www.discoveryscouts.co.za

 

Cederberg 2008

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Roodepoort Record   January 23, 2009  

By WESLEY WOOLF 

Discovery — Nine boys from the First Discovery Scout Group participated in a grueling 10 day hike through the Cederberg wilderness as part of the Cederberg Senior Scout Adventure.

The event saw these senior scouts aged between 15 and I8 years trekking through the treacherous and yet exquisitely beautiful mountain terrain from 9 to 20 December whilst carrying 20kg backpacks.

The youngest member of the troop, Nicholas Francis explains. “We would begin walking early in the morning. At about 11am the temperature would reach almost 40 degrees Celsius and we would find a place to rest.

Sometimes we would only arrive at the next base at about 8pm. Food pickups were scheduled approximately once every three days”.

Despite the challenges, Francis commented that none of the troop had wanted to quit even though there were two injuries.

Senior scout, Kent Jennings walked through shin splints, whilst Terence Vrugtman persevered in spite of a injury to both his knees, explaining that the beautiful scenery and being with his troop had to motivated him to walk through the pain.

The boys summated the two highest peaks of the Cederberg — Tafelberg and Sneeuberg.

They also learnt new skills ranging from marksmanship to astronomy.

Vrugtman likened the experience to initiation, “In many ways, we went there as boys and learnt to take responsibility for ourselves during those 10 days.

I mean, if something goes wrong, you are on your own”.

Something did go wrong when a Namibian boy, who also participated in the hike, fell about 10 meters, tearing ligaments around his ribs and hurting his back.

“We splinted his back in order to prevent it from bending.

“We then helped him down very slowly to the base of the mountain where he could receive treatment,” said Vrugtman.

Upon completing the programme, the First Discovery troop was one of only a few troops to receive the “extreme” badge for all members completing the Cederberg Adventure without anyone dropping out. This is a feat not achieved by many scouts due to the treacherous terrain covered and the physical demands made on scouts.

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The history of the Cederberg adventure 

Roodepoort — One evening during 1968 Cohn Ingles, then the Cape Western Divisional Com missioner, called a meeting of a selected group of Commissioners and Scouters to discuss methods of stemming the loss of 15- and 16-year-old scouts, usually before they obtained their 1st Class Badge. 

He felt that once scouts had reached 16 years of age, troop activities, except in a few of the better troops, were no longer an adventure for that age group and consequently left the movement.  He said this not only lost the opportunity to develop scouts to their full potential but also lost candidates who could be trained for an adult position once they had reached their 18th birthday. 

He suggested that the Division should hold an adventurous event for 16 year olds of 1st class level which would be the “cherry on top” of the scout’s career and hopefully would be an incentive for the seniors to remain on till their 18th birthday. 

 

 

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