Review 2017-18: Group Scout Leader

Group Scout Leader Adrian Ducker

Scouting’s upward progress both national and local continues. Membership is up and the movement continues to generate much interest and considerable respect – and long waiting lists!
Group events including participation in the May Fair, St Georges Day Parade (hosted by us at St Christopher’s) and the Open Day were successful and much enjoyed by young people, our supporters and the local community – as appropriate!

Group collective achievements include full and successful participation in District and County events, active programmes for all the sections and the Scout Active Support (SAS) unit, and all the other activities detailed in the section reports that follow. I also congratulate all beaver scouts, cub scouts, scouts, explorer and network scouts who have had fun gaining badges and taking part in camps, activities and competitions during the year. We do not forget our Promise to help others either, see the section reports. Well done to you all!

1st Hinchley Wood is the fourth largest Group in Esher District and the second largest with one section of each age range. The beaver, cub and scout sections remain full with waiting lists. The lack of meeting slots in our joint headquarters prevents more expansion of Group numbers.

As our Chairman has pointed out, all this activity and success does not just happen; it is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by the leaders and assistants who are the backbone of the group, supported by Scout Active Support and backed up by the Group Executive. I would like to express my thanks and I am sure that of all parents to all the volunteer leaders and assistants, past and present, who put so much time and energy into 1st Hinchley Wood.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls makes awards to leaders and other adults for their service. I’m very pleased to say that the Award of Merit has been awarded to Ian Broderick, John Daoud and Theresa
Platt – three such awards in one year must be a record for us.

In addition Long Service awards have been made to the following Group members:

  • Clive Thorogood – 30 years
  • Andy Fletcher – 15 years
  • Billy Platt – 15 years
  • John Daoud – 10 years
  • Simon Heather – 10 years
  • Phil Cooper – 5 years
  • Emma Kingsley – 5 years

There have been a number of changes in the Group’s leadership team during the year, with a good number of new appointments as listed in the section reports that follow. We thank those who have left us for their help. We welcome all who have joined our team during the year. This is all excellent but yet more volunteers are needed to take the responsibilities of leadership throughout the Group. This is a continuing group objective for the year ahead.

Thanks to an excellent leader training programme, there is no pre-requisite in expertise or experience. All leaders undertake to complete their initial leader training within five months of appointment and their full training within five years. They then undergo ongoing training throughout their service, keeping them up to date in such areas as safety, safeguarding and first aid. Those becoming leaders and taking on certain other roles may bypass the considerable waiting lists for membership of the sections for their children.

A continuing challenge for the volunteer leader team is delivering ever more sophisticated programmes requiring specialised training and qualifications such as archery, shooting and water and mountain-based activities. It is good to report that many of our leaders and instructors have undertaken training in specialist areas such as navigation, mountain walking, advanced first aid, shooting, Duke of Edinburgh Award, archery, water activities as well as their mainstream Scout adult leader training. Developing personal skills and then passing them on to young people is a very rewarding aspect of a leader’s role.

Our water activities team is strengthened by the addition of explorers and network scouts joining the coaching team. It is fantastic to see young people making use of the knowledge and experience gained through Scouting by putting something back into the movement.

As Chairman Andrew has said, “Things don’t just happen/”

Richard Beaney, our Group Quartermaster, continues to make a very positive contribution. With the ever-increasing amount of expensive equipment needed to support our level of activity his methodical and practical approach is much appreciated by the leaders. He is steadily continuing to improve our storage facilities with new racking to increase the effective space and make it easier to access the equipment. Richard is not alone in being grateful to the (unknowing?) support given by leading supermarkets in the provision of storage containers!!

Our ‘fleet’ of two minibuses remains unchanged and is much used. We have funding in place and are on the lookout for a replacement for the older, smaller (blue) bus (yes, you’ve heard that before!).

We have purchased a replacement large mess tent and some super new heavy duty gazebos which look very good when the Group is on show at Fairs etc.

The Chris Platt Activity Centre continues to make a major contribution to the life of the Group. Besides housing the minibuses, canoes and kayaks on their trailer, fair stalls, archery and other equipment, the air rifle range and the climbing/traverse wall have been well used – a real multi-activity building.

The Group welcomes joint initiatives with other local organisations, notably St Christopher’s Church and Girlguiding Hinchley Wood, to promote the community of Hinchley Wood. We thank our local supporters including our hard working councillors. One very visible result of this is the Hinchley Wood Community Magazine. This magazine, published by the Church and contributed to and sometimes distributed by 1st Hinchley Wood, helps to increase local awareness of just how much goes on in scouting and guiding in Hinchley Wood. Many thanks to Chris Beaney who coordinates our contributions.

Closely supporting the uniformed team is the Group Executive, the lay team whose function is to support the Group in its work. The greatest part of this involves fundraising and our financial report shows just how important the fundraising effort is to our overall income. My thanks go to our Chairman Andrew Sturmer, Secretary Amanda Moylan-Jones, Treasurer Laurence Tanner and all Group Exec members and parents who have helped in this and other vital functions.

The widened parent support base including our parent reps has been a real success story. Well done to everyone involved. Our future objectives are to attract more leaders, to train more in specialist roles and to encourage more parents to get involved in managing the Group and the joint headquarters. As Chairman Andrew has said, ‘“things don’t just happen” so please look at the many ways in which you can help. Whilst many of these roles involve evening and weekend participation there are a number (record keeping or website development for example) which are not time or space dependent and thus practical for those who cannot easily manage to get to the HQ.

We hope you enjoy this Annual Review. I am grateful to all the contributors and to Peter Hanna for their help in producing this year’s edition.

Review 2017-18: Beavers

Ian Broderick

At this time of the year as I’m asked to provide brief details for the Review of our activities for the year I think of the Life of Brian sketch.

So what has Beavers ever done for our children?

How about camping and fire lighting? Well they’re part of the Scouting organisation so of course they’re going to do camping, fire lighting, setting up a tent and hiking – everyone knows that.

They did learn a lot about safety – in the home, on the water, fire safety, green cross code, stranger danger – that’s quite important.

Obviously we have to look after the children so safety goes without saying.

What about the ‘visits and visitors’ like laser tag, drumming, Bazzaz, Group camp, Shinnyo-en, fire station, food bank, Chelsea FC, tennis and White Spider climbing.

Well of course thanks to all visitors and helpers.

We can’t forget the wonderful time they had at Group camp with zorbing, spoon branding, water rockets, caving, nightline and assault course.

So apart from camping, climbing, fire-lighting Bazzaz, safety, camp, tennis, football, archery, hiking, cycling, catapults, caving, crate-stacking, experiments, visits and visitors, self-confidence, fun, games, friends and badges (including the coveted Chief Scout’s Bronze Award) – what has Beavers ever done for our children?


And I’ve probably missed out as many activities as I’ve mentioned but I was told to keep this short!

None of this could have occurred without the volunteers who make it possible. So big thanks to the Beaver Leader team of Ian Broderick, Heidi Smith, Samantha Emmerson, Wendy Vincze, parent reps Pauline Davies and Emma Willson, not forgetting the ‘DofE’ young leaders, weekly parent helpers and Colony Administrator Sarah Chan.

Who would be a Beaver leader? We can always do with more help – join the fun and remember doing good makes you feel good.

Review 2017-18: Cubs

Theresa Platt

The summer term got off to a good start with Group Camp at Walton Firs, followed soon after with District Camp at Polyapes with a mediaeval theme, so Hinchley Wood built a trebuchet. For some Cubs this would be their first overnight camp gaining them their first Nights Away badge. Camper badges and Outdoor Challenge badges were also gained by many Cubs. These involved putting up tents, playing wide games, backwoods cooking. Other outdoor activities included rounders, night hike, bivouacs, Nerf guns, Go-Ape and a sponsored run around Giggs Hill Green in the dark to raise funds for Children In Need.

Back in the HQ we learnt what makes up our digestive system and how it works and made collages to show this. The Cubs honed their map reading skills and cycling proficiency, made coloured, scented candles and made their own set of juggling balls. They even had a go at movie making to show an audience what goes on at Cub meetings. These movies were strung together and at the end of term we had a very late night Pack meeting where the Cubs snuggled down in their sleeping bags watching their own movies, munching on hot dogs and popcorn, and also watching the Jungle Book movie before going home just before midnight.

Other highlights were a visit from a policeman and a science evening which culminated in making ice cream use liquid nitrogen. That was a really great evening. The Cubs also learnt about hydraulics and each Six built their own hydraulic lift. Lots of fun was had that night.

Cub Pack Highlights

  • Go-Ape
  • Making ice cream using liquid nitrogen
  • Visit by a Policeman
  • Sponsored run for Children in Need
  • Nerf guns
  • We had a couple of cooking sessions making pizzas and shortbread. A team took part in the new District Cooking Competition. Another new event was the District Quiz. Each Pack ran a quiz night using the same questions which were supplied by District, to select a winning team to go forward to the next round. The Hinchley Wood team did us proud and the event was a success. Some Cubs made and shaped wooden cars to take part in the District Pinewood Derby (racing cars down a track).
    The highest award that can be earned as a Cub is the Chief Scout’s Silver Award which was gained by 9 Cubs this year. Well done to Rhys Jones, Lukka Bodinnar, Sam Vincze, Jamie Tebbs, Ashley Wright, Noah Goddard, Matthew Shinn, Thomas Fleming and Alexander Walmsley.
    The Cub Leaders, (that’s Debs Beaney, Chris Beaney, Phil Cooper, David Cruickshank Alex Higgins, Paul Rayner, Theresa Platt and Deepa Solanki) welcomed Nathan Ward and Juliette Smillie to the team and look forward to incorporating their new ideas into the programme. The Leadership team wish to thank parent reps Nicole Murray, Anna McKenna & Laura La Frenais and everyone else who has helped, in any way, to provide such a varied programme. We hope you have found it a fun and very rewarding experience. With your continued support we can keep offering a challenging, fun programme of the highest standard. New programme ideas are always most welcome, especially if you come and help deliver them!

    Review 2017-18: 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), camp skills, Guy making (followed by a Guy Fawkes bonfire & fireworks), orienteering at a very wet Cannizaro Park, shooting, scavenger hunts, ‘It’s a Knockout’, Ready Steady Cook night, a Day Hike at night, night hikes, Skywalk at Sandown and pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.

    And that’s not all. We went Climbing at Surrey University and Bowling at Spectrum. 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 July evening cable boarding at JB Waterski. In December, we re- enacted the WW2 Operation Stalag Luft (with lots of ‘escaping’ on Oxshott Heath!) 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 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.

    Callum Smith & Nisan Kotik were invited to attended a County Presentation to receive their Chief Scout’s Gold Award Certificates.

    The year saw continued 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. William Emmerson was 1st placed in the year 8&9 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 2017-18:

    Month Event Position
    June 2017 Archery Competition Second
    September Fishing Competition First
    October Cooking Competition Third
    October Night Hike First
    February 2018 Scouting Skills and First Aid Second
    February Shooting Competition First
    March Cross Country Snow!
    March Day Hike Second

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

    Golden woggles were gained by Tom Branney, Sonny Cruickshank & Arvind Panesar. These are awarded to leaders of competition winning teams.

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

    Group Camp took place at Walton Firs. Twenty- nine Scouts in five 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. We also did zorbing, most for the first time, it was great fun!

    After last year’s trip to Scotland, it was off to Cornwall for Summer Camp. The site was at Trolver, a small farm near Truro set above the River Fal with superb views around about. The site, as usual for a Summer Camp, was totally ‘green field’ (ie no facilities!), but we did have a water tap and a small tractor to tow the vehicles in and out during the wet weather which did appear from time to time.

    The campers, 29 scouts in 5 patrols and 9 explorer scouts had a great time. Highlights of the camp were mountain biking, surfing, building bivouacs and spending nights in them, kayaking on the Fal and ‘inland coasteering’. It was too rough for coastal coasteering but the alternative in a flooded quarry and involving stand up paddleboarding was great. Older Scouts went on overnight expeditions, whilst younger Scouts completed a day walk on the coast path.

    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 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.

    Review 2017-18: Explorers

    John Daoud

    Explorers are young people aged 14+ to 18 years old. Throughout the year the explorer unit have taken part in a diverse range of activities.

    All our explorers are enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and this year 3 have completed their Bronze and 4 their Silver Awards. They are 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 ‘DofE’ awards on their way to the Scouting awards. The Unit is dedicated to helping our explorer scouts to achieve these and then aim towards the coveted Queens Scout Award (and Gold ‘DofE’). We now have the record number of 6 explorer and 8 network scouts working towards their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

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

    Month Event Position
    June 2017 Raftless Race Second
    October Shooting Competition First
    November Cooking Competition First
    Year 2017 Scope Trophy First
    March 2018 Cross Country Snow!

    This has been another busy year with the Explorer unit, culminating this September with a large number heading off to study at various universities.

    The unit have had the annual canoeing trip down the River Wye in South Wales, staying at a scout hut near to Monmouth and tackling the Symonds Yat rapids on the Sunday, with only a few swimming down and all of them being successfully fished out.

    The year was seen off with the Explorer Christmas ball at Lynwood Palace, remaining a classy event. Thanks to head chef Hanna for the catering.

    In January we had the District Explorer winter activity weekend in the Brecon Beacons staying at an old railway station. On the Saturday we walked up Pen-y-Fan and did a shorter walk on the Sunday. It was typical Welsh weather, and about the wettest weekend I have ever experienced, leading me to buy a special waterproof woolly hat. In March there was the District paintball day which was good fun and whilst “leading from the front” led to me being shot a lot.

    The explorers also launched a novice team on the 4 Inns hillwalking event in the Peak District, covering over 40 miles in a day. They successfully completed the event in good time and even managed to pick up a couple of rather lost Explorer leaders near the end.

    This year we have had two gold Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, a practice in April and a successful qualifying expedition in July. The qualifying expedition is 4 days of walking with 3 nights of camping. Each day must have 8 hours walking and participants must carry all of their kit and food for the duration of the expedition. The April expedition took place in the Peak District, starting in Edale and finishing on the Snake Pass by a circuitous route. The weather was very challenging with rain and cold, however both groups performed admirably and kept spirits high throughout. The qualifying expedition was conducted by Thomas Hill, Sophie Beaney, Stefan Collins, Thomas Nair, Joshua Smith, Daniel Camp and Hal Hopkins in the Brecon Beacons in July during the hottest heat wave for some time. The over 30 degree heat presented real difficulties which the team managed to overcome, partly by starting walking each day by 5.30am.

    Explorers also took part in summer camp, with the younger explorers also taking part in expeditions in Pembrokeshire. Daniel Camp took part in the International Roverway expedition in Holland in July working on community projects with scouts from across the world and celebrating scouting in a jamboree at the end.

    The 1st Hinchley Wood Explorer Unit is led by John Daoud and Oliver Cruddas with some help from other leaders. More leadership is an urgent need for the Unit.

    Registered Charity 305727