Celebrating 100 Years of Cub Scouting

01/08/16 1st East Wickham Cubs and Leaders visit Brownsea Island, site of the first Scout Camp in 1909.

In June 1916 Baden-Powell launched the Wolf Cubs, for boys too young to join the Boy Scouts, basing a programme of actvities on the Jungle Book, written by his friend, Rudyard Kipling.

As part of their celebrations of 100 years of Cub Scouting, the 1st East Wickham Cub Pack went on a weekend away to Brownsea Island, where Baden-Powell started the Boy Scout movement.  The Trust had given a grant to the group to help fund this special weekend, and Cub Scout Leader, Anne Rickson, has sent us a report about the weekend:

On 29th July, fourteen cubs, seven leaders, two cars, one minibus and plenty of bags of food all set off for a very big adventure to Brownsea Island to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouting.

All were excited and the minibus was a riot of noise after waving goodbye to the parents. Our first stop was Fleet Services on the M3 for a quick coffee for Leaders and a run around for the Cubs. Then back in the minibus, we headed for Lilliput, Sandbanks for a fish and chip lunch.  Loyal to our motto to “Be Prepared”, we had telephoned our order through, so it was all ready to eat.

Next stop was the ferry at Sandbanks. The vehicles pulled over to the side and we unloaded our bags and food and watched the boats come in and go out. After the minibus and cars had found their booked parking spaces we got on the ferry and the cubs made a chain to pass our bags along. We eventually arrived on the island at 2.30pm and the Warden was waiting to meet us and help unload and take all our gear to the camp site.  For us, it was a pleasant walk there.

Then to work. We collected our tents and put them up and the Cubs put their gear in.  When the marquee was up, we unloaded the food and put anything needing chilling into cool boxes that were provided. We were ready to enjoy the rest of the day.

The trees on the site were a big attraction to the Cubs and they spent much of the time climbing them.  One cub fell, but thankfully wasn’t injured.  We were fortunate to have the field to ourselves and when we were settled and supper was over the Cubs went to bed, still making a lot of noise.

On Saturday morning Mark cooked our lovely breakfast and we were ready for our first activity “Outdoor Detective,” which involved walking around the island spotting the animals. The deer were very shy, the ants were busy making a very big hill and some ducks were resting with their babies.  The presence of chewed pine cones was evidence of the rare Red Squirrels, and proof that they were always hungry.  We did see a few squirrels but they were very fast and elusive chasing each other around one of the big trees.

We had a nice surprise visit from Michael Macey our Group Secretary, who left home at 6.30am and arrived to us at 11.30am. Thank you Michael for coming to see us.

After lunch we headed back into the woody part and the cubs had to build shelters. They were split into two groups and did very well, using tree branches and lots of bracken to cover and keep the shelters wind/rain proof.  The Warden was very impressed with their efforts, but once finished they had to dismantle them.

Back to camp for a short rest and then the Cubs went over to another part of the island to find the wooden adventure park.  There was plenty for them to climb and swing on. Then back for a barbecue for tea. Once cleared up they were all exhausted so had an early night, which was a shame because the night sky was brilliantly lit up with millions of stars.

The leaders were able to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. It was very tranquil on the island once the visitors had gone and the Cubs were in bed.

Sunday morning. This weekend was going fast.  Our next activity was “Go Potty”. The Cubs were told about making pottery in the Victorian era. We all had some clay, made a mess and lots of different items and something to take home. This was very enjoyable, and some very nice things were made.

Back for lunch, after which we intended to go the service in St Mary’s Church, but it clashed with our last activity, which was the “Survival Challenge”. The Cubs learnt how to tie some knots, collected lots of pine nuts for a competition to knock off the tin cans and then learnt lifesaving skills. They threw a life belt some distance and had to get the rope into the belt. They all did this very well.

As this was our last day we had promised to go to the beach.  The cubs had a great time and some went in the water. It was very shallow and rest looked for crabs or played in the sand.  It was a lovely day and the sun shone down on us.

Monday came all too soon and we had to pack up ready to leave the island.  Just at the top of the hill, near to our camp, there is a stone engraved to mark Baden-Powell’s first Scout camp there, which incidentally was the same weekend as us (but 109 years earlier). What a coincident that was.  We climbed up the hill to have a group photo next to the stone only to find another scout group doing the same. Would you believe it, they were from Woolwich and were just visiting for the day? Not only that, they meet in Timbercroft School and, as the crow flies, are our neighbours across Fanny-on-the-Hill.  We had a joint group photo with them.

It was time to leave. The luggage had gone ahead and was waiting for us to carry the short way to the ferry. Once on the other side we unloaded again and stored in covered shelter while Richard & co went to get transport.  While we waiting along came a group of Explorer Scouts, and the familiar face of Mark Knill, who was our County Training Manager few years ago – another surprise. 

We had a great weekend, and would love to go back.

Must say a few thanks yous:  To Richard Crowe for driving the mini-bus amongst the noise of the Cubs (quiet on the way back home).  Also to Carl Lillington, Darren Peto, Judy Payne, Mark Driscoll, Martin Rickson for giving up their time, and the BIGGEST THANK YOU to East Wickham & Welling War Memorial Trust for the grant to make the trip possible. It was such an enormous help and I hope the Cubs remember this trip for a long time. I certainly will.

Anne Rickson
Cub Scout Leader

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