Smoke Signals 2023, Issue 3

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Out and About

’m sure you’ve noticed by now that cubbing is not just Friday nights at the hall. Not only does it involved activities on weekends and work at home on interest badges it also involves getting outdoors as much as possible and exploring our surroundings.

We had wide game at Keurboom park where the cubs learned some woodcraft skills. These are skills and experience in matters relating to living and thriving in the woods. These survival skills are essential as cubs so more and more outdoor activities. Cubs learned how to recognise lay a woodcraft trail and recognise trail signs. 

We explored our neighbourhood to learn about road safety. Cubs learned road signs and practiced some mapping skills. They also the basic rules of the road as a pedestrian and passenger.

Our final meeting of term took us on a hike to Newlands forest. We are incredibly lucky to have a botanist as our Akela. This turns every hike into an incredible learning opportunity for cubs and parents alike. We learned about indigenous and invasive trees. The danger or illegal and excessive natural resource harvesting and bark stripping.

We also had an impromptu quiz which included testing the cubs’ knowledge of their country like “what are the national flower and bird of South Africa” and “what do we call the national anthem of South Africa”. The latter led to a very impressive rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika by the cubs. Put all the adults to shame I’ll tell you that!

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Gordon Shield

A Guide to Gordon Shield 2023

Gordon Shield 2023, took place at Hawequas, on the 16-17 September. With 49 teams registered, it was one of the largest iterations to date. 1st Claremont entered two full teams, as well as a joint team with 2nd Hout Bay.

This year the theme of the camping competition, was “Director’s Cut”, with each team having to be the production crew for different movies. 1st Claremont’s patrols, choose Ratatouille, Back To The Future and Barbie. Throughout the competition we would go to different bases, which were someone linked to the theme, for example, doing first aid because of one the actors got injured in a stunt scene. Bases ranged from air rifle shooting to first aid and fire lighting.

The patrols, also have to construct different gadgets, including a flagpole, gateway and table, all out of staves. These are inspected on the Sunday morning, so it’s important to tie these very well to get top marks. Over the weekend there are also many different Spare-time Activities (STAs) to be made. This year, an Oscar award, movie clapper and director’s chair were all made.

The weekend is wrapped up with a closing parade, where the top 10 places are announced, and points sheets are handed out. This year, 1st Claremont received awesome news, that we had placed 2nd, 9th and 19th, extremely good positions! Well done everyone!

And now you know everything you need to know about Gordon Shield. Till next year!

Ethan G

Gordon’s for great times

Sometimes in life you just have to take a weekend off, get out of the house and relax. Gordons 2023 was not that weekend.

It was in fact the weekend where we simply left the house and entered an absolutely electric mindset – the Gordons Mindset. It was time once again to pull up to a muddy and wet Hawequas, filled with rowdy scouts and panicking staff members. Many patrols had to push trailers up that perilous road, but everyone did arrive safely.

Throughout the weekend scouts completed many complex and fun bases, did some class STA’s, including a model Academy Award, and built some very intricate and expert campsite necessities such as tables, rain covers, dressers and some awesome gateways. Patrols could be seen flaunting some awesome campsite decorations and outfits in line with their movie of choice, as the theme for Gordons this year was “Directors Cut”.

At the end of Sunday we received the news that we had finished in some very high positions of 2nd, 9th and 19th. This is absolutely fantastic news for a troop as strong as us – we should all be proud!

James W

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Troop Report Q3 2023

Wow, here we are at the end of another term. It feels like just yesterday that I was writing my Term 2 troop report. Well, let’s get on with it!

Term 3 has been a busy term. I feel like I say this every report, but every report it’s true. This term our scouts ran 20 events, including multiple camps, hikes and community service events. We also awarded 75 badges this term, most of them being Theme badges and Interest badges. In fact, this term marks the first term since I became TS that we awarded more Interest badges than Scoutcraft badges!

I highly encourage scouts to explore the extensive world of interest badges. Such badges as Artist, Designer and Photographer are really fun, and are a great way to learn a new skill, or show off existing skills.

Earlier this term, I had the privilege of awarding Luke Foord his Springbok badge, which marks our second Springbok scout this year. While Luke’s Springbok journey came to an end, it also marks the beginning of two new Springbok journeys for Holly and James. We awarded Holly’s First Class at the end of the last term, and James’ one was awarded this term. Congratulations to them both for their completion of their journey to First Class. Both of them have decided to embark on the Springbok Journey, and have already hit the ground running with multiple service project weekends as a troop camp. I encourage everyone to assist them in their projects going forwards.

Term 3 is home to the yearly Gordon Shield competition. Our troop entered 2 and a half teams – two full teams and one joint team with second Hout Bay. All three teams were led by 1st Claremont scouts. Our teams came 2nd, 9th, and 19th out of a total of 47 teams. I cannot begin to describe how impressive these results are: none of these teams were “stacked” in any way, and none of them did any “preparation” for the competition. Our results display a wonderful snapshot of the skills and calibre of the scouts in our troop. I’d like to additionally congratulate Tim van Zyl-Smit on his organization and coordination of the three 1st Claremont teams. I was heavily tied up in the running of the competition, so most of the organization was left to Tim and the three PLs. I am very proud of how they stepped up and led the troop to such amazing results.

I’d like to end off with some general comments about the troop. I find that we sit in a very comfortable place right now, with awesome patrol leaders and strong APLs. However, there is no reason to rest on our Laurels. I would like to encourage every scout to continue striving for their best. Remember, scouting aims to develop independace and self-motivation. Everyone in the patrol can help their Patrol Leader and Patrol by showing initiative. Take a look at your advancement, and complete tasks without your PL asking you. Look at badges, set up examiners, and get them awarded to you. If there is a patrol job that you would like to do, ask to do it! The patrol is only as strong as the people within – don’t expect your fellow scouts or patrol leaders to pick up all the slack. Be a driving force in your patrol!

Before I end – I want to insert one caveat, and that’s the importance of a balanced life. Scouting can be intense, and I encourage everyone to give as much as they can to their scouting journey, but that includes taking your personal mental and physical health into consideration. Scouting is built on three pillars: Duty to Self, Others and God. Without taking care of yourself – and this means adequate rest, stimulating activities, and exercise (amongst other things) – you cannot fulfil the other duties.

Look after yourselves, and I look forward to seeing you all next term for an exciting final term of the year.

Daniel Le Jeune

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SGL Report Q3 2023

We have two main items of “hall and grounds” news this term.

The first is the bombshell that the City wants to take away a large chunk of our grounds for a huge cellphone mast. You can read more about that here. We appeal to parents to object officially before 20 October.

Secondly, our stage roof is finally about to be replaced. This will start with the removal of the asbestos under strict protocol on 17 October and the hall will be off limits while this takes place (just one day). The sagging timber structure will then be completely replaced, and new metal sheeting added. We’ll be able to use the main hall during the rest of the construction period.

The roof replacement is costing approximately R265 000, of which R68 000 was raised through last year’s fundraising auction, R54 000 through parent donations, R43 000 from former scouts and R100 000 will come from group savings.

Once the roof is finished we will have several priorities for the facilities (apart from opposing the mast!) These include setting the hall up with backup power for load shedding, getting grass to grow in the sandy area at the back, and getting a projector for the hall so we don’t always need to borrow one.

1st Claremont hall continues to be a hub not just for our own activities but also for various community groups and for joint events for Scouts and leaders from across the Western Cape Region. In September we hosted the annual Gilwell Reunion for Wood Badge holders. Wood Badge is the main qualification for adult leaders in Scouting, usually only achieved after at least 5 years as an adult leader. We have 5 Wood Badge holders in the group with Daniel and Emily almost finished working on theirs. [Photo of WB holders, excluding Jonathan]

Safety first

In September we were again reminded that the adventure of Scouting relies on good safety standards when a massive storm approached. At the time 20 of our Scouts were camping near Greyton led by Holly (without adults on site) for her Springbok Scout badge. Holly made the call to close the camp and return home a day early, an excellent call considering the flooding, damage and many roads that were closed or washed away when the storm hit that night.

115th birthday party!

As you know we are the oldest Scout group in South Africa and we are holding our 115th birthday celebration on Friday 10 November with an event for Meerkat, Cub and Scout families campfire at the hall. We will have a braai, campfire, and this will hopefully also be the roof wetting for the new roof. Please join us for a fun evening!

Finally, Daniel is stepping back from the TS role for 2 months to focus on his thesis, and Caleb will stand in for him during that time. Please contact Caleb for Troop issues.

Ian Webb

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World Scout Jamboree Report 2

An experience I will never forget

Every 4 years the World Scout Jamboree is held, attended by tens of thousands of scouts from every corner of the globe. This year the jamboree was held in Saemangeum, Korea. Our South African contingent was composed of over 100 scouts and 30 adults who departed on the 23rd of July, letting the adventure of a lifetime began. 

Through Singapore airport (an amazing experience) and on to Incheon Airport in Seoul, Korea! The most noticeable thing when we had settled into the Korean Scout Association Training Centre was the heat and humidity, even late at night. Another noticeable thing was the amazing food and kind, humble people we met throughout our trip. When walking around, people would say hi to us, as if we were celebrities. The food was in stark contrast to what we are used to at home, with a few fan favourites being pork, noodles, rice and Korean barbecue. At the Shakedown camp we did a few basic activities, to get to know the contingent, and then our touring around Seoul began. We went around day and night, to local attractions, theme parks, folk villages, temples and markets, really enveloping ourselves in the Seoul lifestyle. My personal favourite was cruising the Myeong-Dong streets at night, visiting shops, ordering street food and meeting other scouts from all over the world also in Seoul. 

After a week and a half in Korea, it was time for the Jamboree to begin! We loaded up the buses, and headed to Saemangeum. Everyone was buzzing with excitement, and our eyes were wide as we spied the vast expanse of the campsite out the window. We set up our camps in the respective troops’ designated areas, and the next day was the opening ceremony! It was an epic experience to really kick off the  jamboree. We spent the following days meeting scouts, doing on-site and off-site activities, trading badges and trinkets, partying at the mini-stages at night, and also in our campsites relaxing, chatting with mates, and cooking some delicious food. 

One afternoon I was sitting under one of the many shade cloths with one of my new friends Abhay, from Durban,  trading badges with passers by, when I got a very alarming notification. The jamboree was being called off, due to a typhoon! I was so flabbergasted at first, and then I thought to myself, well now I’ve really got to start trading! And so I did. And so did everyone else!

The next morning we had to pack up and head to our safe location, at a company called Kolon’s HQ back in Seoul. We spend a few days there mainly relaxing, doing a few small activities and competitions around the premises. Many conversations were had, friendships were made and laughs were laughed over the course of the many hardships we experienced. But, as a South African and also a scout, I and many others decided to not let it sway us. We decided to have the most fun possible, and to make the most of the life changing excursion halfway around the world. 

On the flight back home I really realised how lucky I am to be part of this movement. We are all so lucky to get this exposure to other people we would never  have otherwise met, places we would never have otherwise been to, or memories we would never have otherwise made. For this, and to my troop, family, friends and fellow scouts, and their continuous support and encouragement throughout this whole fandango, I am truly grateful.  You really made this full circle for me.

Thank you everyone, and I’ll see you out there

Yours in scouting,

James W

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World Scout Jamboree Report 1

Between 23 July and 14 August, Tim, James and I were 3 of the 108 South African scouts that attended the 25th World Scout Jamboree (WSJ) held in South Korea.

Arriving at the Cape Town International Airport at 7 a.m. we were all buzzing. We were flying with Singapore Airlines the whole time, stopping over at Joburg where the rest of the contingent would board the plane. We checked our bags in, somehow got our vuvuzelas through security and just like that boarded the plane. Fast forward past, a 2hr and 12hr flight we were in Singapore, greeted by a wonderful 6-hour layover, before finally getting to Incheon, SK, after yet another 6-hour flight.

Our first 2 days in Korea, were spent at the Korea Scout Association Training Centre where we met our troops, patrols and scouters. This time was known as Shakedown Camp, and let everyone gel and get to know each other. The next week, was the Pre-Tour. During this time we learnt about Korea’s history and culture, visiting the DMZ, The Third Tunnel and many temples. In the evenings we were allowed to explore Seoul, going to amazing night and street food markets. Even at 10 p.m., the temperature was still over 26 degrees, sometimes even over 30. The pre-tour gave us insight into life in Korea, and the chance to explore by ourselves showing us things we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Some things that we found mind-boggling were the underground shopping centres, as well as the massive traditional street food markets. During all of this, the closer we got to the start of the actual WSJ, the more scouts we would bump into when walking around Seoul.

Sadly, in the blink of an eye, our pre-tour was done, however, we were on our way to the actual Jamboree now!!! We arrived at the sight in the afternoon on 1 August. We were then taken to our subcamp and shown where our campsite was. This was when the problems started. Our campsite had decided to become a marshland, on top of receiving way less food than what was intended by the organisers, due to contaminated warehouses. But the greatest problem of all was the fact the Korea Scout Association was flying the South Africa flag upside down!!! The rest of the Jamboree was spent making friends, trading with other scouts, trying to keep out the 40-degree heat, buying ice, going to other countries’ tents, and hiding in the shaded tunnels. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do most of the activities as they were closed due to the heatwave that had decided to attack us without warning. The evenings were often spent at stages where mini parties were being hosted. South Africa certainly made ourselves heard! The aim of the jamboree is to meet new people and learn about other cultures from around the world. This was certainly done, through all the trading, and meeting many new friends. I am still in contact with other scouts from Austria, South Korea and other South Africans from around the country. As the jamboree continued, the weatherman started to predict a big problem. Typhoon Kanun was going to hit the jamboree site head-on while the jambo was still in progress. And so the evacuation began… Overnight plans were made to evacuate 36000 scouts from the site, in over 1000 buses. The South African contingent was moved to Seoul, where we spent the final days of the Jamboree, even going to the largest indoor amusement park in the world, Lotte World. The closing ceremony and K-Pop Super Live was held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, with 20 different K-Pop groups performing! 

A day later we were on a plane back to Cape Town, finishing an adventure of a lifetime. While things didn’t go as expected and were often below everyone’s expectations, I still had an amazing time, and am so grateful that I could go on this experience of a lifetime. Will you be going on the next jamboree in Poland, in 2027? 

Ethan G

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Holly’s Springbok Camp

The air was buzzing with excitement as all the scouts going on Holly’s Springbok Camp packed the trailer. The weather was very warm and sunny and we thought this wondrous weather would continue throughout the camp regardless of the weather forecast. Little did we know… 

After a long drive with only sheep to entertain us we arrived at the beautiful campsite. Within 0.2 seconds of arriving, Joel had already broken a water pipe which he claims was “already broken”.  Afterwards, we fell in and Holly put us into two patrols: Biscuits and Biltong. I was put as PL of the amazing, glamorous, spectacular Biscuits patrol also named the Barefoot Biscuits (read more to find out why) 

We then unpacked our bags and set up tents while some of us cooked up some scrumptious spaghetti for supper. We used our Gordon Ramsey level cooking skills to try and bribe Joel to give our patrol less PT. The next morning is when the weather decided to give us the full scouting experience: Intense rain and freezing cold. To everyone’s disappointment we found Joel standing outside waiting for us and ready to do PT. Our bribery did not work 🙁  After a 10km run (it was 40m), Joel made us do squats to the infamous song ‘Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down’. 

We then fell in and started the day with a yummy breakfast of Oatsoeasy. The day was filled with fun activities and campsite development. The Biscuit patrol was thriving as we had built the cosiest shelter to protect us from the rain. I was a very proud dad (Biscuits patrol inside joke). The pouring rain and cold did not dampen our spirits, but it did dampen our clothing. This prompted some of my patrol members, namely Bridget, Oliver 1 and Oliver 2 to take off their shoes AND socks and walk around the campsite with their toes in full visibility despite the mist that descended upon the campsite. Hence, they gave themselves the name ‘Barefoot Biscuits’.  Joel made up for the PT session by summoning a very useful fire that was used to dry clothes as well as bums.

The next day was much more rainy and cold, but luckily our lovely shelter held up thanks to our pioneering masters, especially Axel who contributed many good ideas. We had a delicious breakfast of French toast rolls which Oliver VzS disliked very much because it was ‘impractical’. It was very delicious though. After a long argument about who got the syrup with the other patrol, we fell in and continued our day. With the sad (but relieving) news that the camp was cancelled we began the hard process of taking down our campsite. After a very inspirational Scout’s Own by Holly and Joel, we embarked on our journey back to civilization.

Malaika K

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