At the end of last year Peter Statham, our Troop Scouter for many years, was promoted to Commissioner, which made way for our Troop's first ever female TS, Ingrid Webster. Peter has served this Troop with passion and a level of skill that other troops envy. We thank him for his many years of dedication and wish him well in his new post. Ingrid has filled Peter's shoes admirably and she too comes with a wealth of experience.

We hope to retain Ingrid for many years to come.

We lost the services of two of our Assistant Troop Scouters being Terry Walsh and Michael Fourie, who both moved onto other challenges and we wish them well in their new endeavours. In their place we have welcomed Francois Visser, a Springbok Scout, which adds to our skills level and Alan Roper who will also go into uniform next year. We trust they will be richly rewarded for their contribution to scouts and our Troop.

Our Group has seen a quantum leap in growth this year. The Pack is now in the mid 20's and the Troop is close to 40. Attendances have been good, which suggests that weekly programmes are stimulating and fun. The challenge in this movement, which includes children from varying ages, is to provide knowledge under one roof to all levels of skill without losing the attention of anyone in a stimulating, fun environment. This is not always possible but the scouting system is designed to accomplish it and when members achieve their levels of advancement, it becomes evident that we are getting it right. Advancement in this organisation the life blood of a scout's reason for belonging to scouts. It is important for children to want to achieve their Pathfinder, Adventurer, First Class and Explorer. Apart from the skills learnt, they will leave the movement one day with a sense of achievement and be prepared to meet adult life and its challenges. Although we as Scouters constantly prod them, parents are urged to encourage their children to determine what is required in completing the different levels.

In previous addresses I have laboured the value of attending badge courses. These take scouting to a higher level in both skills development and enjoyment. It seems my perseverance has not gone unheeded. This year we had 2 members attend the prestigious PLTU course viz. Courtney Kemp and Ryan Burns and 4 attended the precursor course being the PLTC viz. Brandon De Vos, Matthew Timm, Caleb Ashley Cooper and Romano Cigano. Other courses attended were Canoeist (3), Sailing (3), Airmanship (2), Pioneers (2), Mapping, Cooks (2), Backwoods and Boatswain 1 each, achieving a total of 20 courses attended.

The biennial Cederberg Adventure occurs in December this year and once again 1st Durbanville is well represented with 6 of our members attending this gruelling but life changing experience spread over two weeks. Scouts must be 15 years or older to attend and new parents are urged to visit the website to learn about this amazing opportunity, which is attended by scouts from all over South Africa including some overseas scouts.

Our premises have seen many improvements this year thanks to the tireless efforts of Ray Middleton. We have a palisade fence between ourselves and the golf course, which provides a barrier from the local vagrants, the girls toilet is in the process of being upgraded, our camp fire area has been paved and new stacking racks for our Kontiki poles have been constructed to name but a few of the projects that have been undertaken. The entire outside of the hall is to be given a face lift with an imaginative design courtesy of Craig Cockcroft and plans are in the process of being scrutinised for an enclosed braai/entertainment area, which will enable many uses protected from the elements.

In closing, I would like to thank Donnetta McKinley, our outgoing Chairman and her husband Nick for many years of service to our Troop. They have made their home available for many functions such building the Kontiki raft, meetings and social get-togethers and Nick has assisted us countless times with a truck to transport our Kontiki equipment and the replacement of the hall's roof. We will miss the McKinleys who have had all three of their children attend our Troop. My thanks are also extended to the outgoing parent committee for their enthusiastic service to 1st Durbanville.

Finally, I would also like to thank the adult leaders group for their tireless weekly running of meetings and competitions. The Group could not function without their contribution. Thank you Ingrid Webster, Ryan Hultzer, Francois Visser, Dawn Johannson, Adrian Haye, Debbie Pieterse, Paula Roper.


Rob Burns
Group Scouter