Tag Archives: review-2015-16

Review 2015-16: Chairman’s Note

Andrew Sturmer

It has been another great year for Scouting in Hinchley Wood. The very real success of 1st Hinchley Wood Scouts is down to the fantastic programme of activity which is organised for our children. Whether it be trips to the fire station, kayaking, making catapults, camping nearby – and far away, shooting, wake-boarding, hiking, archery or fishing to name but a few, for this we owe congratulations and a huge thank you to Group Scout Leader Adrian Ducker and our team of excellent Leaders. It is extremely important that we support our Leaders to deliver the years activities whether this is becoming a Leader, taking on a role in the group, supporting sessions down at the HQ, ferrying children to different locations or helping at fundraising events.

Our fundraising remains very strong. Each year our May Fair in the Memorial Gardens seems to bring even more community spirit to the village and it was a great success again this year. Our biggest fundraising event is the Christmas tree sales and we once again delivered well over 300 trees and wreaths bringing much Christmas cheer to Hinchley Wood and surrounding areas. Our fundraising is critical to the continued success of the Group and the rich and varied programme of activities organised each year. When we secured our fabulous new mini bus a almost three years ago we did not retire the old one! While retaining the blue bus has been a real bonus, and it has given great service taking us to and from so many adventures, it is now 25 years old so we are actively putting away funds to replace it.

All of our main fundraising events are organised by our Parent Reps and the Group Executive. On behalf of the whole Group I would like to thank the Parent Reps for their fantastic efforts over the last year. They really have done a great job. I would also like to thank all those many parents who contributed in some way however small in helping make our fundraising and other events a success. It does make a huge difference but we still need more helpers. It really is the more the merrier the quicker and easier that things get done. We are opening up more roles within the Group so to get more involved please do speak to myself, Adrian or any one of the Leaders or Parent reps.

Membership as at 31 March 2016

Beaver Scouts 24
Cub Scouts 35
Scouts 29
Explorer Scouts 21
Total Youth Members 109
Scout Network 3
Leaders & Assistants 34
Total Membership (Group & Explorer/Network Unit) 146

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Review 2015-16: Group Scout Leader

Adrian Ducker

Scouting’s progress is both national and local. Membership is up and the movement continues to generate much interest and considerable respect.

Last year we celebrated securing our lease of the Open Space land next to our headquarters. This has become a great resource for all and we’ve now started improving the area with hedging planted, gates erected and a campfire circle/ outdoor meeting space planned. The Beavers have built a Bug Hotel. We thank our local supporters including our hard working councillors for the helpful grant aid.

Group events including the Group Camp, the May Fair 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. 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.

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 pleased to say that Long Service awards have been made to the following Group members:

Chris Beaney 30 years
Theresa Platt 20 years
Richard Evans 5 years
Jon Berg 5 years
David Shine 5 years
Heidi Smith 5 years
Samuel Crompton Brook 5 years
John Trott 5 years
Edward Vos 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 an excellent trend but more volunteers are needed to take the responsibilities of leadership especially for the older sections. 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 matters as first aid. Those becoming leaders 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 mountain walking, advanced first aid, shooting, archery, water activities as well as their mainstream Scout adult leader training.

Our water activities team is strengthened by the addition of explorers joining the coaching team.

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 continuing to improve our storage facilities with new racking to increase the effective space and make it easier to access the equipment.

Our ‘fleet’ of two minibuses remains unchanged and is much used. A replacement for the older, smaller (blue) bus will be needed in the foreseeable future (yes, you’ve heard that before!).

We have purchased additional base camp tents for the increasing number of Explorer Scouts and acquired (with thanks to Gill Wills) more much needed and updated lightweight expedition tents.

The Chris Platt Activity Centre continues to make a major contribution to the life of the Group. Besides housing the minibuses, canoes and kayaks, fair stalls, archery and other equipment, the air rifle range and the climbing/traverse wall have been well used – a real multi-activity building. We have improved the access to the fair stall storage area behind the shooting range, much to the relief of our hardworking fundraisers!

It is fantastic to see young people making use of the knowledge and experience gained through scouting by putting something back into the movement.

The Group has been pleased to continue joint initiatives with other local organisations, notably St Christopher’s Church and Girlguiding Hinchley Wood, to promote the community of Hinchley Wood. One very visible result of this is the Hinchley Wood Community Magazine. This magazine, published by the Church and contributed to and in part 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 .

Don Beardshall has stood down as a Group Exec member. Don has held roles in 1st Hinchley Wood from Scout Leader to Group Scout Leader and beyond and was the driving force in kick starting the garage project we now know as the Chris Platt Centre. I’d like to thank Don for his many years of service and am pleased to report that he will carry on as Quiz supremo.

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. Many hands make light work is very true so please look at ways in which you can help. All the information on parental help is in the section handbooks.

Angus Lund, our (and Esher Scout District’s) Orienteering specialist to great effect – see the scout troop report – has also now taken on a much needed upgrade to the Group Website – many thanks to Angus.

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. We have included summary financial information in an easily understood graphical format however the full detailed annual report and accounts are available to anyone who requests them. We ask everyone to help this Review find a wide distribution around the area such as within other organisations, schools, libraries, doctors’ waiting rooms etc – please take a few extra copies!

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Next: Beavers

Review 2015-16: Beavers

Leadership Team
What a year for 1st Hinchley Wood Beavers!

Normally when writing the annual report we think of the badges awarded and then can remember the activities we enjoyed to achieve these badges. As the scout movement have decided to revamp the provision of badges I’ll just have to try and remember as best I can. Any omissions and errors are down to me.

This year the beavers were asked to use their brains, learn the theory of map reading and put it into practice by not getting lost in a trek in the woods. They also did some eggsperiments – blowing, throwing and showing the strength of eggs. They also had to design an apparatus to move eggs 5 metres without touching the ground or breaking using recyclable waste and junk modelling materials.

They learnt about disability and how much more difficult life can be for children with disabilities by visiting the Dysart school for children with profound learning difficulties. The staff members were extremely welcoming and stayed after work to allow the beavers to experience their mucky science lessons, interactive floor projection room, safe play area and physical therapy room. The beavers wanted all schools to be kitted out this well! The school had a garden area which wasn’t very exciting so we decided to see if we could help to improve this area by planting a sensory garden, decorating the existing containers and designing, painting and erecting a mural to add some colour to the space. The colony bought lots of nautical-themed wooden shapes and the beavers painted and decorated these. We then revisited the school with drills, screwdrivers and Dads and mounted all their hard work. The advantage of the shapes, with their tactile nature, was to make them accessible to children with visual impairment. When the beavers had finished the teachers came to have a look and immediately burst into tears at the transformation – if they didn’t like it they only had to say!!

As part of our disability badge, local father Alex Smith came to talk to us about the modifications he had to make to his life after he found out that his son, Harrison, had Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. Alex also told the beavers about his recent world record attempt where he completed an Ironman pulling and pushing Harrison with him. Some of the parents may have seen him in the recent Documentary ‘My Ironman Dad’

Burns night was celebrated by Scottish dancing and eating haggis. We had two expert dancers come and show us how to do a Scottish dance in complete traditional highland dress. We can’t say that the beavers were excellent at Scottish dancing but they certainly gave it a go.

The explorers who had gone to the world jamboree in Japan came back to tell us of their adventure complete with kimono for dressing up and practicing kung fu kicks.

Of course we also had the old stalwarts – cooking pancakes , District cross-country , Remembrance Day , Esher fire station visit , beavers Fun Day, Mothers Day, Father’s Day – and of course Group Camp at Walton Firs. No wonder the District Commissioner was called in to present lots of Chief Scout Bronze Awards over the course of the year.

None of this could take place without Leaders and volunteers to help make it possible. The Beaver leader team of Heidi Smith, Samantha Emmerson and Wendy Vincze, headed up by Ian Broderick, has welcomed new leader Deepa Solanki. Since last year Gill Wills and Fiona Smales have moved to other sections to help out there.

Another parent is needed to help long-serving rep Katie Sweeting. Although we have appealed for new parent reps none have come forward. The role is mainly an administrative & organisational one passing on information between leaders and parents, ensuring parent volunteers are in place and returning lost property. Can you help the beavers?

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Next: Cubs

Review 2015-16: Cubs

Leadership Team

The summer got off to a good start with group camp at Walton Firs at the beginning of May. The sun shone and the cubs took part in lots of activities including backwoods cooking, navigating an obstacle course, map work, caving and crate climbing. They especially enjoyed the challenge of branding pieces of wood with hot metal!

District camp at Polyapes followed in June, where nights away and camper badges were earned. Activities there included rope walks, a bouncy castle challenge and a laser chase.

During the autumn and spring programmes, the cubs worked on the Astronomer and First Aid Badges. They showed great enthusiasm producing models of different constellations and maps of the solar system. We were delighted that GP (and Scout Leader!) Harvey was able to lead one of the First Aid meetings and get the cubs really engaged in tasks including treating burns, cuts and nosebleeds and the correct use of the recovery position.

As we celebrated the Centenary of Cub Scouting, several of the meetings focused on learning more about Lord Baden Powell and the history of the Scout movement and preparing for the camp at Brownsea Island – one of the highlights of 2016!

District events included a particularly exhilarating day hike (in which the cubs fielded two teams) in challenging weather at Leith Hill, the annual Pinewood Derby and a well-attended cross country run in Oxshott.

Other activities during the year included making a radio programme about the Cub Centenary, Christmas wreath making, cooking pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, swimming at Hampton Pool, bivouac building on West End Common and games at Hinchley Wood rec.

The highest award that can be earned as a cub is the Chief Scout’s Silver Award which was gained by Francis Avizius, William Emmerson, Oliver Game, Connor Hays, Jamie Lund, Joe Moylan-Jones, Arjun Panesar, Harry Randolfi, Matthew Robinson, Scott Smith, George Sturmer, Thomas Sweeting and Idris Wills. Congratulations to all.

The Cub Leadership team welcomed Paul Rayner. The team led by Akela Debs Beaney assisted by Chris Beaney is thus Phil Cooper, Alex Higgins, Emma Kingsley, Leala Padmanabhan, Paul Rayner and Theresa Platt. We wish to thank everyone who has helped us, 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. Any new programme ideas are always most welcome.

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Next: Scouts

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.

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Next: Explorers