Smoke Signals Edition 2, 2023

First Claremont Smoke Signals, 2023 Second Edition

Wow, we’ve made it through winter so far! But with all the rain those smoke signals might not be too visible – except that with all the packed reports from across the Group we’re sure to be visible from far away. In addition to the reports from all three branches Ian has started a dive through the 1st Claremont archives and describes our oldest artifact from the Troop’s founding in 1908.

Additionally, Smoke Signals is proud to introduce a PDF edition and thanks our resident graphic artists and extended editorial team for the custom artwork on the front cover and page layouts. We hope you’ll find this edition valuable. In this quarter’s issue

From the editor’s desk, we hope you all had a enjoyable midyear break and look forward to the next quarter. We’re looking forward to report back on a Springbok Scout award and all the fun and service ahead!

Yours in Scouting
The Smoke Signals Editors

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Meet The Scouter: Daniel Le Jeune

Hi! I’m Daniel, the troop scouter at 1st Claremont. I took over from David Knight a little over a year and a half ago, and this is my chance to properly introduce myself to the group.

Let’s start with the timeline:

I began scouts at 1st Claremont in 2012 when I was 12 and I’ve been in the troop ever since. I was a Patrol Leader of the Swift Patrol and I got my Springbok in 2017. I matriculated in 2018 after which I took a short gap year to galavant across the world, visiting such countries as Kazakhstan and the US. I returned to South Africa just before the pandemic in 2020 to begin studying. In  2022, I became TS of 1st Claremont. Earlier this year, I graduated from UCT with a BSc in Computer Science, Biochemistry and Genetics. I currently work part-time at a Biotech Company, as well as pursuing an Honors Degree in Molecular and Cell Biology at UCT.

I am fairly passionate about scouting, as one would have to be to take on the position of TS. There is no other organization – at least that I know of – that empowers kids in such a way as scouting does.

Personally, this was huge in moulding who I am today. Running my first camp when I was 14 seems ridiculous looking back on it, but is precisely the reason I think scouting is so valuable. Giving responsibility to a teenager (at least a teenage me) is so important in their upbringing and is probably the biggest reason I remain involved in scouting to this day.

I believe that getting outdoors as a group of young people and simply enjoying the time there – be it hiking, camping, climbing, snorkeling, paragliding or anything else, does wonders for the development of those young people.

Besides scouting, school and work, I’m a big enjoyer of my books, specifically fantasy. My favorite author is Terry Pratchett, and I think my favorite book is Going Postal (although this changes). I’m an avid runner, swimmer and (to a lesser extent) cyclist, and I’ve participated in a few triathlons including a half Iron Man (during which I nearly died), but fitting those things in is tricky with all the scouting that goes on.

I’m currently involved in a bunch of roles besides TS in scouts: I typically run a regional Pioneering Scoutcraft Course and this year I’m taking on the regional Pioneering Interest Course. I sit on the Scouts National IT Committee and I’m the Springbok Coordinator for the Constantiaberg district. I’m currently undertaking my Woodbadge, an adult training course, which will be very interesting to see how that feeds back into the troop.

I’ve enjoyed my time as TS so far – it’s certainly been a learning experience. I am excited for what’s to come, the impact I can make at 1st Claremont, as well as the lessons I will undoubtedly learn (willing or unwilling) along the way.

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Sandwich Making: a Jam-packed Meeting!

The Meerkats have been hard at work earning their Community challenge badge, which we will complete in Term 3.

One of the requirements is, as a Den, to complete a special project to help your community. The Meerkats decided to spend part of a meeting making peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches for Ladles of Love, an NPO who provide nutritious food to those less fortunate.

After washing their hands, and learning the importance of this, the Meerkats got stuck into making delicious sandwiches. Spreading the peanut butter and jam was very good fine motor practice and confidence and a sense of independence was gained by all. But most importantly, the project filled everyone with a sense of purpose, gratitude for all we have, and a good feeling knowing that some hungry tummies were going to be filled through our efforts. We hope that everyone can carry on this project in their own families. Ladles of Love have depots all over the southern suburbs open every day of the week, where sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs can be dropped off.

In total the Meerkats prepared 8 loaves worth of sandwiches, well done Meerkats!

Karen Meyer (ADS)

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A Look Back At The Term 

Term 2 of 2023 has been yet another successful term for the troop, and a busy one at that. We had eighteen events this past term, from community service to snorkeling and from camps to first class cooking. It’s been amazing to see our patrol leaders step up to the plate and lead their patrols in all these activities. For reference, of the eighteen events, only five of them were adult-led. 

Beyond this, we managed to place 18th, 9th, 2nd and 1st in the Upton Shield, which is a ridiculously good achievement that we should be very proud of. We also held a troop camp with 9th/16th Cape Town, which saw all attendees earn their Survival and Fires&Cooking badges. 

I would like to take a moment to appreciate what these metrics mean for our troop. Scouting is about getting outdoors, putting the youth in charge, and overall growing the scouts and pushing them to be the best they can be. From the hard numbers and from the “vibe” of the troop, I would agree that we are accomplishing these goals and more. 

Our new Patrol Leaders are flourishing in their roles, and I would like to congratulate them again for the astounding ease at which they seem to have taken to the challenge. I am also pleased to note that we have more and more people running their first ever activities, typically community services for Discoverer. 

Of course, none of these events would ever go ahead without scouts to attend them. Thank you to each and every one of you who participated in patrol or troop events this past term. I would hope that you enjoyed those activities and maybe learnt something along the way.

To close, I am incredibly proud of the troop and what we have achieved, way beyond what may reflect in the official numbers or stats. In my view, First Claremont is a warm, welcoming and safe environment that is constantly striving to meet the goals of scouting – and this is all down to the individual scouts. 

I hope everyone has had a relaxing holiday and is set for another busy term!

Daniel le Jeune
Troup Scouter

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Cubs Term 2 Gallery

We went on a night hike in De Hel (Constantia) “The best walk in my 7 years alive!” – Abi

Learning about microbes at Cubs was so fun! We took swabs from our bodies and put them on petri dishes and the next week we saw all the micro-organisms that had grown!”  – Michaela

I liked learning about making compost and the earthworms” – Sarah

Learning about the parts of a flag and how to hoist and fold it properly help me in my duties as a sixer” – Christopher

We learnt all about different trees and leaves and why trees are important” – Malatjatjie, on an outing to the Boschenheuwel Arboretum

The first aid program was an amazing and fun experience. My favourite part was doing real CPR on a dummy!”   – Diya, 1st Aid and Health interest badge

The cubs made shell nature mobiles…

…Important secret messages where encoded and decoded…

…and the cubs learnt about filtering water

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Troop Meetings

Obstacle Course Meeting

Obstacle courses are a prime example of why scouts is supreme. A hundred different things that could go wrong, and 6 scouts that are determined to make it go wrong. People like Peter, for example, are loophole-finders. When the PL is banned and the majority of APLs don’t feel like it, juniors step up and every patrol puts forward a junior. But not bats. Oh no, they had other plans. The absolute match of brains and brawn who is somehow also so small he can literally fit through the holes in the cargo net, Peter is the ultimate obstacle course super-athlete. He, respectfully, absolutely thrashed everyone else. Special mentions must however be given to James for nearly dying putting up the cargo net and for Big Tim for messing up the scoring system so much that it took a good few extra hours for everyone else to figure out how to use the mark sheet. Overall a solid disaster of a meeting ran solely by Caleb, as not a single other scouter was present.

James W


Once in a while a meeting so confusing occurs that even the vast intelligence of our troop scouter Daniel cannot fathom how to operate given such absurd instructions. This time around the patrols had to play battleships with each other. To earn shots at the opponent board you had to perform special tasks such as write a poem about your patrol leader, which Laura Short Hair took to the extreme. However, it was practically pointless anyways as it was impossible to understand how you were actually meant to cash in all these shots. The means to play the game strayed far outside of human capabilities and obviously even our supreme scout intellect couldn’t handle it. Maybe next time remember to translate the instructions into… ape…  first, Caleb.

James W


Something got lost in translation here. Masterchef is all about perfection and class. Scouts, on the other hand, say “unga bunga fire”. So in this installation of the masterchef series, we did exactly that. Scouts were given a set of 3 courses to bake. The fan favourite wasn’t the roasted eggplant. However, in the face of adversity, many patrols triumphed. Bats dressed the part, Ethan provided us with some semi-decent tunes, and Caleb provided us with some absolutely fabulous meme templates. Caleb again saved the day with a golden quote, something along the lines of “Cooking?! Without safety glasses?!” An interesting factor of this Meating is that it was entirely vegetarian, which actually worked very well. The stuffed peppers some patrols made turned out great, and Daniel was even satisfied with the amount of spice in Kestrels’ food!

James W

Night Hike

Night hikes are always a fun way to explore the mountains. This time around the scouts crusaded up to eagle’s nest, Lord of the Rings style! Many a scout could be seen sporting a creative outfit, with some scouts (Peter) even hiking barefoot, like a hobbit! (because he’s the same size as one). At the top we did a parade next to the trig. beacon and gave an applause to everyone that the residents down below heard for sure. A bit of district campfire prep was even done on the way down led by Oliver H. Overall a very successful hike.

James W

From Peter’s Perspective

We arrived at Constantia Nek at about 9 and fell in and were given a paper telling us a bit about Lord Of The Rings and of what we would be doing.

After we fell in we started hiking immediately up the tar road and then up the foot path that was pretty steep. I took off my slops that I was hiking in to feel the incredibly fold earth beneath my feet and stayed barefoot for most of the hike.

We got to the other part of the jeep track and put some sticks down but I kept mine. We then hiked further up another foot path to “Eagle’s Nest” where we chilled for a bit checking out the view.

Then we did a fashion show sort of where everyone who had a costume got to show everyone else their costumes. I went as The Hobbit. Ngl it was a W costume which took quite a while to put together but was awesome in the end and came with a real pipe and bare feet — my own bare feet that is.

We then went back down to the jeep track and made stretchers which we chucked people from our patrol on and went running with them. Then we hiked down to the bottom, fell in again and ended. Bats won for the second week in a row which was real pog… (not sure where this was supposed to go – Ed)

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Big Burrow Up

In Term 2, Meerkats had their annual photo. We were happy to welcome Nick back (aka Fox). Term ended too quickly, with the Burrow Up Ceremony of Daniel, Max and Zane who had been with us for the full two years. Daniel and Max were able to achieve their Gold Stars – the Meerkats’ highest award – and Zane had his Silver Star. The week before was their last meeting in their green uniforms. In Term 1, Abi Burrowed Up at a Saturday Meerkat meeting. This was the Cubs turn, and Akela had organized a special parents’ evening and a party.

Each Meerkat went through the tunnel alone and was introduced to our SGL, Ian, by Rafiki. They were then invested as Cubs immediately as Akela had carefully prepared them over four weeks. Especially proud was Max who had three generations of his scouting family present – his dad, uncle and granny. Zane’s dad Ebrahim, sent in a comment “I would like to say thanks to all for the great experience we had and the new things that not only Zane, but also myself learned over the last years. It was really enjoyable.” We sadly had to bid goodbye to Daniel who is moving to Canada. We’ll hear all about Beavers there, we hope.

And so we look forward to Term 3 when we shall have three new Meerkats joining, and the Den will go hiking, camping, foraging and learning all about South Africa.

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SGL’s Term 2 Report

One of my favourite experiences at 1st Claremont is seeing how it can involve the whole family and span multiple generations. Last term we saw that happen on at least two occasions:

When Ella was invested as a Meerkat, her dad Nick presented her scarf – Nick has just rejoined as one of the Meerkat leaders, and is also a former Troop Scouter at 1st Claremont. Ella’s big sister Micaela is a Cub, and her mom Bruna will soon be invested as one of our cub leaders. Ella’s late grandfather Andrew Hall would be proud – he held many roles in Scouting both in Gauteng and heading the national adult training team. 

The same week we also invested Max as a cub, watched by his dad Michael and uncle William, both former scouts, and his granny Judith Bishop, better known to our Meerkats as Rafiki. Another third generation Scouting family. 

Our roof replacement is still waiting for our plans to be approved by the City. We’re almost there, but it’s been a very wet winter so it’s not a good time to remove a roof! Watch this space. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in the work party at the hall in May. We got a lot done and I think had a fun time as a community as well. 

Finally, best wishes to Ethan, James and Tim who will be among 50 000 scouts attending the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea next month! 

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