Written By Daniel Ong, Edited by Chey Jedd and Joshua Low
On 3 September 2022, 18 Scouts and 4 Ventures challenged their backwoodsman skills in the North Area Backwoodsman Competition.
Despite the short runway of the competition and the lack of backwoodsman experience as we cautiously emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scouts trained quickly and effectively and strived to do their best. Furthermore, the recently completed and well-timed Stove Cooking Module served to give the Scouts the basic foundation of food preparation, bolstering their competency.
The Scouts quickly began practising: training their turfing, fire lighting and food preparation skills. The Scouts also familiarised themselves with common vegetation used in backwoodsman cooking, such as coconuts, bamboo as well as banana, pandan and lotus leaves.
After this short week of preparation and training, the competition team finally entered Sarimbun Scout Camp, excited to participate in their first backwoodsman competition. However, upon reaching the site, the Scouts were surprised to see the competition ground - it was much dirtier, muddier and overgrown than the ground used in school. Nonetheless, the Scouts pressed on unfazed, determined to do their best in this competition.
After a safety briefing as well as the distribution of ingredients, the competition began. Each team split themselves into 2 small groups, with one in charge of food preparation and another in charge of turfing and fire lighting. The latter had to work quickly due to the time limit of the competition while the former also needed to act swiftly before all the firewood burns out.
The Scouts worked hard, adapting to the new environment and psychological pressure and remained tenacious. During judging, each team presented their delicious creations to the judges, receiving good remarks on their dishes. Catholic High Team 1 obtained 3rd place, Catholic High Team 3 obtained 2nd place and Catholic High Venture Team clinched 1st. Good job to the teams for your hard work and success!
Above: Photos taken by Venture Scout Chey Jedd
Below is the list of teams from our Troop that participated:
Scout Team 1
Xavier Tan (Sec 3) (PL)
Bryan Quan (Sec 3)
Josiah (Sec 2)
Kiefer (Sec 2)
Kieran Tan (Sec 2)
Scout Team 2
Javier Lim (Sec 3) (PL)
Tan Jen Yih (Sec 3)
Yoee Tay (Sec 2)
Jonas Lok (Sec 2)
Kaji Takehiro (Sec 1)
Scout Team 3
Josh Goh (Sec 3) (PL)
Dylan Soh (Sec 3)
Isaac Wong (Sec 2)
Ryan Ng (Sec 2)
Fabian Ng (Sec 1)
Seah Zhang Qi (J1)
Daniel Ong (J1)
Siauw Yu Hern (J1)
Joshua Low (J1)
A True Scout
However, the greatest value gained from this competition was not the trophies, but the demonstrations of the values and morals of a true Scout. During the competition, some of the rival school’s teams ran out of firewood and other cooking materials. Without hesitation, we willingly gave away our excess materials. Furthermore, the Venture team, who finished early, allowed our competitors to use our fire pit due to fire problems in their own pit. We even guided them and taught them how to use the fire pit effectively.
This act of self-sacrifice and care for our competition emphasises the scouting values of compassion and harmonious relations with others. Lord Baden-Powell once said that “No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way”. As the leading Troop in Singapore, we must display the highest level of character and values - graciously supporting our competitors rather than kicking them while they are down. We hope that these Scouts will remember the actions and events and continue this cycle of leadership and scouting to the next generation of Scouts.
Below is a reflection by Venture Secretary Daniel Ong of the Venture Team:
'This competition was an eye-opening one as it tested our backwoodsman skills in a completely foreign environment with added competitive pressure. Being in charge of food preparation, my adaptability skills were tested as the produce given by the competition organisers was different than expected. Thus, I had to think on my feet and come up with new cooking methods and even new recipes to accommodate this change in plans. Nonetheless, this competition allowed me to improve my backwoodsman skills and interact with different schools to learn about their training procedures. All in all, this was an enriching experience that I truly enjoyed and am proud to have displayed true scouting values of chivalry to my competitors.'