Longridge Evening July 2017
By Hannah Bouckley
In July we held a water activity evening for Beavers and Cubs, along with their parents, at the Longridge Centre on the Thames near Marlow.
On a summer evening in early July the Cubs and Beavers (armed with spare clothes) met at the Longridge Activity Centre on the outskirts of Marlow. Based on the banks of the River Thames, the centre offers young people a chance to experience a range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, rafting, sailing and Dragon Boats, which is what the Maidenhead 9th packs were there to try.
Dragon Boats are 40ft long and can hold up to 20 rowers sitting in pairs, each person is armed with an oar and each boat is traditionally accompanied by a drummer. Dragon Boat Racing has its origins in China over 2000 years ago, when races were held to worship the dragon. The sport came the UK in the 1980 and has grown in popularity ever since. William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, even went head-to-head during a trip to Canada, where William won.
After a lesson on effective rowing by the Longridge staff the Cubs and Beavers (wearing life jackets) took to the water in a trio of red, yellow and blue boats, accompanied by adult volunteers. It was an incredibly warm evening with little wind as they navigated their way along the River Thames. The ride was a test of their team skills. To move quickly and steer effectively without crashing, they needed to coordinate their rowing and work as a group, which (with a little help from their hosts) they managed successfully!
After over an hour on the water, during which a fair amount of splashing took place (certainly the change of clothes was needed!) the Dragon Boats returned to Longridge. There the children had snacks, hot chocolate and dried off and the evening ended with a riverside investiture.
The Cubs and Beavers had a brilliant evening, thanks to all the leaders, adult volunteers and the staff at Longridge who helped make the event a success.