The largest youth gathering on the island of Ireland took place over the last four days at Stormont Castle.
Up to 1,000 Scouts aged 12 to 15 years came together to take part in Scouting Ireland’s annual ‘Phoenix’ All-Ireland Scoutcraft Competition.
The ‘Phoenix’ challenge is a Scout craft competition designed to test the skills of Scouts for real-life situations and challenges. It is the largest annual gathering of Scouts with up to 84 patrols of ten Scouts from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland participating. Staff numbers exceeded 100 with another 150 leaders and supporters on hand.
The event started on Thursday and Patrols spend much of that day constructing campsites which would become their homes for the next four days. Each patrol erected their tents which included sleeping, dining and store tent along with many pioneering style gadgets to hold their pots and pans, table ware, cutlery along with constructed tables with seats attached.
It is always a hive of activity, well organised after weeks of training. For many scouts it can be very much a learning curve to take part in activities at the highest level.
Friday and Saturday saw the Patrols participate in an action packed programme of team and skill challenges including building large pioneering structures, rafting, emergency situations, mapping projects, backwood skills and general team building challenges.
The Chief Scout Christy McCann was on hand on Saturday afternoon to be interviewed and filmed by the Press with the backdrop of Stormont. It was a major public relations exercise for Scouting Ireland for the competition to take place in such a prestigious location.
The Groups representing the Cork Counties were, Lee Valley County - 4th Cork (Ss. Peter & Paul’s) and 49th Cork (Ballincollig). South County – 2 nd Cork (Ballyphehane) and 2nd /6th /47th 93 rd Cork (Douglas/St. Fin Barre’s). Cork North – 24th /65th Cork (Charleville), 18th /19th Cork (Fermoy), 44th /52nd /64th Cork (Mallow) and 54th Cork (Kilworth). Cois Laoi County - 46th /92nd Cork (Glanmire), 80th Cork (Little Island) and 118th Cork (Watergrasshill).
CARRIGALINE CUB SCOUTS GO FOR CHIEF SCOUT AWARD
As part of their Chief Scout Award, the Cub Scouts of the 55th Cork (Carrigaline), Ciara Forde, Isabelle Jackson, Stephen O'Donovan, Cadhla O'Connor, Aidan Brady, Will Milner, James Watson, Aaron Clarke and Eoin O'Keeffe ran a number of fundraising activities including a Cake Sale, a Raffle and organised a collection of dried/tinned food.
They had many tasks to complete which included a 20km hike, developed a new skill, took up a new physical activity, worked with the local tidy towns group and kept a log of all their activities. With the money and goods raised they donated to the following charities, Marymount Hospice, CUH Children’s Ward, Down Syndrome Field of Dreams, Irish Guide Dogs and Penny Dinners.
They had the support throughout of their leaders, Karen Lucas, Greg Sloan, Sinead Meehan, John McNulty, Amy Brett, Rebecca O'Neill and Susan Cunningham. Well done to all.
Huge congratulations go to Beaver Leader Máire Fitzgerald from the 109 th Cork (Ballinora) who was awarded a Silver Regional European Award at the World Scout Conference in Baku. Last April Máire was the guest speaker at Scouting Ireland’s National Council Meeting at the RDS attended by over 1,000 delegates. Máire was elected to the Youth Advisory Council in 2014 at the World Scout Conference in Slovenia.
The final plans for Ventact South 2017 are now being put in place. The event which is Ireland’s largest joint Scout & Guide event will take place in Kilcully Scout Campsite on the 1st of September to the 3rd of September 2017.
Ventact is a joint activity weekend run by the Joint Committee for Scouts & Guides and is aimed at the Senior Sections of Scouting and Guiding. This year due to record numbers bookings have been closed early as all activity places have been filled.
This year will see the Venture Scouts, Rangers and Senior Branches take part in activities all over Cork City and County, from Water skiing behind Carrigadrohid dam in the west to East Cork Outdoor Adventures in the East and Ballyhass Lakes in the North to Kinsale OEC in the South.
On the participants return to Kilcully there will be a reflection with a Scouts & Guides Own followed by the Ventact themed Disco, Shrek is this year’s chosen theme. Kilcully Scout Campsite has also been preparing for the camp by installing new water storage tanks with its newly finished toilet blocks for large capacity weekends. The Joint Committee of Scouts & Guides and the Ventact South Sub Committee looks forward to welcoming everyone to Kilcully Scout Campsite.