Group Camp Brookfields May 2017

11 Cubs and 8 Scouts placed themselves in the hands of 6 Venturers for a weekend of exciting activities.  We were gently sprinkled with rain, smears of mud and a rainbow, before being baked by a roasting fire and finally frozen overnight by a frost!?

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A slippery trip through the obstacle course (raising adrenaline levels for some) was followed by some pioneering using basic lashing techniques – which also seemed to be pretty challenging for some youth!  During the afternoon another series of activities were undertaken, one involved being lead through a course blindfolded.

Dinner was cooked in foil packets placed on the hot embers of fires lit by each of the three patrols.   Later in the evening we joined with neighbouring Guides at The Kauri Circle for a series of skits around a camp fire.

Congratulations to Rebecca for looking after her (raw) egg until the end of the camp!

Many thanks to the Venturers for putting on such a well organised event and to Dad’s Matt an Mark for helping support our youth.

YIS

John aka “The Paparazzi” (Seb!?)

Whanganui River Canoe Trip 2017

Nineteen of us arrived at Taumaranui after a long drive (thanks to David’s Mum for hosting fish & chips enroute!) and set about packing our gear into 40l plastic barrels.  These were in turn carefully labeled with what turned out to be a whiteboard marker – duh!

Four kayaks, one double kayak and six two-person canoes (which were loaded with the barrels full of our gear) set off with eleven youth and eight (variously) skilled adults.  For two especially selected canoe crews, a full immersion experience was awaiting!  Harry – accept some responsibility – it’s not always entirely Dad’s fault!?

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We passed by numerous feral goats, deep gorges and sheer papa cliffs.  Ponga (tree ferns) were plentiful.

It was with some relief we made it to the hut before dusk.  A real bonus was seeing Pekapeka (rare long tailed native bats) at dusk (and dawn) from the hut’s large deck.  For those brave enough to walk to the long drop without their torches on, there were glowworms to be seen.

Inside the very toasty hut, freshly popped popcorn was followed by tasty dehy food, magically prepared by Joss and Sylvie. Yes, the youth had a pretty easy trip on the food front!?

The next morning I/we promptly tipped out (again!?).  On reflection falling out was actually quite a humbling and salutary experience.  It was the teamwork of the group working together which got us out of the tiring current and back in our canoe.  A stronger bond was formed between group members (and we changed our technique) which did the trick for the rest of the trip – thankfully!

A moody and primal mist accompanied by light rain descended on us before we headed off on foot to visit the ‘abandoned’ 1930’s Bridge to Nowhere.  Back on the river we soon came upon a dead bloated floating goat (which was a highlight for some youth?) and a change from seeing Mallard Ducks, Black Shags, Greylag Geese and occasional Whio Whio.

Arriving at Tieke Kainga Marae, a Powhiri (welcome) added a valuable cultural dimension to the trip.  Later in the evening, Nick, our only Cub, celebrated his birthday, blowing out 8 candles on a slightly tumbled chocolate cake.  Daniel and Mathieu’s Mum, Sylvie also celebrated her special day!

Torrential rain overnight flooded the beach we had landed on the previous afternoon with what resembled chocolate milk.  The numerous waterfalls cascading into the river had a renewed vigour and on a particularly gnarly rapid, David joined me in the exclusive double ‘out-of-canoe experience’ club.

Ironically, higher water levels meant the final (and supposedly worst) rapid was easily navigated.  Nick and Joss were so relieved!

Special thanks parent helpers Joss, Sylvie and Mark!

YIS, John (aka ZigZag)

Scouts in Brooklyn Tattler!

Check out the cover article in the Tattler!

We’ve had a long association with the Brooklyn Community ANZAC service, so its great to get the recognition for that 😊!

http://brooklyncommunitycentre.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/Brooklyn-Tattler-May-2017.pdf

(Thank you Anneleah and Kay)

Moa Point Treatment Plant

When joining Scouts (as part of the Scout Law) our youth promised “to have respect for the environment”.  Educating them about Wellingtons fresh and wastewater infrastructure fits well with this terms ‘water’ theme and is a great opportunity to explore the environmental impacts of the city’s water use.

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Last week Colin Crampton (CEO of Wellington Water) explained to us how Wellingtons fresh water supply network operated.  He touched on where our water came from, how much we used and talked about the impact of our use on the regions previously large natural fresh water springs.

 

Our youth had many varied and occasionally thought provoking questions!

Tonight, February 28th, we visited the Moa Point Sewage Treatment Plant.  The sense of anticipation was heightened by having to don protective gloves and high-vis vests.  It was therefore a little disappointing to discover that plant was basically a ‘closed system’.  Still we did get to peer into the odd open hatch!

Again there was a real interest in how the plant processed wastewater – the youth listening intently to explanations of the various stages of treatment.  An appreciation of the complexity of making wastewater was ‘clean’ was gained by everyone.  Another great scouting experience!?

YiS, John

Zealandia’s Bioblitz Go!

On Sunday 26th February a number of Brooklyn Scouts and Leaders attended Zealandia’s Bioblitz Go! – a series of activities starting near the Karori Scout Den before moving onto Zealandia itself.

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We began with ‘The Fantastic Flora of Wrights Hill’ which was an opportunity to learn to use the Naturewatch NZ’s iNaturalist app.  Observations of plants, animals, microbes, lichens, mosses, fungi, or anything else that caught our attention were made (captured) with a phone or similar (photographed) and identified (online).  Observations gave feedback to the organisers of what youth were interested in, and the app. helped identify the object of their interest.  RIP reference books!?  See: http://naturewatch.org.nz

Then we moved onto Zealandia where Ruud ‘the Bugman’ Kleinpaste (a celebrity to the leaders anyway!) took us on an entertaining walk around the sanctuary looking at Tuatara, tree and cave weta’s, stick insects, the strange life cycle of Puriri moths (NZ’s largest moth), glowworms (in an old gold mining shaft) before trying to spot geckos in the undergrowth.

A display by various scientists gave youth insights into all manner of research topics.  One researcher used lay people/volunteers via the internet to identify pests caught by camera ‘traps’ laid around Wellington.  He had no chance of looking at all the 100,000 images caught by the camera’s!  Fascinating use of the net to an old leader like me!

21st NZ Scout Jamboree

As a scout I never had the chance to attend a Jamboree, so when my son Alexander had the chance to go, and it became apparent that Brooklyn needed an extra leader, my arm was relatively easily twisted.  I was curious to know what I had missed out on – some 35 short years ago!  Would you believe that on day two I met my original scout leader from 1st Karori, Dave Jupp (he looked just the same as I remembered), and he was able to point out a row of green canvas tents – the same ones which I had slept in all those years ago at various scout camps.  Scary.

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The Jamboree experience began weeks before we caught the Ferry.  Six newly formed patrols met one Sunday afternoon to dream up patrol names and design their banners which they carried to most activities at the Jamboree.  Our Contingent was an amalgam of Brooklyn (21 youth, 4 leaders), Karori West (7 youth, 4 leaders), Ellesmere (5 youth, 1 leader) and 3 Samoan (international) Scouts and their leader.

Personal suitcases were combined with troop gear in the hall.  The gear ranged from tents and newly purchased kit (from an on-demand LPG hot water system (brilliant) to 3 big chilly bins – special thanks to the Infinity Foundation for their grant), to literally the kitchen sink.  All this was loaded into a shipping Container (shared with five other Wellington contingents) which we later unloaded on site.

The evening Ferry trip on Kaitiaki was uneventful and we (some 150 youth) had a hot nights sleep in Marlborough College’s hall.  We arrived nice and early on site the next day to set up camp. Luckily Andy (a cub leader) and I had checked David’s ‘not to scale’ site drawing on the ferry and realised his maths wasn’t too good – so a quick redesign ensured we met Jamboree rules.  In the end we had to measure the distance between each tent (down to the nearest 50mm) to ensure compliance with site regulations!

The Jamboree was tightly and somewhat confusingly programmed but David did a great job of ensuring we all made key departure times and locations.  This Jamboree was unusual in that all activities were offsite.  On the worst mornings youth had to  depart for busses as early as 5.45am – at that hour they were definitely in ‘manual mode’!

The first full day was hot and we were careful to manage youth so they didn’t get heat stoke or sun burn (plenty of others did).  Wind blown dust got so bad the next afternoon it set off our smoke detector!?  Ironically two days later after a Southerly front came through some youth on water activities (not ours) got too cold and had to be warmed up.

Aside from the daily rostered activities we had two days ‘off’.  The first was a market day where all sites ‘sold’ products or services for Beaver Bucks (fake money).  We did face painting and balloon shaving and other activities included pillow fights, wet sponge activities, life boat ‘rides’ and bungy water slides.  Some even offered to do your washing (in a home made bicycle driven contraption) and sold freshly bagged leader’s farts!?  Another aspect of the Beaver Bucks money was to swap out our own currency and collect everyone else’s – we came second overall!

Market day was the first and only time I got to walk around the whole Jamboree site and I saw future accountants, marketers, inventors, entrepreneurs and fraudsters at work!  There were also some pretty swish camp site setups too.

The next day off was for a Jamboree wide battle with flour bombs and paper swords.  We all enjoyed spending the morning making our weapons and it was the first time I felt a real camaraderie forming across all the patrols and the troop.  We had a long walk to the battlefield.  Unfortunately it all got out of hand when somebody mentioned the ‘start’ word before the organisers were ready…

Several Birthdays were had during Jamboree, including one significant one for Helen.  I think we reached our target of singing Happy Birthday to her 50 times!?

Packing up and the Ferry trip back late at night was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but waiting beforehand in Picton at the Sea Scout hall was tedious.  Hopefully a mistake by the Wellington Regions organisers not to confirm the ferry booking will never be repeated!

Special mention needs to go to our Contingent leader, David, who spent countless hours (actually weeks) navigating and managing the bureaucracy that inevitably goes with organising such events.  He was calm, even in the face of bureaucratic adversity throughout the Jamboree and he even managed not to make it look like his first time too!  Anneleah, his wife, also played a key role in getting us to Renwick.  Their contributions really ensured our youth had the best possible time!  Thank you both.

Thanks to Terry for his advice and wisdom and ensuring we had some really great kit.  And to Andy for keeping his side of our tent tidy.

Thanks to Karori West Leaders, Mary, Helen, Maggs, Lindsay and Jeremy for their wisdom and advice to a new leader!?  And thank you to Richard for being brave enough to join non-Mainlanders on the Jamboree

There is not much difference between the ‘child’ in a scout leader and the the ‘child’ in our youth so I had a ball and I know everyone else did too!

Yours in Scouting

John

Venturer’s end of year camp

As well as going out to dinner, how better to celebrate our year as Venturers than go on a camp! Despite the questionable weather, we had lots of fun playing cards (literally for hours!), joking around, exploring, and, of course, lighting campfires and roasting marshmallows.

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Venturer’s end of year dinner

The Venturers decided to celebrate their last night of 2016 by going out to a buffet dinner at the James Cook Hotel restaurant. Christmas hats, crackers, and jokes were shared and our leader Terry discovered the joys of taking ‘selfies’

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JOTA JOTI camp at Brookfields

Over 300 youth and leaders arrived at the Lower North Island JOTA JOTI camp at Brookfields on Friday evening with the knowledge rain was coming, so setting up the camp sites was a priority and was mostly completed before the heavens opened. Some outdoor activities the next day were curtailed.

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Indoor venues provided a welcome respite from the ‘real world’ rain and the youth were able enter the digital realm – Scouts from as far away as Egypt, Columbia and the Netherlands were just a keystroke away. Much hilarity was had. Unfortunately the ionosphere played havoc with the radio reception so the airwaves were more filled with crackles and hisses than strange accents.

One room had electronic kits with plans for simple (to more complex) circuits – which occasionally worked!

Roast pork was beautifully cooked by Venturers Arthur and Taine (with a little help from Terry). While waiting for dinner Daniel showed no shame in modeling a flower pot, before trying to auction it off for a profit!?

Brooklyn had the honour of co-organising the main campfire, helping to plan the program and coordinating over 10 skits and songs.

Sunday dawned fine so we began to dry out, squeezing in a quick kayak before dealing with muddy tents and heading home

Cheers
John