For over 35 years a close friendship has existed between the 1st Cuddington Sea Scouts in Epsom & Ewell District and the Karel Doorman Zeeverkenners Groep of Bergen Op Zoom in the southern Netherlands. The roots of the relationship go back to the 2nd World War, Arnhem, disrupted schooling and a Royal Navy Admiral.
The relationship centres around reciprocal visits on a 3 or 4 yearly basis; and 2019 saw the last pre-pandemic visit. The Groups kept in touch over lockdown (and they had a brief joint paddle-boarding session with a motorcycling leader in 2020), but there was incredible excitement when at the end of April 2023, 74 Dutch Sea Scouts and leaders arrived in a double decker coach for their 12th visit.
Their journey had taken them via a day trip to Canterbury and they arrived to meet the 1st Cuddington team who were cooking dinner. Over the course of the week they had a week with joint boating at the Warspite Water Activity Centre on the Thames; a hike down (and up) Box Hill with Warspite Scouts and Explorers, London Zoo, a day of boating at the Dockland Scout Project in central London, kipping on a ship in the West India Dock, exploring London, swimming in Guildford, widegames with Explorers, joint discos and much more.
Neighbours at 2nd Cuddington provided accommodation for the girls whilst the Dockland Scout Project supplied both accommodation and a day of boating in the shadow of Canary Wharf; there was also support from Scout partners at Ajax Sea Scouts
- Scouts, the world’s largest youth movement, was founded on 1 August 1907.
- In the UK, Scouts is supported by The Scout Association, enabling 7,000 Scout Groups across the country to provide opportunities to over 475,000 young people aged 6-25.
- There are now more than 638,000 individuals actively involved in Scouts in the UK.
- All genders, races and backgrounds are welcome at Scouts. Every week, it gives almost half a million people aged 4-25 the skills they need for school, college, university, the job interview, the important speech, the tricky challenge and the big dreams: the skills they need for life.
- Scouts helps members gain these skills by encouraging them to ask the big questions and listen with wide open minds. It helps them to take a deep breath and speak up, think on their feet, ignore the butterflies and go for it. With Scouts, young people don’t give up – they get back up and try again, often with the support of the friends they’ve made there.
- Over 200 activities are offered by Scouts around the UK, from canoeing and caving to coding and community projects, made possible by the efforts of over 163,000 adult volunteers.
- Worldwide, Scouts has over 50 million members, both male and female, and operates in nearly every country in the world.
- UK Scouts has over 250 Scout Activity Challenge badges. These require participants to achieve a level of understanding and skill realistic and appropriate to their age range.