Challenger Scout Troop – Review of 2019/20

It is always difficult to know what to include in a report such as this, such is the diverse range of activities offered and achievements attained by our members. 32 young people were members of the Troop at some point during the year and we had an average membership of 25 through the year. This actually represents a very small turnover of members in comparison with other years. I am not sure what these figures demonstrate!

Here is a high-speed trip through an eventful year.

Annual Summer Camp

This year’s camp was much shorter and with smaller numbers than usual. We camped at Spinnaker Lake for 3 nights, but we managed a full-on programme of activities starting with an incident hike around the lake. My own favourite part of the programme was fine dining on a raft. Our third variation of the raft challenge.

Review of other camps

First along was a Canal Trip during the Easter holiday when we cruised the Warwickshire Ring. Always a popular choice as it includes a visit to Cadbury World and that means only one thing! Then it was our regular Activity Badge weekend. This year for the first time it was the Geocaching badge. ‘Strategy’ camp was quickly followed by our traditional camping weekend at Horley where we had a great time providing a service to the camp site by cutting back an area of trees and bushes so that they could extend the area for ground fires. In October we organised a camp at Potterne to coincide with the JOTA/JOTI weekend. Our final residential event was a night hike in November which included an overnight stay in our Scout Hall. As it turns out, this was to be our last residential offer for more than a year. This requires no further explanation!

Other activities and Troop nights

As usual, we had several day hikes, a night hike and the Jamboree on the Trail, this year held in Savernake Forest.

Cooking is an ever-popular activity. We cook on wood fires by the canal, make pancakes and run ready, steady, cook evenings.

We run taster sessions of kayaking at Spinnaker Lake and then offer training sessions to those who wish to develop their skills. As always, several Scouts achieved either Stage 2 or Stage 3 of the Paddle Sports activity badge.

Our annual visit to Swindon Cycle Speedway also proved to be the final one. This is a real shame as it is always an extremely popular activity. We also organised a bike ride in the Cotswold Water Park.

 

Swindon Ridgeway District and Wiltshire County activities

Once again, we hosted the District Cooking Competition and entered a team. We also entered the District Rifle Shooting competition and finished in second place. We had a team lined up to compete in the County competition but that was the very first activity which fell victim to that which shall not be named.

The last thing that happened before the curtain came down on Scouting, was the Expedition organised by 3 of our oldest members. So, congratulations to Aaron, Daniel and Max (and also to Tom and Sam from Gryphon Troop, as it was a joint effort) for completing their Expedition after 2 earlier attempts had to be called-off due to bad weather conditions.

and finally….

I am fortunate to be supported by an excellent team of leaders. Thank you, Olly, Liam and Simon, for your dedication which enables us to offer the best possible Scouting experience for our young people. However, on this occasion, my biggest thanks are reserved for Chris who decided to retire after 44 years as a Scout Leader with 1st Wootton Bassett Scout Group.

Steve, Scout Leader