Sam earns his Leaping Wolf

Sam worked really hard on his Leaping Wolf this past year.  I’m sure many of you saw his knotting board up in the hall near the Scouters Den.  He also earned his First Aid and Health, Civil Emergency, Hiking and Outdoorsman senior badges.  As his Greening the Community challenge, Sam, together with some other senior Cubs, prepared and planted up a flower bed at the 4th Claremont Scout Hall.  Sam researched and learnt all about how a handgun works for his Technology in Action challenge and gave a fascinating presentation to the Cubs.  The Global Awareness challenge that he chose to learn more about was Alien Vegetation and the effects that it has on us and on the environment.  Sam is clearly passionate about this and learnt a huge amount through this assignment.

The trickiest part of the Leaping Wolf challenge is often the Personal Challenge and Sam chose to cycle from the gate at Cape Point National Park all the way to the Cape of Good Hope, then on to Cape Point (where the lighthouse is) and then back to the gate – what a long cycle! He convinced his Dad to join him and Sam planned the route, what equipment to take with them and what food to take.  Sam proudly cycled the whole way, despite being chased by an ostrich, cycling through a troop of baboons and past a veld fire!  What an achievement!

It has been great watching Sam grow in confidence and independence through this Leaping Wolf Challenge – Well done Sam!

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Proud Pollution Pirates

In Term 2 the Meerkats tackled the new Pollution Pirate interest badge. We had already learnt about the water-cycle and how a piece of litter that is lying around can end up in our rivers, dams and the sea. We played “The Floor is Litter” and did an instructive activity on how long different types of litter last (fruit peels a few months, a chip packet 75 years and a beverage can 200 years!).

The big requirement was to do a Litter Clean-up as a Den. On a chilly Saturday morning, intrepid Pollution Pirates met at the Liesbeek River opposite Hartleyvale Stadium to join the Friends of the Liesbeek River in picking up litter. Our mission was to keep our rivers and seas clean and litter free to allow our natural flora and fauna to thrive. We started out by orienting ourselves according to the mountain and the river and played a quick game of N, E, S, W to warm up before donning some gloves and getting to work filling up as many bags with litter as possible.

Our numbers were unfortunately quite low due to the horrible winter germs; however, we are very proud of all the Meerkats who took the time to fulfill this requirement on their own in order to earn the badge. We hope the Meerkats will keep their eyes open and pick up any litter they see in their day to day lives and encourage their families to do the same.

Karen Meyer (ADS)

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The Boks’ Pond

The Boks Patrol Camp

Day 1 of the amazing camp

We arrived at the scout hall on a nice early morning and packed the car and headed off, location goedgedacht farm. We overestimated the drive and ended up getting there early and finishing camp setup about 2 hours early. We decided to start building our Epic catapult but barely made a dent in our endless free time. We THEN decided to play Risk, a game of pain and anger which was a terrible idea because everyone hated each other in the end (this is a joke). It’s not a surprise we didn’t play it again. Supper went rather smoothly( chicken stew).we also saw a little snake and a frog having a party which ended quickly because Tim and Keira started terrorising them. We ended the day with spicy hot chocolate and smores. I was the unlucky one and I shared a room with Tristan who was begging me all night to play clash royale with him. Oh and we slept in cabins which were very nice and warm.

Day 2 of the extra amazing camp

We woke up with 10 hours of beautiful sleep except for Tristan whose bed broke to pieces because he was too heavy. Tristan’s Peer pressure got to me and we played clash royale for half an hour( traumatising). We then had a nice fried egg and toast breakfast and I ate a couple tablespoons of hot chocolate powder. We then had com serve and packed seeds for 3 hours. We had lunch next and had the most beautiful toasted sandwiches which left Tristan with a burnt pan to wash up because we made a bet and he lost by one point. Tristan was playing a useless game on his phone for the entire lunch period. We returned to finish two more hours of com serve in which we cut spekbooms. After another painful com serve session we went bird watching for an hour. We began to make supper which was tomato pasta which was extra bussin, for pudding we were too lazy to make a fire to make brownies so we had the brilliant idea of having fried brownies which were so insanely delicious(burnt) you could only eat 20% of the brownie but Tristan ate the whole thing lowering his life expectancy by 50 years. We had hot chocolate and then went to bed.

Day 3 of the super spicy extra amazing camp

Me and Tristan woke up and played clash royale and then got shouted at by Tim because we were supposed to go to his cabin. Our breakfast was french toast and lots of oil. We finished off our last com serve period, then had lunch and had Tim’s scouts own. We packed up and headed home. Great camp!

Tim vZ-S

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Upton Shield 2023

On 7 May, 15 of our scouts took part in the regional Upton Shield competition. This is a hiking competition, similar to the Rayner Trophy earlier this year, where scouts hike outdoors, completing bases that test them on scouting skills along the way. 

Our scouts came 18th, 9th, 2nd and 1st, out of a total of 84 teams. 

This is a phenomenal achievement. To have 4 teams in the top 20, let alone 3 in the top 10 and further 2 on the podium is insane. Positions one and two were separated by a mere two points. This is our 4th consecutive win of the Trophy, and our 5th win ever. 

The scouts taking part:

• 1st Place: Juliet DE, Emily G, Saskia B, Frank W (9th/16th Cape Town)

• 2nd Place: Julia W, Tristan S, Sudi E, Matthew DE

• 9th Place: Laura H, Oliver VZS, Axel VBD, Simon H

• 18th Place: Avila VBD, Kupa M, Bridget H, Kiran CB

Our winning team was one member short at the start of the competition, and the team was joined by a scout from 9th/16th Cape Town at the last minute. A special congratulations to Frank for joining a team that wasn’t his troop, and contributing to winning the competition. 

These achievements are not the work of any single scout. Beyond the Patrol Leaders and team members, there lies a whole bunch of people to whom some credit is due. 

I’d like to single out two such people: Holly Raine and James Webb. Without the efforts of these two scouts, I am confident to say that not only would we not be sitting with such amazing results, but we would not even have had any teams entered into the competition. 

Holly planned, coordinated, and ran the whole of the 1st Claremont Upton effort, from team allocations to organizing equipment, from sorting out transport for the day to coordinating training. Holly went above and beyond in her role of organizing the competition, to which we owe her many thanks. 

James took care of the training for the teams, putting together an entire “mini Upton” a few Saturdays ago (in pouring rain), that I am sure helped prepare our teams for what was to come. Thank you to both Holly and James and for their efforts that contributed to these amazing results.

To close, I’d like to thank the organizing team of the Competition for their hard work. This composition of the core team was largely 1st Claremont based, with David Knight as Chief Judge (overseeing the running of the whole competition), assisted by Susan Gammon, Jonathan Webb, Caleb Serafin, Junior Kathe and Justin Cheney. 

– Daniel

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Smoke Signals Edition 1, 2023

The first term of 2023 has rapidly passed by with loads of activities across the 1st Claremont Den, Pack and Troop and leaders volunteering across many portfolios outside our Group.

As a reflection of the achievements in 2022, First Claremont was recognised at Founders Day awards ceremony on 19 February. Overall, the Group placed 5th in the regional Tonkin Trophy. The Troop, Pack and Den all received Gold Star awards. Two of our Patrols received Gold Stars, three Silver and one Bronze. Well done to the leaders and member across 1st Claremont!

In February the AGM took place, dovetailing between a Friday night Pack meeting and the Springbok Scout award ceremony for Alex Clark. Efforts to fix the hall roof above the stage are waiting for City of Cape Town approval following last year’s fund-raising campaign.

The Meerkat Den has been busy including a re-enactment of the first Scout camp at Brownsea Island, participated in Meerkat Kon-Tiki and also made contact with Beaver den in the UK.

The cub pack has welcomed Lucy as the new Akela in the den. The pack has had fun learning the ropes and adventuring in the outdoors. Jenny and Sarah report back on the joint Camp with 4th Claremont / Fernwood pack over a weekend in February at Hawequas campsite.

Our Troop Scouter reflected on the first term. The troop has busy with participation in the Rayner Trophy competition for Senior Scouts. First Claremont entered two teams, who placed 13th and 15th out of the 32 teams participating- well done to all!

The troop enjoyed a fun day out exploring the Kalk Bay caves as reported on by Aiden, and as a pioneering exercise built the largest tensegrity structure known in the region.

The patrol system is in full swing with many patrol-based activities taking place including a Bats Patrol Hike in Cape Point and community service outreach including soup kitchen as recounted by Juliet and beach clean-up recalled by Anjali.

Beyond the confines of 1st Claremont our Group continues to contribute regionally and nationally. David our Assistant SGL is now the Liesbeek District Commissioner and one of the organisers of the National Senior Scout Adventure. ATS Jonathan is the 1st aid training coordinator in the Western Cape. Our Den Scouter Judith is the Regional Team Coordinator for Meerkats in the Western Cape. Our SGL Ian assists with national and regional social media and website, and he and ATS Fraser run the regional Senior Cub Camp. TS Daniel is co-organising the Regional Young Leaders Forum. Many other leaders including Lucy, Susan, Emily, Simon, Becca, Caleb, Justin and others have volunteered as judges and staff on competitions and training courses.

Smoke Signals

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Bats Patrol Hike

On the 3rd of April I ran a hike for my patrol in the Cape Point nature reserve, after having this route planned for a few months I was very keen to get it done. We left early in the morning to get to Cape Point sadly early still had the sun up 2 hours before we started hiking, sadly I had forgotten to think about how early the sun was rising so I hoped that the day wouldn’t end up too hot. Luckily the weather forecast said it would be overcast and relatively cool. 

What the forecast forgot to mention was that there would be rain all the way there, this lead to having a couple unenthusiastic scouts for the hike ahead, when we arrived we kitted ourselves out in our rainwear and set off. After the first km we had all taken off our raincoats and packed them away as the weather had suddenly changed and was sunny with a couple clouds to keep us company. 

The hike was a relatively flat one, and was quite repetitive scenery for the first 7km with the occasional buck and ostrich spotted along the way. I had a few scouts who seemed to be determined to scale the tallest rock they could find. This lead to one lightly bonking their head on a rock and few funny photos. Eventually we started our descent to the beach, this took five minutes and we ended up having a quick snack at the bottom. After that we headed off onto the beach to locate some shipwrecks. After a few minutes of walking we spotted the first one. We examined the whole structure while running back and forth to dodge all the waves crashing down on the shipwreck which was halfway up the shore but seemed to be a magnet for the largest waves. 

We headed off to our next shipwreck and examined it as-well. We eventually reached out finish point and realised that our message to our transport to pick us up early hadn’t gone through yet and after we were warned that a baboon troop was coming towards us we headed up the road to try and get to our transport quicker. We managed to finish the hike an hour ahead of schedule even with the wait. All in all it was a good hike to start off our patrol adventures for the year.

Tim vZ-S

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Cubs on Camp

The cubs report back on their join camp with the 4th Claremont/Fernwood Pack in February:

On Camp we did lots of fun games like we played a blind game so one person is blindfolded and there’s colour coded balls your team must guide you to your ball colour that you were told. 

Another game is a water game with holey buckets where, in your team, you fill the holey bucket up and run to the other side with a big bucket with a tennis ball in in.  First team to get the tennis ball out with the water wins. 

We also swam in the dam and with the adults made a whirlpool.  

Jumanji – the Next Level (Ancient Egypt)

Cub camp this year was so fun. We were at Hawequas and our theme was Jumanji game in Ancient Egypt.  Nigel Billington kept repeating “We have been eagerly waiting your arrival”. There ware Egypt decorations everywhere. 

We did lots of fun tasks like wrapping one of our six in toilet paper to make a mummy  I was the mummy and it was fun to be wrapped up but hard to stand still for so long.  We also sewed hand nets for our mini-SASS badge.  On Saturday we had exercises with the Scouts and then rice crispies for breakfast. 

We did our Simple Machines badge in the day and learnt about pulleys, friction, wedges (chopping with an ax), screws and wheels.  After lunch we built trebuchets like catapults to shoot water balloons at a fire.

The Campfire was so fun that night and the flames were all sorts of magic colours.  On Sunday we did a mini-SASS assessment of the little stream and found lots of cool invertebrates and so the river scored high and was very clean.

We made lots of friends from 1st and 4th Claremont and had fun and it was sad to leave at the end.

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Meerkat Kon-tiki

On 18 March, an excited group of Meerkats joined 100 others from all over the Region for the second Meerkat Kon-tiki at the IYC in Muizenberg.

Over the next two hours they made a flag, played games, listened to a pollution story, and most of all built model rafts. These were raced out in the vlei using an ingenious contraption designed by 1st Muizenberg’s Rafiki. Our Meerkat Instructors, Juliette and Laura, helped launch the rafts. I heard every Meerkat say “Mine won!” A feast of watermelon and popcorn awaited the children before they went home. Apart from the coveted Kon-tiki Comics badge, they will also all get the Raft Builder Badge soon. Thanks to our parents who were such a help as usual.

Judith Bishop, Den Scouter

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