The Explorer a Scouts had a clean sweep at this year’s Packman Flag – Surrey Hills A came first and Surrey Hills B came second. There was a bumper entry of Explorer teams this year – 11 in total so particularly well done. All the map reading was fantastic, fastest two teams around the course although speed wasn’t everything. They all worked together as a team well and completed all the tasks (some better than others)
The next time we meet I will bring along the trophy for you all to see. Next year apparently we will be hosting the competition and the course will be around Blackheath so we had better start practicing now!
This Saturday afternoon (6th July) the Explorer scouts entered the Guildford Lions Raft Race. We had a built the raft during unit meeting on Monday evenings and had given her sea trials on Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago (see Messing about on the water). We took the raft to Guildford and sat her down on the bank waiting for the start in torturous sunshine, I thought the barrels might actually melt. The competition looked strong and the fancy dress looked amazing. We where all humbled by the sophistication of some of the rafts and the dedication of some of the fancier dressed contestants.
3:00 pm came round and the rafts started to launch. Our boys pushed off and took up their position before the bridge. Before I had realised, they had crossed the start line and were off. Those of us following along the tow path had to work hard to catch up. No mean feet in the heat that prevailed that afternoon. We eventually caught them up and they had made some good progress. They chased and overtook every raft that lay ahead of them. It was clear from their exertions that they were going for it. Despite a serious attack of water bombs from the bank side, the boys powered on relentlessly.
Soon the finish line was in view and a little of the exertion was starting to show. They dug deep and crossed the line in a final sprint. A good race had been paddled and they had given their best.
We loaded up the raft and all settled with a drink and a burger waiting for the results. The wait dragged on as the final few comedy rafts crossed the line but then finally at 5:00 pm they announced the results. First off they announced the youth teams results and we all wished our lads had entered as a youth team as then they would have had a chance. Then they announced the other prizes, starting with the general class. The class that most of the other rafts had entered, the class with all those big mean looking guys.
And the winners of the general class with a time of 39 minutes is……..Take 4 Surrey Hills Explorer Scout Unit. We couldn’t believe it. Our boys had one the overall race. Fantastic, Amazing I was lost for words. Ed, Aiden, Triss and Jamie went up to collect their trophy.
As part of this term’s programme, the Explorer Scouts decided that they would like to take part in the Guildford Raft Race. This meant they have to build a raft. Some wood was found and Nick Eagleton kindly gave us a dozen plastic barrels, essential for raft building. After a few discussions around the black board the work began. Two 3 metre pontoons were constructed by attaching the barrels to two parallel 2×4 timbers and secured with the black banding tape you often find on heavy packages and parcels ( a big thanks to Ken for sourcing the bander). Once the pontoons were finished they screwed two transoms across the pontoons to make the familiar raft shape. 4 old plastic school chairs had their metal legs removed and were screwed onto the pontoon for the Scouts to sit on. We finished this work on Saturday lunch time just before Roy arrived with the trailer ready to take the raft for her maiden voyage.
Once at the River, we were joined by Simon Bell, the Scout Leader from Shalford who kindly offered to take the boys on the water, as our regular Canoe sports instructor Nick was otherwise engaged. The craft was launched and to all our surprise it floated high in the water. This was a good sign. The boys put on their Buoyancy Aids and scrambled aboard and to our even greater surprise the Raft sat fairly well in the water with perhaps a little tilt to the prow.
The guys soon got underway and things looked good apart from the forward tilt. After a quick con-flab, the two boys on the back moved to a kneeling position behind the rear seats, this seamed to balance the raft much better.
A short paddle up and down the river in this configuration soon convinced us that the rear seats needed moving. So the raft came out of the water and adjustments were made.
These adjustments did the trick and the raft was responding well to the boys efforts. Now all that remains is some simple decoration and team selection.
I think as long as there are Scouts, they will enjoy messing about on the water.
The Explorer Scouts did a great job at the Shamley Green Fete providing an enthusiastic workforce as well as running a very lucrative Gladiator Pole.
I would like to write my thanks and congratulations. I know that you and Sally T-S are very involved. Could you please tell me if I should write to somebody else so that the appreciation can be circulated to all those Scouts and Leaders who were involved.
On Monday evening, after a session of strenuous conservation work, the Explorer Unit invested FIVE new members. In keeping with Explorer traditions the new members where invested out in the woods.
These 5 take the Unit size to 16 which is a pretty healthy number.
As their ex-scout leader I know these boys put a lot into scouting and I am very sure they will get a lot out of Explorers. I wish them good luck and congratulations.
On Monday evening the Explorer Scouts took part in some conservation work in Gerald’s Wood. For those who don’t know where Gerald’s Wood is, it is the woodland on the side of Chinthurst Hill. It is on the right hand side as you walk down from Wonersh to Bramley. If you have never been, I suggest you go for a stroll. It is a beautiful piece of woodland with beautiful views of Wonersh and Bramely. At the moment it is little known and under used but we hope to change that soon.
The Explorer Scouts where employed in filling in large holes dug by local youths to make an unofficial mountain bike track. The aim to to make a few more safe paths to walk around the woods and access the best of the views. In time, we hope to help the local group to build paths, fences, hand rails and benches.
A few weeks ago I attended a selection weekend for applicants who wanted a role as a unit leader taking the Surrey contingent to the World Scout Jamboree. There where 20 applicants and 20 observers. The observers where there to select just 8 of us to run the 2 units. The weekend consisted of constant observation as we completed a selection of team tasks and games. Even our cooking (Japanese of course) was observed. It was a gruelling time but I learnt much and it has lifted my enthusiasm for scouting.
I am pleased to tell you that I was selected as one of the unit members. As you can imagine, I am very excited but at the same time nervous. This is a massive undertaking, really a two year project including preparation, fund raising, promoting, attending and post camp activities. It’s a lot, but I feel ready for the challenge. It helps me greatly to know that I will be supported by the County, District and most importantly 1st Wonersh.
The WSJ takes place in July/August 2015 in Japan. There will be 30,000 Scouts and Guides from all over the world (150 countries) participating in a fantastic programme which includes a visit to Hiroshima.
If you would like to go, you must be born after 29 July 1997 and not before 28th July 2001 (14 – 18 in 2015). The district has just 7 places so don’t delay. The district should be able to help with funding and the unit will be doing a lot of fund raising but at the moment is not possible to be precise with figures.
More details will be handed out to the Scout and Explorer sections shortly.