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34th/161st Balbriggan scout Group retain County Shield.

Well done to the Stag Patrol from Balbriggan 34th/161st Scout Group on retaining the County Shield again this year. The Patrol led by Mark Sweeney and Ciarán Hannigan had it all to do this year, as they were tasked with the challenge to take their patrol into the competition, which this year was held in Turveyland, Donabate. Our Wolf Patrol did us proud also finishing in fourth position with a silver Standard and have made great in roads into the competition many of the members coming from the Cub Section in recent months, the competition was the same for both patrols

13 Patrols in total from around the county entered the competition from Swords, Brackenstown, Rivervalley, Rush, Lusk, Skerries, Sea Scouts Skerries and Balbriggan and Bremore. The Group have put in endless hours of preparation over a number of weeks on the run up to this event. The event started at 10am on Friday with patrols challenged with building a patrol site, which must be completed by 7pm the that evening. Within this time the patrols must build a full working kitchen area, a dining area and canvas, a cooking and chopping area as well as a Gadget within their stores to which is a working system must be put in place to for food and equipment storage. This was all inspected and adjudicated on the Saturday afternoon all within a 12 metre by 12 metre square site

On Saturday the patrol had to undertake certain challenges which included building Dakota fires, snares and traps, land to air signalling, first aid senarios, as well as building catapults and various other team challenges to test their bond and communication as a group.

Directly after this the Patrol had to cook a 2 course meal on an open fire (built the night before) for this the patrol cooked, all prepared from natural food sources:

  • Starters: Bruschetta with tomato, basil and mozzarella

  • Main: Chicken paella with herbs and sweet chilli

All ingredients were prepared on site and cooked from their basic source (no jarred food)

The patrol then took part in a sketch competition at the campfire which was great fun and lasted a number of hours, with songs, dance and comedy on show.

Over the course of the weekend the Patrol had to keep a log of every stage and look to keep a record of their thoughts and emotions throughout. It also had to keep a record of whom the patrol was made up of and weather and terrain reports as well as who they met and got on with over the weekend.

It was a very nervous Sunday for our Patrol and for the members of the group who were there staffing for the entire weekend. in the end, the Patrol came away with the Bases Trophy, the Cooking Trophy and the Campcraft Trophy as well as the Overall Trophy. they achieved a Gold Standard overall in the competition, the only Patrol to do so. We are very proud of you all.

The Group would like to congratulate Mark Sweeney, Ciaran Hannigan, Calum Wherity, Alex Finnegan, Kevin Dowling, Gerard Cullen, Mark Lynch and Seán Andrews on such a massive achievement. Within the Wolf Patrol Sam Casey, Jack Farrell, Lorcan Byrne, Patrick Ryan, Eoin Moore, Eoin Kenny, Eoin Hannigan and Brendan Forde. Congratulations also must be given to the members of the group who helped prepare the lads from the venture section, Rover section and all the leaders for their continued loyalty and dedication to working and training our young people.

Next for the Patrol is the Phoenix Challenge, which they have now qualified for. The Phoenix Challenge is a national Scout craft competition that takes place at the end of August each year, this year it is in Stormont, Belfast. It is the largest annual gathering of Scouts in Ireland with up to 100 Patrols of eight Scouts from all around the country participating. Patrols represent both their Scout Troop and Scout County, and will have to have qualified for the event by finishing first or second in their Scout County Challenge. The Phoenix is a four day event and while the programme changes from year to year, it will always encompass the major aspects of the Scout programme.

The major sections of the event include the campcraft competition, team and skill challenges, special projects and cooking competition. The event starts on Thursday and Patrols spend much of the day constructing campsites. On both Friday and Saturday the Patrols participate in an action packed programme of team and skill challenges such as building large pioneering structures, rafting, initiative challenges, emergency situations, mapping projects and many more. During the evenings a mixture of fun activities (such as campfires and themed trade fairs) and special projects(such as debating or environmental projects) take place.

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