Testwood Celebrates 60 Years with a Groovy Camp

We may have changed our name and look many times over. But it has been sixty years since we started providing the young people of Testwood with skills for life, friendship and serving our community.

From the beginning in 1962 as the 23rd Romsey, to the decades we spent being the 5th New Forest North and now to today as the 5th Testwood in the New Forest district, our core aim has always been the same. And what better way to celebrate sixty years of service than a sixties themed event to bring everyone together.

Groovy Group Camp, held last weekend at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre, brought together all members of our group young and old for a weekend of adventures, friendship and new experiences. The highlight was our Saturday afternoon when past volunteers from the group were invited along for a shared activity and to celebrate past achievements together.

A weekend of adventures

Over an extended weekend, activities were packed into every moment. Kicking off on Thursday evening when our Scout Troop came out to start pitching their tents , the camp came together throughout Friday. As our Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorers, numbering around 70, arrived on Friday evening they settled in with a wide game. The next morning, our Beaver Scouts joined in the fun. For many it was their first taste of camp but didn’t have to wait long until the fun began.

Throughout Saturday our Scouts enjoyed high ropes, archery, climbing, rafting, tomahawk throwing and more. Too many highlights to mention, it brought our Scouts out of their comfort zone in the great outdoors. As the afternoon’s sunshine blazed, we were joined by past members of the group to share stories of the past and take part in a giant collage game. Plus, the biggest birthday cake the group has ever seen! The day was topped off with a campfire surrounded by friends before bed.

While Sunday was damper, it didn’t dampen the spirits of our young people. Cooking on a campfire, abseiling, pond dipping among others was on the agenda while our army of volunteers took the camp down. Tired but fulfilled, our Scouts went home with new memories while our leaders finished with the camp kit. It may have taken several days to dry out, but our first Group Camp in five years was worth it.

A moment to celebrate

Kerie Wallace (L), being presented his Silver Wolf by Martin Rudd.

For a number of our volunteers, the camp provided another milestone in their Scout journey. After so long, a number of our volunteers were invested at camp. Congratulations to Andy Hunt, James Cook, Katrina Seddon, Vicky Saunders-Simes, Scott Lambert and Justin Oakley.

On Saturday afternoon, Kerie Wallace was surprised with a visit from Deputy County Commissioner Martin Rudd and District Chair Donna Kerrigan to present him with the Silver Wolf, the highest award for good service offered by the Scouts. A fitting award for a volunteer who has served the group loyally for so long.

There’ll be one lasting memory of the camp yet to appear in our headquarters – a mural of handprints of those who attended the camp which will soon be installed for all to see.

Fun for our adults too:

One final legacy of the camp for us may be this. A number of parent volunteers chipped in and helped us out at camp for the first time. The feeling from them all was of an amazing event that was so fun to be at. Maybe this will be their first taste of the excitement that volunteering with the Scouts can offer. True what they say, Scouting is good for you.