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Issue 7979 Issue July & August 2013 July & August 2013

From the Courtyard

sac scouts newsletter

From the Courtyard feature of the month

HISTORY COUNTS

What’s on Sept 1-8— SummerCamp (Group)

Dear Parents, please expose your children to history. Last month, I was talking to one of our cubs when the conversation turned to Mdina and it slowly dawned on me that he had yet to be taken to visit the place. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a one-off. I’d give you the statistics, but that would mean a) doing mathematics and b) facing a somewhat unattractive reality. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it pretty close to physically hurts me to have to give an arrow work session to cubs that don’t know that Valetta’s grid-like road system and Mdina’s meandering streets were built like that for a reason. Or that the dome in the Citadella’s cathedral is only painted on from the inside. Now, I wouldn’t dare try to sell myself off as some sort of history buff who spends her days traipsing along to every single historical visit and tour she can find. Far from it. But these places are the sort of places tourists will pay to get to so why, with so many historical spots confined within the perimeter of our tiny island, are there cubs who have not yet been allowed to appreciate their local history? (I keep referring to cubs here because they’re the ones lumped with me. And because young minds are probably best at absorbing the fascinating facts our, or any, history can offer. And because I’d like to assume that this isn’t a problem with the older kids) I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about this however, I’ve come to realise that it was only because I was exposed to local history as a child that I now cling on to any fragment of information I come across. Funny thing is, if you had to bring up my ‘exposure-to-history’ time in conversation you’d learn that I hated it. For a good two years, my mother would, Sunday in, Sunday out, undertake the gargantuan task of hauling my brother and me out of bed at some ridiculous hour. Why, you ask? Well, she insisted on dragging us along to a set of cultural tours that turned out to be every awkward adolescent’s nightmare – early on a Sunday morning, being carted around from location to location on a stuffy coach full of old people, only to reach your destination, disembark and be ranted at by a pedantic, bookish looking person trying to be heard over the voices of Ġanna and Peppa catching up on last week’s gossip. So not cool.


From the Courtyard

HISTORY COUNTS

Issue 79 July & August 2013

Feature of the month

But that was a while ago and looking back, I can now see that my mother did this with a purpose in mind. And, as with most things, not only did said purpose succeed, but she was also right in thinking ahead – but don’t tell her I said so. The tours themselves may not have made for the most captivating and exciting of Sundays however unlike the tedious history lessons in school, I could tune out of the boring bits – battle tactics, names and dates - and actually see history at my fingertips and feet. I was standing inside cart-rut tracks, outlining ship graffiti on chapel walls with my fingers and standing in the middle of Ħaġar Qim in the hope of observing my first ever summer solstice. I was never a particularly scholarly child, so I think I can safely say that pages of print or hours upon hours of history lessons will not ignite your child’s excitement or pride in their country’s history. Take them to it. Let them zip around war shelters, tell them just how old our temples are, and take them to watch history ‘happening’ in as may re-enactments as possible. They might dislike you for dragging them away from their games and gadgets now, but then again there’s a pretty good chance that they might grow up to thank you for teaching them to appreciate the historical treasures which are so accessible but which we so often ignore.

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Emma Gauci Bagheera.


From the Courtyard

GSL’s note

Issue 79 July & August 2013

Sicily trip The members that travelled to Sicily returned on July 20th. The joint activity with Swieqi guides was a huge success and all members enjoyed it greatly. The group enjoyed canoeing at Caccamo lake, high ropes adventures at Petralia, hiking in the Alia region towards the Gurfa caves and swimming at Gole al Cantara gorge. We also visited historical sites such as Caccamo Castle, a Castle in Enna where Spartacus was brought up and trained and another old Arab fort in Sclafani Bagni which provided breath taking views besides the a difficult climb to the top! You'll have the opportunity to read more about the adventures of our members in the logbook attached. Summer camp Summer camp will be held at the Ghajn Tuffieha camping centre between September 1 to the 8th. Campfire will be held on Friday 6th at 2100. Before that we shall be organising our BBQ for parents and friends. Please be at the camp site by 1930. Bookings are available through the

GSL’s note

camp circular or via email on group@sascouts.org. Pasta night Together with my leaders I would like to thank all those parents, members and friends that attended the pasta night we held on July 27th. There were 160 guests but we would have liked to see more former scouts to help in our aim of collecting funds for Cubbie's bust. At the moment we are still around €1500 away from our target. We are planning to hold a reception to unveil the bust on September 28th and further details will be issued in the coming weeks once everything is confirmed. Member movements In the coming weeks some members will be moving sections as they have reached the age to be transferred to the older section. Should parents identify any issues with the younger members such as cubs joining the troop or scouts joining the venture unit please inform us immediately so we can facilitate the transition as much as possible. Not all members adapt to the change easily although we would have prepared them for it. In most cases these changes will take place after summer camp. Activity wear All members should come to meetings wearing their activity t-shirts and scarf. Members must have at least two t-shirts (especially for camp) and for this purpose in order to make things easier on parents we are now selling the t-shirts for €6 each if two are bought at one go instead of €7 each. 3


From the Pack

From the Courtyard

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PACK NIGHT HIKE - 23rd AUGUST

Issue 79 July & August 2013

The last Pack Activity before Summer Camp was the Night Hike. Cubs and leaders met in Xemxija, Pwales on Friday 23rd August at 6.30pm. The hike, which was planned by Kaa and Rama, would cover a 6 km distance from Xemxija to Riviera Bay (Ghajn Tuffieha). Once all the cubs arrived, Akela told the cubs to fall-in, while he informed them about the hike and safety rules. While walking, the cubs are to walk in a line, one behind the other, wear their hi-viz vests, behave under all circumstances and to take care of both themselves and the environment around them. At 7pm we set off with Rama leading the cubs into Pwales Valley. The road was quite smooth and once we reached the last house we walked in the countryside. The road ended at the tip of a small but quite steep hill, which the cubs were told to climb up in a bit of a run. The climb put everyone out of breath and there was one particular cub who was ready to “go home in an ambulance!” We then reached a ledge where we had our first short break. Akela told the cubs to admire the view, which was actually quite pleasant to look at – on one side the sea and boats, whilst on the other side, fields and the sun setting. We set off again and this time walked in a copse (small group of trees). I walked behind the cubs, accompanied by one of the ventures since we had to ensure that none of the cubs lagged behind. It started getting dark and the cubs got out their torches. It was so nice to notice how the cubs get excited with the simplest of things such as shining their own torches. Soon enough, we arrived at Manikata. We stopped at a small playground behind the church. The cubs ate their snacks on picnic benches. They were told not to carelessly discard wrappers and bottles but to throw them away responsibly. Once the cubs finished eating, they played ‘Lighthouse’. Bagheera and Hathi sat at the top of the climbing frame (lighthouse) in the middle of the playground with a torch and counted while the cubs went to hide behind bushes, walls etc. Bagheera and Hathi had to look for the cubs from the lighthouse using the torch and guess who was hidden. Meanwhile, the cubs, although hidden, had to try to reach the lighthouse to win, while making sure they are not caught.


From the Pack

From the Courtyard

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PACK NIGHT HIKE - 23rd AUGUST

Issue 79 July & August 2013

After three rounds of playing Lighthouse, we set off once again. It was pitch dark by now. The cubs were lined up behind each other, whilst the leaders were beside them making sure no cub wandered off. By this time, there were a few cubs who were quite tired. Whilst walking and talking to them, I noticed how some were still so energetic after the walking and games whilst others were ready to collapse. The distance was not very long and we soon were in the vicinity of Radisson Hotel. The cubs got excited once again upon seeing sand and being so close to their destination – Riviera Bay. We passed from the campsite and walked up the hill going down to Golden Bay. We walked to the long staircase leading to Riviera Bay and we climbed down, finally reaching the sandy beach. Down at the beach, it was time for the sand-building competition. The respective Sixes had to construct sea-turtles using sand and their imagination. Meanwhile, the leaders had to watch the subs ensuring that everything was under control. The cubs were quite creative and each six came up with original ideas to construct the turtle. When the time was up, the leaders had to check


From the Pack

From the Courtyard

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PACK NIGHT HIKE - 23rd AUGUST

out the six sea-turtles and decide on the winner. Akela told the cubs to fall-in, while he told the cubs the much -awaited results. He started off by saying that all the turtles were very original. Well-done to all Sixes! The best turtle was constructed by the Yellows and they were awarded 20 points. The leaders also decided to award the Blues 10 points for constructing the most creative turtle. At 10.30, after a long and tiring climb up the Riviera Bay steps, it was time for the parents to start arriving. How nice it was to hear the exciting chatter of 28 cubs as they recounted to their parents all they had passed through during what was, to some of them, their very first night adventure away from home! Written by: Julia Psaila

Issue 79 July & August 2013


From the Courtyard

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Issue 79 July & August 2013

OPERATION ‘DLAM CAPPA’ On the 12th July the troop met up at St. Sebastian church in Qormi for what now has become a yearly tradition, Operation Dlam Ċappa. All geared up and ready to go the troop set foot to the Southern part of Malta, and by sunset they had already reached the Luqa airport. After passing by a couple of great landings and admiring the planes sitting in their parking lot, the next check point was Siggiewi.

From the Troop

The Senior Patrol Leaders Daniel and Matthew together with Michael and Ian’s help led the way to Qrendi church, were they all had a well deserved break and fueled up for the last walk to Zurrieq Campsite. After passing by the stunning valley of Zurrieq, the troop arrived at the scout’s campsite in Zurrieq. Here they took off their gear and started setting up the sleeping arrangements. At around 2 in the morning everyone was fast asleep… little did we know what awaited us. At exactly 5 in the morning, (I know cause I checked the time), all most everyone was awaken up by the cock-a-doodle-doo from a rooster which ran off its farm. This went on for the whole morning, just exactly what we needed after a whole night of walking.

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All dazed, some with a huge headache, we all made our way to the Zurrieq church in the morning to go home and get some proper rest. Looking back I realized that we will always remember this particular night hike, thanks to that rooster, and in a very weird and annoying way, it was the focal point of the whole activity.


From the Courtyard

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Issue 79 July & August 2013

OPERATION 'AFTER SUN'

From the Troop

The first activity of the summer months in the past couple of years has always been an afternoon at the beach, this year it was no exception. On the 6th July, a week after most scouts finish off their school we all met up at Golden Bay to spent an afternoon at the beach, have fun, play games and host the Sand Castle Competition. After squeezing ourselves between hundreds of tourists, foreign students and Maltese people who seem to carry have their houses with them, we managed to put down our stuff and run to the water to cool off. Swimming races were organized from one buoy to another, and Gerald Sammut clearly stood out from the rest and actually beating one of the leaders Bernard Maniscalco. Then we all went up to grab a bite, some of whom went to buy an ice-cream from the kiosk nearby. We then went down to swim again and played around passing Frisbees and balls to each other. There were times when bystanders were forced to join in the game‌ but let’s not talk about that.

Then came the sand castle competition, were the scouts were divided in three groups and they each had to build a structure. The first team opted for an Ipad complete with the headphones attached to it, the second built a huge fort with towers guarding the main building and lastly the third team did a last minute life-size mermaid following the disas8


From the Troop

From the Courtyard

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SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Issue 79 July & August 2013

ter they had with the meteorite hit the city. All in all the team who built the Ipad won the competition, based on originality, time penalties and most importantly teamwork. A wave came by and destroyed the Ipad just in time for the parents to pick-up their children.


From the Courtyard

HOW TO BUILD A TREBUCHET

Issue 79 July & August 2013

On Wednesday 3rd July the Venture Unit undertook the massive task of building a 6m to 8m tall structure and afterwards staying over the night at headquarters. This activity was chosen by Jamie Maistre, but the original plan was to have two teams build a trebuchet each and battle each other by throwing water balloons at each other. However, it was decided to change it and just make one big structure between everyone. The first 15 to 20 minutes were dedicated to making a plan for the trebuchet. A trebuchet is a device used in the middle ages and has the same function as a catapult but is different in structure. The idea to it was that the structure had to swing without any human help but with just the release of a rope, and also the power of the toss comes from the use of a weight. Unfortunately, not a lot of attention was given in the planning stage which lead to certain problems along the way.

From the Unit

We immediately started as we all wanted to see the trebuchet in action. Everyone grabbed a rope and started helping to create the A-frames for the structure which would be the most important part as it is what holds the whole thing up. After finishing the A-frames, we all realised how tall the trebuchet was going to be and it started looking dangerous to hold these things up. To help in holding the frames up, we measured the base and made a base plate so to position the frames and tie them to the corners. However this wasn't enough, and thanks to the good advice by the Quartermaster, Gabe, we added more support by tying a spar on each side diagonally. As Luke and Albert were holding the whole structure up on the ladder, they seemed to be struggling and to prevent any injuries and the whole thing crashing down we decided to use guy ropes to add more support and to hold it up if it decides to fall. The next thing to do was the throwing arm and we planned to use a barrel full of water as the weight. After filling the barrel with a good amount of water we started to tie it to the arm and after securing it to the arm, the leaders pointed out that due to our poor planning the arm would not swing due to how the structure was built and that it is extremely dangerous to carry a 8m long arm with a barrel filled with water. A momentous decision had to take place whether to continue or just dismantle and stop. It was by then 1 in the morning and everyone was tired, but we did not want all our hard work to go to waste so we tried to see in what way we could make it work, but after a while and due to the time we decided to drop it and go straight to dismantling. With the arrival of Matthew Spiteri and Andre Causon, the dismantling did no t take long and after clearing up we took a well deserved rest which we all deserved. The rest of the night we stayed up playing games and relaxing until one by one people started to go to sleep. Nearly everyone went to sleep except a few who stayed up all night and even went on the roof to see the sun rise. The next morning was spent clearing up everything and putting everything in place, by 12 in the morning everyone left HQ. By Jamie Maistre

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From the Courtyard

HOW TO BUILD A TREBUCHET

Issue 79 July & August 2013

From the Unit

Defeat not being an option at SAC Unit, and having learnt the lesson of the 6 Ps (Previous PLANNING Prevents Piss Poor Performance), on Wednesday 17th July, some members of the Unit tried their hand at building the Trebuchet again.

Having scaled down the project to a safer and easier to operate size things soon started to look better, particularly when we discovered the use of an inch tape to make the A frames the same size! Realizing that nobody really knew how a Medieval Trebuchet actually worked, we quickly conducted some historical research (thankyou Google!) and figured out what modifications were needed for it to work. In no time we had the throwing arm fixed in place and, replacing the static weight with some good old muscly pulling power, we were soon lobbing projectiles quite high and far. Being overwhelmed by happiness at having succeeded, we failed to notice that our death machine was aimed straight at the biggest tree at HQ. Therefore as we gradually increased the pulling power on our machine, the projectiles (a bottle and a burst football) were eventually lost in the tree’s branches! This brought our activity (and joy) to an abrupt stop, just in time for dinner. All in all it was a good effort and I am hoping the Ventures learned a couple of valuable lessons for their future: • Planning prevents surprises • Learn from past mistakes • Research as much as you can Andre Brincat VSL

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From the Courtyard

KEEP FIT NIGHT HIKE

Issue 79 July & August 2013

From the Unit

In order to hold one last activity before the upcoming Summer Camp, as well as have a night out, the Venture Unit decided to plan a hike on the night of the 23rd August. The hike was to start off at Xemxija, as coincidentally the Cub Pack was also holding a hike that night, albeit a shorter one than ours. The members of the Venture Unit that took part in this activity were Matthew Zammit, Liam Curmi and David Pace, as well as our new Venture Leader Andre Brincat.

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The hike kicked off at 7.00 pm, and after getting past our first obstacle, namely a short footpath which at points possessed a gradient not a degree under 70, both cubs and leaders settled into a steady walk through some wooded terrain. After around an hour of walking under leafy branches and over soil, we regretfully switched to a more conventional road, naturally with its inevitable tarmacked surface. Reaching civilization once more in the form of a small playground, we let the cubs rest for a short while before continuing our hike in order to reach their final destination, namely Riviera Bay. Leaving the cubs and their leaders to make the descent to the bay itself alone, the four of us took a quick break (and a couple of photos) before continuing the remainder of our trek towards our final destination, which was the Red Tower. Having decided beforehand that we would undertake the trip ‘cross-country’, rather than let ourselves be dictated to by the unadventurous road system in Northern Malta, we started by skirting around the Scout Campsite at GħajnTuffieħa. As an aside, a word of warning for the unwary. Hiking at night through the Maltese countryside is not a walk in the park (if you’ll pardon the pun). Rocks are deceptive things, waiting to trip you should you not pay attention. Thorny plants can (and will) take a perverse pleasure in scratching your legs, knowing you are vulnerable, as the shred of common sense that you have left (which must be admitted, is not much since you agreed to go on the hike in the first place) has told you to wear shorts. Finally, the less said about mosquitoes, the better, as some of us prove more attractive to them than others. Yours truly, unfortunately, counts himself as one of the former, despite taking extreme defensive countermeasures. But I digress…


From the Courtyard

KEEP FIT NIGHT HIKE

Issue 79 July & August 2013

From the Unit

Having traipsed around north western Malta for circa three hours, we were getting close to our eventual destination. However, the last part proved to be the hardest (I believe there is a Maltese expression which sums this up pretty well). Although we had been able to traverse a number of kilometres of rough terrain, the final climb up to the Red Tower provided us with a greater challenge than anticipated. We were met with stretches of steep rocks which involved scrambling up on our hands and knees, and ducking at certain moments to avoid the tree branches that waited above as soon as we crested the rocks. We continued in this fashion for around twenty minutes, and collected an admirable assortment of flora and fauna, storing it in places as diverse as our hair and the exterior of our rucksacks. But all this was forgotten as we reached the top of the hill and proceeded to our destination, gratefully throwing down our rucksacks, and then throwing ourselves down on them. After a few minutes savouring the decadent luxuries of soft rucksacks and hard ground, we split up. Two of us set up the bivouac under which we would sleep, whilst the other two started cooking the food we had brought along with us. The food in question consisted of an ample supply of sausages wrapped in bacon (24 of them, to be precise). Now, many might wish to ask us why we chose such an obviously nutritious and healthy food to take with us on a hike, thereby wasting all the effort of walking in the first place. When we ourselves discover a credible answer, we assure you that you will be the first to know. But again, I must cease my musings. Suffice to say that yes, the sausages are possibly the unhealthiest licensed foodstuffs legally available (although I must admit, with McDonalds and Burger King on the scene it must seem a bit presumptuous of me to suggest so). However, at 3 o’clock in the morning they were also completely and utterly delicious (although we have a shrewd suspicion that their wonderful taste had more to do with their contents and our recent activities, rather than the time of day, or indeed night, at which they were consumed. However, we assure all our dear readers that we shall endeavor to investigate this matter further). The hunger in our stomachs tamed (though never slain), we crawled under our bivouac to savour a few (and I do mean few) hours of sleep. 13


From the Unit

From the Courtyard

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KEEP FIT NIGHT HIKE

Issue 79 July & August 2013

Waking up early next morning to try and avoid the worst of the heat, we quickly dismantled our shelter and repacked everything inside our rucksacks. Bidding a fond farewell to our sleeping area (and a not so fond one to the mosquitos that infested it), we set off down the road (which, as opposed to the previous night’s terrain, was only uneven and without tarmac in some places). We walked to Għadira Bay, where we spent some time in the water, gratefully ridding ourselves of the impressive amounts of dirt and sweat we had accumulated over the last day. Drying ourselves off, we waited for the bus and finally left the area, each of us looking forward to food, showers and bed, though not necessarily in that order.


From the Courtyard

KEEP FIT NIGHT HIKE

Issue 79 July & August 2013

From the Unit

The route of the hike:

The red line is the first part of the hike that we walked with the cubs, from Xemxija (no. 1) to Riviera (no. 2). The green line is the remainder of the hike, from Riviera to the Red Tower (no. 4). Finally, the journey between the Red Tower and Ghadira Bay (no. 5) the next morning rounded off the hike. Matthew Zammit

This activity was the last for a few members of the Unit who will be moving up to the Rover Crew after Summer Camp. So here’s a heartfelt Farewell and Thank you for the fun times and hard work to David, Liam, Luke and Matthew. Zarby, Andre and the rest of the Unit wwish you the Best of luck in your scouting future.

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From the Courtyard

SAC ROVERS DO THEIR DUTY IN REDUCING LOCAL ‘CLAY PIGEON’ POPULATION

Issue 79 July & August 2013

A Note from the writer: please understand that it was predetermined that the winner of the day's event would be "rewarded" with the task of writing this article. Hence I would like to note that this is not an intentional piece of self promotion for the writer's shotgun prowess. On Sunday the 11st of August, the SAC Rover Crew assembled at the Bidnija Shooting range to try their skills with a shotgun against a barrage of fluorescent flying saucers.

From the Crew

Although scouting teaches us to respect nature's lIving creatures, I have yet to come across a scout law that discourages the use of weaponry against ceramics. Obviously no one's mother was willing to sacrifice their fine china for the activity, so instead the task of finding a suitable alternative fell to in house gun enthusiast, Emmanuel Lewis, who brought us to his stomping grounds in Bidnija. After the necessary caffeine certain rovers needed to be able to communicate at a linguistic level greater than that of Neanderthal Man, the group was led down to the "clay pigeon cannon” (Forgive me for not knowing the technical name), where they were given a brief safety demonstration on the day's shotgun of choice. The only problem was that the instructor did not realise the competitive nature of those sitting intently in front of him. For pride's sake I wish I could say that SAC Scout Group Members all excel in every challenge they tackle, but that would be a lie, and scouts don't lie... The competitive nature I mentioned above took place at many levels. First and foremost we had the experienced shooters and glory hungry fighting for first place, we then had our Leader Edward Cassola competing against his wife over dishes and dinner cooking (As well as a marital power struggle which led to many bets for both parties involved) and finally we had those who fought just to avoid last place. For a full overview of the results please refer to the score sheet included. Round after round, everyone took it in turns to show off their marksmanship, or lack of it. With the instructor at their side, every shooter showed different levels of calm, skill and luck as they aimed at the clay pigeons flying into the previously peaceful and scenic valley. The results were either a shower of orange dust particles raining to the ground below, the graceful splitting of the disks in mid flight and in some cases the targets simply continuing on their flight gracefully to the ground as shotgun pellets flew passed them. We put these "misses"

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From the Courtyard

SAC ROVERS DO THEIR DUTY IN REDUCING LOCAL ‘CLAY PIGEON’ POPULATION

Issue 79 July & August 2013

From the Crew

down to sympathy on the part of the shooters who wished to respect the elegant creatures in their natural environment. At the end of the day, egos were bolstered, whilst others were eternally bruised, I won't inflate my own ego any further by straight out telling you who I am, instead I'll just put my name at the end of the article. It would be prudent of me to point out that no living creatures were hurt during this exercise, but that would be lying, and as already mentioned that would be wrong. Sadly, a poor defenseless tree was maimed during the activity, struck down without warning whilst going about it's oxygen producing business, though instead of naming and shaming said tree abuser, I ask you, the reader, to look for the hint left in the aforementioned score sheet. George Zammit Montebello Rover Clay Pigeon Shooting Champion Expert in Humility

Missed clay pigeon

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Maimed tree

From the Courtyard - July & August 2013  

SAC Scout Group Newsletter July & August 2013. Issue 79.

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