Smoke Signals 4th Edition 2021

As the year draws to an end, we review the last term in a year of scouting in the second year of the COVID pandemic…

Our Meerkats are a very active unit under the leadership of Judith Bishop. Meerkat equivalents around the world have proved to be highly successful and the the South African version is no different. It is never too young to learn about saving us from ourselves and our Meerkats have taken this first step by learning about energy and contributing to the health of our urban parks. They ended off the year with awards of the Gold Star – the highest Meerkat award – and starring in a film!

The cubs also learn about saving the planet and have engaged in learning about the sustainable development goals which have been adopted by scouts worldwide as part of our programme. This is in addition to the usual cub activities such as an evening walk in Kirstenbosch and summiting Eagles’ Nest.

The scouts have been active despite exams in the fourth term. More significant activities have been a day hike across Table Mountain for juniors, the District Survival Scoutcraft Badge Course and an annual camp – something that we have not had for the last 24 months. Annual camps are great experiences for scouts and this one was no exception with activities such as the round robin volleyball tournament, raft building, constructing and running an obstacle course, hacking, swimming and, of course, cooking. As part of the camp was run by Alex Clarke as part of his Springbok camp, some of our other senior scouts had the chance to experience what it was like to run a camp rather than just attend one. Other scouts had the chance to see what it was like to be a Patrol Leader on a camp and everybody had a great experience.

Annual camps have their own traditions and one which has sprung up has been the apologising to your lost property in order to retrieve it. This year there were some fine performances, so good they might have lost their property on purpose!

Key to the success of 1st Claremont over the last decade has been a dedicated group of adults who have poured countless hours and energy into the Group. This energy has paid off in the expansion of the Group with the restarting of the cub pack, the starting of the Meerkat Den, the winning of every major scout competition and the awarding of Springbok to multiple scouts. In addition, our scout troop is the largest scout troops in the Western Cape. Part of these endeavours has been building a culture which enables the baton of leadership to be passed on to younger leaders and also one in which adults take every chance to undergo training and to help in providing training.

This department of adult leadership has also enabled 1st Claremont to take a leading role in the re-establishment of 4th Claremont Cub Pack in addition to playing a greater role in the Liesbeek District after the untimely passing of our long term District Commissioner.

The Group is managed by the Group Committee which over the last decade has improved finances to such an extent that we are now working on the major improvements which have been critical for the last 30 or 40 years but have been unattainable.

As 2021 draws to a close, we include the final Reflections from the Troop Scouter as he steps down after 7 years in the role. In closing, we wish you all a fantastic 2022 and we look forward to seeing all our Meerkats, Cubs and Scouts back after a break.

Sometimes one of our old scouts sends us a remembrance or, in this case, a chance meeting, 40 years later and a friendship renewed. We are always happy to add these to our archives.

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