Smoke Signals – Third Edition 2019

Welcome to the third edition of Smoke Signals in 2019. Instead of a list of contents, you can skim this post and click on the articles that interest you. A different way to find content that interests you.

This year five of our senior scouts, along with 45 000 other scouts from around the world, attended the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in the USA. Read about this epic undertaking here  and here.

The highlight of term three was the Gordon’s Shield competition for senior scouts: 1st Claremont entered two teams and placed first for the second year in a row. The second team was a more junior team – read about their experience of this competition here.

Winning major scouting competitions like Gordon’s Shield and the Rayner Trophy (which 1st Claremont won earlier in the year) depends on having a committed troop – and patrol leaders who are able to inspire their patrols to give that little bit more. You can read about how of our two patrol leaders approach this task up here and here.

The scouts celebrated winter with a trip to the Cederberg and were able to explore the Cracks for the first time since the 2016 fire. Have a look at the photos of this memorable outing here.   

And as always at the start of the term, there was a troop hike – this time up Devil’s Peak.

The Cubs have been busy this term – read all about it here and here.

See what we have planned ahead for the rest of 2019 here, including an overnight hike between Greyton and McGregor, a day hike in the restricted Orangekloof and of course, the annual campfire and year-end camp. We do hope that scouts will make the time to attend the events planned.

And as always, we include the Committee notes and reflections from the Troop Scouter.

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Highlights of our 3rd Term

We had an action packed 3rd term at 1st Claremont Cubs! We spent an evening looking at the relationship between food and poverty, cooked on fires, built dioramas, helped clean the Liesbeek River, did some ‘orienteering’ and compass work in Keurboom Park, and celebrated Akela’s completion of the wood badge – the highest award in Adult Scout leadership.

The Cubs continued with their theme on the word sustainable development goals, and this term we focused on the goal of “zero hunger”. Apart from learning about the role hunger plays in poverty, we also taught the cubs how to make pressure packs on the fire, chop veggies, make tacos, and clean up after themselves!

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Achievements and Solidarity

Part of our Cub programme is to instil a sense of community involvement and responsibility in the cubs. Together with fun activities in Keurboom park, learning about water safety and the environment, learning about the Scout Jamboree and lighting fires, we also held a vigil and short discussion in response to gender based violence and discrimination in our society.

The gold wolf cubs created dioramas on the environment, and all of our cubs learned about fire safety and had a chance to light some fires!

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Tom tells us about the Devil’s Peak hike

We started at Newlands Forest on a Sunday in July. We walked up to the Contour path and then headed up Newlands Ravine. There were loads of steps. Once at the top we had a break at Pulpit Rock and David told us some scary stories about the two ravines on either side of Pulpit Rock – one is called Dark Gorge and one is called Dark Gully and he warned us about hiking there. Then we walked across the saddle and up Devil’s Peak to a beacon and then to another beacon where we had lunch with a spectacular 360 degree view. Luke Neville led the hike. The hike was kind of easy and there were lots of flowers and fynbos on the mountain and Jasper the dog could go for longer.

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A wet Gordon Shield with Rozanna

Gordon’s Shield 2019 was the second victory year in a row for 1st Claremont, despite the weather turning miserable for most of the second day. After the blistering heat of the first day, however, a constant rain was all we needed. Rain jackets were soon soaked through, with inspection pushed back by hours in order to give more time for the stiff-with-cold scouts to gather themselves. Frantically drying things with towels — and once those were soaked, the precious commodity of dry t-shirts — minutes before inspection and occasionally falling into foot-deep trenches-turned-rivers through the camp became the norm pretty quickly.

A visit to the other camp during a break in activity told us that they were doing a little better with the flooding, but were equally as mentally exhausted as the rest of us. Despite the cold and rain, even though we ran out of gas and trekked mud through pre-inspection tents, morale remained high and most of our bases went well. Fighting off rain spiders for the last pieces of dry firewood was the lesser of our worries by then, as we were quite determined to win the music war – which had to be kept within noise regulations, mind you – going on between the campsites around us.
Needless to say, Gordon’s Shield was a great experience for everyone involved this year.
The junior team ended up doing well for their first ‘solo’ mission, and hopefully will be able to pick up the trophy next year once they become the first team!

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Alick in the Cederberg

The Cederberg Expedition was an experience like none other. Already being at around 500m above sea-level when you are in the chalet, the temperatures only averaged 15 C, even with the sun out. The hikes were impressive and enjoyable, with us covering multiple points of interest over the week. The first day we had a quick hike up to Sneeuberg Hut (well, almost). The second day was probably the best and worst day, as we tackled Wolfberg Cracks. Though tight, we pushed through the caves and, in some cases, crawled our way out of them. The view on top was amazing, I just wish I had taken a parachute so I didn’t have to walk down. The third day was a hike along the Talfelberg Shale band, a nice and easy walk from our chalet to the Welbedacht Caves.

The fourth day was the most interesting, with us going to visit the elephant rock paintings (aged 300 – 6000 years) and the Stadsaal Caves. The final day was the coolest, both in terms of temperature and activities. The Mini-Polar Bear Challenge was help in the freezing cold water, with only three competitors taking part. The expedition wasn’t all about hiking and many tales of past adventures and experiences were shared back at the chalets, with stories about broken windows, a burnt Cederberg and David’s memories of the Cederberg years before. The expedition was a new, interesting and fun experience for me, and I’m sure that everyone who was with me would agree.

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Cederberg Adventure photo essay

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Simon explores the world

Jamboree is essentially a massive gathering of Scouts from all over the world. The 2019 World Scout Jamboree was the 24th in total and was held in West Virginia, USA. The South African contingent started this three week adventure off with a week-long pre-tour of New York and Washington DC. We started the adventure staying in a Scout Ranch in New Jersey. From here, we visited Six Flags Theme park and saw the sights of New York City. These included the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial and Freedom tower and the Intrepid Warship (which has now been converted into a museum). The Six Flags Theme park was an incredible experience. The park is themed mainly around Superheroes (most of the rides are named after these characters) and also has the highest and second fastest roller coaster in the world. From New Jersey, we moved onto Washington for one night. Here, we got to see the many truly American things the country’s capital has to offer. These included the Obelisk and Capitol, The White House and the Boy Scouts of America monument. Washington was the final leg of our pre-tour and we soon moved on to the real reason we had travelled so far.

The drive from Washington took around eight hours. We arrived at the Jamboree at around 11 o’clock at night in the pouring rain. In the morning we realised just how massive Jamboree actually was. The whole reserve was around 25 times the size of Hawequas and had endless activities, including rock climbing, white-water rafting, SCUBA diving, mountain biking and skateboarding. There were also hundreds of cultural exhibitions and games from all around the world. Every day, there would be one patrol assigned to cooking meals for the troop. They would wake up earlier than the rest of the troop and buy food (with points) from the food tent. After breakfast, we would all set out in groups of two for a day of exploring the Jamboree site and taking part in the activities. A big part of Jamboree was also meeting people from different countries. All 45 000 Scouts were issued with a Novus (a small watch-like device) which could be used to transfer people’s details. Another important part of Jamboree was swapping badges and other uniform items. People brought souvenirs from all around the world to trade for other rare and valuable items. The South African contingent had the Springbok skin woggle. This was one of the rarest items on the Jamboree and could be traded for many different souvenirs or other rare items. The best part of the Jamboree, however, must have been the closing ceremony. This included a live performance from the Pentatonix and Light Balance and fireworks display that lasted around 20 minutes. The final day of our trip was spent back in Washington, where we enjoyed a final glimpse of the city before returning home.

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