Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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12 of 12, March 2016

For this month, the 12th coincided with the official opening day of the annual Scout Guide Regatta, a 3 day event full of rowing, kayaking, sailing and other water-related activities, held down at Snug.

This is the fifth regatta that I’ve attended and we camp on the football oval, ending up in pretty much the same position every year. The oval is the sort of country sports oval where spectators can drive in, and so we can park our cars quite close to our tents. There is, however, one difficulty with this arrangement: the boundary fence between the playing field/our tents and the spectator area/our cars consists of a single metal pole barrier, placed at precisely the right height to make it difficult to leap over/straddle and awkward to limbo under. I fear that there may come a time when I will have to give up Scouts simply because of this fence: my Scout leaderly incompetence will be determined by the fact that I’ll have become too geriatric to manage either manoeuvre.


Although Saturday is the official opening day, almost everyone arrives on Friday night and sets up their camp (we even launched our patrol boats in the dark instead of waiting until today). We now have quite a young troop, with an influx of Cubs and the farewelling of some of our older kids. We had 16 Scouts at the regatta — which is a record for us in recent times — and, of these, 13 were attending their first, which meant some hecticness helping them to participate in all the activities. All the meals for the regatta are catered, which makes life easier for the leaders; the only exception is the Saturday breakfast which we do ourselves. This is our troop tucking in.


Before the opening ceremony itself there is a presentation for recipients of the Australian Scout Medallion, the highest award that can be earned in the Scouting section (11-14 year olds). We had three of our Scouts who had earned this recently, and it was great to see them receive their awards, especially having been so involved in helping them achieve it (these guys were among the newer members of the troop when I joined it four years ago, so I have been there for most of their time in Scouting; you may be able to spot their younger selves in the photo from the night I renewed my Scout promise by moonlight at the 2012 regatta). Anyway, here they are in 2016: Wisey, James, and Sarge, with Buffer, Skip, and me (Chippy) behind them.



The opening ceremony gets the regatta underway and as we waited for the Governor to arrive I tried to take a couple of photos to give you a sense of the 800 or so youth members and leaders in attendance. Buffer knew I was taking a photo, but expected that I would miss his photobombing hand. Plainly, he was wrong!


The first official activity is the sail-past, where just about every craft that is there takes to the water. This means of the order of 80 canoes and kayaks, 20 little dinghies, 20 or so big patrol boats, and a few small sailing dinghies. They take to the water in a vaguely orderly fashion, and sail past the ML Egeria, the motor launch that has the Governor of Tasmania and other dignitaries on board.


Here some of our Scouts on board George Bass salute the Governor, the Honorable Professor Kate Warner. Saluting protocol seems to vary according to the knowledge and the competence of the crews: I think these guys are doing what they’re supposed to but many of the other rowing crews can’t manage this, and it is, of course, rather difficult — and probably inappropriate — to do this from a kayak, which is what I was in (and I was also keeping a watchful eye on a young less confident Scout paddling amongst the other kayakers).


Our little dinghy Bob did not have the happiest of regattas. He/she is a handy performer under normal circumstances, but is starting to be a little the worse for wear. As you can see here, he/she is being rowed from the bow rather than the centre, because the rowlock housing next to the centre thwart on the port side had worked loose.    bIMG_7012

A bit of ingenuity, however, allowed us to plug the screw holes with a pencil and screw down the housing again. This, and a later replacement when the first repair deteriorated, got us through the weekend. However, to add to Bob’s woes, one of the leaders from another troop was rowing enthusiastically and managed to break one of the oars, and the only spare we could rustle up was a different length, which made it very difficult for the kids to row in a straight line!


In the afternoon, Skip rigged George Bass and took some of the kids sailing.


The day’s proceedings were interrupted by an evacuation drill.


Most of the catered food was good throughout the weekend, but my chicken schnitzel at dinner time would have been nicer if it was something else entirely. The kids still managed to find enough energy to do battle in the tug of war, but were eliminated in the second round.


There was a movie in the evening and I managed to catch up with some of the kids with whom I went to Jamboree. By the time the movie finished and we got the kids to bed and settled it was getting pretty late. Here is my tent and bed welcoming me at the end of the day.


(The “12 of 12” project involves taking 12 photos on the 12th of the month. This provides the opportunity to get snapshots of different aspects of your life. I have been doing this since 2009.)

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