Woking Explorer Scouts Annual Lightweight Hike Compet
During the weekend of 19/20th March, over 60 Explorer Scouts from Woking took part the Woking Explorers annual 2 day Expedition challenge.
The route saw teams of 4 to 5 scouts aged 14 to 18yrs old from the five Units in the Borough, on a 45 kilometre hike, carrying all their equipment including food and cooking gear for the two days.
The teams had to catch the train early on the Saturday from Woking to their start point at Haselmere Station. They then had to navigate along the West Sussex border path for a short distance before making their way southerly cross country up on to Woolbeding Common, before ending the day at their campsite in the village of Milland, where they cooked and enjoyed meals such as spicy chorizo sausages and pasta, meat ball and rice.
In hazey sunshine the second day’s hike took the scouts northerly via Borden and then back to Haselmere where they had to catch the train back to Woking on the Sunday afternoon.
During the expedition the Scouts had to complete a project based on their observations of the three main common land they travelled through, investigating the accessibility of footpaths for wheel chair users and looking at the variety of trees in the area and then give a humorous account of their findings later on the Saturday evening.
The winners this year were a team from the Maverick Unit based in Kingfield led by Peter Jones.
Most of the Scouts will use the weekend experience as their practise for the Expedition section of the Chief Scouts Award and Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and will carry out their final qualifying expedition in the Brecon Beacons in Wales in May.
Challenge for Woking Explorer Scouts
The bleak expanse of Dartmoor was on the minds of 30 Explorer scouts aged 14 to 18 and their leaders from Woking, as they travelled to the West country over the last half term holiday for a weekend of challenge and endurance.
After completing their route cards and a good nights sleep at Broadleas Boys Brigade Activity Centre at the foot of Haytor, they set off early on the Sunday to conquer ten Tors in eight hours, in brisk and brilliant sun shine conditions.
Fun and Sun with Woking Explorer Scouts
The hot sunshine at the beginning of the summer holidays helped 32 Explorer Scouts and their leaders from the 5 Units from Woking enjoy a fun packed week in the Purbeck Hills in Dorset for their summer camp.
Camping near Puddletown, the scouts aged 14 to 18, had the opportunity to take part in numerous activities, organised by Dorset County Scouts including Dragon Boating, Caving as well as Climbing and abseiling.
During their week camping near Swanage, they also enjoyed sea kayaking; mountain biking on a 40 mile trip through Wareham Forest and surrounding countryside, plus Coasteering near Durdle Dor which involved climbing, scrambling and jumping into the sea when necessary to traverse the rugged coastline of the Dorset cliffs.
“The week also allowed the scouts to relax after a busy term and explore and enjoy new and different activities “explained Brian Pinto, Explorer Scout Commissioner for Woking and added “ as well as lazing on beach in typical English style.”
New Queen Scouts!
Fourteen scouts from Woking’s Explorer and Network Units have achieved the highest award for a youth member in the Scout Association - the Queens Scout Award, and at a special ceremony held at the Lakeside Restaurant at the University of Surrey, on Friday 10th January, they gave a special presentation of their journey through the award in the company of 130 guests including Dr Helen Bowcock the High Sheriff for Surrey.
Click on the photo to find out more.
Inter Unit Dodge Ball Tournament 2013
On Saturday 20th December, over 50 explorer scouts converged onto Woking Leisure centre, for an Inter Unit Dodge Ball Tournament.
Over four hours, the nine teams representing the five Explorer Scout Units from Knaphill, Horsell, Pyrford, Byfleet and Kingfield, all played each other.
The games were fast and at times furious, with the ball travelling at high speed. The scouts used cunning tactics at times to beat their opponents.
The winners were the Challenger Unit from Knaphill, closely followed in second place by the Weyahead Unit from Pyrford.
October Expedition - The Peak District
Over ground, under ground and through water was on the minds of 32 Explorer scouts, as they travelled up the motorway to the Derbyshire Dark Peaks over the weekend of 26th to 28th October for a weekend of challenge and endurance. On the Saturday afternoon they were taken through a number of introductory and then challenging caves at Stoney Middleton, near Eyam the Plague village.
After a good nights sleep in one of the bunkhouses at Hesley Wood Scout Activity Centre, the teams were up early to carry out a 25km navigation challenge taking in Jacobs Ladder and Kinder Scout, in torrential rain and strong winds. The following day whilst gales were battering Southern England, the scouts sailed on the Ulley Reservoir near Sheffield and built rafts and had fun racing on the water, with teams trying to capsize each others rafts.
Challenge Camp 2013
Explorer Scouts spent a very warm and sunny weekend in October at Birchmere for their Annual Challenge camp.
During the weekend Explorers representing the five competed for the Annual Challenge Trophy.
With the theme based on Africa and The Big Five animals Saturday began with the tribes arranging their own music and tribal dances for the evening entertainment round a roaring camp fire.
They also made brightly coloured warrior shields and constructed large versions of their animals to defend themselves from local spear throwing hunters.
Other challenges during the weekend included food tasting such delicacies such as lion brain smoothie and dried buffalo droppings to name a few.
The competition this year was very close and the trophy was won for the second year by the Phoenix Unit based in Byfleet.
Handicamp 2013 was a rip-roaring success! Find out more by clicking on the photo.
Inter-Unit Dodgeball Tournament 2012
On Saturday 15th December, over 70 explorer scouts aged 14 to 18 and their leaders from the Borough converged onto Woking Leisure centre, for an Inter Unit Dodge Ball Tournament.
Over five hours, the nine teams representing the five Explorer Scout Units from Knaphill, Horsell, Pyrford, Byfleet and Kingfield, all played each other.
The games were fast and at times furious, with the ball travelling at high speed. The scouts used cunning tactics at times to beat their opponents.
The winners were the Weyahead Unit from Pyrford, closely followed in second place by the Martian Unit from Horsell.
This was a first for Woking Explorer Scouts, and hopefully it will now be an annual event with the added fun of the teams competing in fancy dress.
October Expedition - North Wales
30 explorers and leaders made a 5 hour journey to North Wales for a weekend of challenging fun, including hiking, mountain biking and sailing on Lake Bala. The souts stayed at Yr Hel Felin Activity centre in Cynwyd, sited between llangolan and Bala.
Challenge Camp 2012 - Ten Years Old!
Explorer Scouts from across Woking gathered at the District campsite Birchmere on the first weekend of October this year to compete in their annual Challenge Camp Competition, and celebrate the official tenth birthday of Explorers.
The weekend camp, which had a 'stone age' theme, included activities such as spear-throwing and cave-painting, and it was won by the Martians Unit from Horsell. Birthday celebrations included a fireworks display.
The weekend was organised by the District Explorer Scout Committee, which is made up of two Explorers from each of Woking's five units. The committee planned and ran all of the weekend's activities, with assistance from their leaders.
Olympic Jubilation at Handicamp 2012
During the second weekend in September, and with a Jubilee Olympics theme, Woking Scouts held their 27th annual 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.
In July 2012, a team of thirteen Explorer Scouts and seven Leaders embarked on a trip to the Icelandic National Jamboree, an event celebrating the centenary of scouting in Iceland.
The nine day long camp was a huge success, and you can read more about it here.
Surrey County Night Hike Winners!
At the beginning of March, over 60 Explorers aged 14 to 18 from the 5 Units in Woking, joined 170 scouts from Surrey, for Surrey Scouts annual Night hike, an overnight Navigation exercise in the Surrey Hills.
Winning team (left to right): Alex Knight, Hywel Finden-Browne, Victoria Oliver and Lisa Wood
In freezing conditions, the competition saw teams of 4 to 6 scouts navigating their way through varied terrain both in woodland and on open heath land combined with a series of challenges around the course. These challenges ranged from an assault course with a team member on a stretcher to attempting to knock a watermelon from its pedestal whilst blindfolded with a blowpipe; with four manned bases and four unmanned bases over a course which started early Saturday evening and finishing at around 9 am on the Sunday.
After a few mishaps, such as leaning against an unidentified electric fence, a short period of being lost and a spectacular dismount from a rope bridge, the team from the Weyahead Unit based in Pyrford comprising of Hywel Finden-Browne, Lisa Woods, Victoria Oliver and Alex Knights won the Intermediate Challenge with a team from the Martian Unit in Horsell as runners up.
During the evening teams also attempted the Advance course of 25km. A team from Molsey won the challenge with two teams from the Maverick Unit in Kingfield taking 2nd and 3rd place, and another team from the Martian Unit based in Horsell in 4th pace.
Tenth Birthday Celebrations Kick Off in Style!
On the weekend of January 29th, over fifty Explorers from across Woking District met up to start the celebrations for the Explorer Section’s Tenth Birthday.
The Explorers camped at Birchmere Campsite, where they undertook challenges based on significant events of the last decade. The weekend was successfully run by DESCom, the District Explorer Scout Committee, which consists of Explorers from each of Woking’s five Explorer Units.
Activities included pioneering large structures with which to lift people into the air, recreating lifesize versions of classic arcade games such as Pacman and Space Invaders, and firing water rockets.
The camp was the first in a series of celebratory events held to mark the tenth birthday of Woking Explorer Scout Section, with a grand finale Birthday Party Camp happening later in the year.
Bagging Extra Funds
Over two weekends, Explorer Scouts aged 14 to 18 yrs old from Woking, assisted shoppers with packing their bags at both Tescos in Byfleet and Morrisons in Woking.
The scouts were raising funds both for their own Units and for a forth coming expedition to the Icelandic Jamboree in the summer.
The scouts were also able to raise an astounding £500 towards Woking Hospice
“ It was great to be able to share the funds with the Hospice, and it was something the scouts were delighted to be able to do. “ said Brian Pinto District Explorer Commissioner for Woking and added “and thank you to all the shoppers for their generous support.”
Woking's New Queen's Scouts
Four scouts from Woking’s Explorer and Network Units have achieved the highest award for a youth member in the Scout Association - the Queens Scout Award, and at a special ceremony held at the Lakeside Restaurant at the University of Surrey, on Friday 6th January, they received their certificates from Roxanna Bostock the County Commissioner for Surrey and Michael Joy OBE, the High Sheriff of Surrey.
To achieve the Award, they had to complete a variety of subjects and activities.
In front of an audience of friends, family and the Mayor of Woking Cllr Ken Howard, the four Scouts aged 17 to 19 years old gave a detailed presentation of the tasks they had to do to complete all the requirements for the award. The activities they undertook included completing a 100km, 4 day expedition in North Wales and Dartmoor, training as Young Leaders and assisting at local Cubs or Scout meetings for over two years for the Service section.
For their Residential section, Chris Eliadis, under took a Cookery Course in Devon, whilst Calum Maynard from Woodham travelled to Budapest on a Fencing event. Both are members of the Woking Scout Network Section (18 to 25 yrs old).
For his part, Josh Foulkes from Horsell assisted with a Pilgrimage to Lourdes which was organised by his church. Zac Cole from Woodham joined over 100 young people from around the UK, in Epping Forest to complete a five day conservation project, clearing trees and building walk ways and bridges,
For the Physical section of the award Zac Cole and Josh Foulkes Explorer Scouts from the Weyahead Unit in Pyrford completed a gruelling schedule with Weybridge Rowing Club, and entered for the Great Britain trials.
Other activities undertaken by the scouts included, Advance Guitar, Karate and Driving.
All the scouts are now studying at various colleges, universities around the country including Guildford and Kent and St John The Baptist School in Woking.
It was a double celebration for all four lads as they had gained their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award with Woking Scouts, and also had this award presented on the evening.
Brothers Matthew and Henry Pike from the Maverick Unit in Woking, also gained the awards, at another presentation during last weekend.
To gain these awards the young people have to show extremely high standards of motivation, self-discipline, leadership and commitment in a range of activities and interests as well as community service while building their self-confidence – and having fun.
The badges the Scouts received may only be small, but they stand for an enormous achievement it will stand them in great stead for their future education and employment and I know the lads had a lot of fun achieving these challenging and prestigious awards.
For older news, please see our Explorer News Archive.