1st Fenstanton & Hilton Scout Group
I think the two cover photos on this year’s Annual Report speak volumes, and so much more than the words they show - words which I know you all join us in sending to Ken and his family during this challenging time.
In today’s society it is actually very easy for people of all ages to worry about “self” alone – what they look like, what they wear, what they weigh, what they own, what they drive, what they earn...... That then all combines into a constant worry of what others think of us, and a lifetime trying to be the person we think we should be just to please someone else. I like to think that part of what scouting gives to young people is the realisation that sometimes we should stop worrying about what others think and how everyone else is doing (in the material sense) because actually one of the most important things anyone can have is their own self worth. That in turn means we appreciate more the difference others make in our lives, whether they know it or not.
Each year the team of adults and young leaders have their family’s blessing (well, most of the time) to spend their time doing something they don’t have to, because of the fun they have too and the desire to help shape the generation to come.
The Troop might have been having an amazing adventure in Belgium this summer but that didn’t stop them thinking of the fact that the opportunities they (and all the youngsters in our Scout Group – past, present and future) have are only ever possible thanks to the dedication of great leaders, such as Ken. So when they learned he was poorly they wanted to let him know they were thinking of him and came up with their great t-shirt idea. They wanted him to know how much he, like volunteers everywhere, really does make a difference.
This has been another great year of Scouting in our Group, and another busy year of fundraising by the Executive Committee. The Exec and the Cub Scout Sixers and Seconders ran stalls at the Fenstanton Christmas lights evening, which was well attended despite the torrential rain. Although we eventually managed to construct the event shelter there were a few Cubs in soggy Christmas hats by the end of the evening!
The Exec decided to have a year off from the Big Breakfast this year and hold a fund raiser at the Fenstanton Sports Day instead. We ran wellie wanging and a ‘lucky sock’ stall, which was great fun and we eventually managed to get all of the wellies out of the trees. The Exec also organised bag packing at Huntingdon Garden and Leisure Centre and a successful photography day, all of which we expect to repeat this year.
We were pleased to welcome Cathy Fewtrell and Becky Cumbers to the Exec team this year. A special thank you to Connel Bell who, with the help of Young Leader Jamie Ward, as set up a new website – which is still a work in progress.
All in all a very successful year and a big thank you to everybody who helped organise, or attended, any of the fundraising events. We hope we can rely on your continued support.
Martin Wallis, Group Chairman
Group Scout Leaders’ Report
We are so very proud of the Group, and all involved in it, as we review yet another fun packed year of opportunities. In addition to the normal events and activities it has been great to see just how much the scouting skills being developed in the Colony mean we can set further challenges than before in both Cubs and Scouts.
Some of our Group expansion plans for this year haven’t quite been achieved, for various reasons, but we look forward to doing so in the next few years hopefully.
One thing we did do, for the first time ever, was hold a leaders camp at the start of December last year, and a big thank you to Lynne for organising most of it and sorting the catering too. It proved a great success as it meant we could all get to know each other a bit better without having the added responsibility of juggling our needs with those of the young people. This allowed us to do a mixture of team building and scouting skill sessions which will hopefully help the Group as a whole going forward. We plan to make this an annual event!
We will be working with the Exec to review budgets etc for the next few years, and agree what changes need to be made in terms of our approach to fundraising and the level of subs we need to charge. Any change in the level of subs will come into effect from 1st January 2016 so please watch out for further details.
Thank you all for another great year, and we thank you in advance for any help you can give in seeking volunteers for the roles listed in the final page of this report.
Louise Clover (Group Scout Leader) and Lynne Radbone (Assistant Group Scout Leader)
We now have around 25 Beavers, boys and girls. They are split into 4 lodges: Piranhas, Vultures, Eagles and Sharks. This encourages them all to mix and make new friends, rather than just being with classmates or good friends, which help our Beavers learn to work with others in teams too. We have also introduced a new welcome song and encourage Beavers to lead the introduction.
We had a fabulous time at the pirate themed sleepover in Fen Drayton Village Hall in April, nearly all the Beavers came. We had a pirate themed treasure hunt in the field behind. Not only was it fun but also encouraged the children to use orientation skills. We also had a great hike around the nature reserve.
There have also been some great outings. Many of the Beavers enjoyed Gilwell (“Like Disneyland without the gift shops” was one Beaver's comment!) and the pond dipping (only one got wet!). Some of the Colony went to Copley to spend time with the Scouts, who were keen to pass on their own scouting skills.
As far as possible we have made use of the field behind the hut for lots of outdoor sports and fun. The Beavers really enjoyed the traditional fayre games night (such as wellie wanging). They also enjoyed making rockets, playing tennis, rounders and of course the annual water fight – which was even better this year by having water games first! We all really enjoyed the joint archery day with the Cubs and Scouts.
In the hut we have also been busy making kites, learning first aid (amazing how much fun it is to make a sling). As well as completing badges as a Colony, it has been pleasing to find out about Beavers' sporting activities, collections and pets as they have come to earn badges independently.
Some of our Beaver Scouts were lucky enough to join the Cub Pack for a fun packed 2 night camp at Danemead in Hertfordshire in July. They were shattered but behaved really well and had an amazing time - they slept in tents, went on a hike, learned to light a simple fire, cooked dampers, enjoyed a campfire sing-a-long, made shelters, found plenty of mud and climbed lots of trees!
We have an exciting term ahead doing seasonal activities such as conkers, glow night, knots, potatoes, sausage sizzle, and of learning about Remembrance Sunday and celebrating Christmas.
Thank you to all the team, and parent helpers, for another fun packed year!
Maria Meyer – Kelly, on behalf of the Colony leadership team
This year we have said farewell to Raksha (Kathryn) and Rama (Tom), our Young Leaders, but welcomed Baloo (Jamie) to the Pack and look forward to Matthew (Shere Khan) joining us this term.
Over the past year our outdoors activities have included cycling, night hiking, wide games, outdoors cooking with the Scout Troop, woodland games and archery, as well as the Funday at Gilwell Park and of course the Easter and Summer Camps. We've worked on several activity badges including Pioneering (one Six made a “chariot” that carried Akela very nicely!), Cyclist, Communicator, Local Knowledge, Road Safety, Fire Safety (great visit to the Fire Station), Map Reader, Navigator and Artist. Having made huge fish out of willow last year we progressed this year to enormous butterflies/moths - I hope they survived the journey home! Some badges were completed with homework by those who wanted to finish them off, others we'll aim to complete this coming term. Along with others, the cubs made some amazing clay poppies for Remembrance last year. We took the Cubs to the “Farm to Fork” event at Tesco's, and we understand several developed an expensive taste for blue cheese that evening (sorry!). We've also been working towards the Challenge badges, including looking at other cultures and festivals. We finished off the year traditionally, by getting all the Cubs thoroughly wet and then warming up with chips!
We've awarded over a hundred badges this year, including one Chief Scout Silver Award (well done Adam!), which two more Cubs are very close to achieving in the next few weeks/months.
You'll all be aware of the big changes in badges within Scouting – these come into full effect from 1st October, so for information on badges please refer to the badges guide I sent out in February. Other than a few of the older Cubs who have nearly finished their Chief Scout Silver Awards, we will now be working towards the new Challenges. There are many changes to the Activity and Staged Activity Badges as well, so apart from the almost-completed badges, we'll now be following the new criteria. These huge changes have been...um...challenging, so please do bear with us as we get more familiar with them! As always, if you want to know how far your child has progressed with any badge, please email to ask so we can update you.
Our Cubs also tasted success when we entered the District Handicraft competition, coming first with the most amazing campsite out of clay. We were delighted that one of our Cubs also received a Commendation for his picture (well done, Charlie).
So onto the coming year...we've already had a pack forum where the Cubs have said what they'd like to do. Some of this is in this term's programme and we'll try to incorporate as many of their other ideas as possible into the next couple of terms' programmes as well. Next May, of course, is Cub-Jam – the week-long camp with zillions (ok, not quite...but an awful lot!) of other Cubs, which promises to be an amazing experience. We're also planning a (smaller scale!) camp of our own in March. 2016 is the Centenary of Cub-Scouting and along with many other groups in the country we'll be finding ways to celebrate Cubs' 100th birthday throughout the year.
You'll all be aware that Akela has recently been unwell and is having to take some time out over the coming months. Thank you so much to all those that have made extra offers of help during this time – it really is appreciated by both him and the rest of the team (and yes, we will call on you!). I'm sure you join us in wishing him a very speedy recovery. Here’s a photo of everyone sending Akela a “Get well” wave on the first morning of summer camp.
Thank you, as always, to all the parents who have helped us out week by week, and particularly to those who have helped us on Camp. We look forward to the coming year!
Bagheera (Jo Hitchins), on behalf of the Pack leadership team
What another fantastic Scouting year! The troop continues to grow from strength to strength; the PLs and APLs are taking a key role in running the troop, the leadership team continues to offer exciting and challenging activities and the Scouting Ethos is very much alive!
The Autumn term 2014 kicked off with a Zombie Wide Game at Copley, a Lego bridge building competition and the start of a series of evenings learning all about Electronics. We joined the pack and colony for a Spy themed camp at Bromham Scout Centre in October and had lots of fun on the pedal go-karts.
During the Spring term Adam told us about his work with the police, we practiced our fire lighting skills at the Orchards in Fenstanton and welcomed Pete from the East Anglian Rocketry Society to help us build and fire rockets.
This year we continued to focus on improving navigation skills. To put the Scouts to the test, Paul devised a night hike called ‘Drop Zone Rendezvous’ – where Scouts are dropped from an unknown destination to find a local fish and chip shop. It’s a great way to practice compass skills with a treat at the end!
In March 2015 we entered two teams into the County Forward Incident Hike (a 10 mile hike with activity bases along the way) and this year we allowed one team to enter the competition by walking unsupervised. Of the 29 teams that entered Fenstanton B came 1st place, achieving top marks with 89%. They were tested on their teamwork, leadership and first aid skills. Huge congratulations to Becky Ward, Owen Hucklesby, Daniel Jardine, Catherine Hitchins, Samuel Hitchins and Jamie Keegan.
During the Spring term we set the Scouts a personal fundraising challenge to turn £5 into £50 to put towards their summer trip to Belgium or to donate to a charity of their choice. We were astonished by the dedication of both the Scouts and Parents in arranging fundraising events /activities, and as a result a number of Scouts raised more than £300 each! Well done to all.
This year we have seen our PLs and APLs start to take a key role in running the troop. We set them the challenge to plan, prepare and run a weekend camp away for younger troop members. They choose to run a Survival themed camp at Two Mile Bottom Campsite, Thetford, and did a fantastic job arranging activities, teaching new skills to younger Scouts and providing a fun camping environment.
Heading into the Summer Term we offered the Scouts a three week archery course to earn their Master at Arms activity badge, visited the RAF Pathfinder Museum at Wyton and took part in a fishing taster session at Steve’s place.
This summer we travelled to Belgium for an action packed week away staying at De Kluis International Scout Centre, approximately 20 miles from Brussels. During the week we visited a scout museum in Leuven, tried BMX biking and tree climbing, played Bruges Monopoly taking ‘selfies’ around the city, joined a group of Israeli Scouts for a campfire, visited Mini Europe and the Car Museum in Brussels and went to Walibi theme park. It was a great experience and the troop were fantastic throughout. Our tour rep was very complimentary of our group too and sent us a thank you card and box of chocolates for the great time she had with us. Apparently we’ve made her think about becoming a Scout Leader…
I am delighted to have awarded Lauren Bailey, Matthew Titman and Daniel Jardine with their Chief Scout Gold Awards this year. Well done to you all!
Once again, this year would not have been possible without the incredible continued support of the troop leadership team- a huge thank you to Poppy, Adam, Scott, Chris, Tom, Paul, David and Alex.
I cannot re-iterate how impressed I am with the Troop again this year, the Scouts continue to develop their Scouting skills and we are starting to see them teaching one another.
Jess Lockwood (Scout Leader), on behalf of 1st Fenstanton & Hilton Scout Troop
Please read this!!!!!!!!!
So having read all about our success as a Scout Group how about offering your support in some way, or telling us of people you know who may be able to help? Perhaps you could even help the District team (based in St Ives) or get Papworth Scout Group up and running again?
The great thing about volunteering with Scouting that it is always about what you can do not what you can't, so there is certain to be a role for you. Believe it or not even leaders don’t need to camp if you prefer not to!
We appreciate that some adults will be able to offer only a few hours once a year whilst other may feel able to help for several hours each week. Equally some adults prefer to work directly with the young people whilst others may prefer more of a background role. Please note all adults volunteering with our Scout Group as Leaders, on the Exec and in certain other key roles are required to obtain DBS clearance through us.
Current opportunities available include:
- Volunteers to help write and maintain news articles and photos on our new website. This can include our young people too of course!
- A volunteer to take on “oversight” of the items stored in our Scout Hut. It means ensuring everything is where it should be, organizing odd repairs, maintaining that part of our inventory and helping keep some stocks up to date. This is actually something ideal for someone who can just spare an hour or two a month.
- A volunteer to take on “oversight” of the items stored in our container (on a farm on Rogues Lane – in effect between Hilton / Elsworth and Papworth). It means ensuring everything is where it should be, organizing odd repairs, maintaining that part of our inventory and helping keep some stocks up to date. This is actually something ideal for someone who can just spare an hour or two a month.
- There are currently enough boys and girls on our waiting lists to open a second Colony tomorrow (20 in total by the end of the year), but without enough adults willing to join the team it simply isn’t possible. Can you be part of the team? That would then mean in the next few years we would need another Pack, and then another Troop too of course J
- We are working with the County team to try and see if Papworth Scout Group could be re-opened in some form. There are lots of eager children keen to join so, as always, what we need are names of adults prepared to help make the fun happen.
- The District team are always keen to have new people help support scouting across the whole area, so if you would like to know more about the various roles (such as Exec and leadership) please get in touch.
- And if you would like to help, but in some other way or you are not even sure how, that’s fine too!
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back to the local community and to help shape the next generation. It also looks good on a C.V. and is an ideal way to meet new people and learn new skills.
We are keen that playing an active role in scouting should not cost adult volunteers in our Scout Group financially. For all adults who choose a uniformed role we pay all training costs, expenses and a set of uniform where appropriate (activity trousers, long sleeved uniform shirt, badges, necker and a Group polo or t-shirt). For all our routine overnight /weekend camps and sleepovers we do not expect adult volunteers to pay, although there may be costs due for larger events such as going abroad (e.g. flights, camp fee, food )or for a week or more in the UK (perhaps a contribution for food).
To find out more please contact Louise Clover via our website at www.fenstantonhiltonscouts.co.uk.
Why does any adult volunteer with scouting?
Whilst Ken was sadly unable to join in the summer camp he had planned for the Beavers and Cubs in July it did mean that I got to attend for part of it instead, and thanks too to Lynne and Alex for helping out at such short notice. I of course had a great time seeing the boys and girls able to explore the woodland area (climbing trees and finding plenty of mud!), and it certainly helped me unwind after yet another stressful week at work.
On the first evening the young people were given some free time whilst supper was sorted and I was near my own tent when one of the younger Cubs came running up to me. He was literally shaking (with what I soon learned was pure joy and excitement, but didn’t at that stage!) as he said “Louise, Louise, I was running really fast and tripped over a tent peg”. At that moment I was expecting something like “So I have cut / hurt myself”, soon to be followed by tears and the need to open the First Aid kit. I looked down but was somewhat confused as I couldn’t see any blood or other sign of injury. The Cub then continued instead with “and I did the most AWESOME roly poly!” before he then ran off – grinning with delight.
And it’s things like that, where a young person can’t wait to tell me something that actually means so much to them at that moment (even something so “simple”) that they actually come to find me, which keep me scouting.