First Swaffham Prior Cubs and Scouts Annual Report 2009
Over 2009, we have seen some changes within our Committee and additions to our team of leaders, progress with our field development has been made and our youngsters have had a full programme of activities. Our Cubs & Scout numbers are stable and at as high a level as we can accommodate, with about 20 youngsters in each section. Due to our success, our District Commissioner has targeted us to have a Beaver Colony (for 6 to 8 year olds) but this is in the early development stages.
The Committee & Leaders
Early in the year, Andrew Noyes stepped down as Group Scout Leader and Lindsay Raja as secretary after many years of service. On behalf of every one, a big thank you to both of you for everything you have done for 1st Swaffham Prior which has helped make it what it is today.
From an appeal for helpers made at the Village Assembly in May, we found our new secretary, Karen King, and a willing pair of hands from Michael Limb. I have yet to find a "job" for Michael, but I assure you, I will find one for him! Also, earlier this month (November), Lynn Rayner from Swaffham Bulbeck, joined our Committee. The opportunity should not pass to mention and thank Mandy Kingsmill (Chair) and Isabel Hill (Treasurer), without whom the Group would not operate.
In March, I took on the role of Group Scout Leader in addition to being Scout Leader. Without the input and enthusiasm of Steve White and Francis Reeks as Assistant Scout Leaders, I would not have been able to do this, and neither would the Scouts have such a varied programme of activities. Anna South continued to work hard throughout the year as Cub Scout Leader without a regular Swaffham Prior assistant, but with the help on Ronnie Clarkson (1st Newmarket) & Ian Braybrooke (District Cub Commissioner) and regular parent helpers their programme has been full. I am pleased to say that thanks to Becky Pitt, Anna will have an ACSL in the New Year. Becky's husband, Will, is also set to join our team of leaders in some capacity yet to be determined.
Out & About
Throughout year, the Cubs & Scouts venture out. They took part in the Saint George's Day Parade in Newmarket and in November, attended Remembrance Sunday Service at St. Mary's.
In February, the Scouts visited the Arts Theatre in Cambridge and were given a "behind the scenes" tour. This followed up the Troops visit to the Theatre in December 2008 to see the Christmas Pantomime.
In June, as part of the Community Challenge, they painted the Town Close Play Area fence and cleared ivy from trees in the same area. Steve Lang can always be relied upon to find a task for the Scouts.
The Scout Field
In April, the Scout Field was ploughed and prepared for re-seeding. The ground was uneven and peppered with small bush stumps, so to avoid injury to Scouts and damage to equipment, we decided to re-seed. The dry weather in May meant the grass was slow to emerge, when the rain came, weeds grew quickly and overshadowed the young grass. There were concerns that the grass would die, but once the weeds were mown, the grass came through and is now well established. In October, work on the long awaited shelter in the Scout Field began. Funded in part by the Sports & Social Committee, the Swaffham Prior Festival Fund, the Parochial Charities Committee and a youth fund from Cambs County Council, this shelter will enable us to use the field throughout the year whatever the weather. Our thanks go to those bodies for their donations.
Thanks also to Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd for the donation of a secure container as we now have a safe place to keep some equipment on site.
The field is an invaluable asset for the Group and it is down to the kindness and generosity of Mr. Henry Hurrell of Newton that we have the use of it.
We are also fortunate to have a vigilant "field" neighbour in Simon Whiffen who ensures that we get no unwelcome visitors.
Throughout the year, parents have turned up for "working parties" to clear brambles and help build the shelter, thanks to all of you too numerous to mention by name. Mick Hill should get a mention as "Shelter Building Team Leader" , organising materials and skilled labour to get the job done well.
As a facility, the field gives the Cubs & Scouts a venue to engage in outdoor activities on a regular basis. Over the last six years we have gradually cleared away brambles & bushes and with the shelter, the container and re-seeding we are now entering a new era. Rather than just being a rough outdoor area in which to learn outdoor skills in the summer, we will be able to use the field all year round for such sessions and more. We aim to designate areas of the field for certain activities: such as clear grass for camping and wide games, undisturbed long grass, hedges & tress for wildlife, we will regenerate some of the woods which will get the youngsters involved in hands on conservation.
In June, the Cubs took part in the Newmarket District Camp held at Bradfield Combust near Bury St. Edmunds over a weekend.
In July, both Cubs & Scouts took part in what we called the "International Camp" . We joined a group of German Scouts for four days of their week long camp at Two Mile Bottom near Thetford. Our guests were led by Jan Petersen, who was an exchange Pastor staying in Swaffham Prior about six years ago. Many villagers I am sure remember him. It was through his friendship with Francis Reeks that our joint camp came about. Francis led the organisation of this fantastic camp and did a superb job. Leaving me to sit back and do the cooking along with Rachel Levitt, Isabel Hill, Anne Zeid and Jane Currie. (Thanks must go to you ladies). Jan's group are called Pfadfinder (Pathfinders) and are associated with his current church in Joldelund in northern Germany. I leave it to Chelsea Oliver, one of our Scouts, to tell you about the camp.
If anyone has any surplus or unwanted fencing panels, gates, hedge or tree saplings, they may well be of use to us for the development of the field. Please contact me to arrange collection. In closing, on behalf of all at 1st Swaffham Prior, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year.