1st Hay on their first Gang Show

Gang Show – we’d heard the term mentioned a few times in scouting circles, but as new leaders with no prior scouting experience, it seemed we were the only ones that had not a clue what people were talking about when Gang Show popped up in discussions.  After making a few quiet enquiries so as not to publicly reveal our ignorance, we came to understand that Gang Show was an annual theatrical event performed by Scouts, Guides and their leaders.

So we thought – why not?  Let’s check this Gang Show thing out.  It’s not as if theatre shows are performed every day in Hay, and truth be told, we aren’t the most skilled of leaders when it comes to the performing arts.  When rock climbing and abseiling were added to the weekend’s activities, the deal was sealed.  1st Hay was going to the 50th Anniversary Albury Gang Show.

Early Saturday morning, the Scouts were loaded in the silver van and the road trip commenced.  First stop was the indoor rock climbing centre in Lavington where we met up with our fellow scouts and friends from Wagga, Kooringal, Finley, Gundagai and Tumut.  After some brief instruction, the Scouts set about developing their rock climbing skills on the numerous walls and formations available.  Some walls were conquered, while others proved too difficult, but each Scout challenged themselves to see what they could achieve.

Satisfied with their efforts, and with a few blisters to show for the hard work they put in, we headed to Lavington Scout Hall to set up for the night in what can only be considered luxurious conditions for a Scout camp.  A truck load of pizzas arrived, and it turns out that over three hours of scaling walls works up quite an appetite.  One minute they were there, the next they were gone…

Now it was time for Gang Show, the event we had been waiting for.  Armed with snacks, programs, badges, streamers and raffle tickets, the eager 1st Hay Scouts headed straight for the front row.  Knowing the dangers of this in live performances, we older and wiser leaders opted for the safer second row, but we hadn’t accounted for the aisle effect…

1st Hay Scouts attending Albury Gang Show
1st Hay Scouts enjoying Albury Gang Show. Pictured from left to right is Ronan Haines, Benjamin Caughey, Tom Tripney, Angus Gardiner and Kate Pingiaro.

The show began with flamboyant song and dance numbers and comical skits.  Giggles and enthusiastic applause could be heard from the front row, in fact the whole theatre, and the Hay Scouts delighted in pointing out the Scouts and leaders on stage that they recognised from Region camps.  After an active day, we were all relaxed and thoroughly enjoying the show.

Then the circus number began…The two performers started circling through the audience.  Knowing what was coming, we sunk low in our seats and stiffened with fear.  Despite repeatedly muttering “don’t make eye contact”, Scout Leader Trunk was selected as the clown’s next victim.  Notwithstanding his reservations, he put in quite an impressive performance on air violin.  Maybe he secretly does enjoy the theatrical stage after all.

Half time intermission and 1st Hay dominated the raffles, winning two of the six prizes on offer.  If only raffles had been included as a challenge base at Region Rally…Could this night get any better?

Apparently it could, as the second half commenced with bigger and brighter musical numbers, all building up to the amazing grand finale.  And what a finish it was!

Buzzing from the energy in the theatre, we gathered our prizes of vouchers and cosmetics and retreated for a good night of sleep.

Sunday we made our way to the hidden treasure that is Albury’s quarry.  With expectations of bare rock and dirt, we were pleasantly surprised by the picturesque area found concealed just off one of Albury’s main roads.  With most never having abseiled before, some Scouts approached the quarry edge with trepidation, while the fearless few jumped straight in.  Having faced and conquered their initial fears, the Scouts couldn’t get enough.  They raced between the abseiling and rock climbing bases to squeeze as much adrenalin pumping excitement and adventure into the three hours as was humanly possible.

Scout abseiling at Albury quarry
Angus Gardiner abseiling at the Albury quarry.

At the end of the weekend, the excitement on the Scout’s faces was proof-a-plenty of why we leaders volunteer our time, energy and resources to the scouting movement.  Reflections on the weekend included “that was the best scout camp I’ve ever been to” and “but I’ve never been on a Scout camp that wasn’t good”.  I think that says it all.

Our normally reluctant Scout performers are now staging a performance of ‘cool and creamy’ for their parents at the end of this term (a song that we can’t seem to get out of our heads), and planning a joint Joeys, Cubs and Scouts performance night at the end of Term 3.  Thank you Albury Gang Show for inspiring our Scouts (and teaching us to be wary of Girl Guides looking to achieve their Helpful Badge!).  We’ll be back for Gang Show in 2016!