Following the success of our trial Leaping Wolf Advancement Weekend run earlier this year, on the weekend of 21-23 October 2016 we again invited Cubs from all over Cape Town to the Table Bay Rover Den for a weekend of fun, learning and adventure! This time around the event was attended by 17 10-year-olds from Cub Packs in Bergvliet, Blaauwberg, Constantia, Edgemead, Milnerton and Table View. These Cubs, as well as our Rovers and volunteers from the respective packs, would be spending the weekend working through a wide range of skills – including first aid, environmental awareness, cooking and gardening.
Friday night is traditionally a fun night, with a program designed to give the kids an opportunity to get to know each other and the volunteers, and get comfortable with the idea of being away from their families for the weekend. The Cubs were grouped together, so that they would have partners to work with for many of the activities – and in these groups were given some small tasks to do, such as putting together personal first aid kits they would carry throughout the weekend, and playing some icebreaker games. Cubs then had to learn how to provide their own shelter for a comfortable night outdoors – half the group would be learning to pitch a tent for themselves, and the other group would be building makeshift shelters using only rocks, rope and a tarpaulin (the roles were reversed on the second night). These shelters would need to be watertight and windproof – a challenge the kids were eager to attempt!
With the tents and shelters proudly erected, and bedding comfortably prepared, the Cubs were provided with their own ‘Leaping Wolf Logbook’, which outlined the requirements that each child would be working through for their badges – and had spots where they would be given stickers to paste inside once done. The Cubs were then allowed to watch a movie, enjoy some popcorn and cocoa and were finally put to bed in their tents and shelters for what would turn out to be a surprisingly comfortable night!
On Saturday morning we were greeted by some lovely rain, necessitating some changes to our daily plan. Cubs quickly packed up their tents and shelters – those who had spent the night in a tent were then sent to prepare their breakfasts using only a conservation stove. The other group, the shelter Cubs, enjoyed a quick breakfast inside and then began a bunch of activities with the volunteers, including making crafts from recyclable goods and learning how to treat a person with a bleeding wound. Later activities that the Cubs all took part in included learning knots, by being hoisted up to the Dens roof in harnesses they made themselves, and how to purify water with a DIY water filter. Cubs were also instructed in our Food for Life programme, where they were taught how to make their own compost, grow plants in a water-wise way and were eventually allowed to plant their own fruit and vegetables in our community vegetable garden. There was then time for some lunch, with Cubs being taught how to cook meat over a fire without utensils, using only things found in nature.
After lunch the weather had cleared up nicely, and it was time to take the Cubs on their outing. Cubs were taught about how to prepare for nature walks and hikes – skills such as how to correctly pack a bag, and the correct info to tell their parents before leaving. The walking route would be from Rietvlei, along Sunset Beach to the Milnerton Lighthouse. Along the way, cubs were presented with some interesting challenges, such as treating a drowning victim and navigating themselves using compasses and street maps. Back at the Den, tired Cubs finished up some of their requirements for the day, dried their wet boots by the fire and enjoyed some supper prepared by the Rovers. After supper, it was again time to set up shelter – this time with the tent and shelter groups switched – and some very exhausted kids had an early night.
Bright and early the kids were up to prepare their breakfasts. After a few quick morning activities, such as a first aid emergency scenario, it was time for them all to get into their uniforms and head off to Intaka Island. Here they were given a tour by Intaka Island staff, exploring the rich biodiversity of the aquatic wetland systems, and being taught about how fragile this ecosystem is and how humans affect it and can protect it. The kids then made ‘water scopes’ using recycled material, that would allow them to look below the water surface and see the creatures and fishes not normally visible to us. Following this, the Cubs were taught about various ways that recycling can be done on a larger scale, such as treating black-water, processing recyclable textiles and using aquaculture to grow vegetables.
Back at the Den, our volunteers spent some one-on-one time with the kids, passing off some final core scouting skills, such as following a trail of nature signs to learning to tie a Fishermans knot. Stickers were quickly updated in the Cubs logbooks, and after a lovely lunch, it was time for parents to come collect some very tired, grubby, and fulfilled kids! The Cubs got to go home with 5 interest badges, and also completed a big portion of their Leaping Wolf Badge – a Cubs final challenge before being old enough to join Scouts.
We’d like to thank everyone involved in making this weekend possible: Shanet & Devon for coordinating and planning the event; Peter for being our full-time volunteer; Sharon, Charmaine, Wesley, Tracey, Danielle and Darren for volunteering with activities and assisting with transport and Damon and Damian of Intaka Island. Watch this space for info on our 2017 events