Review 2016-17: Beavers

Ian Broderick

Who would be a beaver leader?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to exhaust, enthral, entertain, expose to new skills and improve the self-confidence of a small child for a few hours every week. You have to think of a new activity every week. It must be fun and have a tenuous link to the badges that will be awarded at the end of the term. It sounds like Mission Impossible but with a dedicated beaver leader team at 1st Hinchley Wood we think we’ve achieved it ……again!

24 exhausted beavers returned to their parents after the adventure course at Walton Firs, a tennis taster session at Court Care Centre, football games with Gareth from Chelsea FC community outreach programme. All this on top of our weekly regular “burn some energy” games like knights and dragons, run around, ladders and jump the river.

The beavers were enthralled by the insects found at our pond dipping session at Esher Common and the new residents colonising the bug hotel they built in the green space at HQ.

They were entertained and enthralled by our visitors this year, including a Royal Marines veteran talking about Remembrance celebrations, a Gold medal winner from the junior Paralympics who brought his medal for the beavers to see and touch (Souleyman Bah, 100m, visual impairment) and a lady discussing self confidence issues for young people. We had a great welcome from the RNLI at Teddington and got to sit in their boats and try on their kit while learning about water safety.

Scouting gives young people the opportunity to take part in a huge range of activities and see if they like it – without buying all the kit. Beavers tried fencing for the first time, with others getting a chance to try tennis or ride a bicycle. Who knows what interests this will spark?

A little bit of education was slipped in with the beavers learning all about carbon dioxide and some first aid training from St John’s Ambulance.

For me the highlights of the year were our air activities badge evening on which we built planes out of cardboard boxes and held “Wacky Races“ -style competitions in the HQ. The beavers had a fantastic time and really entered into the spirit of the game. We also took them on a hike to the pound shop in Surbiton. Each had £3 to buy three presents for three special people in their lives. It was very interesting to see the care and thought that went into choosing the presents – and the recipients.

1st Hinchley Wood Beavers won the District Cross Country Run (defeating The Dittons – winners for the previous 11 years). In June they took their favourite tepee to Walton Firs for the District Camp and had a super time with the rest of the Group.

All of the above meant that the following badges could be awarded: Teamwork Challenge, Adventure Challenge, Discovery Challenge, Skills Challenge and Outdoor Challenge, along with the Cyclist, Hobby, Air Activities, Global Issues, Sport, Camp Craft, Emergency Aid and Hikes Away Badges.

Four Beavers achieved their Chief Scout Bronze Awards. Magnificent effort!!

I’ve probably missed out as many activities as I’ve listed but I was told to keep this short. None of this could have occurred without the leaders and volunteers to help make it possible . Thanks to the Beaver Leader team of Heidi Smith, Samantha Emmerson, Wendy Vincze, our new parent rep Emma Willson, not forgetting the weekly parent helpers and also Colony Administrator Sarah Chan.

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