All posts by Kylie Brettschneider

Riverina Scout Leaders and Supporters Honoured

ara medallion

Thirty Leaders and Supporters from across the Riverina have been recognised for their contribution to Scouting by the Chief Scout of Australia, His Excellency General, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AKMC (Retd), in the annual Adult Recognition Awards for Good Service announced on World Scout Day, August 1.

These awards are presented to volunteer Leaders and Supporters who have given valuable service above and beyond what is normally expected of a person in their position.

Whilst our Leaders don’t devote their time and energy to Scouts for the accolades, it’s wonderful they can be recognised for their commitment and dedication, and the positive impact they have on the lives of so many of our youth members.

The highest award, the Silver Kangaroo, has been bestowed upon Greg Press and Alice ‘Bub’ Johnstone for eminent achievement and exceptional service over a long period.

Greg has given exceptional service to Scouting for over 37 years  His enthusiasm for Scouting, particularly for the Venturer section, is extremely motivating to those he works with. Greg has been a well-respected member of the State Training team for many years.

Bub has been a hard-working and dedicated member of Scouts for almost four decades. As Region Commissioner for the Cubs Section, her commitment to Scouting and the distances she travels are inspirational to leaders in the Riverina Region.

Silver Koala Awards for distinguished service to Scouting have been granted to two dedicated members of the Riverina Scouting team, Ray Cheers and Barb Penny. As a Region Leader in the Scout section, Ray willingly shares his skills and knowledge with other leaders and is held in high regard across the region. Barb’s longevity, the success of West Wyalong Cubs and the re-establishment of the Scout section in her Group is testament to the innovation of her programming, her committed leadership and the currency of her skills and knowledge concerning youth members of today.

Ian Petty, Kevin Scott and Graham Smith have been awarded the Silver Wattle for outstanding service to the Association. Ian has provided strong and innovative leadership to the Scout section across the Riverina, Kevin has made an immense contribution to 2nd Albury Scouts and Albury Gang Show, and Graham has been the backbone of Scouting in Albury and the Riverina for many years in his roles as Scout Leader, Regional Leader, a member of the Riverina Activities Fellowship and his support of Albury Gang Show.

Meritorious Service Awards for meritorious or praiseworthy service were conferred upon the following dedicated individuals:

  • Brenton Dearing for his contribution to Venturer Scouts and various roles at the region, state and national level;
  • Donald McCann for his commitment to 1st Yass Scout Group;
  • Francis ‘Jacko’ O’Brien for his development and leadership of the 1st Hay Scout Group; and
  • Jackie Starr for her valuable contribution to 1st Junee Scout Group.


Nineteen individuals received Special Service Awards in recognition of their noteworthy contribution to a Scouting group or activity as follows:

  • Iain Anderson for his contribution to the 1st Albury Scout Group Committee and Albury Gang Show;
  • Daniel Braines for his role as a member of the Production Team and musical coach for cast members of the Albury Gang Show;
  • Karen Callow for her enthusiastic commitment to the 1st Junee Cub Pack;
  • Michele Cheers for her significant contribution to the 1st Goolgowi Scout Group
  • Albert Darlow for his dedicated service to the 1st Goolgowi Scout Group;
  • Luke Dearing for his contribution to the Ettamogah Venturer Unit and the Riverina Activities Fellowship;
  • Chloe Doherty for her contribution to the Riverina Scout Youth Council;
  • Baiba Elliot for her generous support of the 1st Goolgowi Scout Group;
  • Geoffrey Elliot for his leadership of the 1st Goolgowi Scout Group;
  • Brendon Finn for his leadership of the Ettamogah Venturer Unit;
  • Jenny Harrison for her contribution as costume manager for the Albury Gang Show;
  • Kristy Hiscock for her achievements as Cub Leader, Chairperson of the Riverina Rover Council and delegate to the Branch Rover Council;
  • Alyce Lean-Cooke for her extensive contribution to the 1st Wagga Wagga Scout Group;
  • David Martin for his significant contribution to the financial well-being of the 2nd Griffith Scout Group;
  • Anne Moffat for her support of 1st Albury Scout Group and Albury Gang Show;
  • Trudy O’Brien for her establishment and leadership of the 1st Hay Joeys section.
  • Steve Reynolds for his leadership of the 1st Lavington Scout Group and contribution to the Riverina Activities Fellowship and Albury Gang Show;
  • Marjory Taprell for her dedication to the 1st Cootamundra Cub Pack; and
  • Susan Wright for her dedicated contribution to 1st Murrumbateman Cub Pack.


The immense contribution of these individuals to Scouting in the Riverina Region and to the development of our youth is very much appreciated and they are truly deserving of their respective awards.

Recipients from the Riverina will be presented with their awards at the annual Award Presentation Dinner to be held at the Commercial Club in Albury on 5 September 2015.

For the full list of NSW recipients, visit the Scouts Australia NSW website





1st Leeton Scouts Dominate at Region Rally


Two patrols from 1st Leeton Scouts took out first and second place in the Scouts Riverina Region ‘Back to Bush’ Rally held at Murrumbidgee Valley National Park in May.

The normally peaceful location on the banks of the Murrumbidgee was brought to life as 14 Scout Patrols from Griffith, Leeton, Finley, Wagga, Albury, Tumut, Gundagai, Murrumbateman and Hay descended for a weekend of outdoor fun and challenges.

Each Scout Patrol was given a map and compass to find their way around several challenge bases over the course of the two days.  Challenges related to navigation, obstacle and rope courses, construction, teamwork, canoeing, emergency scenarios, flying fox and ballista/catapults.

In true scouting style, Scouts were encouraged to be resourceful and entrepreneurial in earning extra points through games and quizzes, and a highlight of the weekend was the Rally bonfire, where all the Scouts came together for some very entertaining and often impromptu skits.


Pictured above is the winning Patrol, Scene But Knot Herd, with the Riverina Rams Head competition trophy.  Harry, Taylor, Leanne, Jade and Savannah received a big B-R-A-V-O-O-O from Region Commissioner Scouts, Ian (Breaker) Petty, State Commissioner Scouts, Randall Jones and all scouts in attendance for their all-round display of exceptional scouting knowledge, skills and teamwork.

Check out the gallery below for more photos of our Riverina Scouts in action at the Region Rally.

Cabramurra Scout Lodge Gets a Makeover

Since reopening in 2013, the Cabramurra Scout Lodge has proved a popular location for Scouts and school groups seeking to experience a range of adventures, from snow tobogganing in the winter to hiking Mount Kosciuszko in the summer.

Situated in the quiet Snowy Hydro town, the facility is well appointed with sixteen bunkrooms, each with a double bunk and spare mattress, shower and toilet facilities, laundry, large kitchen and communal lounge/dining area.  Thanks to the hard work of the committee, and a grant from the NSW Government Community Building Partnerships Program, Cabramurra is now even better. 

The kitchen has been completely refurbished, with new cupboards and benches, commercial refrigerator and a new compliant floor – no more arguments from the old floor.  Part of the old kitchen has also been rehomed into the laundry and drying areas, making these more user friendly and useful.

Congratulations to all involved in developing this wonderful asset for Riverina Scouts and beyond to enjoy.  If you are interested in hiring the Cabramurra Scout Lodge as a base for your next scouting adventure, or would like to find out more, please contact Adrian van Werven at 1st Leeton Scout Group. 

Take a look through the gallery below to see the new kitchen and some of the fantastic adventures our Riverina Cubs and Scouts have had while staying at Cabramurra Scout Lodge.


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!