1st Caterham (St Mary’s) Scout Group continues to be an active scout group. We are one of the eleven scout groups in the Caterham District with approximately 15 Beaver Scouts (aged between 5¾ and 8 years old), 15 Cub Scouts (8 to 10 ½ years old) and 12 Scouts (10.5 to 14.5 years old), we have boys and girls in all sections. The past couple of years have presented several challenges due to lockdown with scouts, cubs and beaver meetings to online where possible.
We do have a fantastic band of adult leaders who provide a challenging and varied programme which is fun for all ages of our children. If anyone would like to come and help us, we would love to hear from you. Beavers run on Thursdays 6.15 to 7.15, Cubs on Tuesdays from 6.30 to 8.00 and Scouts on Thursdays from 7.30 to 9.30.
I am indebted to the leaders volunteering their time; Rachel Starling, supported by Simon Brown, Eric Landyman, Nick Slater and Jo Brook who run beavers; Steve Drewett looking after cubs and the scout section led by Barry Moye with support from Neil Burtenshaw, Dave Price and Steve Wingrave. We have also welcome Samuel Walker and Matthew Lane to the group to take over the cub section and have welcomed back George Wilshaw, who was a beaver cubs and scout with the group and is now joining the scout leadership team. These new recruits are extremely welcome as Barry and Steve D are giving up their section leader roles and many years’ service.
The group, in common with many voluntary organisations, is hugely dependant on these volunteers, and we are grateful for the time that many people give to the group, both as uniformed leaders and as members of the group executive, who also act as trustees for the group. I would like to express my thanks to the uniformed leaders listed above and to Alan Day as assistant GSL and to the Group’s Executive Officers, Celia Rudland and Chairman, Di Haslam -Treasurer.
All three sections have enjoyed indoor and returning to outdoor activities over the last year, some specifically geared towards gaining their activity badges, others just towards having a good time. The beavers have been on walks locally in Caterham, had visitors to talk about a variety of topics, and made loads of things of a craft(y) nature! Cubs have cooked, ridden bikes, walked, swum, boated and celebrated. The scouts have done a lot of cooking, played games, studied the world and participated in loads of outdoor activities such as walking, camping, sailing, climbing and more camping. Many of these activities have been run over Zoom which has been an interesting challenge and a new take on scouting. At all times, the group has followed the Scout Association’s rulings on Covid status with respect to meetings and activities, however, I think everyone agrees that it is good to get back to face – face meetings. I am also keen to further strengthen the links between the Church and the Scout Group, by agreeing a programme of parade services that are engaging for the young people on the group.
Overnight camping and has not been permissible during the covid period and the group has missed that, several members have taken part in “camping at home”. But I think we are all looking forward to getting back to being under canvas in 2022, several camps have been postponed and ScoutAbout 2020 is now scheduled to take place in July 2022!
When the young people move on from scouts and want to stay within the scouting family, they have the option to join the Caterham explorer unit or to just stay with the scouts as Young Leaders (officially as explorers) to gain their Duke of Edinburgh bronze and silver awards. The explorer unit is run centrally by Caterham scouts but, again, is often hampered by a lack of adult leaders.
Many of the other local community events have been severely curtailed, 1st Caterham was represented at the Remembrance Day parade in Caterham on the Hill, however the St Georges Day parade was online and many other events, such as Caterham Carnival, the Dene fireworks in 2020, the Bunny fun run didn’t happen due to Covid. Several of these events are significant fund raisers for the Group which has reduced the amount we have raised for group funds.
We reported last year, our hut is getting quite old with the maintenance problems that entails are increasing; we own our own building, which is in the car park of Hillcroft school. The roof has now been replaced, the heating and electrics checked and where necessary upgraded and the boiler serviced. We have been able to do this by taking advantage of the Covid grants that the government have made available to organisations and by the hard work and dedication of leaders, spouses and friends of the group. I particularly want to thank Chris H for the roof, Tim C for the electrics and Neil for coordinating. We still have more to do; painting and completing the outside work. Over the past couple of Christmases, we have run our ‘Scout Christmas Post’ as a fund-raising venture. For the grand sum of 40p per card, we delivered cards within the CR3 area just before Christmas. We placed 14 boxes around the area. It has proved to be successful again and we will continue with the venture at Christmas 2022 which we see as being a community service as well as a major fund-raising venture; with the help of parents delivering cards, we raised well over £700 towards our Group funds. Please look out for our posters and boxes in run up to Christmas late Autumn and support the Church’s Scout Group.
Scouts, as an organisation, have proved resilient with so many other activities available for young people nowadays. We allow the children to experience many activities which they would not otherwise be able to do. We are only limited the availability of adults to help, if you would like to help the group in anyway, particular in the areas detailed above, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, it really is great fun!
Andrew Brownless – Group Scout Leader