2021 Highlights

17 December 2021

Unsurprisingly, it has been a rough twenty months for 1st Highams Park Scout Group, but we seem to have made it through in decent nick. Thank you to the families who supported us with kind messages and continued to pay subs throughout the lockdowns. This ensured that we were able to pay our bills and meet our commitments to other community groups who are dependent on our income, such as rents to the Church Hall and the Mally.

It is also right to acknowledge the dedication of the 1HP volunteers, both the Group Executive and the Leaders who kept the show on the road. It feels like a long time ago, but it is important to remember the sacrifices many Leaders made providing weekly online sessions while managing their own personal challenges of Coronavirus. Those sessions provided our children with desperately needed social contact and engagement.

The net result was that when we returned to in person gatherings for Spring 2021, very few people had left the group and we were able to hit the ground running. Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic remains ever present, but our weekly gathering of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts has lifted spirits and enabled us to achieve all of this: 

  • Quick as a flash we were back on the lake, and every section got wet. Huge credit to the volunteer boat crew who got the site ready, as well as Dan Penny who gave the lifeguards the chance to perform a text book ‘clumsy dad falling out of kayak’ rescue. Thanks Dan!
  • A warm welcome to our larger than normal cohort of new Beavers starting their journey with 1HP. They enjoyed an excellent introduction bug hunts, bat walks, and general Beaver bonkerness. The Summer ended in true form with a good hosing down after the baked bean and shaving foam funfest. Who needs an Ibiza foam party?
  • Cubs enjoyed an adrenalin rush at the Walthamstow BMX track. Admittedly, most adults were biting their knuckles as the Cubs tore around the track with remarkable speed and confidence. Totally worth the souvenir knee scrapes some brought home. Many thanks to COG cycle club. PS: mountain bike club still takes place Sunday mornings from the Boathouse. See
  • Persistence paid off for Scouts being the sole section to enjoy an overnight hike to Fairmeade campsite. They pitched the tents, cooked all their meals, and packed up afterwards. Of course, that just means we’ve nominated them to organise Hike Camp 2022 and give Leaders the night off. Hooray!
  • Way back in 2020, we merged the 1HP Explorers Unit with Chingford to create a new super Unit for 14 to 18 year olds. The 1HP alumni is already the largest group attending, so we’ve voted with our feet. Get on down.
  • A special mention to our young leaders Maya, Millie, Laurie, Oliver, TJ and Jacob. They have been sterling all year, running activities, opening and closing evenings and generally being more sensible than the adults.
  • Beaver’s Grand High Witch and her minions returned with Halloween mayhem and spooky walk spectacular. The Beavers, of course, LOVED it.
  • Thank you to Jess Snell for organising an amazing guided walk to observe the Deer Rut in the Forest. While the deer scarpered quick smart, their poo stayed put and a very jolly time was spent poking sticks in it.  
  • Scouts bettered the Turner Prize with Warhammer model making and painting. When a parent says their child burst with excitement, you know you are on to a winner. Special mention also to Buckethead Jousting, straight from the Alan Partridge school of scouting.
  • An absolutely outstanding bonfire night party under the stars at the Mally. Food, fun, fire and lots of feral children. I think the PM was down to do a speech but got chucked on the fire instead!
  • A super interesting evening in the forest with master forager Steve Woolnough. You will never need a late night kebab again.  
  • Congratulations to the four 1HPers whom have been selected for the 2023 World Scout Jamboree in South Korea Maya, Sam K, Jacob and Eloise. This is a tremendous achievement and the pinnacle of the scouting experience. The hard work starts now!
    • There is, of course, more: celebrity author visits, volunteer planting of over 100 trees in Chingford cemetery, DoE Silver hike in horrendous weather, XMAS panto (Oh yes it is!), outdoor cooking, scavenger hunts, archery, super soapy slides, rugby tasters, and on and on…

We are proper back and have plans for the year ahead. We have every intention of organising Hike Camp in 2022 and we are delighted to confirm that our legendary Family Camp is set for weekend 24-26 June. Stay tuned for other ideas or even suggest your own!

See you in 2022.