Throughout the year in review our numbers have increased slightly to 22 and I am pleased to report about another successful and enjoyable year. It is difficult to believe that this is the 20th annual review of Challenger Troop activities!
Annual Summer Camp
Due to unexpected personal circumstances, we had to cancel this year’s planned summer camp. However, at very short notice, we managed to organise a shorter camp at Spinnaker Lake. This proved to be very successful and we are considering something similar for this year. Activities included a hike, a night hike, geocaching, rocket launching, kayaking, rafting and a visit to the Golfing Hole. The rafting included a challenge to pitch a tent on the raft. Certainly a lot to fit in to 3 days!
Overview of other camps
For many years now we have held an Outdoor Challenge Award camp at Horley, near Banbury. The weekend includes open-fire cooking, wide games, building and sleeping in bivouacs, archery and undertaking a service project for the camp site.
We again attended the ‘Strategy’ weekend at Cirencester Park although we only managed to have sufficient interest to enter one team.
We have organised two activity badge weekends. In April 2016 we worked towards the Navigator badge and in March this year we worked towards the Communicator badge. Both weekends were held in our Scout Hall and they continue to be well supported.
We held a weekend at Pencelli, which included a day of paddling in to Brecon in Canadian Canoes.
Other activities and Troop nights
We like hiking! So we offer many opportunities for Scouts to participate including day hikes, night hikes, Jamboree on the Trail and the Sarsen Trail. In fact, if anyone participated in every event, they would have achieved 16 Hikes Away! (They could have also achieved 16 Nights Away!)
ScOUTing is what it’s all about and this is our main aim, particularly during the summer term. We have met alongside the Wilts & Berks Canal for wide games, geocaching and open fire cooking. We met at Lydiard Park to play a number of field games, at Spinnaker Lake for kayaking and rafting and at Swindon Cycle Speedway for… well cycle speedway!
A first for most was axe throwing – yes, we are allowed to throw axes although we are not allowed to throw knives! More Scouts than ever competed in our annual knotting challenge.
We have worked towards the DIY Activity Badge and after our Christmas meal, our ‘treat’ was a visit to LaserQuest.
Swindon Ridgeway District and Wiltshire County activities
We continue to host the District Cooking Competition and not enter a team! We also host the District Rifle Shooting competition and entered 2 teams. We also entered a team in the Cycle Speedway competition and in the Chess competition.
Chief Scout’s Gold Award
This is the highest award in the Scout section. Planning and undertaking an expedition is now a set requirement for the award and this year we had our first two Scouts do this. I am pleased to report that George and Billy went on to complete the award.
As always, I would like to thank our team of dedicated Leaders. In particular I would like to welcome Andy to our team. Unfortunately, Phil decided to leave us and I would like to thank him for his contribution to the life of our Troop over the past eight years.
Steve Milner – Scout Leader