A group of 1st Claremont scouts had the privilege of hiking in Orange Kloof in October this year. A restricted area, accessible only with a permit, Orange Kloof is a secluded valley carpeted with indigenous …
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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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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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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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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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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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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As I approach my last few months as a scout, I wish to reflect on what it has been like to lead a group of children ranging in age from eleven to fourteen. This experience has been one of a kind with me learning new things through the people I have had the privilege of meeting as well as the situations I have been thrown into.
For the past two years I have had the great opportunity to lead the Eagles patrol. During this time there have been a number of changes. As the PL I have dealt with a few changes such as having APLs stepping down, new patrol members joining us as well as having members moved to other patrols. These changes have more just needed to be dealt with rather than changes I have intended to make. My role as a PL has been to lead my patrol through these changes.
The second change in the patrol has been the culture. This change was intended and it has been a great honour as a PL to develop our patrol culture. This culture has been to keep to the main objective of a Patrol System which has entailed delegation, transparency with regards to opinions as well as healthy discussions regarding concerns for the Troop.
“The main object of the Patrol System is to give real responsibility to as many scouts as possible. It leads each scout to see that they have some individual responsibility for the good of their Patrol. It leads each Patrol to see that it has definite responsibility for the good of the Troop. Through the Patrol System the Scouts learn that they have considerable say in what their Troop does.”
After all these administrative tasks I have had as a PL still the best part is being able to lead my patrol every Thursday through cooking evenings, photo hunts, patrol evenings, first aid emergencies and so much more. All these evenings have had me
having to think about all the different possibilities as well as manage my patrol and assign them tasks based on their abilities that I have had to take my time to learn, which honestly could be estimated at a few hours.
I believe the best way to conclude this article is to make a statement to all current PLs, promising APLs and aspiring juniors. Patrol Leadership is an extremely demanding role without a doubt there will be sleepless nights trying to organise events. There are moments where are trying to sort out your patrol advancement while ensuring it’s a “fun” evening and there are times where you are tired because mistakes were made and it’s on you as the PL to fix them. But all these annoyances are irrelevant when you are able to see one of the scouts in your patrol raise their arms as they complete a requirement that you helped them achieve. That is, in my opinion, the true goal of a Patrol Leader – to raise the next generation of leaders that our society needs.
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