Ollie’s Grey Wolf hike – Aug 2019

It’s time for another adventurous journey, as Ollie K completes one of the activities required to achieve the Grey Wolf award. We’re walking from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach, along the coast.

There’s iconic views of the city and harbour as the track follows the coastline. We make a side-trip down to a beach that was site of a WWII degaussing range (where cables were placed around the hull of ships, acting as a demagnetising agent to provide protection against magnetic mines). A bit further is a sign denoting the site where two of the Japanese midget submarines which entered Sydney Harbour in May 1942 were sunk by depth charges.

Near the middle of our walk is Clfton Gardens and Chowder Bay, which played an important role in the defence of Sydney from the 1890s until 1922 as the base for the Submarine Mining Corps, and later the Army.

The second half of the walk takes us up Bungaree’s Walkway to Georges Head, which was a restricted-access fortified military base until 2002. Now the old fortifications make a fun playground for the Cubs.

It’s then (almost) all downhill to Balmoral Beach, where we enjoy a picnic lunch before heading home.

 

Cubs Medieval Night – July 2019

The Cubs enjoyed a hugely successful Medieval Night to finish off Term 2.

The first step is to don some medieval costumes, traditionally worn by Cub Scouts in the 6th century BC.

This is followed by some intense sword-fighting and other medieval games, led by Ollie the Self Proclaimed King. (No Cubs were seriously harmed in these hostilities.)

And last but not least, the Cub Knights put away their swords, cuisses and faulds, and partake in a feast of chicken, corn bread and fruit, before we call an official end to the night.

A huge thanks to Simone, our guest Chieftess,for fearlessly taking on the challenge of running this magnificent evening!

Cubs visit the Wildflower Garden – Jun 2019

It’s our second visit to the St Ives Wildflower Garden, with the Cubs keen to earn their “Environment” badge. Their first task is to construct an “activity book” so they can write field notes on what they see. We’re in the expert and patient hands of Jenny the Ranger and Cub Tamer, who soon has the Cubs engrossed in creating their books.

Since the weather isn’t great, we start by looking and touching a few captive animals. The Cubs sketch and document the stick insect: as well as having unusual shapes to camouflage themselves, we learn that the males are smaller than the females, and possess functioning wings so they can fly a short distance.

Looking more like a scorpion but far less dangerous (at least, that’s what Jenny assures us) is the Spiny Leaf Insect.

Next is the blue-tongued lizard, the largest members of the skink family, which the Cubs were able to touch. When threatened, blue-tongue lizards their mouth wide and stick out their broad blue tongue; surprisingly, this one was not overly intimidated by our rowdy Cubs!

Last but not least is the Children’s Python, named after the scientist John George Children, who first described them in 1842. Currently 43cm long, it will grow to a little over metre.

We still have time for a short walk around the Wildflower Garden, with the rain holding off… unfortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly (considering that “quiet” is NEVER a word that has been used to described our Cubs), we don’t manage to spot anything!

Another great evening – many thanks to Jenny for hosting us!

Luke’s Grey Wolf adventure – May 2019

A number of 2nd Gordon’s Cubs are working hard to achieve the Grey Wolf award, the highest award a Cub Scout can achieve. Part of this achievement is to undertake an “adventurous journey”: Dylan led a Grey Wolf Hike in March, and the second adventurous journey was Luke’s challenging 15km bushwalk from Cowan to Berowra. There’s been a lot of planning by Luke including working out the route, organising logistics around the BBQ lunch and deciding what trains we need to catch.

The journey started with a train trip from Gordon to our starting point at Cowan, with Luke leading his patrol of five Cubs (supported by three adults and a Rover Scout). The first section is just over 8km to Berowra Waters, our lunch destination. There’s an early lession about not just relying on a map, but checking signage, as the Cubs walk straight past a “Great North Walk” marker and back up to the highway…

The first section is pretty hard work – the track crosses several valleys so there’s one fairly long climb as well as some steep descents. In a few places there are iron rungs bolted into the rock – and some interesting rock overhangs and caves to explore. As we get closer to Berowra Waters, there are nice views of Berowra Creek below.

The last stretch is on the free car ferry that takes pedestrians and vehicles across Berowra Creek. The Cubs cook a sausage sizzle lunch and enjoy a break at the Furber Recreation Reserve before the second part of our bushwalk.

Berowra Waters to Berowra railway station is only 5.5km – but it’s mostly uphill. All the Cubs are doing well as they power up the initial steep section from the creek, before reaching the Berkely Firetrail which is fairly flat, and goes past a nice lookout (Naa Badu Lookout – which means “see water”).

Everyone’s happy when we reach Berowra Station, with just enough time at Hornsby for an icecream while we wait for out connecting train…  There’s a few tired legs – the bushwalk involved almost 700m of vertical ascent – but it’s been another successful 2G outing!

Map of route

New Cub invested – May 2019

Congratulations to Michael W – our newest Cub in the rapidly growing Cub section. Michael was invested in a “secret location” near the 2nd Gordon Scout Hall.

Michael pledged his Cub Scout Promise and recited the Cub Scout Law, before being congratulated by the pack in the customary manner (1-2-3-WOLF!!!).

Seven new Cubs invested into 2G – Mar 2019

Congratulations to our seven newest Cub members, who were invested at a Secret Location near the Scout Hall:

  • James A
  • Felix B
  • Nico S
  • Oscar W
  • Scarlett M
  • Andrew Z
  • Ryker B

All new Cubs pledged their Cub Scout Promise and recited the Cub Scout Law, and each Cub was congratulated by the pack with the Cub Yell (1-2-3-WOLF!!!) which echoed down the creek…

Dylan’s Grey Wolf Hike – Mar 2019

The Grey Wolf is the highest award a Cub Scout can achieve, requiring additional activities be undertaken by the Cubs. One of these activities is to lead an “adventurous journey” – which for the Cub Scout section generally means a bushwalk.

This undertaking is designed to test the Cub Scout not only the practical skills they’ve learnt through the scouting movement, but also to demonstrate their initiative in organising and executing an outdoor activity with minimal parental or Leader involvement. As with all scouting activities under our new program, the activity involves planning, doing – and reviewing.

Plan

The first step in any activity is the planning stage, and Dylan produced a very comprehensive bushwalk overview PDF to help the other cubs with what to bring and where to meet. He selected the Resolute Beach Loop, and researched additional things to do along the walk.

Do

Despite the overcast weather, we set-off from West Head lookout in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. After a teeny bit of prompting, Dylan points to the correct path, having decided in consultation with his group that they would do the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

It’s a slightly unnerving experience watching the Cubs set-off down the trail… Although we are shadowing the Cubs and they are always in sight (or at least in earshot, which for our Cubs is about 4km!!), this is about the Cubs making decisions. A conscious effort is needed to adapt to their pace let them decide when to have a break and allow them to work out the correct route…

The first stop and snack break is the Red Hands Cave, where the Cubs look at the Aboriginal handprints and make some sketches.

The next stop is the picturesque and almost deserted Resolute Beach, opposite Barrenjoey Head.

While we keep an eye on the Cubs from the shelter of a sandstone overhang (it’s finally started to rain), the Cubs play a game of beach cricket.

Dylan does a great job in getting the Cubs packed and back onto the track after an extended break, for the last section along the coast to West Head Beach, and then up to the carpark. There’s an old WWII embankment just off the track, which makes for another brief photo stop and discussion.

Review

The last part of any activity is the review – what went well, what didn’t work and what could be improved. Dylan asked everyone for their thoughts, so he could reflect on his walk and provide some feedback to the Cub Leaders. Overall, Dylan did a fabulous job leading the bushwalk and keeping his group together, and some of his ideas (like bringing walkie talkies) we will use on future walks. He also had some great suggestions for improvements that will help the next Cubs who are doing their Grey Wolf bushwalk.

Cub Leadership Day – Mar 2019

With the recent addition of quite a few new Cubs to 2nd Gordon, and many of our more senior Cubs eager to achieve the Grey Wolf peak award, we decided to run a Leadership Course for our current and soon-to-be Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders. The objective was to challenge the older Cubs and instill a sense of leadership – and to have some fun!

We started with the Cubs lighting a fire and cooking themselves (and the Leaders!) some sausages. As with all of the activities today, the role of the (adult) Leaders is to provide supervision and coaching – and to let the Cubs “learn by doing”.

Activity 1: Fire and Lunch

The Cubs demonstrate their ability to light and maintain a fire, and cook a healthy(ish) lunch. We also discuss fire safety.

Having enjoyed lunch, we’re onto our first activity. The ability to navigate and read a map is an important skill, especially for Cubs who are linking (moving up) to Scouts.

Activity 2: Maps

The Cubs demonstrate their ability to identify features and landmarks on a topographical map, followed by relay race competition to identify specific features.

We’re joined by a Cub parent and Special Guest for our next activity: Brian has over 30 years experience in facilitating leadership and developing teams. He’s created an engaging program for our Cubs to help them understand and put into action what it means to be a great leader, and how to effectively lead their patrols.

Activity 3: Leadership in Action

The Cubs discuss what a good leader should do – and what they shouldn’t do – and participate in some team-building activities to reinforce the desired behaviours.

The Cubs enjoy a team game where they need work out the right sequence of squares to take, in order to successfully cross a 16×16 grid!

Next, we have some of our Scouts join us to lead the M&M Challenge… it’s a great way of learning the clove hitch and square lashing by building a table from some basic materials. Why the “M&M Challenge”? Once the table has been constructed, a bag of M&Ms are released on the table. The team with the least M&Ms rolling off the table and onto the ground wins!

Activity 4: Knots

The Cubs compete in two teams to build the most level table, using only ropes, bamboo poles and a timber board. 

There’s tension in the air as Glenn, one of our Scout Leaders, unleashes the M&Ms to see which of the two teams will emerge victorious…

Team one

The result

Team two

The result

It’s almost time for dinner… time flies when you’re having fun! Unfortunately, it’s inappropriate to set the Cubs a challenge to see which team can mix the best cocktail (the Leaders were about ready for a drink)! Instead we give each of the four groups of Cubs the same ingredients (mince, pasta, crushed tomatoes & tomato paste, flour and some spices) and ask them to cook dinner, using outdoor gas cooktops we’ve borrowed from the Scouts and the firepit. The Scout leaders and Scouts also talk to the Cubs about hygiene and safety techniques when using gas and cooking over a cooktop or fire.

Activity 5: Masterchef Challenge

The Cubs work together in small teams to cook a meal using a set of ingredients, a gas cooktop and the firepit!. 

Of course, the success of this activity is determined by the outcome! The Leaders (and Scouts) were impressed with the results served by our junior outdoor chefs, with tasty spaghetti bolognaise and perfectly cooked damper rolls. One trio ignored the suggested recipes and cooked hamburgers, which turned out perfectly! Though perhaps the most rewarding feedback, the following day, was one of the Cubs keen to practice their new-found skills at home: “Grace thoroughly enjoyed the day and is keen to make us some spaghetti bolognese, which is a bonus!”

No dinner would be complete without dessert, and with less than half an hour before the Cubs are due to finish, they’re using the embers of the firepit to make some s’mores. “A dessert or snack made of marshmallows, usually toasted over a campfire, and thin slabs of chocolate, which are then sandwiched together between crackers”, the invention of s’mores is generally credited to Loretta Scott Crew, who made them for Girl Scouts by the campfire in the 1920s.

 

Cubs clean up Stony Creek – Nov 2018

It’s amazing what you find, only a hundred metres from the Scout Hall…

The Cubs all participated in an activity to clean up the local creek, Stony Creek, and collected a diverse array of garbage including:

  • a bicycle, in fairly good condition
  • a rather worn office chair – still at the Scout Hall (we’re open to any reasonable offers!)
  • Woolworths shopping trolley
  • remnants of a flat-screen TV
  • and of course, countless bottles and cans.

The evening did raise some interesting questions: such as, do you need to wear a helmet when riding an office chair (or shopping trolley) along the footpath?

The Cubs had a lot of fun, and more importantly learnt about looking after our environment.

 

Cubs Camp at Crosslands – Nov 2018

The Cubs have been looking forward to our Term 4 Summer Camp – we’re heading to Camp Windeyer on Berowra Creek for the weekend. While it’s only about half an hour drive from our Scout Hall, it feels like a world away from Sydney.

After arriving on Friday evening (crossing the creek on a barge to get to the camp), we start on Saturday morning with an obstacle course.

It’s a challenging course – especially when a mis-step means landing in the swamp below…

As the day warms up, the Cubs head to the water – Camp Windeyer is surrounded by Still Creek and Berowra Creek, so there’s plenty of places to swim and ropes to swing from!

There’s a rope swing which provides plenty of entertainment for the Cubs!

After lunch, it’s back into the water for some more aquatic activities and games.

The only way to and from Camp Windeyer is by barge across Still Creek – we cross back to the cars to get some more ice, and farewell one of our Cubs who needs to leave early.

Before it gets too dark, Toby musters up a few Cubs to help light the fire under the boiler, which provides hot water for cleaning up. (Camp Windeyer has town water and flushing toilets, so quite luxurious for a Scout camp – but no mains power and cooking is by gas BBQ or stove).

The Cubs are fast asleep by 9:30pm after an exhausting day… and the Cub Leaders and parents are not too far behind them!

Sunday’s our last day, and despite the promise of ice blocks none of the Cubs demonstrate much energy. It’s been an exhausting (and hot) day on Saturday, and they all want to go home and play on their iPads!

We manage get the Cubs mildly excited by a competition to “Pop the Top” – the Cubs compete to light a fire underneath a coffee tin with some water inside, and “pop” the lid off from the steam that builds inside. It turns out to be a great activity, despite the wind making it challenge to light the kindling. A big thanks to Cameron, the Camp Warden, for suggesting this activity (we’ll be doing this again with all the Cubs at our Scout Hall).

Even though we all know the top is about to “pop” – it still startles the Cubs and adults!

After “Pop the Top” it’s time for Closing Ceremony and lunch, before we head home, back across the creek and along the winding road through Galston Gorge. It’s been an exhausting but fun weekend. A huge thanks to Cameron, the ever-helpful Camp Warden, who’s help made our stay so enjoyable.