It’s 4pm on Saturday. The gates are about to open for the biggest event in our calendar: our annual community fireworks display. The stalls are all set up, Scout Park is buzzing with activity, and hundreds of tea lights have been lit. Months of preparation and hard work have culminated in this one evening, with record numbers of visitors expected and record numbers of volunteers involved in the event.
For the Unit’s Explorers and Leaders, the set up began on Wednesday night, carrying on right up until the actual event on Saturday. Our six teams of Explorers all had their part to play, from coordinating sound and lighting for the entire site, to making sure all our kit was kept ship-shape.
When Friday night came, the entire Unit could be found at Scout Park, putting up gazebos, unrolling extension leads, and painting signs. Soon enough we’d made a significant dent in the long list of tasks needed to prepare the site, and after a quick dinner and briefing we headed off to the dorms to get some much-needed sleep before the big day.
In the morning it was once again all hands on deck, with more volunteers arriving to help set up. The morning also brought the dreaded rain, but this proved no obstacle to us dedicated Explorers, who just donned waterproofs and carried on regardless. Although we did keep our fingers crossed for dry skies later during the actual display!
Around lunchtime we were excited to welcome Aimee-Lee and Dave from Scouting Magazine. They were given a site tour by the Publicity Team, before chatting to a few of the Explorers about the event and what Scouting means for them. It was great to have them here and we hope they enjoyed seeing how important a youth-led approach is to us!
After lunch we had an influx of Scouts from other Units, all having volunteered to run stalls such as Toffee Apples and Candyfloss. They quickly got their stalls set up, unpacked their wares, and plugged in their fairy lights. With 4pm gradually drawing nearer, we had a briefing for all the volunteers and stewards, then changed into uniform and assumed our positions.
As the clocks hit 4pm we opened the gates and started inviting in lots of families, including hundreds of Under-6s! The event quickly swung into motion, with songs echoing around the campfire circle, burgers sizzling on the barbecue, and marshmallows being toasted on the fire.
This event was only made possible by the 217 people who gave up their time to volunteer at the event, including 87 young people aged under 18. A few of these amazing volunteers have written about their role in the event below:
“I was part of the Hot Food team, meaning that I was making and selling food like burgers and hot dogs. The station was set up in three parts; there was the ‘cooking’ section where the food would be cooked by adult volunteers, then the ‘making’ section where the newly cooked food would be packaged inside a wrap, bun or roll along with some salad. Finally there was the ’till’ section where all the visitors could buy their freshly made food. We were selling constantly throughout the night, keeping all of us pretty busy, but in the end it was a great experience and I’m very happy with what we achieved.” – Gabriel, WWESU Explorer
“I had a great time helping to run Network’s waffle stall. We were selling non-stop the entire time and it was really nice to see so many people enjoying themselves at the event. I can’t wait for next year!” – Amy, North London Network
“It was incredible to see how all the effort we put into Fireworks came together to produce an excellent event for around 4,000 people! We began the weekend with a Friday night of hard yet rewarding work, and I then passed Saturday morning in the kitchen, preparing all the food necessary for the many stalls. The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for our own stalls, in my case: marshmallow toasting. We lit a bonfire and waited until the first visitors arrived. The night was amazing, selling marshmallows, talking to customers and telling stories round the campfire. The overall feel of the event wasn’t just of a display, but of different groups within the community coming together to provide a wonderful evening for our guests.” – Jonah, WWESU Explorer
“It was really great to see how hard-working all the Explorers were. Those on the Hot Drinks stall with us were enthusiastic, organised, and level-headed throughout the evening. A big well done to everyone involved in the event!” – Barrie, parent volunteer
“After spending the last day and a half scurrying up ladders, ruthlessly cable-tying, and playing the classic game of ‘guess the length of the coiled cable’, by the time 4pm came around we were ready for the event. Having set up camp in the info tent, the three of us (Leah, Eddie and I) were responsible for co-ordinating sound, lighting and answering questions from the public. We discovered Eddie’s hidden announcer persona, (a suave, charismatic tone well suited to missing persons appeals) and took pleasure in watching everyone enjoy the evening. Well done to the whole of the Production Team and a special thanks to Peter, Shaun and Phil for their valuable support.” – Lawrence, WWESU Explorer & Production Team member
“A huge thank you for a wonderful double fireworks run by WWESU – our funds are now well-boosted by selling popcorn!” – Donald, King’s Cross ESU Leader
“For the Publicity Team, there wasn’t much manual labour to be done, but we definitely had a few challenges of our own. Marlon tasked us with filming, editing and finishing a full length video of Fireworks to be shown at midnight on the Saturday. This meant that between filming, taking photos and tweeting/instagramming/facebooking we had to make sure that footage was being downloaded and edited whilst more footage was being shot. And, as you might expect, there was a lot of footage! Although to everyone doing all the heavy lifting it must have looked like we were having a lovely relaxing time with our Twirl Bites and mince pies, let me assure you, it was the total opposite. Making sure that all the content we got was good and that everything being posted was relevant, while simultaneously editing, was an experience of its own. That being said, being on the Publicity for such a huge event was a lot of fun, and especially rewarding when the whole Unit got to enjoy the fruit of our labours at the end of the night.” – Ellie, WWESU Explorer & Publicity Team member
Completed just before midnight on Saturday, this video shows exactly how special our fireworks display is. Take a look below to see for yourself!
We’d also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to all the volunteers – young and old, Scouts and non-Scouts – who gave up their time to make this event possible.
And now, time for one last thank you – to all the guests who came to our Fireworks Display! Your support means so much to all of us here at Wild Wolf ESU. The money raised from the event stays within the Unit and will go towards helping Scouts in hardship take part in all the amazing opportunities we offer.
So, once again, thank you for visiting our event last weekend. We hope to see you again next year!
Our Fireworks Display is just one way that we work to support our Explorers. We have also entered the Aviva Community Fund, which gives charities the chance to win money towards their chosen projects. Next term we plan on buying several fancy new bell tents for the Unit, and some money from the Aviva Community Fund would help us get a long way towards reaching this goal. We’d really appreciate it if you could take a moment to click on the button below and vote for us – it only takes you three minutes but makes a huge difference to our Explorers. Thank you!