Category Archives: Scouts

The 24th World Scout Jamboree – Here We Come!

Scouting is a movement filled to the brim with life skills and opportunities for young people like myself, and one such opportunity is the International World Scout Jamboree. Last held in Japan four years ago, the World Scout Jamboree unites around 40,000 scouts and leaders, hence creating a magnificent event that thrives with almost all cultures and personalities. From the snowy summits of Alaska and the sandy shores of Australia to the soaking streets of Surrey, scouts will gather at the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in the summer of 2019 – all the countries seen below in purple will be represented.

However, only a select few lucky individuals from every country have the chance to attend, as they must first endure the vigorous selection process.

Tom Branney, Sonny Cruikshank and I (with Ilan Kotik as 1st reserve) were the ones eventually selected to go to North America – but only after we filled in a detailed application. After writing the perfect final paragraph on why we were ‘the best scouts ever’, we continued onto a long interview, held in front of a board of around six leaders and people in high scouting positions, where we were grilled (like sausages on the sizzle) with tough questions such as, “Why do you want to go…?” (Come on, nobody knows the answer to that!)

We finally emerged from the building, our cheeks sore from smiling and backs aching from maintaining perfect posture; clutching in our hand a sheet of paper… that informed us of a two day selection camp. I thought the interview was bad enough.

Esher District Selection Camp October 2017
Hinchley Wood team on the far Left
At the camp, tension filled the air as we all suddenly became ‘perfect’ scouts, asking if we could help, displaying fabulous leadership and being really, really nice. All the while in silent competition with our peers, and constantly under the eye of the leaders, evaluating how nice and how bossy we were. Over the course of two whole days we did a range of activities from team building exercises and pioneering to presentations.

We were each of us awarded a place out of a total of nine given to the Esher Scout district. Hinchley Wood took up a third of all places because we are obviously the ‘best scout troop ever’. A few of our fellow scouts were unsuccessful and this is a great disappointment as every person who applied truly deserved a spot and it is a great shame that there weren’t more spaces. But in one way they are the lucky ones, because they don’t have to fundraise thousands of pounds to pay for their places! Although we do have our units and our scout groups to help us fundraise by holding events, packing shopping bags in local shopping centres and doing group jobs like car washing, most will be done alone to raise funds with small acts such as gardening, sponsored activities and selling cakes and donuts. So if you see us please be generous!

After we got the news that we had been chosen we were then given our unit numbers, my unit is #64. Units are mixed groups of 32 Scouts, Ajax Sea Scouts and boys and girls from other scout divisions from all across Surrey, ensuring we are forming new friendships within the group and meeting new people from the wider area. With our different units, we will attend lots of ‘training camps’ teaching us essential knowledge about the Jamboree, to allow us to bond and to practice skills like putting up tents with millimetre precision.

The World Scout Jamboree offers a brand new experience for every person that is there, and opens their eyes to a myriad of different cultures and people from countless countries from six different continents. An opportunity like this is literally once-in-a-life-time. Everyone who got chosen is, I’m sure, hugely grateful and excited; and the work and commitment that goes into getting there will be well worth it.

“The 24th World Scout Jamboree” – here we come!

by Will Cruddas

Review 2016-17: Scouts

Adrian Ducker

The Scouts have had another exciting year. Here’s a sampler of troop night activities over the past 12 months: pioneering, visiting Esher Fire Station, 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 Ham Lands, shooting, scavenger hunts, a ‘Scottish Evening’, Ready Steady Cook night, a Day Hike at night, night hikes, a visit from the Air Ambulance, Airhop at Guildford and pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.

And that’s not all. Visits were made to the dry ski slope at Sandown and to Top Golf at Addlestone. 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 Claymore (‘shipping’ on Black Pond was located and 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.

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, fire safety and other activity badges.

Stewart Ashwell, Sebastian Collins, Matthew Nair and Thomas Sturmer attended a County Presentation to receive their Chief Scout’s Gold Award Certificates.

The year saw a large increase in participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Whilst primarily aimed at the Explorer Scout age range older Scouts have needed very little encouragement to sign up as soon as they are eligible and are enjoying ‘DofE’ activities from volunteering to expeditions.

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 and William Emmerson were 1st & 2nd placed in the year 6&7 individual results. 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.

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 2016-17:

MONTH EVENT POSITION
May 2016 County Expedition Green
June Archery Comp First
September Fishing Comp Second
October Cooking Comp Fourth
October Night Hike First
November Five-A-Side Plate (runners up)
Year 2016 Top Troop Trophy First
February 2017 Scouting Skills & First Aid Third
February Cross Country Seventh
March Shooting Comp No competition
March Day Hike First

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

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

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

This year (as the Cubs were off to Brownsea Island) the Troop held its own Spring Camp at Broadstone Warren in Sussex. Twenty-six scouts in four patrols spent Saturday enjoying sessions of archery, low ropes and an off-site mountain biking excursion. After all that the younger scouts practised their camp skills by cooking their evening meal whilst the older scouts carried out a survival exercise. Several younger scouts made & slept in bivvys too! Next day it was Operation Locate Gold – an all-day off-site exercise involving navigation, hiking and some water based treasure hunting in canoes & kayaks.

Later we had 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 Cube course climbing sessions.

The troop, with the rest of the Group, headed up to Walton Firs in June to join the all-District Camp. With all the massive attractions ranging from circus skills to giant table football to a huge firework display we had a super time in great company.

After last year’s trip to Snowdonia, it was off to Scotland for Summer Camp. The site at Achnacloich near Oban is set on the shore of Loch Etive with superb views of the hills around about. The site, as usual for a Summer Camp, was totally ‘green field’ (ie no facilities!).

The campers, 23 scouts in 4 patrols and 9 explorer scouts had a great time. Highlights of the camp were climbing Ben Nevis, building bivouacs and spending nights in them, kayaking & canoeing on Loch Etive and coasteering at Ganavan.

Everyone went ‘overseas’; the explorers and older scouts went on overnight DofE expeditions on the island of Mull, whilst the younger scouts got very wet on their day hillwalk on Mull. We went sea fishing out on the Firth of Lorne on a glorious sunny afternoon and came back with plenty of mackerel which we cooked for our ‘last supper’.

On the last full day of camp we all climbed Ben Nevis, having a snowball fight but sadly no view from the summit. Dinner that night was the traditional fish & chips, in a car park in Fort William. We broke the homeward journey with a stay at Greenhead Youth Hostel and a visit to Hadrian’s Wall.

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.

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. We welcomed Debbie Shaw and Aisha Solanki to join the established team of Jeff Almond, Adrian Ducker, Peter Hanna, Harvey Panesar, Tom Sharman and Gill Wills.

Adrian Ducker has been very grateful for the considerable support from them and also from Chris Beaney, John Daoud, Fiona Smales 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.

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Next: Explorers

Esher Scouts win the SN Junior Orienteering League, again!

Esher Scouts Orienteering Club has won the 2016-17 Southern Navigators Saturday Series trophy, for the second year in a row. There were some great individual performances with four scouts – two from Hinchley Wood – finishing first and second in two of the age groups.

Team result

The scout team scored 64 points from a maximum possible 66, with five event victories and one second place. Second place St Andrews School scored 54 and Tomlinscote had 50 in third.

Individual results

  • In B7 and under, Idris Wills came first and William Emmerson came second, both from 1st Hinchley Wood.
  • In B8-9, Benedict Davidson took first place and Thomas Arnison came second, both from 1st Oxshott.

Also in the B7 age group and in their first season of orienteering, Alex Dall came ninth on the back of four runs, and Jamie Bingham came 15th with only three runs and a great result at the penultimate competitive event – both from 1st Claygate – showing great improvement over the series.

Great start to the orienteering season for Esher Scouts

Esher Scouts Orienteering Club (ESOC) has had a great start to the orienteering season, winning the first two events in the Southern Navigators’ Saturday Series. This gives the club 22 points, six points clear of St Andrew’s School and Tomlinscote in joint second place.

At the first event of the season – Frith Hill near Camberley – ESOC runners Thomas Arnison, Idris Wills and William Emmerson took third, fourth and sixth places on orange. On yellow, newcomers Sophie Hutchison & Lucie Tinkler took 9th place and Christian Nicholson 14th.

bramshill-punchingThe club had strong results at the second event at Bramshill in Berkshire. On the yellow course, pairs of scouts secured tightly-contested third, fourth and fifth places with less than 20 seconds between them. On the longer and harder orange course, individual runners William Emmerson, Benedict Davidson and Idris Wills were placed second, third and fifth respectively. Individual runners and those running without adult support score higher points in the competition.

The third event of the Saturday Series takes place on Saturday 12 November at Eagle House School, between Sandhurst and Crowthorne near Bracknell. This is a change from the previously advertised location (Ash South).

bramshill-finishESOC is an informal orienteering club affiliated to South London Orienteers which draws its members from the ten scout troops in the Esher District. Recently the most active troops have been Claygate, Hinchley Wood, the Molesey troops and Oxshott. The club won the 2015-16 Saturday Series and the 2016 Surrey Schools & Youth O-Festival.

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:

MONTH EVENT POSITION
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