We’re trying something new from next month with Tails so our good news is celebrated earlier on our social media feeds like Facebook and Instagram or in longer form on our website. But for now here’s this month’s round up of everything that has been happening over a summer of adventures.

What’s been happening?

Izzy’s Top Award

By Michael Doncom, District Youth Commissioner

And just like that, another Young Leader expert emerged! A huge congratulations to Izzy who over the last term worked extremely hard to complete the final missions for her Young Leader Belt Buckle top award!

Izzy is a Young Leader with the 5th Testwood’s Beaver Scouts and Squirrel Scouts and has run numerous games and activities, listened to our young people and been a bigger inspiration for the programme. Plus, she’s been involved with fundraising for her trip to the 25th World Scout Jamboree, sharing the knowledge she had learned along the way with the Beavers.

Our Youth Commissioner, Michael, popped by during the final week of Beavers so she could receive her buckle just before flying off for her overseas adventure. Well done and keep the adventures going!

You can get involved as a young leader at scouts.org.uk or drop us a message. Or if you’re a young leader already and want help getting your belt buckle, get in touch. [email protected]

International Trips

If any of you have been following social media posts you will have seen the updates from all of our international trips. Rather than fill your inboxes up with a huge edition of Tails of the New Forest, or duplicate what you may have already seen we will, as mentioned in Tails last month, change to listing events with links to other social media. So what has happened?

You can check out all the action and updates on all 3 international trips on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NewForestScouts) and with updates for volunteers on our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/new.forest.scouts.members.group). There’s also Instagram for our younger followers (@newforestscouts).

Gambia 2023

As reported in the July Tails, New Forest and Hampshire Explorers headed out to the Gambia to visit the Kaira Konko Lodge & Scout Centre and returned on Saturday 26th August.

Whilst there they repaired bicycles so young people can attend school, refurbished classrooms, libraries and desks at Toniataba and Soma Lower school and visited a local hospital where they met some doctors from Pakistan treating people’s cataracts. They contingent even made the Gambian national news.

You may like to visit the Kaira Konko Lodge & Scout Centre Facebook page or Instagram to read more about them. We’ve shared their updates where we can but the full range is there.

25th World Scout Jamboree

You will have seen on the news of the challenges experienced due to the extreme weather in South Korea. However, contingency plans were put in place to ensure the young people still had a fantastic trip.

I am sure those involved shared social media links with family and friends, some had Facebook pages and other used Instagram or TikTok. The best updates can be found on the main UK Contingent Facebook Page. We’ll share more as it appears from Hampshire too.

Project 23 Marvellous European Road Trip 2023

So, another fantastic international trip around Europe, 194 explorers and 32 leaders. Kevin Harmer has produced a report on the trip and it can be found on our website.

District Expedition Challenge Weekend

By Simon Morgan, Assistant Scout Leader at 1st Sandleheath

Saturday 8th July saw a fabulous challenge weekend take place. For all the news on the adventures they had, catch up on the full report from Simon.

Sandleheath Summer Camp

By Simon Morgan, Assistant Scout Leader at 1st Sandleheath

The campsite at its most peaceful – just before reveille

On 30th July, 22 scouts and three Explorers from 1st Sandleheath set up camp at the Botany Bay Activity Centre near Chepstow in Monmouthshire for their annual summer camp, marooned far from their natural marine environment. 

Once they had pitched their tents, the scouts pitched patrol shelters which were to be their bases for the week and set to work on the first meal of the week.  Unusually for a Sandleheath camp, the scouts were to cook for themselves all week which seemed to work, though some of the recipes may not have quite lived up to Gordon Ramsay’s standards.  We did learn that leaving a patrol with a full bottle of washing up liquid is not the most economical move.  While the Scouts were cooking for themselves, the leaders were able to benefit from a secret camp survival tip – have a willing cook rent a house nearby and bring cooked meals to site every evening.  Highly recommended.

Monday’s summit view of the inside of a cloud

Monday saw Hawks and Eagles patrols climbing Pen y Fan while Kestrels and Merlins stayed in camp for some orienteering, pioneering and a hike to nearby Tintern Abbey. The weather on the mountain was challenging with doses of horizontal rain and moments of reduced visibility but all of the scouts made it to the top, and back down, without incident.  The weather did mean that we had the summit almost to ourselves, and our emergency shelters came in handy to create a snug place to stop for lunch.

On Tuesday the patrols swapped round, with Kestrels and Merlins up the mountain while Hawks and Eagles had their day in camp.  The weather was much more rewarding this time and we were treated to amazing views from the summit, although we did have the share it with the summer crowds.  No need to hunker down in the emergency shelters for warmth today, but we did discover that they make a good impromptu loo-tent when there are no trees or rocks to hide behind.

 On Wednesday the troop was split again, with Kestrels and Hawks cycling in the morning while Eagles and Merlins enjoyed an incident hike, with the patrols swapping over at lunchtime.  The weather was supposed to be diluvial so the planned incident hike was shortened with the bases taking place in camp and the cyclists all returned caked in mud but grinning delightedly (note to self, make sure you have a big roll of bin bags to protect the minibus seats).  Back at camp, while the Scouts cooked their dinner Simon, Ade and Mark set up the low ropes course for the evening’s fun.

The serious business of toasting marshmallows

Thursday saw the entire troop decamping to Avonmouth for a day of swimming and laser tag; the leaders were delighted to hand the Scouts over and to take a bit of downtime.  Laser Tag was requested at a You Shaped evening but we couldn’t find the time to do it on a troop night so this was our chance – it seemed to be a success with one scout declaring it “the best Scout Camp day EVER” – and he should know, it was his first camp in the scout section.  On return to camp the Scouts lit BBQs prior to campfire night, where we indulged in some good smore fuelled singing and learned several new songs.  The Scouts were in good voice and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they could be heard up and down the Wye valley.

As the week was drawing to a close, on Friday we stripped down the camp and treated the Scouts to a survival skills day – either the teaching sessions were of the highest quality or the scouts were just too tired to cause trouble at this stage because they were all very attentive.  The evening saw the scouts practicing fire lighting and backwoods cooking before retiring for the night under their luxurious bivis.  Welsh weather being what it is, the skies opened at about 2am and so the scouts had a real-life lesson in weatherproofing their shelters. 

At least the tents went away dry! Saturday morning was a quick tidy up and bundle the scouts back into minibus and cars for the return to the New Forest and civilisation while the leaders were grateful for a nice soft bed.

Thank you to Simon Down and Barry Stride, who joined us for a few days so that we could borrow Simon’s T2 permit and Barry as Nights Away Advisor.  Thanks to all the adults who were on camp: Martine, Gordon, Simon, Ade, Trevor, Belinda, Mark, Julie-Ann, Charlie, Corey and Pippa, and to our three Young Leaders Foxer, Hannah and Libby.  And a huge thank you to the parents for lending us your children for the week.

Lyndhurst Scout Group Fun Night

By Neil Winter, Assistant Scout Leader at 1st Lyndhurst

For the last evening of the summer term, we brought all sections of the group together for a fun night.  It is a great opportunity for the Beavers, Cubs & Scouts to get to know each other and to participate in an event together.  The evening had five bases that all of the members took part in, these were:

  1. Scout Leader/DC in the stocks
  2. Foam covered scramble net
  3. Soap box course
  4. Welly wanging
  5. Slip & slide

It was a really enjoyable way to finish the term and to see all of the members, regardless of age, having such fun participating.

Lynn, Kevin & Robin

Team DC – New Forest

Tails of the New Forest – 27th August 2023
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