Woking District Scouts - Handycamp
11th to 13th September
Fun Friendship & Integration
Celebrating the 30th Handycamp and with a Under the Sea theme ( Pearl ) over 190 scouts and leaders from Woking converged onto Woodlarks Campsite in Farnham to hold their 30th Handycamp. It was a weekend full of fun and challenges for pupils from local special needs schools including, Freemantles and The Park schools in Woking, Abbey school in Farnham, Kings College in Guildford and Portesbery school in Camberley and Gosden House based in Bramley.
58 Explorer scouts aged 14 to 17 yrs old from Units in Woking camped with thirty five children with special needs aged 10 to 16yrs old who were supported by over 80 leaders, including teachers from the various schools.
Over the warm and sunny weekend the young people camped in tents and the Explorer scouts were buddied and looked after the pupils for the whole weekend. With the theme for the weekend centred on under sea creatures and pirates they all took part in new and challenging activities such as climbing and abseiling, backwoods cooking over open fires. They also tried their hand at kayaking and rafting on the River Wey, air rifle shooting, and constructing model boats wood and racing them on a specially constructed course using rain gutters. One of the other popular activities during the weekend was juggling, tight rope walking abd unicycling run by Shootstars Circus Skills form Oxford.
The huge three face climbing and abseiling wall was constructed by Scafolding Great Britain with HSS Southern in Old Woking supplying some of the safety fencing and lighting.
The 30th year of Handicamp was funded by the Chobham-based Children with Special Needs Foundation, the Surrey Army Cadet Force, Woking Borough Council and also received donation from Robert Butchers in St. Johns, Tennakers Farm Shop in Chobham as well as St Faiths.
During the weekend, Woking’s Mayor Cllr Derek McCrum and his wife Rosemary visited the camp and experienced the thrill and enjoyment being had by everyone.
The weekend enabled 190 young people, leaders and teachers to integrate and learn from each other and enjoy a memorable weekend. The explorer scouts are buddied with the pupils from the local schools, on a one to one or two to one basis, and look after their buddies for the whole weekend, camping and enjoying the activities in patrols.
Handycamp is a very unique camp and for the majority of the pupils, this was their first time away from their families and the weekend enabled both the scouts and pupils to experience new challenges in a safe environment and for both the scouts and the pupils this is unknown territory, with everyone learning about each others disabilities, and conquering fears of the unknown, with some of the challenging activities.
The camp was visited by Gordon & Ann Parris from the Children with Special Needs Foundation who have supported the camp for nearly twenty years and they were presented with the Scout Associations Thanks Badge. This is a special Award for non uniformed members of the movement.
We were also very lucky to have the Red Arrows fly over the campsite in formation several times on the Saturday.