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The first weekend in August saw the birth of Dick and Dom’s Great Wonderfest, a totally amazing new family festival here on the Isle of Wight. We were invited along to setup our own area, which we called ScoutFest. So, at the beginning of August we sent our biggest ever PR Team with the aims of promoting Scouting, giving people the opportunity to try some Scouting activities, and for our visitors and our team TO HAVE FUN!

Wonderfest is a new venture and we’ve never tried anything this big, so there were a number of little teething trouble issues. A huge thanks to Matt for organising our infrastructure, and being man-with-a-van for setup and breakdown.

ScoutFest was sited at the furthest end of the Wonderfest fields from the stage, so people worked their way along the attractions ending with us, where they could sit and relax while their kids tried our activities.

And what an incredible view from our pitch- straightacross to Portsmouth! No wonder some of the team decided they’d camp at the side of our pitch.

With about 20 activities on offer including rope making, branding, crafts, marble run, soft archery, Get Knotted (our version of twister), Giant Jenga, hoopla and Tomahawk throwing, there was plenty for visitors to do.

Most of our activities were free, except for the Tanzania2020 team, who ran several activities including Nerf shooting, fundraising for their expedition and the EIJ2020 (Essex International Jamboree) tam who put the profits from Marshmallows and Tomahawk throwing into their expedition funds. We also had a few quid put in the donations buckets. Not a bad result!

Our new “Get Knotted” game (a sort of Scouty, Shouty, Twister) went down well, and Becky came up with the idea of a race game from one side of the mat to the other. Brilliant idea!

The Tomahawks were very successful, but what was the most popular game, amongst adults and kids alike?  If you’ve ever been out with the media team you’ll know – Rope Handcuffs! We ended up making about a dozen pairs of handcuffs and quite often they were all in use. It’s a great game as our Young People can organise competitions as easily as an adult.

We quite often had over 100 visitors at Scoutfest, and on a couple of accasions it wasn’t far off 200 – good job we had a big team!

One of the high spots was when  the Star Wars teams turned up for a go on the soft archery. High Tech armour and kids’ bows and arrows. Classic!

Thanks to Red Funnel for donating a ticket which we used as prize for the highest score in a Sid-the-Scout hunt around site (see in the media pages how to run your own game).

Kids and parents alike gave us positive feedback on their taste of Scouting. Here’s one of the comments on the official Great Wonderfest Facebook page.

Saturday and Sunday evenings  we had a REAL campfire, “enthusiastically” built by our campfire team: Alan, Paul and Tim.

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Not to mention Janet summoning people to the campfire with a few long blasts of the Kudu horn. (Sorry I got that wrong, Janet told me not to mention her virtuoso performance on the Kudu horn.

I’ve not seen Tim leading a campfire before – his energy compliments the more sedate styles of Alan and Paul really well…

especially when thinging “Thethil”, thorry…. Sorry, I mean when singing “Cecil”!

And all present joined in! Again, we had some lovely comments from parents about the campfire. One mum and her son,  from Norfolk, were so taken with our first campfire that mum went on scouts.org that evening and signed up for her son to join their local group in September.

We had a good number of enquiries about joining up: with representatives of so many groups on the site we could introduce most parents to people from the group nearest to their homes.

Our team enjoyed themselves, meeting leaders from other groups and sections they wouldn’t normally meet……….

The tomahawk team used the 18+ hours they were operating to help train their team; time very well spent for them as they normally only get a couple of hours activity time at a major camp.

  • Dave, our new Island Commissioner, turned up to see how we were doing and soon got stuck in with the rest of us.

What was the leaders favourite attraction…..no, not Busted…….Mermaid Gin TASTING!

A massive thanks to all who helped (some are pictured below) and for all the positive feedback you’ve given us.

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