Lake District camp
20th Lewisham South Scouts - 13/04/2019
It’s a knockout weekend at Frylands Wood
It's A Knockout Big Weekend was held over the May bank holiday for cubs, scouts and explorers. Participants enjoyed a multitude of activities including all site activities, a falconry display, film night, a BBQ and a campfire and firework display to help celebrate Frylands Wood's 90th Birthday.
One amazing summer
24th World Scout Jamboree, West Virginia, USA
At 2am on Saturday the 20th of July 40 people emerged into the dark from the Ismay building at the South London Scouts Centre and boarded the waiting double-decker London bus. The centre was full that weekend and the main field was packed with tents of sleeping people. It was pouring with rain, slightly chilly and very exciting.
After 21 months of team building, planning and preparation our county jamboree unit – the Meridian Lions were heading to Heathrow Airport to board our flight and head to North America for 19 fun filled days of excitement, new experiences and personal development.
The 24th World Scout Jamboree, which was hosted by the Boy Scouts of America, Scouts Canada, and Asociación de Scouts de México, took place at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia, USA from 22nd July to 2nd August 2019.
We had a busy itinerary ahead of us:
20th July Travel to the USA!
21st July New York City adventure
22nd July to 2nd August 24th World Scout Jamboree
2nd August Discover Washington DC
5th August Visiting Vancouver
8th August Travel home
9th August Arrive at The Fort
After a pleasant flight from Heathrow Airport to Toronto, a three-hour stopover and then a flight from Toronto to New York we headed to Hofstra University where we were staying. The university was home for the night for 33 of the 100 UK units. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and even though we were 27 bags missing between London and New York everyone was very happy to have finally arrived (our bags turned up 3 hours later!)
The next day we were up and out early heading to Midtown Manhattan as part of a convoy of 100 yellow school buses. The heat was on, literally, as the temperature soared to 100 degrees, we rushed around New York City determined to make the most of the 6 hours we had before we needed to board our coach to West Virginia!
Our first stop was Time Square, which was surprisingly quiet at 8:30am on a Sunday morning, followed by Central Park, we then headed to the top of the Rockefeller building, to take in the view, a trip on the New York Subway, a fast food lunch, the 9/11 memorial gardens and a ferry trip full of UK Scouts across the Hudson River to grab our bags from amongst the 4000 that were lined up and onto our coach to west Virginia!
The 22nd July 2019 in Glen Jean, West Virginia marked the official start of the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, more than 45,000 scouts (aged 14 to 18), and their leaders from over 150 countries came together at the Summit Bechtel Reserve to "Unlock a New World," the theme of the 24th World Scout Jamboree. The theme spoke of the new adventures, cultures, and friendships that were shared by scouts from around the world during the 12-day event.
Take a look at the amazing drone show at the jamboree opening ceremony
The 12 days of the jamboree were non-stop! Every day was a new adventure, filled with great activities, new friendships and excitement for all scouts from around the world.
The site was BIG and when we say BIG, we mean HUGE! Across the reserve there was a wide range of outdoor high adventure activities that participants could choose from, nearly 50 in fact! Wild and wonderful adventures such as white-water rafting, zip lining, rock climbing, skateboarding, mountain biking, scuba, kayaking and paddle boarding to name a few.
A hallmark of world scout jamborees is the inviting atmosphere of friendship, mutual respect and understanding, which fosters social interaction and engagement among scouts from different cultures (take a look here:
To foster this the jamboree programme also provided young people with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and engage in dialogue about peace and sustainability, enabling them to become active global citizens who are creating positive change in communities around the world.
The opportunity to learn about one another's cultures and to celebrate the shared values of the scouting movement is at the heart of the jamboree. The jamboree programme featured the hallmarks of past world jamborees, including:
Global Development Village
At the Global Development Village, Scouts had the opportunity to learn about global issues and how Scouting can help provide a solution. Many organisations were on site from across the globe to showcase how Scouts can take what they learn at the jamboree and translate that into helping in their home country.
Faith and Beliefs
The Faith and Beliefs zone was an area where Scouts could learn about the different religions of the world and their history and support of Scouting. Jamboree attendees also had the opportunity to participate in religious services according to their own beliefs and traditions. The Messengers of Peace program also had a booth at the Faiths and Beliefs tent.
Cultural Experience Day
Scouts had the opportunity to share their culture with other Scouts of the world through, music, dance, games, food and more. A unity show was hosted in the evening at the Summit Stadium.
During the jamboree, Scouts had the opportunity to witness and participate in many special activities, starting each morning with a flag raising ceremony, special jamboree guests, musical performances, aircraft flyovers, and campfires.
The opening and closing ceremony took place at the AT&T Summit Stadium which showcased the best of Scouting.
The Jamboree issued a piece of technology called the Novus. It was worn on the wrist and could electronically send a Scout's contact information to another Scout and was a contest to see who could collect the most contacts. This was referred to as clicking and quickly became a game among Scouts. It also provided the opportunity to gain 438 virtual badges by ‘clicking in’ at each activity they took part in.
On the final day of the jamboree we packed-up most of our camping area, leaving just enough tent space for us all to squeeze into that night and headed to the closing ceremony which was full of reflections, celebrations, fireworks and lasers, it was one big party!.
Take a look at the jamboree experience here:
It seemed that no sooner had it started the jamboree was over and the scouts that had called the camp home for nearly two weeks began to head home. But not us, we still had a week of adventure ahead!
We left the jamboree site at 6am the morning after the closing ceremony. It was a surprisingly quick departure considering 45,000 people were on the move to leave! Although there was an air of sadness, as we boarded our coach, that the jamboree was over there was also excitement in the air - we were off to our next destination Washington DC!
We spent three nights in Washington DC. All 100 UK units were staying at the University of Maryland, an amazing university campus and the food was out of this world. During our stay we visited lots of the cities landmarks, the Washington Memorial, (the big needle), the Lincoln Memorial, (which is so much bigger than it looks on the TV) and the White House, (which is a lot smaller than it looks on the TV). An educational afternoon in Smithsonian air and space museum and then back to the campus for a UK Contingent carnival party with sideshows and entertainment from each of the jamborees hosting nations. Before we knew it it was our last day and it was time for another convoy of yellow school buses as all 4000 of the UK contingent headed to a baseball stadium to the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
No sooner had our stay in Washington DC started it was over and time to board another coach, this time to take us to Baltimore airport to board a plane to take us to Vancouver, Canada!
It was 2am when our coach picked us up to go to the airport, we boarded our flight to Vancouver at 6am, there wasn’t much conversation on the flight! On our arrival in Vancouver we were warmly greeted by our Canadian hosts, the 180th Pacific Coast Rovers.
Hosted hospitality is always an amazing experience and we are so grateful for the amazing programme that our hosts planned for us during our short 3 day stay which included a trip along (and up) the Baden-Powell Trail, A BBQ and games on the beach, canoeing, a visit to the Richmond evening food market, a day at Playland theme park, a visit to the Scout Canada shop, a visit to Gas Town. We finished with an educational trip to the Museum of Anthropology, before we headed to the Airport for our flight home.
We arrived back at The Fort at 2pm on Friday 9th August, to a very warm welcome from everyone’s family and friends. It was an emotional farewell as the unit reflected on the amazing adventures they had shared together, not only over the past 19 days, but during the 20 months since the units first get together in November 2017.
During their time in North America the Meridian Lion’s really did put South London Scouts on the map each and everyone of hem is a credit to their Scout Groups, Explorer Scout Units, Scout Districts and Our County. It truly was an amazing summer and to say that they lived the dream really doesn’t do this life changing adventure justice!
Vitality Scouting Mile 2019
South London Scouts county - 26/05/2019
In March South London Scouts and London Marathon Events Ltd joined forces to created the first Vitality Scouting Mile which was held as part of the Vitality Westminster Mile. The event was for all ages and abilities – from Beavers and Cubs to Scouts and Explorer Scouts, leaders and family and friends.
The spectacular course that starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace, is essentially the final mile of the world famous London Marathon (which many of our county have both run and supported over the past years).
Our Scouting family from Counties all round London (and some further afield) gathered on the start line, proudly wearing their neckers. When the start was signalled it was every Scout for himself as all our sections raced through the start. The flow of neckers though the crowds was visible up as Beavers shot down the track.
The BBC who were filming live for BBC Athletics commented how nice it was to see our local groups taking part. Added to the running experience was the change to meet some celebs including Mo Farah himself, a BBC presenter, stars from Downton Abbey and international stars from track and field sport.
All who took part left with a coveted medal and a goodly bag and had a great day. A Big thanks to all those who made the day such a success and hope to see you all again next year!
8th Lambeth Scouts - April 2019
One of our leaders Richie Mannering received his wood beads in a presentation held around the Scouting Stone - a truly memorable place to be presented with the recognition of the time and effort that leaders put into their training.
In April the 8th Lambeth Scouts departed for a back packing trip to the the site of the first Scouting Camp Brownsea Island.
After a brief overnight stop for fish and chips at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre on the way down, we had an early start to get the first boat across to the Island.
Upon arrival the Scouts (carrying all of their kit in backpacks) did a full circuit of the Island, before arriving at the site. The “scenic” route apparently? As the sun shone brightly, the camp site on arrival had the perfect view over the bay.
The Scouts were split into 3 groups and home for the night was tents suspended in the trees. Remarkably comfortable - you simply had to be careful getting up or the loo in the night!
The 8th Lambeth are a social bunch and so not to miss out on a camp fire, invites were sent out in advance to the groups who were camping on Brownsea that night. True to Scouting form everyone got together on time and pitched in, and that evening 120 Scouts from across the UK had a memorable sing song round the campfire. Jellyfish I hear you ask? Oh yes! (If you’ve attended a camp fire with the 8th you know what that means).
Those who were mad enough also had a dip in the sea . . . in April . . . it was as cold as it looks! The Island is one of the most unspoilt natural places in the UK and it was a privilege to visit and enjoy.
As you can imagine the trek home was considerably lighter haven eaten all the food, and a thoroughly good time was had by all. A big thanks to the groups who joined us for the camp fire - great to see Scouting spirit us truly alive on Brownsea and a reminder that where-eve you go, if you get Scouts round a camp file you are sure to have a song!
We have enjoyed hosting two fantastic free fees camping at the South London Scout Centre this year, they were both full on weekends of, Climbing, Air rifle shooting, angel star throwing, assault course, paracord creation station, nerf range, giant games, search & rescueTrek cart racing, tuck shop provided by our wonderful Eurojam unit, epic campfire songs and so much more!! Check out our saved stories on Instagram for all the action. Scouting in South London at its best. Well done to all our youth members for being amazing! And huge thanks to all the support from leaders and adult members across the county who made them both possible.
Lions, bivouacs, and 175km of hard graft!
Phoenix Explorers, Southwark
Phoenix Explorer Ben writes of his experiences on a Duke of Edinburgh Silver Expedition by bicycle, the first such expedition undertaken by South London Scouts in some years. With nobody to draw knowledge from, Ben and his team-mates had an additional challenge in training for and organising their expedition. Hopefully theirs will be the first of many DofE cycling expeditions to come!
All of us a little nervous, but itching to go, we prepared ourselves for our first day in the saddle. This was to be our least amount of distance, but unfortunately the highest amount of climbing. We left our campsite at Montford bridge, just outside Shrewsbury, where we had spent the following day shopping and finishing-off our detailed route plans. We travelled with our bikes lashed securely on the roof of the minibus to the ancient Roman City of Wroxeter and then on to our starting point at small village called Little Wenlock.
Setting-off, we cycled south on National Cycle Route 45 named The Mercian Way, passing the famous Iron Bridge, then following the general direction of the River Severn to Bridgenorth. Rhydd Covert Scout Campsite, near Kidderminster, was our final destination for the evening, and where we’d be spending the night. This campsite was next to a safari park and as we were sleeping we could hear the lions roar into the night.
Our first day was 29 miles with 1198ft of climb and a broken pannier so some people had three or four panniers – very difficult with an overloaded bike.
Our second day continued along route 45 south from Rhydd Covert to Droitwich Spa and onto Worcester, still in the general direction of the River Severn and now also perpendicular to the M5 motorway. We then headed south on route 45 to a public campsite at Croft Farm Water Park near Tewksbury, where we were able to get slightly more peaceful sleep! That was despite three of us not having a tent! We had deliberately left it behind after day 1 in order to save weight, and avoid breaking any more panniers, and instead rigged-up a bivouac under a tarp.
Our second day was 33 miles and included 810ft with the broken pannier fixed but another bike suffered a snapped brake cable and around 15 minute delay to fix the problem.
Our third day was the longest but also the flattest. We continued south through Tewksbury, and on to the city of Gloucester. There we joined National Cycle Route 41 then changed direction and headed South West along the widening Severn estuary to Oldbury-on-Severn, near the Seven Bridge. This was our final destination, and we all finished with a huge feeling of accomplishment.
On this day we cycled 39 miles but only 197ft of ascent.
Tired, but please with our succes, we were picked up from our finishing point and taken back to Rhydd Covert campsite for celebration Dominoes pizza.
Cycling for a Duke of Edinburgh expedition was really hard work, but good fun. We got to see a lot as we passed through the British countryside, and although the climbs were long and tough, the pay-off was worthwhile. I’d recommend cycling as an option, but be prepared to put the effort into training and preparation.
Total distance travelled: 175km
Height climbed: 1300m
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In March the South London Scouts Top Awards team ran a training weekend for those looking to complete their Duke Of Edinburgh expeditions by canoe, and by bike. The chosen base for the weekend was Longridge near Marlow in Buckinghamshire, giving the perfect location for canoeing on the Thames, and lots of long quiet roads throughout Berkshire and Buckinghamshire for the cyclists.
After a kit and navigation briefing, the Explorers set out for what was to be a long day. The cycle route took them via Marlow, Henley, Twyford, Windsor and back via Maidenhead. By the end of the day the group had completed 76.4km in just under 4 hours (plus plenty of cake and rehydration breaks) which was a superb effort. The group learned a huge amount about the practicalities of completing a cycle expedition in terms of kit, fitness, on the go maintenance, road safety and team work, among other things. A big thank you to Alex Ward and the team for supporting the weekend.
South London Scouts Top Awards team
5 Phoenix Explorers take part in an international tall ships race!
By Joseph, Phoenix Explorer Scout - August 2019
From the 10th-18th August, five Phoenix Explorers took part in a sailing trip from Cuxhaven, Germany to Dover in the UK. We booked onto the trip (organised by the Discovery Sailing Proect) ourselves, and organised our own travel too. In total, we did a total of around 490 miles over 8 days with some overnight sails.
On the first day of the trip we flew to Hamburg, Germany on the very luxurious airline that is… Ryanair. We then took a 2 hour long train journey and we got lost after we left the station. Eventually we made it to the marina where we got to become adjusted to Thermopylae Clipper and waited for all of our crew members to arrive. We allocated beds and tried some old Danish cheese that was less than satisfactory then we set off the next morning.
The sea was choppy and making lunch was rather difficult with the ship leaning 20 degrees to the left. There were some bouts of seasickness but this was solved with some rations of seasickness tablets.
The overnight sails were probably the hardest parts of the voyage, especially when it rained at 2am while I was on watch. The rain leaked into my jacket despite the waterproofs, but the night sails provided most of the mileage for the voyage. After we did night sails, the places we stayed were always fun, like Oost-Vlieland.
At one point after a particularly long sail, we did have engine problems after fuelling up where I had to stop the engine by opening up the cover and pulling a lever which got rather hot after 8 hours of running. At least the engine started or we wouldn’t have been going anywhere.
After we got back to Dover, we were treated to dinner at Cullins Yard where even Luke was intimidated by the mighty burger he ordered. After the dinner, we all went back to Thermo and fell into food comas.
Overall, I really enjoyed this voyage and would love to do something similar again. The crew were not only people who were on the boat with me, but they became friends as well. There may have been negative points but these were overshadowed by the positive experiences we went through.
As our mate was always playing,
“Always look on the bright side of life.”
Camp Canada 2019 was one of the most exciting memorable experience of my life. From doing amazing activities like white water rafting, tree top climbing, axe throwing and climbing up a three peak mountain to chilling in the hotel swimming pool and playing volleyball.
Making friends with people all over the county and now having life long memories to share with them.
Small ships Race 2019
In October Scouts and Explorers from five groups across South London County got together to crew a yacht, and take part in the Small Ships Race 2019, racing out of Cowes. We arrived at the marina in Hamble on Thursday night, and boarded the yacht which we appropriately named “Scout McBoat-Face”. As we drove toward the yacht in the dark aboard the tender there was an air of nervous excitement. Once aboard we stowed the luggage, and settled in for the night after a training briefing. Imagine nine people playing sardines in a 4 man tent - it was cosy.
Friday morning we were up at 7am with half the crew preparing the boat and setting the sails, as the other half got breakfast prepared. We left the harbour at 9am, for what was to an educational experience to say the least. As we left the harbour and entered Southampton Water the weather picked up. As we set off instructions were flying around, and confusion reigned supreme. Pull this rope, turn that handle, steer this way, tack that - there was a whole language to learn and fast. The crew supervising us were quick to explain what to do and when, and in no time our dysfunctional rabble gelled to form a slick racing crew. Hoist the main sail, hoist the jib, clip in, coil that rope, prepare to tack, make the tea, man over board (only joking) - it was seriously impressive to watch a group who had never met let alone sailed together, gel to form a fully functional crew. I have to say the instructions took some getting use to, but once the whole team knew what went where and how and why, it worked brilliantly. Talking of tea, ever tried to make tea on the rolling seas? Basically imagine throwing a bucket of tea from 10 feet into individual mugs? That took a bit of practice, and we quickly learned that everything on board the yacht had a technique. Once we arrived in in Cowes, we got fed and watered and everyone get some shore leave. Frankly to be standing on ground that was not moving was a welcome break.
Saturday was race day. The navigation crew had plotted the course and worked out the tides. Food was prepared in advance, kit was stowed and it was on! As we motored out of Cowes marina we realised there was a slight problem. Erm . . . no wind. Not a whisper. Imagine literally floating and waiting for the wind? Being Scouts, we decided to do what Scout do best and have a camp fire to entertain the fleet. Obviously in the absence of usable wood on bard the songs and actions had to commence without a fire or marshmallow in site. Thankfully our efforts went down well with the fleet (the jellyfish video is currently trending online). After a while the wind picked up, and we were off. Sails went up, ropes were trimmed, we tacked and turned following the wind as best we could. The level of detail that went into the sailing technique was incredible and lots was learned. When we got back to the marina that night, everyone was tired but exhilarated from the days adventure. In the evening we attended the afterparty, and socialised with the other 24 crews. It was great to meet lots of different group, and satisfying to have comfortably beaten another Scout crew that was there.
Sunday the weather changed. We were blessed with a good wind, bright sun, and open water as far as you could see. A third day with such different conditions was great as we had another different experience. As the wind picked up, the sails let out and we raced forward. As you can see from some of the pictures the boat was right over on its side as a certain member of the crew decided to see if the boat was submersible . . . unsinkable the crew kept saying. Gladly they were right, but I have to admit to being a little concerned when down below making tea, leaning over to one side watching the water rise up the window. Outside on deck this was the sailing dreams are made of. Leant over, crew clipped in, now fully synchronised in all their positions on the boat. Ropes in synch, sails tacking seamlessly, the communication between the crew was superb. Our team had become a crew. Looking back I’m not sure exactly where the turning point was exactly, but the nine individuals who got on that boat had become a sailing team.
The weekend was a fantastic experience for all concerned. A HUGE thank you to the Discovery Sailing Project who hosted us for the weekend. Captain Nick, and our two ship mates Andrew and Peter schooled us well and ensure that everyone was safe and comfortable for the weekend. Thanks guys - this was one experience nine Scouts will never forget.
Beavers Lego day
On 6th April we joined beavers from 17 groups across the county with 200 beavers and their leaders for a fun day of creativity at the South London Scout Centre ( The Fort )
One of our beavers Sophie wrote this about the day -
Lego day was an amazing thing to go to but I was happy excited and amassed, I went off to make some big Lego sculptures and put it on the display table.
Someone broke mine and I was upset but I made another one and it was even better it had a trampoline in it, it was a fun family park for everyone. I found a beaver, a cub and a scout in the Lego I was amazed.
I went to another table it was pretty hard but I tried hard and made my model and put it on display table. There were lots of tables in the room with lots of Lego.
One table was to make a scene from something you like at beavers, I made a camp as I found a tent and I found two more and put them on the board, that table was fun and creative.
I made lots of models and connected them adding more and more I was very happy there but it was only one day I would like it longer.
1st Royal Greenwich Beavers
Created with images by Patrick Hendry - "Patrick Hendry - Camp Plan" • Pratik Gupta - "untitled image" • Jakob Owens - "Faded American flags"