Jula on being in a scout in South Africa

My name is Jula, I’m sure many of you have already met me in the scout shop, at the troop meetings and events or at the group camp fire. I am 19 years old and since 12 years a scout in Germany but now also a scout in South Africa! In August I started my volunteer programme with the German scout association DPSG.

My main job for this year as a volunteer is to work in the national scout office here in Claremont where I work in the shop, write articles for the scouts website or assist with the Scouting in schools, as some examples of my tasks.
But because I was already part of a scout group in Germany I decided to join a scout group here in South Africa as well. As I stay with the family Le Jeune, Alick introduced me to his scout group – 1st Claremont – and so I got to be part of this amazing troop and group.
It is so interesting and exciting to experience how scouts in another country run their programmes and to take part in different events.
My favourite event so far was the Gordon’s Shield competition. There is nothing like this in Germany, so it was a totally new thing for me to judge at a competition. With the help of the other judges, also Susan, Jonathan and David, I learned how the patrols have to fall in, how I can check the knots of the gadgets and to read ground to air signals.
And of course I was really impressed that one of our patrol won in the end – well done scouts!

Part of being a scouter is of course to do the adult training. Together with Emily and Junior I participated at the Scout Warrant which was a lot of theory which I was not really prepared for but it was also lots of fun to do the practical things like building a monkey bridge over the dam at Hawequas, working in patrols and just experience a bit what usually the scouts do.
Here my favourite part was the cooking!

To find an end I can just say that I am really thankful to be part of the 1st Claremont Scouts. I found amazing friends here and I am learning so many new things about scouting every day.
I am sure I will take many of the experiences home with me as ideas for my group at home. Thank you for the opportunity to be a scout in South Africa!

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/jula-on-being-in-scouts-in-south-africa/

Natasha talks to her school on scouts

I would like to start off with saying that once I joined the scout movement, it has
taken over my life and changed it for the better. Most of my free time has
been taken up by scouting activities and basically it is the only thing I talk about
that is not school related. Also out of the friends I have made in my life I see
my scout friends as the ones that will most probably stay with me for a long time.


I am going to describe the scout movement as how I have experienced and
observed it, as a scout from 1st Claremont. This is not a standard for South
African scouting or even scouting in Cape Town as every troop is run differently.
Each troop has a bunch of small groups or cliques made up of 6-8 people which
we call a patrol. In these patrols we have a PL and APL which is a patrol leader
and an assistant patrol leader, and in my opinion this is the best place to see
youth leadership in action. These small patrols conform to the need for group
belonging and encourage patrol pride. At 1st Claremont we have an inter-patrol
competition called MOSCIP.


The South African Scout Movement has its own advancement programme with four
levels: Traveller, Discoverer, First Class and then Springbok, with each level
increasing in difficulty and decreasing the reliance on other people to teach and
pass skills, to running your own activities. The Springbok level is the highest
award that a scout can achieve, sort of like Gold President’s Award, but harder.
In each level there are six sub-categories which are Adventure, Safety
awareness
, Living outdoors, Service, Scout skills and Personal development.
Once one completes a sub-category one gets a badge and I assume that this is
there to encourage people to advance due to the satisfaction of getting a
badge, but it makes us look like cubs.


The sub-categories have a general theme behind them. Adventure’s theme is
hiking and generally activities take place away from the hall. Safety
awareness is about safety, Living outdoors is about camping, Scout skills is
about knots and lashings, and first aid, Personal development is about developing
yourself as a person and your leadership abilities, and Service is about service to
the movement and service to the community. That means that we do community service. I have taken part in campsite constructions, playground construction, improving an old age home, making food for U-turn and even crocheted octopuses for premature babies. I have also run community service. For my first class I ran beach clean-ups and hacks in
Constantia Neck, and most recently I ran 40 hours of alien removal and a little
bit of replanting sour figs.


Outside of the advancement programme we also have competitions that scouts
take part in, in teams formed within a troop. These competitions are regional
and therefore are different throughout the country (if they have them). We
have a standing camp competition called Gordon’s Shield and it is overnight and
tests general scout skills. There are also two hiking competitions: Upton Shield – a day
hike for junior scouts – and Rayner Trophy – an overnight hike for seniors.
These are the core competitions that my troop enters and for the last two
years we have won Rayner and Gordon’s Shield and this year our juniors came
second in Upton. There are other competitions such as Kontiki – a raft building
competition that takes place over a weekend at Zandvlei – and the orienteering and
Quinn Trophy but our troop does not prioritise these.

1st Claremont is a very active troop as we run a lot of activities outside of
Thursday meetings. We hike a lot, run camps, construction projects and our
favourite – an annual campfire. This suggests that there is a lot of stuff that
the adults have to run but a number of the activities are also planned, organised
and run by scouts. By running activities such as camps and hikes, scouts learns incredible life skills such as how to communicate with WhatsApp. This is very specific to my brother and I as we don’t have WhatsApp. It does get frustrating a times because not
everyone looks at their emails, let alone answers them. This problem of mine has
also taught me how to phone someone. I can now phone someone without trying
to bargain my way out. I have also learnt how to cater for events such as a camp
and just simply how to run an event smoothly. A lot of these life lessons I have
learnt aren’t actually conscious to me and I would have to think about them for a
while before identifying them because they just come naturally to me now.
That’s all from me now. I hope it gave you new insight into the scout movement
and thank you to listening to me.

Natasha at Gordon’s Shield

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/natasha-talks-to-her-school-on-scouts/

Junior attends the Scouter Warrant Course

The Scout Warrant Course hosted at the Hawequas Scout Adventure Centre was attended by Emily Gammon, Junior Kathe and the two German Scouts, Jula Wolf & Paul Polta, earlier this year.

The Scout Warrant Course is probably one of the most challenging courses to attend as an adult scouter, both mentally and physically. Although there’s so much theory to be digested, it’s all relevant information that you learned in your early scout years. If you weren’t one then, it’s even more fascinating as you’ll want to learn and know more.

There’s a quote that’s consistently repeated throughout the course, “you learn by doing”, and that’s exactly what the course does by offering various kinds of activities that equip you with the necessary skills whilst building strong bonds with fellow scouters.

The bonds made with fellow scouters are just incredible as you learn to connect and work together as a team/patrol whilst doing fun stuff that scouts generally do on camps such as pioneering, which included developing and forming a campsite with all the necessary gadgets needed.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/junior-attends-the-scouter-warrant-course/

Wood Badge

The Wood Badge is the pinnacle of adult training in scouting world wide. And yet, 1st Claremont has not had a Wood Badge holder since the 1960s.

It was with great trepidation that I registered for the Wood Badge in 2018. I had tried three times before but, due to a lack of numbers, the course had not been run. As it turned out, three scouters from 1st Claremont registered for the course in 2018.

There are three Wood Badge courses but the first weekend runs concurrently. The first weekend is largely discussions about various aspects of scouting and is fairly relaxed. This is somewhat misleading for the next two weekends that follow.

The second weekend for the Wood Badge took place at Hawequas and involved more detailed discussions and other more strenuous activities such as building major pioneering projects.

The third weekend (in mid winter) for the Wood badge was an expedition and the culmination of the the Wood Badge course. It took the form of various tasks that each patrol undertook involving things such as a photo of the patrol at the Cape Town fire station, Mostert’s Mill and other locations around Cape Town. Unfortunately, the weekend co-incided with some incredibly heavy rain. The night was spent at Appleton campsite and ended at about 2am in the morning. It was a requirement that the patrols take a photo of themselves at the top of Lion’s Head before day break. The options were to climb up at night in the pouring rain or wait until 4am in the morning and hope the rain had stopped. After some discussion the latter option was selected. This left us with about 2 or 3 hours sleep and an early ascent of Lion’s Head. It was an experience to stand on Lion’s Head at 6am on a winters morning after a major storm and watch the day break – elemental, raw, untamed – and pretty tired.

The rest of the day was a mad rush of moving from one place to another with more tasks to achieve until we ended at lunch at the Heritage Centre in Goodwood.

The course however, is merely a part of Wood Badge – a scouter must still “earn your ticket” with a project. For some scouters they run competitions (such as Rayner and Gordon Shield) and others contribute to scouting with legacy projects to “leave a legacy” and improve scouting in some way. It is this part of the Wood Badge that many scouters fail to achieve and it took a year of work to complete my project – with some long lapses in between and then many weekends and nights of work.

Having eventually completed the project, given the historical importance of the three scouters at 1st Claremont getting their Wood Badge, we organised an award ceremony, drawing on international traditions to craft a ceremony that we would remember.

Now, there is this possibility of doing the Scout Group Leaders Wood Badge as well…

Ian’s father awarding him the Wood Badge

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/wood-badge/

The 2020 year

As we enter the last few days of 2019, we look ahead to 2020 and what the scouting year brings.

Recently, the scouters, the patrol leaders and the assistant patrol leaders got together for a few hours to put together a plan for 2020. The plan itself is still being finalised but some points are important to note.

The early decision was to enter the Kon-Tiki raft building competition in 2020. This is a sea scout competition which takes place at the Sea Scout base at Zandvlei. Leaving aside the competitive aspect, it is demanding on the troop from a resource point of view, requiring commitment from all scouts to learning to build a raft and then to actually build it in the limited time allowed to the standard required. The competition is a fun weekend with not only the rafts, their building and dismantling but also fringe teams which have activities throughout the weekend. We have not entered the fringe competition before but we hope this year to enter teams. We are exploring the possibility of a combined team with another troop which would make the competition a great way to make new friends.

In the usual mix of hikes, camps, Springbok Scout activities (we are likely to award 4 Springbok Scouts in 2020), Thursday meetings and badge courses, it is also important to understand that the troop will be undergoing some substantive changes in 2020. In 2019 we introduced the new Entsha advancement programme and we continue to familiarise ourselves with this new programme. In 2020 we will welcome some 14 cubs into the troop while at the same time we say goodbye to 5 senior scouts. This will leave the troop with a large number of scouts under the age of 14, a very few scouts just over the age of 14 with only one or two scouts older than 15. This age profile is important in both the design of the activities in the year and understanding that the youth leadership in the troop will be both young and inexperienced as the senior scouts age out.

With this in mind, scouts are strongly encouraged to work on their advancement and also to attend the maximum number of activities possible. As the age profile changes, the activities planned become more demanding and more adventurous (e.g. multi-night hikes in remote terrain) and a scout must have the fitness and experience to attend these activities. Similarly, advancement and thereby the acquisition of skills is of key importance in doing activities and enjoying them. Without skills, we cannot undertake activities such as Kon-Tiki, pioneering, cooking, mapping and having the fun and making the friendships associated with scouts. Where a scout falls behind in advancement and does not join activities, their enjoyment of scouting dwindles. We do not like to see any scout leave the troop and while we accept it as a reality, we would like to see maximum participation and advancement so that scouts make the friendships and learn the skills that result in scouting being the amazing experience that it can be.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/the-2020-year/

Committee Notes

The Committee continues to ensure the Group operates in a stable and progressive manner. Plans are well advanced to start a Meerkat Den (for children from ages 5 – 7) in 2020 and plans will be shared once start dates and times are finalised. The troop and the pack continue to be oversubscribed with long waiting lists. Plans to start a new troop and pack were put on the backburner to allow the committee to focus on the Meerkat Den startup.

On the infrastructure front, the Committee plans to give the hall floor long overdue attention in 2020. Accumulating the money to repair, clean and recoat the floor required changes to the budgeting process. The floor, fundamental as it may seem, is one of our most valuable assets. It has withstood some 75+ years of scouting and usage with minimal attention. We hope that the deserved attention it gets in 2020 will ensure that its life continues long into the future.

The AGM in 2020 will be held on a Thursday night as part of the scout program rather than on a Saturday afternoon, as has been the case for the past few years. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Finally, as we reach the end of the year, thanks is extended to the committee for the hard work put in during the year and the sometimes lengthly debates over contentious issues. Your dedication to helping make the Group one of the best in the country is appreciated if not often acknowledged.

Permanent link to this article: https://1stclaremont.org.za/1stclaremont-scouts/committee-notes/

Nina on the Boesmanskloof

After early start, we left the hall to go Greyton. Arriving at the start of the hike, after a stop at Peregrines (for some of us), we began walking and quickly came to a steep hill which lead to a view stop and lunch. We walked downhill, through a valley, and got to our next stop; the pools, where we swam, some in our clothes while others were clever enough to bring swimming costumes. The end part of the hike was a half-finished pass which was made for the rugby teams to get to Greyton, which we walked on, but it was never finished. We finally arrived in the cabins and did advancement, played card games and had a braai for supper. The next morning it began to rain, and were glad we were not walking back to Greyton. After breakfast we packed up and got into cars for the ride back home.    

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

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.

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