Tag Archives: group

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.

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.