The Troop continues to maintain its healthy numbers, with between 20 and 24 scouts regularly attending Troop Nights. With the warmer weather (Not necessarily dry) the attention again turns to outdoor activities. The Troop enjoyed kayaking and rafting for the last few weeks of the summer (thanks to Clive, Dave and Steve for their expertise and patience). Raft building in particular showed that even with prior experience, memories fade, and the importance of correctly tying knots was reinforced when the the scouts managed to build a few “Subma-rafts”! Even so I think that was enjoyed more than the well built rafts, even when we had a Hawaii style race.
Summer term also gave us the opportunity to go to the canal and practice outdoor fire lighting and then cooking over the fires. The majority were successful even though they had to be reminded that if you take 45 minutes to collect wood (and chat on the way) you have limited time to cook and eat. That said everyone did manage to cook and eat with no ill effects. We also took part in the cycle speedway event with a very good turn out, so much so that we are taking part again this year.
Winter term saw us revising knots (memories of soggy rafts were still fresh) and complete some pioneering tasks as well as indoor cooking and menu planning. We also took the opportunity to think about planning for camp, and get the kit out and checked ready for the district camp. Around half the Troop attended the District camp in Roves farm, where a wide range of activities were undertaken from Archery through problem solving to slack lining.
In November we managed to organise a couple of evenings of Air rifle shooting in tandem with some navigation. I hasten to add that we had 2 separate groups, one for each activity then swapping over the following week. The thought of the Health and Safety risk assessment for a navigation exercise with rifles bring me out in a cold sweat!
During this period the Troop had a couple of other leaders help out as Steve was in and out of hospital on a couple of occasions (nothing serious but limited his involvement for a few weeks) Many thanks to Louise and Olly for stepping in to help and sorry for the volume of the scouts. November saw the Troop turnout in force for Remembrance Sunday with most of the Troop being present. The term ended with a look at how computers work especially programmes including the troop writing a simple set of instructions for the robot (Steve) to make a sandwich. This caused great hilarity as Steve took the instructions literally (as a programme does) creating some odd sandwiches(I think the instruction of “put some jam on the knife” was intended to get the jam out of the jar, rather than placing the whole jar on the knife!)
After Christmas the scouts came back in good cheer and started looking at activities that stemmed from the scouts themselves. We had some creative moments making Origami animals as well as woggle making and creating penny stoves. In Feb we had the pleasure of having one of the dads come in to help with a series of skills. His skill was juggling and circus skills so the scouts had a go as well as using a Diablo before finishing with a demonstration of fire juggling. Many thanks to Dave Knight for creating a great evening. We also had the obligatory pancakes in March and finished off with Fire safety ready for getting back outside again.
Back to summer again at we had a new event, as the Sarsen trail was cancelled The Steves’ agreed to hold a “Not the Sarsen trail” from Barbury Castle back to the scout hut. So 4 scouts from each troop took part completing the 21 mile course with only a few aching limbs, well done to all for achieving this challenge and for helping to raise over £500 for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in the process.
2 weeks later we were back at Barbury for the JOTT hike, as as we turned up it seemed that most of Swindon had had the same idea as several large groups were forming up for different walks. So back to the hut we went, luckily only 11 miles this time.
So to finish off we had 2 teams enter the district air rifle competition, where we did well ending up around the middle of the final order.
So far this term we have been making bat and bird boxes to assist the towns entry to Britain in Bloom. All from scratch, sawing and nailing them together.
We rounded off the hike season with 2 scouts successfully completing the Sarsen trail , (26 miles from Avebury to Stonehenge) no small feat considering the age of the scouts.
Two weeks later 8 scouts joined Beavers, Cubs and Explorers at Savernake forest to complete the JOTT.