Scouts 2012

“No man goeth about a more godly purpose that he who is mindful of the right upbringing not only of his own but of other men’s children.”

— Socrates

If you wondered why the streets seemed less crowded than usual last weekend or the parks and football pitches less busy it was because nearly 1000 young people from around these parts – boys and girls – were away camping with the Scouts. For over 30 years one weekend early in July has been designated “Borough Camp” for the young members of the Richmond scout district, and it is usually run at Walton Firs Scout Activity Centre near Cobham. With a slew of exciting and sometimes demanding challenges like caving, climbing, football, archery, rounders and the weirdly named ‘crate stacking’ it attracts young people from as far east as Barnes and as far west as Teddington and Hampton.

crate stacking 1

Crate Stacking – A Definition.

The aim of the game is to build a stack of crates as high as possible and then stand on top of it before it collapses. Some find themselves standing on a stack over 20 crates high wondering how on earth they got there and how on earth they are going to get down again. Apparently crate stacking teaches teamwork, communication, trust, overcoming fear, planning and design, agility, balance, coordination and a talent for stacking crates.

Istmar cubs at camp fire

This year St Margarets was well represented at Borough Camp with nearly 50 Cubs and Scouts taking part, ranging in age from 8 through to 14 year olds. Although they were tucked away from the main campsite ‘1stmar’ as they are known organised one of the most popular events of the weekend -the 6-A-Side football championship and took an active role at the camp fire. The group also won some prizes – the Scouts taking 1st place in the Volleyball competition and the Cubs winning the 6-A-Side-football…though unfortunately neither trophy, cup nor certificate was given to mark their success.

Baden Powell, who founded the Scout movement in 1907 would have been well pleased. Here were nearly a thousand young people, enjoying themselves without resort to computers, television sets, smart phones or any of the other glittering attractions of modern life, valuing each other’s company, having fun and learning citizenship and good-will in the process.

Victory wave

All this was possible because of the leaders who gave time and effort to make it happen. Leaders are always in demand – no matter what their age or experience -and so is the case with St Margarets Scouts, the one and only group in town. Their current leader is moving on and although he leaves a large and lively team in place, a new leader is needed. Could that be you? Even if you have never been a member of the Scouts or Guides, even if you have never slept under canvas or toasted marshmallows over an open fire, even if you have never seen “Jungle Book” or learned the words of “Ging Gang Gooli” could that person be you… could it?

When you see how we live – and what we are trying to do for young people – we feel sure your interest will be aroused and we do sincerely ask you to inquire further and find out how you personally can join in this most worthwhile of all activities.’

— Scouting Pamphlet – published 1946

More sweets

Scout leadership is a challenging but vastly rewarding business with many unexpected benefits like free camping and training in essential subjects like First Aid, Safeguarding Young People, Mountain Hiking and Boating. It also looks good on a C.V. particularly when you discover that the new boss is an ex-Scout or Guide him or herself. For more information about leadership opportunities within the 1st St Margarets Scout Group please contact Donna Wilson on donna@mywhanau.co.uk

Very early one summer morning a small group of boys and girls from the St Margarets Cub Pack, were camping in the fields at Ham. Unable to sleep because of the rising sun, they went to the river where they stood bouncing stones off the water. It was a perfect morning in an absolutely silent world. The air was warm and the sky clear blue and the Thames as still and shiny as a mirror. An elderly man came along with his dog, and for a moment or two stood watching the children. Then he said…

“It makes me wish that I was a child again.”

And the Cub Scout Leader, no spring chicken himself, who was showing the young people how to bounce the stones turned to him and said,

“It’s not too late, you know!”

— from Martyn Day