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.

Review 2017-18: 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, Fundraising activities (especially our Christmas tree deliveries) and keeping our equipment and stores in good order (thanks Richard).

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.

Aside from helping with the catering at District Cub camp the highlight last year was the building of a large trebuchet for District Cub Camp. Given the very warm weather on the camp water balloons were fired rather than bean bags, proving it to be one of the most popular activities for the Cubs who enjoyed being drenched.

For the really adventurous one of our biggest challenges each year is the Four Inns Walk in the Peak District. There are now 2 competitions; a 65K (40+ mile) hike for the older members and a 35K (23 mile) hike for Explorers aged under 18. These are tough challenges which require a lot of stamina as well as excellent navigational skills to navigate across some of the toughest terrain in the UK whilst carrying kit and to complete it within 24hrs. As well as organising the entries and transport for our Explorers a few foolhardy members of the SAS also take part! Earlier this year the Group entered 3 teams in the 65K competition as well as a team of younger Explorers in the 35K competition. Despite some stiff competition from 1st Claygate Scout Group who entered 2 teams in the 65K and 4 in the 35K, 1st Hinchley Wood came back with both Esher District trophies as well as 2nd place overall in the Novice team category and 2nd and 3rd places in the category where all members are under 25. This is a fantastic achievement and a real demonstration of the excellent navigational skills that our Explorers have developed throughout their time in 1st Hinchley Wood Scout Group especially as they are competing against teams from across the UK and also abroad.

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 a trebuchet, 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.

Review 2017-18: 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, together with the separately leased open space.

It includes Leader representation but the main executive roles should be taken by Scout & Guide parents – at the moment we are well below strength and several more committee members are needed to share the workload.

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, such as redecoration, floor sealing and grass & hedge cutting.

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.
In the last year we have completed and had a formal opening of the campfire circle outdoor meeting space also the main hall floor has been specialist power cleaned and resealed.

Such improvements together with HQ works such as the imminent upgrading and renewal of the electrical wiring, the planned toilet refurbishment and wished for 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.

Jumble Sale, Saturday 6 October

Loads of bargains to be had!

1st Hinchley Wood Scout Group are holding their autumn Jumble Sale on Saturday 6 October from 10:30 to 12:30.

There are stalls for clothes, books, games, bric-a-brac, linens, shoes and children’s clothes.

Entry is £1 entry per person. Tea and coffee will be available.


Images courtesy of Darren Salanson

Beavers reach new heights in Spring 2018

Reaching the top…

At the end of a hectic spring term, which involved the Beavers making thank you candles at the Shinnyo-en temple, frying pancakes and experimenting with eggs, the group tested their fear of heights.

They did brilliantly: all the Beavers encouraged each other to do their best. It was great to see them working together and supporting each other as well as challenging themselves.

With most (or perhaps all I think!) reaching the heights then they all deserve a big well done… We were very proud!

Emma Willson

Registered Charity 305727