there and immediately got to work setting up tents and dining shelters for our troop.

Once our tents were up we headed down to the buildings where we were given a quick briefing and were shown a few camp cooking skills. At the end of this short meeting we headed up to our troop sites to start on lunch

That lunch we made tacos; they were delicious! Jobs were spread evenly between our group and there were no arguments over who did the washing up. That evening we made hot dogs and camp doughnuts (not something you make every day at a camp!) Once again they tasted very nice!

The next day we made our own ovens out of cardboard and covered it in tin foil and made our own pizzas completely from scratch. Overall the camp was great and I learnt a lot of useful things.

My First Scout Camp – Matthew Coverdale

I had been in scout for 3 weeks; on the 16th of June I went on my first scout camp. I had to put up our own tent (in cubs the tents were already up). Whilst we were there we learnt food hygiene and how to sharpen a knife; we learnt many useful cooking and camp skills. We cooked 4 meals over the 2 days; the first meal was my favourite. It was camp fajitas, 2nd hot dogs, 3rd eggy bread lastly we had pizzas in cardboard ovens. Sadly it had to come to an end, Sunday afternoon we had to pack up; all Scouts were given a camp cook book.

Rafting on the River Wandle

In July the scouts went rafting on the river Wandle. New scout Sandy Currie reports:

The river Wandle held my most favourite scout event yet. The day started with building the raft, enough for 6 scouts! We had 9 oil cans and 6 staves and a lot of rope.

In most races there were 4 teams of 6. We mostly came 2&3 place. I do not think there was one race we actually lost, but if we did I'm sure it was close.

After a few races people from our troop and other troops started to stop. Then it came to the last race. This race was not ordinary at all. Every troop at once was involved. It was actually more of a parade than a race.

Harvest Festival Parade Service

On October the 2nd we will be supporting the St Saviour's Harvest Festival service. The plan is that the scouts will produce a small drama illustrating the plight of those who for reasons beyond their control, are unable to rely on having meals every day. We will also be collecting dry foods to help a charity that supports such people in our own community. We would like as many beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers and their families to join us as can to support the scouts and this worthy cause.

Why your email responses matter

Love 'em or hate 'em, there is no getting away from the fact that emails are now an essential means of communication for most people and organisations, including our scout Group.

With the number of members and parents who have to be communicated with, emails are indispensible to enable leaders to maintain a vibrant programme. But IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU READ AND REPLY TO EMAILS FROM SECTION LEADERS AND ADMINISTRATORS AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

This particularly applies to emails regarding upcoming events. Leaders need to know if someone selected for a sports team can turn up so someone else can take their place if they cannot. Finding out on the day when they don't appear lets down everyone else and jeopardises the chance of the team doing well. Or knowing whether your son/daughter can or cannot make a particular camp or other activity, or even that you are not sure yet, makes a real difference when the leaders have to plan food, transport, equipment, the detailed programme, leadership cover and everything else that has to be done well in advance.

So please do your bit to make the complicated lives of leaders easier by responding promptly to request for information and commitment!

Many thanks.

And finally

The usual reminder that subs are now due for this term – £35 or £95 if you pay for the year in advance. Please pay online if you can and inform your section leader/administrator when you have done so.

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'.
If this is not possible please pay by cheque made out to '13th Wimbledon Scout Group' (different for explorers).

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Thanks for everyone’s continued support.

Peter Hutton (Skip)

Group Scout Leader