2019 Highlights

20 December 2019

In 2019 we were able to do all of this:

• 2019 will best be remembered as the year watersports returned to Highams Park Lake, and every section got a chance to enjoy. With those glorious sunsets and sounds of laughter, you had to pinch yourself to remember that we are so near to central London. Huge credit to everyone who made it a reality – Ben Marcus, John Goodman, Robert Edwards, but most importantly Jess Snell and Teddy Edwards.

• On the same theme, we had our band of intrepid Beavers who enjoyed a weekend of adventure at District Camp at the Mally. It’s a camp, in Epping Forest, but 5 minutes from home. To be fair, the night howls of creatures returning from the County Arms is probably wild enough.

• Our Cubs went one better than England when they won the District football tournament and one gigantic trophy. Congratulations to our World Cup winners: Jacob, Jack, Sam, Henry, Edward, Max & Nathaniel.

• A stack of Scouts have completed a two month long shooting course for their Master-At-Arms badge, in collaboration with the 23rd over at Chingford. Some of the Scouts were pretty good shots from the very first week, which was slightly terrifying – presumably we have Fortnite to thank for that!

• An absolutely outstanding bonfire night party under the stars at the Mally. Food, fun, fire and lots of feral children. I was surprised to see Donald Trump on TV the following night as I was convinced we had thrown him on the pile. Many people helped organise but particular thanks to the Ceeney and Nichols families, Juliet Harvey, Laurie De Bono, Suzanne Khamis, John Goodman, and the legendary Leigh Morl. We will do this again!

• In a first for 1HP, Beavers had a brilliant evening of brass rubbing and bell ringing at High Beech Parish Church. Thankfully no one tried to rub the bell, with obvious consequences. Organised by Lee Hemmings, who did this as a Beaver many, many (yep – many) years ago…

• We have had a bumper year of achievements including a massive total of 8 Cubs securing their Chief Scout Silver Award. Congratulations Eloise, Harry H, Monty, Eddie, Daichi, Sam, Sabri and George S. Your journey towards greatness continues.

• Our Scouts recently indulged in baking apple cinnamon cakes which shocked everyone by not only being edible but actually tasting nice. Word on the street is that Scouts will have a few epic hiking and outdoor activities planned for next term. I guess they have a lot of cake to burn off.

• Let’s not forget our Explorers and Scouts who completed their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award following a two day hike in absolutely appalling weather late autumn. The group were required to carry all of their own kit, including tent, food, stoves, and navigate their way via a compass from Epping to Leyton. All while the parents were home doing it tough watching Strictly. DoE Gold up next…

• Another golden Family Camp, and the highlight of our year. Massively oversubscribed and unbelievably well organised. We tip our hats to everyone who contributes but in particular super Leigh Morl, Mr Family Camp Dan Penny, Paul Baxter’s campfire singsong, and the Explorers for running ‘It’s a Knock Out’. After 3 years Dan is stepping down from Family Camp to look after Scouts Section, but I am absolutely delighted to announce that Sarb Lota has offered to take over for 2020. Thank you Sarb and stay tuned!

• Raise your hands for Samantha Farnell who came out of Leader retirement to organise her legendary Beaver Halloween spooky trail. Some might question why one would come of retirement to scare little children, but not us, Sam! The Beavers, of course, LOVED it.

• Another first for 1HP was the absolutely brilliant glow stick treasure hunt in the gloom of Highams Park. The Cubs absolutely loved running wild in the dark and not a single Cub stepped in dog poo. Hooray! We think they all made it home. Thanks to Sonja for the inspiration.

• Let’s not forget Gilwell is also on our doorstep, and Scouts took full advantage with sessions of Crate Stacking and Jacob’s Ladder. A fantastic evening, really challenging and excellent teamwork. Cleaning bedrooms should now be a cinch.

• Oh, and remember that Beavers, Cubs and Scouts ended the summer term with our now traditional overnight hike to Fairmead campsite. In warm weather, we enjoyed a fine evening of tent building, burgers, wide games, and inevitable stick wars with rival Scout Groups. Thanks again to everyone who helped out.

• Plus congratulations to 1HPers Laurie, Maya and Evie who have been selected to attend European Jamboree in Poland 2020. This is on the back of 1HPers David and Jess who attended World Scout Jamboree in America last July. All of our Jamboreers work hard to raise money and are extremely grateful for the support of the Group at events they have organised, such as bonfire and movie night. 1HP wants every Scout to make Jamboree. Encourage your Beavers and Cubs to dream big.

• Let’s not forget Beavers and Cubs for remembering the true spirit of Christmas with their exemplary carol singing performance at Tescos. They all sang with pride and gusto, loud enough to drown out my terrible voice. A number of customers thanked us personally for making their day, and that is what it’s all about. Thanks to our choir master, Cate Downes.

• And there is, of course, more. Chip Shop Challenge; judo night for Cubs and Beavers, debating at Scouts, epic bike rides by Cubs and Scouts, visit from Australian Scout Leader, Gids Marcus (Wolf!), sewing, quiz nights, ice skating, Explorers Kilmuir Challenge, and it just goes on….

This really does show just how much can be achieved, when people come together to do good. Bringing happiness to young people feels great, plus its quite good fun to join in. For that, we are particularly indebted to the Leaders who turn up week in and week out. We also thank those who have given their time but are now taking a break .

Merry Christmas and we will see you in 2020.