SEASONS greetings to you from all of the Lisburn and District Scouting family. On Sunday December 4 we gathered in Hillsborough for our annual Carol Service. For Scouts the carol service signals the start of the festive period and a great turn out ensured the Church was full to capacity. Thanks to our hosts in the Church of Ireland for organising a wonderful service.
It has been over a month since our last column and news of outings, camps and other events has been flooding in to me.
It's my job to try and condense it all down into something that you want to read and 1 can assure you there are so many great things going on that it's not easy. Later in this piece is a report from Hillsborough Scouts camp in August.
I know it's late but we have just not had the space until now though it is definitely worth reading. In our next column I will be relaying the adventures of 1st Ballymacash Scouts when they were in the USA this summer.
Talking of North America next month I will also tell you about Lucy Taylor who used to be a cub in Canada and is now a Cub in Hillsborough. However enough of next month you'll want to know what has been going on here in the recent weeks.
Beavers (Aged 6-8yrs) - Thanks to all those who sponsored boys who took part in the first annual Beaver District Sponsored Walk. Well done to all those Beavers who completed the walk around Hillsborough Forest Park. Thanks also to 1st Hillsborough for use of their hall, to the Forestry Service for allowing us to use the park and also to Gee and Mr T from 1st Ballymacash.
Seven Beavers from 2nd Lisburn visited the Lisburn Library on Thursday October 6, where they were looked after by Heather Hunter. The boys were there to find out information about the Beaver animal using both books and the internet. Some of the boys became members of the Library and learned how to borrow books. This was an enjoyable trip and we have been invited to the new Library called 'Fusion' when it opens.
Cubs (Aged 8-10yrs) - During November eleven Cub Packs played the group matches of the District 5 a-side football. With 3 wins 1st Annahilt topped Group One and 1st Hilden squeezed into second place on goal difference, just pipping an excellent team from 1st Lambeg. In Group Two 1st Ballymacash took the group by storm with a three wins and 1st Hillhall sneaked into second by scoring 1 goal more than 1st Derriaghy. The Group Three winners were 2nd Lambeg who won all their games with 1st Lisburn taking second.
Well done to everyone who took part, the standard of football this year was very good and the sportsmanship was excellent. Thanks also go to the referees for giving up their time and we all look forward to the finals in January. At the start of November 13 new cubs invested were invested into 1st Hillsborough Cub Pack and all the new boys are doing very well. The pack entertained the local Senior Citizens at their Annual Christmas Party on Friday December 2 and to paraphrase Frank Carson 'It was a Cracker'. Trust me you had to be there to see it.
1st Hilden and 6th Lisburn went to Gosford Forest Park on Halloween weekend for a Harry Potter themed camp. The boys made wizards hats and broomsticks on the Friday night followed by a game of Hunting Hagrid and then a warm supper. On Saturday the weather was terrible, at times, but the boys still took part in a Wizards Expandite competition, a forest walk, the Askaban Assault course and a few games of Cub Quidditch. On Saturday night they had a superb Halloween party and thanks to Colin McClurg for the cake. Sunday saw the boys take part in Hagrids Highland games in front of the magnificent Gosford Castle. After lunch and packing the party headed home to Lisburn a little bit tired and only a little bit late.
Scouts (Aged 10-14yrs) - 1st Hillsborough Scouts, Annual Summer Camp, August 2005. "There's only a water tap!" Such were the cries from even the most hardened members of the troop when the venue for this year's camp was announced.
Mourne Park, Kilkeel is one of the great wilderness sites left where all the traditional skills are required. Thus it was that 21 Scouts and 4 leaders gathered at the Scout Hall on the last Thursday in August for 'The great adventure'. After many unforeseen challenges to numerous to mention but including 2 punctures, a fallen tree blocking the path to the site and a river traversed using stepping stones, tables and pulleys the tents were finally pitched. Each patrol set up their kitchen to include the camp boiler that each patrol had constructed on troop nights during the year. A fire was lit and a supply of hot water was soon available. The meals cooked throughout the camp by each patrol on their eye level altar fire were a revelation to all of the new members experiencing their first camp
We enjoyed a very full program. Friday was spent at Greenhill YMCA, at three activities, low level ropes course, archery and bouldering. Saturday began with the entire troop swimming in the river first thing and the rest of the day was spent on site.
It was decided that the older boys, for their pioneering project, should upgrade the aerial runway to person carrying standard, in order to transport visiting parents to the campsite. The boys named it 'The Mourne Park Chairway'. Development of safety instruction cards and a pre-flight briefing, most items of which appeared to instruct the unfortunate passenger to say a prayer, completed a highly successful project. Impressed
Sunday afternoon saw the arrival of several parents and an unexpected visit by the warden to make sure all was well with the site. The Chairway was in regular action and parents were well impressed with the achievements of their boys. On Sunday evening an assault was made on the Knockchree mountain. Despite the thick bracken and brambles a safe ascent and descent was made and all returned to camp to partake in the next challenge, cooking curry and rice over an open fire in the dark. By this stage the boys were rising to any challenge.
Monday morning the entire troop went swimming in Kilkeel leisure centre. For the leaders there was further unexpected luxury when we discovered that there was a Jacuzzi and steam room available only to those over 18. Tired and aching limbs got the full treatment.
Following a carry out lunch in Kilkeel we returned to strike camp. The Mourne Park Chairway was modified again to perform the role of freight carrier and all the gear was swiftly transported across the river and packed.
A tired but very happy troop returned to the Scout Hall with tales to tell parents and memories that will last for the rest of their life. Baden Powell got it right with his concept of Scouting and traditional camping still appeals as much today as it did almost 100 years ago.
6th Lisburn Scout Troop represented the District at this year's Remembrance Sunday parade from Lisburn Royal British Legion Club to the War memorial and on to Christ Church. It was a beautiful crisp morning, not too cold, which meant a large parade and good support all around the route. A hot bowl of stew back at the Legion finished the day off nicely and as always it was an honour for the Scouts to take part.
Finally a few congratulations. Firstly to Heather Stewart, former ADC Beavers, on the birth of her daughter Amy Catherine. Well done to Richard Yarr on gaining his Woodbadge, one of the highest levels of Scout Leader training.
Last but by no means least, it is with great pleasure that the District can tell everyone that Joss Toombs was awarded a 60-year long service decoration in October 2005.
This is a magnificent achievement worthy of the highest praise. Joss has as you would expect held many posts in his Scouting career and he still takes an active role both in Annahilt and at a District level. Congratulations Joss from all of your friends in the District, an award that is truly well deserved.