By Nick Nelson, chair, 1st Bradley Stoke Scout Group.
This year, our youngest and oldest sections held camps a week apart in September, both challenging but in different ways.
Firstly, 30 Beaver Scouts (aged 6 to 8) from across all four colonies enjoyed a weekend camp in glorious sunshine. Many of them had never been away from home before, so camping out was a true adventure! The main aim was to introduce some basic Scouting traditions and campcraft, so one of their first tasks was to put up their own tent. Other activities included fire lighting, mini-archery and team challenge games. After supper, the Beavers were introduced to the concept of washing-up! Once it began to get dark the Beavers sat around the campfire, singing songs and toasting marshmallows.
After a little bit of sleep, the Beavers were up at the crack of dawn and ready to go again! Packing their own beds away was a challenge all of its own, but they then also got stuck into pioneering with making catapults and got creative with carving soap sculptures. Their final tasks were learning knots, map reading, mini-pioneering and a Kim’s game (to test their memories!). All too soon it was time to pack up and leave, but not before sharing the closing and prizegiving ceremony with many of the parents. They were able to share with us in congratulating the Beavers for a brilliant weekend that will hopefully be the first of many as they start their Scouting journey.
A week later, and 35 Scouts (aged 10.5 to 14) from three troops enjoyed a rather more austere camp at Cranham, Gloucestershire. When your kit is being quad-biked down to your campsite, you know you are a little more into the wild.
As we build skills through the sections, similar activities were conducted albeit with the Scouts doing more on their own. So as well as fire lighting from flints and steel, the Scouts used Kelly Kettles in a race to boil water. Time and again good teamwork proved to be a winning combination over single Scouts trying to do everything (that’s something else we teach them – work together. Gradually, they remember). And building skills means that they are responsible for more routine activities with everyone taking a shift of cooking and cleaning up afterwards. Just like the Beavers, sleep comes harder the first night although by the second, they are tired and go to sleep much earlier (even after a campfire with traditional chocolate bananas and s’mores).
The big difference was the weather, as the early hours of Sunday saw a thunderstorm arrive (exciting to see your tent light up at 2am!) and it didn’t let up much throughout the final day. It did mean that when the kit was quad-biked off the camp, it got really muddy, so we have to clean everything again before the next camp.
Neither camp would have been possible without adults volunteering their time and considerable effort, so we would like to pass on our sincere thanks to them all. We would also like to thank 2nd Patchway Scout Group for letting us use their lovely Scout HQ and grounds for our Beaver camp.
If you have been inspired, we are always looking for more adults to join the adventure, why not contact us? Please visit our website 1st.bradley-stoke-scouts.org and click on the ‘Join 1st BSS’ tab.
Photos: 1 Beavers making catapults. 2 Scouts firemaking. 3 Scouts on a team building exercise.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 26). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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