Above: The Team from the 7th – Phoenix Challenge Winners 2009.

Congratulations to the 7th De La Salle Scout Troop Waterford, who were crowned the winners of this years Phoenix Challenge which was held from the 20th to the 23rd of August at Mount Mellary Scout Centre, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. The team from the 7th overcame the inclement weather to earn this year’s title beating the challenge of the 3rd Cork Scout Group (second place) and the 17th St Paul’s, also from Waterford who came third.   Despite the terrible conditions this was a very successful event with 45 teams from all over the country taking part after they had qualified through their local Scout County Shields/Cup.  The event was hosted by the Cois Laoi Corcaí Scout County and was organised by Brendan Lynch (Event Coordinator), Derek Long (Standing Camp Chief) and Lucy Kay (Expedition Leader); along with Morgan O’Sullivan Programme Commissioner (Scouts) and Ian Davy Programme Commissioner (National Events).  Credit must go to each and every group for their enthusiasm and eagerness to enjoy the experience despite the weather which even required the main campsite to be relocated to just outside Cappoquin. Over the four days, teams split into Camp [8 people] and Expedition [6 people] to undertake a series of challenges such as building a campsite, raft building, environmental, hiking, river crossing, log book writing, test meals amongst many more. The challenges and tasks set out for the teams over the four days, were assessed by a team of markers, who considered their efforts based on leadership, team work and knowledge of skills.  The expedition teams were based out of Glenshelane Scout Campsite.

Above: The 7th's campsite on the Phoenix Challenge 2009. See our Gallery page for more images.

There are four levels of award with respect to The Phoenix Challenge: Participation [29% or below the total marks], Bronze [between 30% and 64% of the total marks], Silver [between 65% and 79% of the total marks] and Gold [between 80% and 100% of the total marks].  Fourteen teams were award Bronze, Twenty-four teams were awarded Silver and seven teams were awarded Gold.  The Environmental Projects Award  [Richard Murphy Trophy] was presented to Cois Laoi Corcaí Scout County – 46th/ 92nd Cork.  The Special Projects Trophy [Log Book] was presented to Mountpeilier Scout County – 103rd Dublin.  The Cooking Trophy was presented to Dublinia Scout County – 91st Dublin.  The Campcraft & Expedition-craft Trophy was presented to Cois Laoi Corcaí Scout County – 3rd Cork .  The Camp Bases & Expedition Bases Trophy was presented to Waterford Scout County – 17th Waterford.

Above: The 7th's Master Chef during the Friday Test Meal on the Phoenix Challenge 2009. Photo by Patrick Kelly. See our Gallery page for more images.

When Chief Scout, Michael John Shinnick presented the trophy to the winning team from De La Salle, it was the fitting end to a fun packed (wet) weekend which will be talked about for years to come. Group Leader, Owen Riordan expressed his delight at the win which he said was a fantastic achievement and a testament to the huge effort put in by the scouts in the 7th: the Patrol Leader Eoin Falconer, APL Ciaran Kelly, Mountain Leader Hazel Murray and her team of Aaron Mooney, Cathal Ryan and Matthew Carrick and then the basecamp team of Sarah Lawrence, Bill Power, Ross Phelan, Robert Jacob, Janet Cox (Scribe) and Stephen Toole. Owen also had high praise for the leadership team led by Robert Windle, Keith Cunningham, Michael Kavanagh and Tara O’Neill and he congratulated the other local teams – St. Pauls who came third and Ferrybank who came ninth.  It is the first time that the 7th have won such a prestigious national competition and Scoutleader Robert Windle admitted that he had never dreamed that the 7th would do it or that he would be the leader when they did.  He said that the whole team were excellent Scouts, always willing to take advice on board, work hard when they needed to and above all enjoy themselves. He said the team wanted to win the Phoenix, they went to win it and ultimately of course they won it.  Back in 1961 the 7th had been the first troop from the city to represent the diocese in the All Ireland Scout Craft Competition (the Melvin Trophy) at Larch Hill in Dublin and Waterford has seen many winners since that time, including the 3rd De La Salle in 2000 and of course St. Pauls on multiple occasions. Finally the 7th’s hour has come!

Above: Happy with the Trophy. See our Gallery page for more images.