Smoke Signals – Fourth Edition 2019

The final quarter of 2019 has been a busy one, with the highlight being the awarding of the prestigious Wood Badge to three of the troop scouters. Both Ian Webb and David Knight are second generation recipients — Ian’s scarf (previously awarded to his father) was awarded to him by his father and David’s was awarded to him by his mother, with both the scarf and beads previously belonging to his late father!

Hiking is a key activity for any land scout troop and this quarter saw 1st Claremont up and about on the mountains, both near and far. Read up on Boesmanskloof from a scout’s perspective (and see the Boesmanskloof photo essay) here. The scouts were fortunate enough to do the Orange Kloof hike (photos here), for many a once in a lifetime hike. The Cubs also did some hiking – up and down the mountain via some of the historical, scenic landmarks.

We are fortunate here in Cape Town to often host scouts from other parts of the world and here Jula shares her thoughts on Scouting in South Africa. Jula and a number of other Rovers were fortunate enough to attend the Scout Warrant Course at Hawequas. Some of the scouts attended an Orienteering Course – an energetic and skills based outing.

Key for senior scouts is developing their leadership skills, and with four of our senior scouts aiming for Springbok, opportunities to display leadership skills have abounded. Read here about how scouts is all about understanding, learning and daring for one of our seniors, and how another scout describes the impact that scouts has had on her life in a talk she gave about being a scout at her school. The Cub Pack has had a busy term 4 with numerous fun, well-attended event. A real hight was the Cubs camp in Elgin which focused on ‘Exploring Africa’.

The Committee quietly continues to support the Group in the background and shares developments and plans for 2020. Finally, as we come to the end of 2109, planning for 2020 has already begun! Read up about how 2020 promises to be an even more eventful and successful scouting year for the 1st Caremont Scout troop and cub pack.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/smoke-signals-fourth-edition-2019/

Orangekloof Hike – a photo essay

A group of 1st Claremont scouts had the privilege of hiking in Orange Kloof in October this year. A restricted area, accessible only with a permit, Orange Kloof is a secluded valley carpeted with indigenous forest at the back of Table Mountain. The scouts hiked up the valley past the Woodhead and Apostle tunnels, past an impressive waterfall known as Hell’s Gates. The view up to the dam walk is impressive, and the walk up to the historic reservoirs on the lower plateau is steep. Thereafter, the descent via the jeep track was quick and easy.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/orange-kloof-hike/

Senior Cubs Hike

A brief hike up the jeep track, a meander along the top of the mountain, an evening in the Scout hut, and walk down Nursery Ravine in the morning: this is our senior cubs overnight hike. Despite the heat of the Saturday sun, our cubs thoroughly enjoyed the hike and learned about safety in the wild, hiking, and a little history of our Table Mountain dams.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/senior-cubs-hike/

Boesmanskloof Hike: A Photo Essay

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/boesmanskloof-hike-a-photo-essay/

Cub Camp 2019: Explore Africa

The theme for our camp this year was “explore Africa”. The camp followed the trail of the first ever London to Cape Town flight. On the way we learned about cultural differences and various games and musical instruments from across the continent. Our cubs also built instruments, solar ovens, and simple games, and learned about morse code and finding their way with the stars. Almost all our eligible cubs participated in the camp which was definitely a highlight of the year.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/smoke-signals/cub-camp-2019-explore-africa/

Cubs on the move

In the last term of 2019 our cubs had a very busy schedule. We had an overnight hike for our senior cubs, the 4th term cub camp, and completed our national challenge on the Sustainable Development goals. This term we focused on education. We made busy bags for young learners, discovering the work of “Learning in Reach”, a local non-profit focused on early education, and held a book drive. We also lit many fires, cooked delicious food, worked on smoke and air signals, and learned about conservation on the way. A highlight was awarding our senior sixer with her Leaping Wolf! It has been a fantastic year and we look forward to 2020!

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/cubs-on-the-move/

Matthew reflects on daring, caution, understanding….

Learning is a vital part of development. It enables us to grow from naive young children into well rounded and experienced adults. Schools do a good job at educating young people on facts, methods and formulae, but they also have a responsibility to keep their learners safe. It is this responsibility, necessary as it is, which I feel gets in the way of experiential learning.


At scouts we go on many weekends away and learn many things. On one of these weekends away I was overseeing younger scouts as they built an Aerial Runway. It is a zipline with two X-frames, one at each end, and a steel cable running between them. They are supported by the cable once it is pulled tight. The cable is secured at the top by a rope and is tensioned at the bottom by a block and tackle.

I was only observing and did not help them in any way. At least not until a rope snapped when someone tried to ride the zipline causing them to land on their face. After that I took over for a while to make the structure safe. It turns out that they had only been using thin ropes for the block and tackle system. I asked for two thick ropes to be brought from the store. In the meantime, I added another safety rope to the cable and got the other scouts to stabilize the X-frames. I explained what I was doing as I did it and also explained why I was doing it.

Scouts was both daring and cautious in this anecdote. We were daring in allowing the younger inexperienced scouts to build large dangerous structures without ensuring that they did everything correctly and safely. In this way we allowed them to learn through doing, through experience and through failure. If they were never allowed to make a mistake, they would never see the consequences of that mistake for themselves. We were also cautious, because we had experienced pioneers onsite, who knew when to step in and prevent injury. We are also taught first aid at scouts, along with a procedure to follow in the event of an emergency. In this way we give young people the best opportunity to learn. Adults only step in to mitigate risks when it is absolutely necessary.


As the world-famous free climber Alex Honnold once said: Risk is a ratio between likelihood and consequences. If the likelihood is very low then the consequence can be high without something being risky. The time for daring is when setting goals and planning events. The time for caution is when doing something that has dire consequences.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/daring-caution-understanding/

Holly at Orienteering

This is one of my favourite fun competitions. If you enjoy a lot of running and you are competitive, orienteering is perfect for you!
This particular orienteering was at Century City in the roads outside Intaka Island. The competition started with falling in with a partner, mine was Zoe, and then there was a quick briefing on the rules and regulations. Shortly afterwards we were given a map containing numbered checkpoints and map keys.
There are many strategies to this competition but we went where our feet took us. Most of the time we sort of guessed where to go, so it was pretty easy. We got lost a couple of times and ran into a few bushes but I guess that was part of the experience. It was so annoying because my woggle kept on falling off and when I put it in my bag my scarf fell off, so my suggestion is… take your scarf and woggle off immediately after falling in and put it in your bag! 
If you are looking to do this competition there is hardly anything you will need to bring: a cap, sunblock (oh dear, I sound like a mother!), food and water. To be specific on the food front, I suggest something like wine gums or, if you want to be a good, healthy child (which I doubt you do), an apple.
(There is also a tuck shop so… bring some money :).

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/holly-at-orienteering/