Smoke Signals 2021 Second Edition

Quarter Two of 2021 has been busy – as the number of posts about exciting activities demonstrates! The level of engagement is wonderful to see – indeed our waiting list can’t keep up and we’re seeing demand for a new group in our area. In his SGL Update, our Group Leader shares some big news: we are planning to open a new scout group in Claremont. Please do read up on how to get involved!

1st Claremont launched our Meerkat den (ages 5 and 6) earlier this year and the enthusiasm of both the Meerkats and their parents has been great to see: both Meerkats and their parents were involved in the Scientist Interest badge – complete with volcanoes and octopuses – and our Meerkats have enjoyed a nature ramble, as well as some camping and hiking.

The scout troop have been busy with numerous activities from hiking to advancements like First Class camps – read about them here and here – and Leadership Development – read up about LDC1 and LDC2 here, as well as hiking competitions – we placed first in the Upton Shield and are proud of our scouts for their showing at the Rayner Trophy hiking competition. Scouts has an international dimension and even under COVID, the 8th Africa Scout Jamboree for senior scouts will go ahead online

Our cubs have also had a fun and busy time including hikes, fires and learning about flags and cultures. Two cubs earned their Leaping Wolf badge. Advancement is a feature of any cub pack and our cubs earned two badges during their Pirate Adventure. Several cubs – and a team of adult leaders – took part in the Western Cape’s Outdoorsman Badge day at Hawequas.

As always our Scout Group Leader shares his thoughts on activities across the 1st Claremont Group. And our Troop Scouter reflects on the benefits of scouting to the adults involved in the movement.

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Joel attends a First Class camp

We arrived on Saturday morning at Glencairn and started unpacking and setting up camp. We then started the advancements and made bread and a sort of stew for supper which tasted really good. Then we played stalk the lantern for a while and after that we did a bit of stargazing. Then around 9 PM we played some card games. After that we went to bed.

In the morning we made french toast and bacon for breakfast and then went to the beach. Once we got there, we did some more advancements. On Sunday we left at around midday and on the way back we saw the fire on Table Mountain.

Overall I really enjoyed it and I learnt a few things. I am sure that everyone else who attended also enjoyed it and learnt things.

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Table Mountain Hole in the Wall Hike

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Cubs Pirate Adventure

One of the highlights of the term was the Pirate Adventure. This started at the Friday evening Cub meeting. Although the forecast predicted rain, the skies were clear and the Cubs were able to observe the stars and the moon as part of the Skies badge. The Cubs returned on Saturday in pirate costume for many more activities, and by the end of the day they had also completed their Signalling badge.

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My Meerkat (Octopus) teacher

The Meerkats completed their Scientist Interest badge, learning how to make volcanoes and things with simple chemicals. They then worked hard on their World Around Us Challenge badge by giving talks about different countries – did we travel the world through their eyes! – and also learning about animals in the sea, air and on land. The most amazing photos were taken at the octopus base.
Many thanks to the Meerkat parents who stepped up to run bases for these badges – your skills and enthusiasm are essential to our happy den. As a result, seven of our Meerkats have advanced to Bronze Star.

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8th Africa Scout Jamboree

We have been advised by Scouts SA that the 8th Africa Scout Jamboree will be hosted by Uganda.

As we all know, due to COVID-19, it is not practical or sensible to send a contingent, so what the organisers have done is to open this jamboree up virtually.

This Jamboree is open to scouts between the ages of 14 and 17. If you are interested please let David Knight know. You would have to have access to a the internet on a computer or smartphone.

The closing date is 25th June 2021.

Find more information here

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Cub Outdoorsman Course

Western Cape Region ran an Outdoorsman Badge course for cubs at Hawequas. The Outdoorsman Badge is one of the badges for ten year old cubs, and the course usually takes the form of a 2-night “Survivor” theme camp, but this year it was reduced to a one day activity due to Covid. As usual 1st Claremont was well represented with 3 cubs, 4 adult leaders, and a scout helper.

The course included axe skills, making a fire, cooking lunch, and building a shelter (a very useful skill because it rained for at least half of the day!) Despite the rain, Elton managed to teach Cubs how to use a shadow stick to determine North using the sun.

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Nina tells us about Rayner

A tough but ultimately wonderful competition, Rayner rolls around every year to push us to the limits of our hiking fitness, scout skills and tolerance of each other.
This particular Rayner had a bit of a rocky start as we were lost (sorry, temporarily disoriented) before even beginning the hike – with the entire competition having to meet briefly at a petrol station, an assembly that looked a bit like a small army was taking over – but overall turned out for the better. After a first day of relatively mild hiking, we settled down in our now-misty and very cold campsite for the evening. The camp setup itself was certainly memorable, as we were made to create a hexagon sleeping-area out of sisal and divide it into ‘rooms’, and not one but TWO snakes had to be removed from the area.
Now, most people were able to settle down in their camps, each pick a ‘room’ and have no fear of getting wet under their individual tarps but, of course, not us. Between the three of us, exactly one person managed to bring a tarp, mattress and (accidentally) two pillows…..In the true spirit of Scouting, it was under Alex’s tarp we found ourselves huddling at midnight once the activities finally finished, our feet in black bags and food stuffed under the rain covers of our backpacks.
By the morning, as featured in our 5AM ‘vlog’, the mist had still not let up and it was as dark as night. In our sleep-deprived confusion, we ended up with lukewarm coffee made from Game instead of water – a cultural experience according to Rachel!
The second day’s hike was tough and everyone was beginning to reach the end of their tether, especially on the way down the longest, steepest hill we’d seen all competition. The clipboard experienced some mishandling (or rather, an involuntary game of catch) due to frustration but somehow survived, and we celebrated our end with an 8th place achievement – not bad if I do say so myself, for a team that came 22nd out of 25 last year!

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