Since last June, the Hatters have been very busy; two weeks in Scotland last summer was deliberately relaxing and uneventful. Meggernie Outdoor Centre provided the stunning setting for our Summer Camp which a handful of Red Barons joined us for, too. The highlight was a day in Edinburgh while the lowlight was definitely the midges. In September, we celebrated our 10th birthday and had a great weekend in Romford which included a quick tube journey into the East End for a Jack the Ripper tour.
October saw our first entry into Hertfordshire’s Peak Assault Competition; it was a very, very wet weekend in Snowdonia but a good and challenging event. The following weekend, we were out at the Chiltern 20 making breakfast and running a checkpoint and we finished October volunteering at Coppetts Wood to create a sensory garden and continue to maintain the ‘Hatters Meadow’. A small group of our Explorers also attended Scarefest unsupervised with an event passport.
In November we worked hard at the Walker Ground Fireworks night, prepared and served brunch on Remembrance Sunday and a small group enjoyed a tour of Westminster Abbey. For the first time, we also had a Thanksgiving evening and the County Youth Commissioner visited to run an evening. December was very heavy on the Peru fundraising (more details on that to come) but we also had time for some trampolines, quasar and a Christmas sleepover.
There were nights away in January at Winter Camp and Joiners’ Camp, the explorers also completed and implemented a sustainability policy. Almost every weekend in January and February featured Southern 50 training up to the event itself at which we entered 8 teams. Away from the Southern 50 there was an LGBTQ evening, bowling and milkshakes!
Last term saw some big changes to the regular programme with the inclusion of monthly navigation training days, evenings at Ashmole Academy to give us more space to run around and we enjoyed everything from pioneering to Easter Egg hunts and we once again enjoyed the honour of attending the Royal Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
This Easter we spent five nights away in the Peak and Lake Districts camping, abseiling, cooking, walking and enjoying some downtime before the new term started. Since then we’ve visited the Palmers Green Mosque, entered teams into the London Monopoly Run and spent the day volunteering at the May Day Fair on Southgate Green.
On the 22nd April there were 6 Hatters at Windsor in the GLN contingent of Queen’s Scouts on parade (very proud of them all!). We hope to have a conveyer belt of Queen’s Scouts fed from the success we have of producing Platinum and Diamond Award achievers who are continuing to dominate County awards evenings.
We’ve recently celebrated International Women’s Day and International Day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, disability awareness; we’ve enjoyed the District’s Gt. George’s Activity Day, been to play paintball again, discussed knife, violent crime and drugs with a member of the Metropolitan Police are working towards both of our summer camps.
Alongside the main programme, there has been an awful lot of work put in to Peru planning, preparation and fundraising. We fly to Peru on the 28th July and to date have raised over £50,000. The fundraising has included everything from grants, begging, selling hot dogs, working for donations, a barn dance, curry night, wine tastings, 80s disco, bag packing, more bag packing, cake sales, carol singing, a Christmas Fair, selling Christmas Trees and a lot more.
The leader team have been on additional training courses, planned relentlessly along with the patrol leaders and we spent a weekend together in March bringing everyone up to speed, training for the expedition and getting some much needed time together. It has been incredibly hard work and we haven’t boarded the plane yet.