All posts by anguslund

Review 2015-16: Scouts

Adrian Ducker

The Scouts have had another exciting year. Here’s a sampler of troop night activities over the past 12 months: pioneering, Airhop at Guildford, canoeing and kayaking on the River Thames and elsewhere, swimming at New Malden, jumble collecting, archery, swimming activity badges at Hampton outdoor pool, rafting at Bowers Lock (River Wey), orienteering around Hinchley Wood streets, camp skills, Guy making (followed by a Guy Fawkes bonfire & fireworks), orienteering at Morden Hall Park, shooting, scavenger hunts, survival night, Ready Steady Cook night, a Day Hike at night, night hikes, a ‘flying night’ and pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.

And that’s not all. A busy evening was spent at Polyapes Campsite clearing scrub, brambles, nettles and moving the woodpile back to where it should have been to improve the site and work toward the outdoor challenge. We enjoyed an exhilarating June evening cable boarding at JB Waterski. In December, we re-enacted the WW2 Operation Musketoon (the Edges were scaled with the aid of ropes and the heavy water plant was suitably destroyed) and visited the outdoor ice rink at Hampton Court Palace. Much use has been made of the shooting and climbing wall facilities in the Chris Platt Centre, including for the District Postal Shooting Competition. Our Jamboree participants entertained us with a presentation on their experiences in Japan.

In addition, we held training and badge nights – map and compass, knots and lashings, first aid (everyone resuscitated Annie!). As a result many scouts attained the various challenge badges and emergency aid, swimming and other activity badges. Special congratulations are due to Stewart Ashwell, Sebastian Collins, Matthew Nair and Thomas Sturmer on gaining the Chief Scout’s Gold Award .

We have had a busy year not only with our troop nights but with District and County activities too. Here are the results of the District & County activities in 2015-16:

May 2015 County Expedition Gold
June Archery Comp Fourth
September Fishing Comp Third
October Cooking Comp First
October Night Hike First
November Five-A-Side Plate (runners up)
Year 2015 Top Troop Trophy First
Year 2015 Postal Shooting Comp First
February 2016 Scouting Skills & First Aid Third
March Shooting Comp First
March Cross Country Seventh
March Day Hike Fourth

For the sixth year running we won the coveted Esher District Top Troop Trophy.

Golden woggles were gained by Thomas Sturmer, Matthew Nair and Nisan Kotik. These are awarded to leaders of competition winning teams.

Very well done to the many Scouts who supported District events.

The troop offers opportunities to try new activities that members might not even think of doing until someone says ‘you’ve not tried it, why not give it a go?’ The fishing competition is a good example; orienteering is another. Hinchley Wood Scouts took part in the Esher Scouts Orienteering Club (ESOC) team in the Southern Navigators Junior League Orienteering on Saturday mornings last winter. Largely thanks to Angus Lund’s leadership Esher Scouts won the Junior League and Idris Wills won the ‘most improved junior’ Trophy. Orienteering is a very inclusive sport, everyone is welcome at whatever level they take part and it is an excellent way of gaining navigational skills.

Twenty Scouts went flying with the Surrey Scout Flying Club at Redhill Aerodrome, a great experience.

Group Camp took place at Walton Firs. Twenty-one Scouts in four patrols spent Saturday enjoying a day of kayaking/canoeing and swimming off-site. The paddling took place on the River Wey and we paddled through Guildford, stopping to ‘play’ in the weir and behind Spectrum for lunch. On the Sunday the group formed up in teams for on-site activities including adventure course, maze, caving, games, team building and branding. Later we had a camp fire and wide games. In between all this camp skills were practised to gain the outdoor challenge badge. On Monday everything got packed away in time for crate stacking and climbing sessions. Finally we presented 12 Chief Scout’s Gold Award Badges.

After last year’s trip to the Lake District, it was off to Snowdonia for Summer Camp. The site at Nantmor south of Snowdon is set in a gently sloping field with views across the valley. The site, as usual for a summer camp, was totally ‘green field’ (ie no facilities!). The campers, 28 scouts and explorers in six patrols had a great time. The weather was challenging with long periods of rain & wind but the camp spirit stayed high. Camp highlights were sea kayaking, coasteering, building bivouacs and spending nights in them and of course hill walking – everyone got up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Older scouts went on overnight expeditions, whilst younger scouts completed a day walk on the local very boggy hill!

“For the sixth year running we won the coveted Esher District Top Troop Trophy.”

Paddlesport activities are an ever-popular part of scouting at Hinchley Wood and our fleet of kayaks and open canoes were well used. Besides river sessions on summer evenings, we had swimming pool sessions at Guildford Lido which were ideal for practising in comfort those ‘wet strokes’ that are meant to help keep you dry, but so often result in capsizing.

Rounding off the river and pool sessions, we ran our paddling weekend on the River Wye at Symonds Yat. Several scouts gained their One Star awards and others are working on Two and Three Star.

Whilst this may seem like hard work there is time for fun and games and everyone who has taken part in these courses has enjoyed them. A particularly pleasing aspect is the enthusiasm of those who have already completed awards in helping others gain theirs. Thanks are due to Chris Beaney, John Daoud, John Trott and Emma Beaney.

This year troop numbers have remained high (with a waiting list) which means a good deal of work for our enthusiastic and dedicated Troop leadership team. Fabio Randolfi has transferred to Explorers, we said goodbye to both Jon Berg and John Trott and welcomed Gill Wills and Jeff Almond to join the established team of Adrian Ducker, Peter Hanna, Harvey Panesar, and Tom Sharman.

Adrian Ducker has been very grateful for the considerable support from them and also from Fiona Smales, Chris Beaney and other group leaders and parents, headed up by our parent reps, without whom the level of activities could not have been maintained. An especially big thank you goes to all those who have helped over the year.

Additional regular help is always needed – four leaders at every meeting is the minimum to run an active programme for a troop of 30-plus scouts.

Previous: Cubs
Next: Explorers

Review 2015-16: Explorers

John Daoud

Much has been on offer to the Explorers: they’ve climbed, cycled, paddled, cooked, burned, scavenged, swam, shot and trekked their way through the last year!

The Unit had a large influx of new members joining from the Troop and also from ‘outside’. All Explorers are enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and many have completed (or are very near) their Bronze or Silver Awards and also working on the Chief Scouts Platinum and Diamond Awards. These are aligned with the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze & Silver Awards, so members have the bonus of being able to collect D of E awards on their way to the Scouting awards. The Unit is dedicated to helping our Explorers Scouts to achieve these and then aim towards the coveted Queens Scout Award (and Gold ‘DofE’).

All Explorers are expected to complete Young Leader Module A training which is a requirement for Unit members who give service by helping with other Sections. This is important for those who want to complete their DofE volunteering and in addition many have taken a number of the other 11 modules available.

The incorporation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award within the Explorer award scheme has had the spin-off of numbers of experienced Explorers keen to do the volunteering section with the younger Sections. The Beaver and Cub Sections in particular have received help from young people (from inside and outside Scouting) giving service for Scout Awards and/or ‘D of E’.

Unit members have taken part in a full range of District activities, here are the results:

May 2015 Cooking Comp Second
June Raftless Race First
September Fishing Comp First
October Shooting Comp Second
November Five-A-Side First
December Games Comp Third
Year 2015 Scope Trophy First
February 2016 Cross Country No Entry
March Shooting Comp First

In May the Unit joined in the Group Camp at Walton Firs and in July they attended the Summer Camp in North Wales. Many expeditions and other adventures took place.

“The Unit were very pleased to regain the District Annual Scope Trophy.”

Unit members and older scouts run the Christmas Post not only as a service for the local area but also to raise funds for good causes. This year the proceeds were given to Kent Sussex & Surrey Air Ambulance and the explorers are working towards the Fundraiser Badge. As traditional we saw off 2015 with a Christmas Dinner, held at HQ and catered for by Michelin star chef Hanna. The event was well attended by Explorers past and present.
In March the Explorers attended Fulham police station receiving road safety advice, a trip to the cells and a brief lesson on riot policing, only breaking one truncheon in the process.

As with every year we had a foolhardy bunch doing that gruelling and rewarding trek across the Peak District. A record 7 teams from Hinchley Wood set off early one March Saturday morning to complete the 40-plus-mile-in-one-day Four Inns Walk across the Peak District National Park. Besides our adult walkers, 2 Network Scouts, 11 Explorers and 3 Scouts took part. The scouts and younger explorers made up three teams on the new 35Km short course for U18 teams and all completed the walk. Not all the older walkers made it to the end, but there’s always 2017!

The 1st Hinchley Wood Explorer Unit is led by John Daoud with Fabio Randolfi helping out as a section assistant. Simon Heather puts in cameo appearances when he can as he’s now married and moved even further away. More leadership is an urgent need for the expanding Unit.

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Next: SAS Unit

Review 2015-16: SAS Unit

Chris Beaney
No, we’re not an elite team of crack scouts taking on the toughest challenges that Scouting has to offer, but almost as exciting! SAS stands for Scout Active Support (SAS) and our aim is to provide great support to local Scouting.

1st Hinchley Wood SAS Unit is here to help the Leaders deliver an outstanding level of Scouting to all members of 1st Hinchley Wood as well as Groups within Esher District. Key activities that we help with are: weekly meetings, various camps, kayaking and canoeing, District activities such as Leader training, the Scout Day and Night Hikes, Christmas Tree deliveries and keeping our equipment and stores in good order.

Not only do we help with the planning and running of activities (more than 20 major events last year as well as helping out with section meetings) but we also get to take part in various Scouting activities for our own enjoyment.

four innsFor the really adventurous a big challenge each year is the extremely tough Four Inns Walk.

“We have entered at least one team in the Four Inns Walk every year for the past 32 years and in March 2016 we set a new personal best time of 12 hours 8 mins.”

If you would like to become a member of 1st Hinchley Wood SAS Unit whether it is to join in with some of the social activities, to learn to build a monkey bridge or an aerial runway, to help cook at camp or just to have a great talking point on your CV then please contact our SAS Unit leader Chris Beaney.

Previous: Explorers
Next: Scout & Guide HQ

Review 2015-16: Scout & Guide HQ

Sue Rodger
The Joint Management Committee is the body responsible for the development, maintenance and management of our Headquarters, jointly owned and occupied by Girlguiding Hinchley Wood and 1st Hinchley Wood Scout Group.

We derive income from the Guides and Scouts quarterly contributions, the pre-school rental and occasional donations. In addition a levy of £5 per member per ‘term’ is made, paid through members subscriptions. Everyday expenses are utility bills, building insurance and maintenance, as our ongoing schedule and as required, for example the main hall floor has recently been power cleaned and resealed.

As always a lot of work is needed to maintain and improve the Scout and Guide HQ for the benefit of all users. Parental help is always appreciated, such as at our periodic Clean-Up Days.

Our plans to improve the leased open space area got off to a good start with the ‘temporary’ fence finally being replaced with new gates and a super mixed hedge being planted. Next to come is a campfire circle outdoor meeting space!

Such improvements together with HQ works such as the planned renewal of the electrical wiring, toilet refurbishment and new car park tarmac are in general dependent on successful grant aid applications or other funding being made available as regular income will not cover this expenditure.

Can you maintain buildings or coordinate people? We need your skills to carry out work or manage contractors or volunteers to do jobs at the HQ. Please contact your parent rep if you can help.

Previous: SAS Unit

Group Open Evening and Family BBQ on Saturday 10 September

The Group will be hosting our customary open evening with the emphasis on fun and family participation. There will be activities and games for all the family, not only Beavers, Cubs & Scouts but brothers, sisters and potential members – all are welcome.

The day will start at 4pm with games & activities for all. As befits Scouting these will be outdoors, subject to the weather! There will then be a break in the activities for presentations of badges and awards to Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Adults and an illustrated review of the year’s activities, after which the activities will continue for the young people during our short Group AGM.

The evening will be completed with a relaxed Family Barbecue on the lawn or if wet under the large gazebo.

To ensure our customary Group family atmosphere there will be:

  • A complimentary Drink before the Presentations
  • Free Barbecue Food
  • Drinks available after the AGM
  • Copies of the Group Annual Review for your collection
  • Displays & photographs of Group Activities during the year
  • An update on our Development plans
  • A Raffle with Prizes to suit all winners

Please arrive at 4pm with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts in full uniform. We hope to welcome as many of you as possible on the day.

Adrian Ducker
Group Scout Leader