Scouts is the third section in the scouting family and is for boys and girls aged 10-14. It comes after cubs and before Explorers.
Our scouts meet as two separate troops at the Group HQ. Both troops meet between 7:30 and 9. “Wildcat” troop meet on a Wednesday, “Raptor” troop on a Thursday.
Plus of course both troops have plenty of weekend camps and trips out mostly together. Recent trips have included white water canoeing, a weekend climbing in the Peak District and mountain biking in Thetford Forest.
A typical evening could include anything from wide games to cook offs to falconry to first aid training. Having once even run a fashion show there’s not much we won’t have a try at!
Here are some of the things we’ve done recently:
Summer 2013 saw the first exchange trips take place between our group in Cambridge UK, and our namesake in the Canadian province of Ontario. The exchange kicked off with four daring Canadian scouts and three leaders crossing the Atlantic to join our scouts on summer camp at the international jamboree in Kernow (Cornwall). Staying with host families here in Cambridge our Canadian friends were also introduced to some of the highlights of our city with punting down the river of course included.
Severely jet-lagged, the Canadians showed us what they were made of by fearlessly leaping into the chilly water of Jesus Green outdoor pool on their very first afternoon here!
Less than two weeks after our visitors departed came our turn, with two very excited scouts and two sleepy leaders setting out for the airport in the early hours of the morning. On our second day on Canadian soil we climbed aboard the minibus and set off for camp at Haliburton scout reserve, an incredible 5000 acre site of forest and lakes, just south of the famous Algonquin Provincial Park. Our time at Haliburton was truly the wildest camping any of us had experienced for a whole week! Our group’s camping area was accessible only by water, with us all travelling to and from activities, or even to the shop or to collect drinking water, by Canadian canoe
Lake water was boiled on the fire for the washing of dishes and we learnt to cook traditional Canadian camp food on an open fire
Our only wash for the week was a shower in a waterfall halfway along a 10 mile hike – very refreshing! I’m certain each of us had our own favourite bits but among my most memorable experiences were waking up to find that racoons had raided our food stores in the night, and taking a barge into the centre of the lake at night to stargaze – we were lucky enough to be watching at the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, and without light pollution I think we were all taken aback by how many more stars we could see.
Our scouts didn’t hesitate to get stuck in, with William’s skills in Canadian canoeing taking him to represent our group at the gala for all scouts camping on the reserve, and Lucy bringing home the trophy for the highest rifle shooting score at Haliburton all summer.
Back with our host families in the city we all got to enjoy some proper maple syrup and pancakes, try our first ever root beer floats and spend some chilled out time with our Canadian hosts. Sightseeing included a fascinating tour of a traditional Mennonite farm (Mennonites are a subgroup of the Amish Christian church group), a boat trip under the breath-taking Niagara Falls, and yet more incredible views from the CN tower in Toronto!
I’d like to finish here by thanking all those who hosted scouts, both in the UK and in Canada, for making this first exchange an exciting adventure and a great success. Following this successful first exchange we hope that we can continue our links with 12th Cambridge Canada in future years so that friendships made this summer may continue, and many more scouts can get involved in promoting our international links!
Beyond the headlines though was the week in week out fun and hard work that the scouts created for themselves. So here they are, the highlights of 2013, enjoy……
We have been offered a limited number of places on the Initial Mountaineering Course run by Hertfordshire Scouts at their mountaineering centre at Lochearnhead in Perthshire. This is for scouts who will be aged 13+ at Easter and Young Leaders.
We have up to 2 places for the week 5 – 13 April 2013 and up to 4 places for the week 12-20 April.
The content of the course will cover planning/safety, navigation and wild country camping. Snow permitting we will practise the use of ice axes too.
Anyone that wants to take part should contact Graham as soon as possible.
A cracking week and huge thanks to everyone in Cornwall for making it happen!