The weekend of 4-6 March 2016 was filled with total chaos as hordes of Cubs descended on the Table Bay Rover Den! Ok, so it wasn’t that crazy – we were lucky enough to work with 11 Leaping Wolf candidates (10 year girls and boys completing the final phase of their Cub training before heading to Scouts) from packs in Blaauwberg, Edgemead, Milnerton, Monte Vista and Table View. These Cubs would be spending the weekend working with the Rover volunteers through a diverse range of skills and activities – from knotting and first aid, to learning to grow their own food.
The Friday evening started off with the Cubs being introduced to the Rovers (who were quickly all given nicknames) and divided into small groups that they would be doing some of the activities in. These groups were then taken outside and taught the basics of building a survival shelter and told how to use their resources sparingly. They were then given spars, string and plastic sheets to use to make their own survival shelters, which they would be sleeping in for the whole weekend. These shelters had to be durable enough to survive the harsh conditions of our Milnerton Rover den, such as unexpected pop-up sprinklers and the morning coastal wind.
Once their survival shelters were complete, the very proud and enthusiastic Cubs quickly brought their bedding back inside. Here they were given their ‘Leaping Wolf Logbooks’ which outlined all of their requirements and also gave them spaces to write in their experiences. We then got the kids filled up with hot chocolate and popcorn, and allowed them to watch a kids movie on the projector before evicting them to their survival shelters for the night.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, our Rovers were awoken by the still energetic and bubbly 10-year-olds. Despite a few of the shelters being more lopsided than originally intended, the Cubs nevertheless were proud that they had braved the night – and had plans to make their shelters even better for night 2. The Rovers helped the Cubs repair their shelters, and in small groups the kids were brought inside to learn how to safely use gas equipment and then to cook their own toast, beans and eggs. Once all tummies were full, Cubs were instructed to get their hiking bags ready for a day out, once bags were packed, and the Rovers had checked everyone was safely provisioned, we set off to our first stop.
Stop 1 was the Koeberg Nature Reserve, where we were sadly met with some rather miserable cold weather. Yet, the Rovers and Cubs pushed onward and completed the Grysbok hiking trail, learning about how a nuclear power station works and what all the different bits of an electrical distribution network do. They also got to experience first-hads some of the damage done by the recent Koeberg fires, and learn about the threats faced by habitats, and why nature reserves are important. The Cubs were given the chance to navigate the hike for themselves, with Rovers assisting them with orientating the map, pointing out dangers and telling them how to handle getting lost. After the hike, we took the Cubs to Eerstesteen of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve to braai their lunches without the use of utensils.
After lunch, the rain began to subside, and the Cubs were taken to Intaka Island. Here they would learn to appreciate the importance of water resources, and how natural wetlands play an important role in removing pollutants. They were given a variety of recyclable materials to use to construct their own waterscopes, which they could use to tool at organisms living below the waters surface. Finally, it was time to bring some very tired Cubs back to the rover den. Here they were given a nice warm supper, and once they were rested up, their small groups were taken aside by the overs to be taught some practical Scouting skills, particularly using a compass, knot tying and first aid. After a long day, some thoroughly exhausted, yet satisfied Cubs crawled into their shelters to call it a night.
Sunday morning came around, and this time it was the Rover who were up early and did the morning wake-up-call. Today for breakfast the Cubs were required to make boiled eggs and oats using a ‘conservation stove’, a small burner made from wire and a recycled coffee and baked beans can that has the advantage of being able to burn consistently using only small sticks and pine needles.These breakfasts were made rather quickly and tastily. After cleaning up and dismantling the shelters, the Cubs did a few more activities with the Rovers. These included learning ground-to-air emergency signals, making a portable knotting display from recycled goods and learning jungle dances (based on the Cubs ‘Jungle Book’ theme). They were then treated to a nutritious lunch.
After lunch, we did the final big activity with the kids – work towards the Food For Life Badge. This badge encouraged kids from all walks of life in SA to learn about sustainable food gardening practices, and encourages the kids to respect where their meals come from. Each Cub was given a plot of ground to cultivate themselves, and they learned all the skills required, from mixing the correct fertilizer and soil ratios to using a mulch to conserve water. Every Cub was then allowed to pick a few different vegetables to grow in their plot, and learned to grow a mix from seedlings and directly from seeds. This activity seemed to get the most excitement from the kids, and we promise to pose regular update photos of your veggies here.
It was finally time to end off a tiring, yet successful weekend! The Cubs each got to go home with 5 badges, and each Rover got to take home some memories of the smiles we put on those young faces. We would like to thank Devon, Nathan, Shanet, Damon, Matthew, Peter, James, Ruxandra, Darren, Wesley and Vanessa for giving up time on their weekend to work with the Cubs, the good people on Freecycle for providing much of the recycled materials used for these activities and of course the parents who take an active role in their kids lives, leading them to be awesome little ones we were privileged to work with. Thanks!
The next Leaping Wolf Weekend will be hosted in Q4 2016. If you or you company would like to assist or get involved, please contact us.