During the second weekend in September, and with a Jubilee Olympics theme, Woking Scouts held their 27thannual Handicamp where 75 Explorer scouts from the borough and children with special needs from Freemantles, and The Park schools in Woking, together with Abbey school in Farnham and Kings College in Guildford converged on Woodlarks Campsite in Farnham for a weekend of fun challenges. The young people were supported by 80 leaders, including teachers from the various schools.
Over a warm and sunny weekend the young people camped in tents and the scouts aged 14 to 17yrs old were buddied and looked after the pupils for the whole weekend. With the theme for the weekend centred around the Jubilee and Olympics they all took part in new and challenging activities such as climbing and abseiling, backwoods cooking over open fires, cooking Olympic pineapple fritters , discus flat bread and marshmallow torches. They also tried their hand at kayaking and rafting on the River Wey, air rifle shooting, constructing water rockets and building model ships and sailing them along rain gutters, their own version of Eton Dorney. The Archery instructors included two Paralympians from the 1984 Games, Helen and Paul Hilderly. Saturday afternoon saw the whole camp taking part in a large Street Party for 160 people.
The huge three face climbing and abseiling wall was constructed by Harsco with HSS Southern in Old Woking supplying some of the safety fencing.
The 27th year of Handicamp was funded by the Chobham-based Children with Special Needs Foundation and the Surrey Army Cadet Force, The Kelsy Trust, Woking Borough Council and also received donations from Roberts Butchers in St Johns, Repropoint in Woking and Waitrose in Farnham.
On a starry and warm evening, Saturday ended with songs and laughter when the whole camp enjoyed a roaring and fabulous campfire led by Cub scout leader Neil Jones from Sheerwater accompanied by some of the Explorer Scouts..
During the weekend, Woking’s Mayor and Mayoress Michael & Anne Smith visited the camp accompanied by David Robinson Freeman of the Borough and President of Woking Scouts who experienced the thrill and enjoyment being had by everyone.
Cllr Michael Smith commented. 'It was great to see so many young people overcoming handicaps to have an exhilarating and enjoyable experience. All made possible by the dedication of a large number of volunteers who led the varied activities but also cooked, catered and cared with good humour and infectious enthusiasm. We had a very happy day at Handicamp!”
The weekend enabled 160 young people, leaders and teachers to integrate and learn from each other and enjoy a memorable weekend.
Handicamp is a very unique camp and for most of the youngsters, this was their first time away from their families and the weekend enabled the young people to experience new challenges in a safe environment.