Thursday, July 25, 2024

Celebrating 50 years of The Ockendon Scout and Guide Group

In February 1962, the Ist Ockendons Group was formed by Roger and Olive Clay and Bob Fall, who were eager to progress Scouting in Ockendon. The Group consisted at that time of a Wolf Cub Pack, Scout Troop and Senior Scout Troop and as there was no HQ at that time, the Cubs met in the Village Hall and the Scouts and Senior Scouts met in Mardyke School. However, with the help of a few willing parents, it wasn’t long before the new Group was able to meet in their own Headquarters, built in a garden to the rear of Nelson Road.

In 1971, the Scout sections were joined by Brownies and Guides all meeting in Nelson Road. In 1973, a new Headquarters was opened in Quince Tree Close and although the Scouts continued to meet in Nelson Road, it gave extra resources and space as the Group expanded. After two fires at the Quince Tree Close HQ, the Group was given land in Tamarisk Road and this is when the fantastic facility that we have today was built.

The Group has developed over the years and gone from strength to strength adapting to the times and starting up new sections when numbers and leadership time would permit. Today over 180 youngsters from 5 – 25 years are members of the Group, we have over 30 Leaders and Assistants giving up their time voluntarily and we have a great network of parents and helpers providing support and resources too.

The following is a brief history of how the Group has developed over the last 50 years. Scouts: 1962

Scouting began way back in 1907 when Baden Powell decided to give boys the chance to experience some of the excitement and challenges he had enjoyed during his years in the army. A few years later in 1910, Baden Powell decided that girls, who were also flocking to join, shouldn’t be in Scouts and the Girl Guide movement was born with Baden Powell’s sister Agnes as Chief Guide. Both movements have been separate since, although they work closely together.

Our Scout troop was set up in 1962, and along with the Cub pack and some Senior Scouts, was the beginning of the Ockendon Scout & Guide Group. Our motto is Be Prepared and we have a promise and law. We have 32 Scouts in our Troop at the moment.

Cubs: 1962

In 1916, a new section for the younger brothers of Scouts started, it was called Wolf Cubs, which in 1967 changed to Cub Scouts. In 1962, when our Group began, we had one Wolf Cub pack, but in 1973 we increased numbers and we formed two packs, Apollo & Cherokee. We also had great Football Teams, did Bob a Job, wore shorts and had a Cub cap. We are much more up-to-date now. Like the Scouts our motto is Be Prepared and we do a good turn everyday.

Brownies: 1971

Brownies started in Ockendon in the 1960’s under the name of 5th South Ockendon Brownies. In 1971, along with the Guides, we met in the HQ in Nelson Road. We then moved to Quince Tree Close where the Brownie Pack grew so big, another pack was opened, under the name of 7th South Ockendon Brownies in 1973. As numbers fell, 5th South Ockendon pack was closed and the girls all moved to 7th South Ockendon Pack. Our uniform has changed over the years from the old brown dress with yellow tie and brown beret and in 1990 was changed by Jeff Banks to incorporate a much more modern feel. In 2002, it was changed again by fashion designer Ally Capellino. It’s collection of mix-and-match items has moved with the times to what you see today. We are still going strong today and now have 32 Brownies in our pack, aged 7 – 10 years old.

Guides: 1971

Guides also started early in Ockendon and were known as the 5th South Ockendon Guides. In 1971, along with the Brownies, we met at Nelson Road and we all (young people and adults) started to think of ourselves as the Ockendon Scout and Guide Group. Our uniforms also changed like the Brownies and Rainbows and are much more modern and suitable for our active lifestyle. This year, we changed our name to 1st Ockendon Guides so we are all the same as the Scout sections. We now have 19 Guides aged 10 to 14 years old. The Guides can still work on a range of badges and “Go For It” challenges. The highest award that Guides can achieve is the Baden Powell Award. We also have a Promise and Law the same as Rangers and our Leaders.

Venture Scouts: 1980

In 1967, Venture Scouts replaced the Rover Scouts and Senior Scout sections and we got a smart modern, uniform. However we didn’t start Venture Scouts in Ockendon until 1980 when older Scouts started a Unit named Merino. Venture Scouts became the first section in the British Scout movement to accept female members in 1976. Venture Scouts age range was from 15 1/2 years to 21 years (which caused all sorts of problems for those who were old enough to drink!)

We could also attain our Venture Award, Queens Scout Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, the most prestigious awards in the movement and at Ockendon we managed to get a few of all of these. Venture Scouts wore the same uniform as Leaders but could choose from a brown tie or group/unit/district scarf. Venture Scouting was at its strongest in the 1980s when it became quite fashionable to be ‘in a unit’. Sadly Venture Scouts came to a close in 2003 when scouting reorganised and our newest Sections, Explorer Scouts and the Scout Network were born. Still, Venture Scouting will be missed by all who were in it, not least because that’s when we all ‘became of age’!!

Rangers: 1981

Rangers are part of what is known as Guiding’s “Senior Sections”, along with Young Leaders, Young Guiders and Look Wide members, amongst others. Rangers can join from 14 years and can stay on until 26 years. We have lots of awards we can go for, but the most prestigious are the Queens Guide Award and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. Our Ranger Unit is just getting going again and we are all excited and keen to make it work as well as having a good time.

Beavers: 1985 Beavers started in Ockendon in 1985 and have been going strong since. In 2010, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary and we had lots of parties and fun. Our motto is also Be Prepared but in Beavers we also have another one – Fun and Friends, and at Ockendon we are very good at both!

Rainbows: 2005

Fed up with our older brothers and sisters having all the fun we joined Rainbows which was started at Ockendon by Jacqui Kitchenham in 2005. Our uniform had recently changed in 2004, so we decided to wear the new uniform you see today not the coloured tabard. As you can see, we sew our badges straight on to our uniform to show everyone what fun we have at Rainbows. We have lots of Rainbows aged 5 to 7 in our unit. Rainbows are 25 years old this year and we are having a big party and a new badge.

Explorers: 2007

Explorer Scouts were created in 2003, along with the Scout Network for 18-25 year olds, and are different from Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in that we report into a District structure rather than a Group. Initially our Unit, Pyxis, was based at Belhus Park we moved to the Ockendons HQ in 2007. Our age range is 14 to 18 years. The aim of the section is to provide a flexible and active Scouting programme for adolescents, with an emphasis on personal challenge and adventure.

The Explorer Scout section follows on from the Scout section, and is in turn followed by Scout Network. Although we are District organised, Explorer Scouts are expected to participate in “linking” activities with local Scout Groups and may forge close links with one or more Groups. The section also runs a Young Leader programme which provides Explorers with leadership skills which they can use to help with the younger sections.

Explorer Scouts are able to attain the Queen’s Scout Award, which is the highest Scouting Award for young people in The Scout Association, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

The Ockendon Scout and Guide Group is proud to serve the youth of Ockendon and beyond, and we look forward to doing so for many years to come.

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