Section Report 2019-2020

What an interesting year we’ve had! We started the financial year with 30 scouts and closed the year with 28. 5 of our scouts (Peter, Lauren, Henry, Rishi and Alice) achieved their Chief Scout Gold Awards through the year and Rishi and Henry attended the County Awards evening in November. Alice was due to attend the awards evening in March, which had to be postponed. Our District are supposed to host the next one in November 2020 but at this point, it’s anyone’s guess whether this will be able to go ahead.

In September, we welcomed Thomas back as a young leader and in January Joel also returned to help as part of his silver Duke of Edinburgh award. We’re also delighted that both Chris and Adam decided to sign up as adult leaders (Section Assistants) on turning 18. Just recently, Adam completed his Chief Scout Diamond Award and Thomas his Chief Scout Platinum Award working as leaders with us – could we get our first Queens Scout next maybe?

Having joined us on summer camp in August, Mike Randles realised how much he was missing scouting and joined the troop as a Section Assistant too! Salv also continued his scout leader journey moving up from cubs to scouts with his son, Samuel in January.

What a fabulous team! We’ll miss Chris and Adam when they head off to university in the autumn but wish them every success and hope they’ll come back and visit us during the holidays.

So what scouting did we get up to through the year?

  • We went on 4 camps:
    • County Expedition Challenge weekend based at Boidier Hurst campsite in the Boxhill area in May 19 with an experienced team & a training team taking part. Both our teams were awarded Gold certificates making us very proud!
    • In June, we took part in Pioneer 19, a weekend camp building increasingly more challenging structures.
    • In July, we joined the rest of the 4th Weybridge Group for Family camp at Bentley Copse with loads of activities and a great chance to meet our future scouts and parents!
    • In August, we returned to Braggers Wood campsite in the New Forest and had a great time. The weather was kind to us, most slept in hammocks and we went kayaking, visited Brownsea Island (the birthplace of scouting), had a barbecue on the beach, whittled cutlery from sticks, went horse riding and more.
  • In September we went to London, visited Greenwich and “kipped on a ship” – HMS Belfast on the Thames. It must be said that a few scouts took a little while to realise that kip meant sleep so there were some bleery eyes in the morning …
  • In the summer, we designed scouting promotional materials (we showed a video at last year’s AGM), went orienteering on Esher common, explored the local area for the Local Knowledge badge and concluded the term with a very popular evening Wakeboarding at Thorpe Lakes.
  • In the autumn, we took part in the District Water Activities day in September kayaking, canoeing, rafting, Stand Up Paddleboarding and motor boat driving, We learnt about local history from the Elmbridge Museum team, visited Walton Fire Station to complete the Fire Safety badge, made mini pioneering models and Christmas crafts and learnt about Elmbridge CAN, a local charity supporting refugees setting in Elmbridge, We also spent a morning at Chobham Common clearing scrub with Surrey Wildlife Trust followed by pond dipping and fungi spotting with them in the afternoon. We fundraised bag packing at Morrisons at Christmas, enabling us to send half the proceeds (£237) to Elmbridge CAN.
  • In the spring we practised expedition skills: cooking, route cards and a day hike, went climbing at Xcel, played wide games at Esher Common, learnt/practised Home Skills like ironing, toilet cleaning, badge sewing and started to compile a local information pack for Elmbridge CAN. Sadly the COVID lockdown put paid to the District Football competition and the Egg Hunt & Spring camp plans although we still concluded the term with our now traditional Easter Group campfire.

We were also delighted to receive the Uruguay Trophy last June, awarded by Walton & Weybridge District to us, jointly with 1st Weybridge and 9th Walton for participation in international expeditions for our KIX trip to Switzerland the summer before.

Since April, we’ve learnt how Scouting goes online (& strangely I’ve also gone very grey whilst doing so!). It takes more than Lockdown to stop scouting! Some of us joined the Online JOTI at the start of April (a worldwide Jamboree on the Internet) and we joined with thousands from around the World camping @ home on 30th April. We celebrated St George’s day and VE Day 75 online, learnt about international scouting, tried out the What 3 Words app and took the Dyson Foundation engineering challenge building some very successful spaghetti bridges and cardboard boats. We’ve also tried lots of new online games – scavenger hunts, skribbl, Guess Who …

We even managed a virtual weekend camp with an escape room, making face coverings, a grid reference treasure hunt, making kites, hot air balloons and paper planes, checking out & measuring local trees with help from the Woodland Trust app, trying out morse code and the phonetic alphabet and of course lots of cooking and a campfire. Parents as well as scouts and leaders were kept on their toes – a huge thank you, parents, for working with us!

Finally and most importantly as, without their fantastic input, support and hard work, scouts wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun, a huge thank you to Southy, Janet, Mike, Salv, Chris, Adam, Thomas, Marcus, Connor & Joel and to all the other leaders, ex-leaders, Executive members and parents who have volunteered to help in so many ways over the year. Huge thanks also to everyone for collecting rubbish so diligently over the last year, you will see in the accounts that we broke through the £500 mark recycling in the last financial year and are well on our way towards raising a similar figure this year, despite lockdown – strangely, used wine bottle corks have been particularly in demand!

And so, on to the next year, and whatever that may bring!

Sally Rogers

Scout Leader