Smoke Signals Quarter 3 2018

The third edition of Smoke Signals is out and can be read here: Smoke Signals Q3 2018. This is a slightly unusual edition as we focus for the scouts on competitions given the fantastic success of the troop this year. Our usual roundup of activities will be back for the last edition of the year.

Our cubs continue to have a great experience, evidenced by the continuous oversubscription of the pack. You can see what cubs get up to in this edition.

We trust you will enjoy the third edition of 2018!


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Bats Patrol Survival Camp

In early September, the Bateleurs Patrol went on a Survival Camp! We went to Petervale Campsite.

We split into two teams on the first day. Everyone learned how to build survival shelters – using only a couple of ropes and a groundsheet – and the scouts were put to the test that night, sleeping in the shelters they had made. They held up well even through the rain! We also made solar stills and learned how they collect and purify water from greenery.

The second day was characterized by the never-ending rain and the trip to Petervale’s farmyard. Some brave scouts tried their hand at milking cows, and even got to taste the fresh milk.

Over the whole weekend 1st Claremont stayed true to their motto: “Lighting Fires”. Everyone tried to light their own fire with flint and steel, or with steel wool and a 9V Battery. Only a few succeeded, but everyone still ate their supper: mince, cooked inside a squash with dampers and banana splits.

The scouts also now know how to make food without an abundance of firewood – they cooked oats in a haybox and boiled eggs over conservation stoves after learning the importance of using wood mindfully.

The cam p was structured to help the scouts achieve their Survival Scoutcraft badges and to better prepare them overall for a desperate situation in which they will need to use these skills. It is safe to say that they rose to the occasion.



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Foreign visitors

We were joined on Thursday night by 4 scouts from France who have been in South Africa for the past month on an outreach program. They were only able to join us for one night but as always it was great to host scouts from the brother/ sister hood of worldwide scouting. We gave them troop scarves to remember us by.

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Gordon Shield 2018

For the first time since 1972 1st Claremont won the Gordon Shield. This win is especially notable for several reasons:

  • This is only the second mixed gender patrol to win Gordon Shield (1st Pinelands were the first with two girls in the patrol);
  • The majority of the patrol was girls (5 girls);
  • The winning team was not the strongest we could have sent as some senior scouts were moved to our other team;
  • Both teams placed in the top ten. Our other team placed 6th out of 40 teams – in itself a major achievement.


For 2018 this means that, for the first time in our history, we hold both the Rayner and the Gordon Shield at the same time. To underline how significant this actually is:

  • In both competitions we entered two teams. In both competitions all teams entered placed in the top ten;
  • The leadership on the Gordon Shield was totally different to that of Rayner due to three scouts finishing their scouting careers.

These two wins are a reflection of the hard work done by both the scouters over the last few years and also by all scouts in the troop. Attendance on badge courses, advancement and achievement of Springbok Scout all contribute to the skill level in the troop and ultimately to success in competitions.

It is important to not lose sight of the purpose of scout competitions. Fantastic as it is to win competitions, the object of entering is to gauge our skills and leadership against other troops and use the feedback to strengthen our skills and leadership. We will not become a win at all costs troop and while we take our three major competitions seriously, competitions are not to be entered at the cost of our true purpose.

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Smoke Signals Quarter 2

The second quarter edition of Smoke Signals has been published with lots of information on what we have been up to in the second quarter of 2018. New Group branding, hikes, camps, badges and the return of Rupe the Troop Snoop

Click to read Smoke Signals 2018 Q2

The third edition Smoke Signals will be published in October 2018. Contributions are welcome. Email

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Signal Hill expedition

In April we had a Cub expedition to Signal Hill.

We started our walk at the Iziko Natural History Museum, and walked through the Gardens, past the “Arch for the Arch”, and through the city centre past Greenmarket Square. Our first stop was in Bo-Kaap where we visited the Bo-Kaap museum and bought koeksisters (the spicy Cape Malay version) from a street vendor. 


After that the walk got a bit steeper and we made our way through Bo-Kaap up to the Lion Battery, where we watched the firing of the Noon Gun and ate our lunch with great views over Cape Town and Green Point, and also explored the old artillery on the site. 


After lunch we continued up Signal Hill and the Cubs did a mapping activity overlooking the city, and then continued to Appleton Campsite on the top of the hill, where we watched paragliders riding the wind along the ridge.


At Appleton campsite, the Cubs explored the site, did woodcraft trails and made trifle for pudding. In the evening, after we watched the sunset, Braam Malherbe inspired the Cubs by talk about conservation, based on his experience as an adventurer rowing across the Atlantic, and introducing the idea of “Do One Thing”. The Cubs were tired after the day and had a surprisingly early night!


On Sunday we packed up set off again along the ridge of Signal Hill. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the Kramat but we did pass a  number of other graves on the hillside, and learnt about the geology of Table Mountain.


The hike continued along the Clifton side of Signal Hill and joined the Glen path. We were running behind schedule so we arranged for the parents to shuttle the Cubs from there to our end point on Glen Beach. 


The route was well frequented by hikers and trail runners, and was suitable for the Cubs, including a few younger Cubs who joined for the walk but did not stay overnight. We were a large group of over 20 walkers, and we had quite a few adult leaders and parents walking with the Cubs, and a couple of vehicles for transporting sleeping bags and camp equipment to and from the campsite so the Cubs only had to carry a small day pack. It was a very successful hike in beautiful weather with stunning scenery and a lot of educational opportunities. The Scout campsite at Appleton made it all possible.

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Smoke Signals 2018 – Quarter 1

After an absence of 7 years, Smoke Signals returns  to give you news of the doings of the cubs and scouts at 1st Claremont Scout Group! Find out what winning the Rayner really took and learn something about the scouters!

The second quarter edition will be published in July 2018 and additional articles or photos are welcome. Email with any contributions.

Download it here:  Smoke Signals Quarter 1 2018

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Liesbeek River cleanup

On the first Saturday of every month, the Friends of the Liesbeek has a river cleanup, and since we are part of Liesbeek District, and often do activities in the upper Liesbeek River area, we thought it would be good to get the Cubs and parents involved in the February cleanup as a Good Turn project.  


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