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View Full Version : Camping with Cubs - newbie advice required



eskibrew
25-03-2014, 07:35 AM
On the longest day this year (Saturday June 21st) I'm hoping to run an overnight camp in the grounds of our hut. The idea of doing it on the longest day is that we'll do an evening hike into our local hills to get the experience of being up there when it is late but still light(ish) then return to the camp for hot chocolate then bed. Having seen the water rockets here yesterday, I'm thinking that would be a good activity for the Saturday afternoon too. Obviously it will be light very early but hopefully if they are late in bed (e.g. midnight) then they may sleep till 6 ish - might be optimistic though...

Anyway, on to questions:

1) Do you/would you let any Cubs bring their own tents if they have them? - We have 4 or 5 tents (6 man) which we can use but I wonder if any will ask if they can bring their own.

2) If a child has previously been named by several kids as being a pain on an indoor camp (minor things but nothing that could be pinned on them), would you let them come? - If not, is there a sensitive way I could tell their parent why they can't come?

3) If a child has not done an overnight before (despite being given the chance) and then when attending as a day visitor, refused to go with any activity group apart from the one in which their parent was helping, would you let them come along? (There is no way I am letting their parent come to camp as he was useless!)

4) Is there a sequence that I should follow upon returning from the night hike which would get them ready for and into bed without getting hyper? - e.g. tell them to get into PJs then gather round a fire so they can get straight into bed afterwards.

5) Should I tell them they are not allowed out of their tents in the morning (apart from toileting) until they are officially told? - or just let them get dressed when they like and play as long as they stay within the grounds?

Russell Corrie
25-03-2014, 07:57 AM
1) No! That way chaos lies. 1 child might bring a hike tent and another a canvas mansion. cubs deciding who they will and wont let in their tent. Also unlikely that your insurance will cover smitheys dad's 2000 ultra light weight tent.
2) Your a the leader, you decide on whether a cub camps based on your leadership teams abilities and the childs need, not on the views of the pack.
3) Maybe this child needs to cut the apron stings, maybe they will join in if the parent isnt watching.Our aim is to help the child grow their self confidence, just because before they didnt feel brave enough to go it alone isnt a reason to punish them.
4) If there was a magic sequence it would be in all the manuals, just slow the day down and hope.
% Yes.

recneps
25-03-2014, 08:13 AM
On the longest day this year (Saturday June 21st) I'm hoping to run an overnight camp in the grounds of our hut. The idea of doing it on the longest day is that we'll do an evening hike into our local hills to get the experience of being up there when it is late but still light(ish) then return to the camp for hot chocolate then bed. Having seen the water rockets here yesterday, I'm thinking that would be a good activity for the Saturday afternoon too. Obviously it will be light very early but hopefully if they are late in bed (e.g. midnight) then they may sleep till 6 ish - might be optimistic though...

Anyway, on to questions:

1) Do you/would you let any Cubs bring their own tents if they have them? - We have 4 or 5 tents (6 man) which we can use but I wonder if any will ask if they can bring their own.

2) If a child has previously been named by several kids as being a pain on an indoor camp (minor things but nothing that could be pinned on them), would you let them come? - If not, is there a sensitive way I could tell their parent why they can't come?

3) If a child has not done an overnight before (despite being given the chance) and then when attending as a day visitor, refused to go with any activity group apart from the one in which their parent was helping, would you let them come along? (There is no way I am letting their parent come to camp as he was useless!)

4) Is there a sequence that I should follow upon returning from the night hike which would get them ready for and into bed without getting hyper? - e.g. tell them to get into PJs then gather round a fire so they can get straight into bed afterwards.

5) Should I tell them they are not allowed out of their tents in the morning (apart from toileting) until they are officially told? - or just let them get dressed when they like and play as long as they stay within the grounds?

1. No. Not a chance. Never. Nope. Not until at least explorer age. No. For a start you'll get kids wanting to be in their own tent, alone who will be scared at midnight. You'll get kids who don't know how to put them up, and you'll have to try to work it out when you're busy. You'll have kids saying "X isn't sleeping in here but Y can", and the following camp you'll get even more wanting to bring their own. You'll also get totally inappropriate tents (not waterproof, very light colours, single skin, etc). Our policy is "we provide the tents, you just bring the kit on the kit list"

2. Unless there is reasonable evidence is it fair to say they can't come? Perhaps judge it on behaviour over the weeks before camp, and watch like a hawk

3. Yes let them come along - it will do them a world of good if they manage to break free of the apron strings

4. I'm afraid that one is for you to find out what works best for you. We don't allow PJs outside of the tent (apart from trips to the toilet etc) - that way we know they are sleeping in warm dry clothes. Its amazing how sleep inducing just sitting quitely around the fire with a hot chocolate (try and get one without too much sugar in it, and add plenty of milk) can be.

5. Yes. We certainly do. That way a) the leaders have some peace and quiet - i get very stroppy if I don't get time to have a cup of coffee (and usually a sneaky bit of cake!) before the Cubs get up! b) you don't get unsupervised kids running around (less of an issue if you're in fenced in grounds, but still plenty of hazards i'm sure). If you let them get up "when they like" some will be up by 4am - at cub age most won't have watches so wont know how inappropriate the time is. And you'll be the one having to get them back to bed.

Yellow Beaver
25-03-2014, 08:19 AM
(5) Actually I'm quite happy to let Cubs who are awake get up as long as it's not too silly a time and we have no near neighbours. If Cubs are awake then I'm awake. They love getting the fire going from the embers, which can occupy them for quite a while, and until a sensible time they are only allowed to sit & chat quietly by the fire - not run around waking those who are still sleeping.

There's something a bit magical about early mornings, fire and first breakfast (hot chocolate or coffee and buttermilk rusks!)

Martha
25-03-2014, 08:49 AM
1) Do you/would you let any Cubs bring their own tents if they have them? - We have 4 or 5 tents (6 man) which we can use but I wonder if any will ask if they can bring their own.

Don't do it! Don't even put that crazy idea into their little heads. When the tents are yours you know what you've got, everyone has the same and you are the boss of who goes where.


2) If a child has previously been named by several kids as being a pain on an indoor camp (minor things but nothing that could be pinned on them), would you let them come? - If not, is there a sensitive way I could tell their parent why they can't come?

It's up to you, not the kids. My suggestion would be to include but be clear with all parents that they should be available to collect their kid from camp if you feel the need to exclude them for seriously disruptive behaviour. Watch this child carefully so you can clamp down on the undesirable behaviours that are bugging the others. FWIW I think it's especially important in a camp environment to be absolutely clear with the kids what's expected at all stages - it's so novel for most of them that they don't really have a solid idea of how to behave.


3) If a child has not done an overnight before (despite being given the chance) and then when attending as a day visitor, refused to go with any activity group apart from the one in which their parent was helping, would you let them come along? (There is no way I am letting their parent come to camp as he was useless!)

Yes! You gotta suck it and see :) Maybe the absence of the parent is what it'll take to get this child to start taking some independent action. Keep them busy, keep things fun and not too challenging, keep a close eye out - often kids feeling overwhelmed or homesick disappear to a quiet corner. Be sympathetic but don't let them brood. And if it really is all too much they can go home. I've had one or two that wouldn't stay over night the first couple of times but came back in time for breakfast the second day - that's fine.


4) Is there a sequence that I should follow upon returning from the night hike which would get them ready for and into bed without getting hyper? - e.g. tell them to get into PJs then gather round a fire so they can get straight into bed afterwards.

If you figure it out do let me know! As Russell said, just slow things down. A warm drink, gather round the fire, try and send them to bed on a calm note. I try and quiet my voice, not chivvy or yell but just move them all along gently. Once they are all in bed I do the 'lights out' rounds and say goodnight, then again 10 min later to remind them to shut up. Oh, and no sweets or snacks in tents! Tell them they'll get invaded by angry badgers (or something!)


5) Should I tell them they are not allowed out of their tents in the morning (apart from toileting) until they are officially told? - or just let them get dressed when they like and play as long as they stay within the grounds?

I'd try and confine them to tents in the morning until they are old enough to make coffee. This is why I love scouts!
They'll find ways of entertaining themselves in their tents - just don't coop them up too long. You're still going to have to get up early!

Enjoy - GOOD LUCK :bigsmiley

eskibrew
25-03-2014, 08:58 AM
Thanks for the feedback :-)


3. Yes let them come along - it will do them a world of good if they manage to break free of the apron strings

I should have perhaps elaborated a bit more by saying it was more if a temper tantrum refusal than an "I'm scared if I'm not near my dad" refusal. He is one of our troublesome boys and I have come close before now to imposing a week ban (not that that would probably bother him because he doesn't come every week anyway).


they are only allowed to sit & chat quietly by the fire - not run around waking those who are still sleeping.

Do you not find that when they get up and dressed in the tent that wakes the rest in the tent too?

Ihatecamping
25-03-2014, 09:01 AM
5) My Cubs would lie like a cheap rug and say, "I did go to the toilet, I only started singing on the way back to my tent".

It'll be light about 04:30, once they've got into the tents about 22:00, so that might give you (and them) 6 hours sleep. Like YB says, embrace it and get the fire going again, give them a nice breakfast then hand them over to their parents about 12ish.

recneps
25-03-2014, 09:02 AM
Thanks for the feedback :-)



I should have perhaps elaborated a bit more by saying it was more if a temper tantrum refusal than an "I'm scared if I'm not near my dad" refusal. He is one of our troublesome boys and I have come close before now to imposing a week ban (not that that would probably bother him because he doesn't come every week anyway).


In that case, either the tantrum will happen when dad drops him off, and will be over and done with... or the tantrum will happen when dad tries to drop him off and dad will give up and take him home.

If dad isnt at camp, hopefully he wont have anyone to have a tantrum in front of. If a tantrum does occur, just ignore it (as with all tantrums)

Martha
25-03-2014, 09:08 AM
There's something a bit magical about early mornings, fire and first breakfast (hot chocolate or coffee and buttermilk rusks!)

Agreed! I love the early morning too but I do like to have the first 10 min of it to myself!
With Cubs; once i'm up, teeth brushed and coffee in hand (about 5.30-ish) i'm happy to go round the tents with a quiet voice and release those who are awake to come rekindle the fire and sit and natter with me.
It is pretty magical and those early birds often lord the experience over their lay-a-bed peers.

recneps
25-03-2014, 09:09 AM
5) My Cubs would lie like a cheap rug and say, "I did go to the toilet, I only started singing on the way back to my tent".

It'll be light about 04:30, once they've got into the tents about 22:00, so that might give you (and them) 6 hours sleep. Like YB says, embrace it and get the fire going again, give them a nice breakfast then hand them over to their parents about 12ish.

That works fine on a 1 night camp (which I appreciate is what the OP is asking about on this occaision).

However on a long Summer camp it is more of a problem.

By the time they're in bed (say 2200), the leaders have had a catch up round the fire and checked that all are safely asleep (2300 at the earliest)

I can function for a day or two on 5 hours sleep - not a full week! That said, my Cubs are fairly good at being quiet in the mornings, and understand that they stay in their tents / dorms quietly until we come to wake them. They know that if they get up they will be sent back to bed, and that by staying in bed they are not missing out on activities / early breakfast / firelighting.

They also know that the earlier they wake the leaders, the grumpier we'll be. Our recent trip to Dorset worked quite well (2 nights indoors). My ACL and the SL did "night duty" (up til about 1am on one of the nights getting the kids to sleep). I was up at 6am to sort stuff out ready for breakfast (eating early due to busy days). The leaders who were up late didnt need to get up until breakfast was almost ready. We all got a reasonable amount of sleep.

Normally at camp Reveille is 7am. I am in the kitchen/mess tent by 6.30am grabbing a coffee and getting everything i need for the day sorted before the kids get up (maps sorted for the hike, kit for activities, food laid out ready for breakfast, hot chocolate mugs washed up, etc.

OliverS
25-03-2014, 09:11 AM
Do you not find that when they get up and dressed in the tent that wakes the rest in the tent too?

Not always. I have had some very civilised conversations with Cubs at around 6am on a Sunday morning while the rest of the pack was still asleep. They didn't want to run around or anything but were happy enough to help get the fire going again. However I have also had to tell Cubs to get back into their tents when they want to run around on the Saturday morning. 6am is the earliest I'm prepared to get up, so that is the time they are allowed out of their tents.

Doug in Canada
25-03-2014, 04:09 PM
1) Agree with the others - definitely no way! You'll get everything from a 12 man tent for one kid to a pop up shelter that is meant to be used inside!
2) Up to the leaders. If they have not personally witnessed anything and you're going on hear say then I think you'd have a tough time explaining why you would exclude him. If other kids bring up issues you need to get the two parties together right away and resolve.
3) I would leave it up to him. If he has issues parting from dad it will be at the point of drop off and parent can deal with it. If he gets homesick you can always call parent for pickup. Ditto if he refuses to participate in activities and just wants to sit around. I don't give them a choice, they either participate or leave.
4) Make sure they run around a lot! There is no magical solution. If the hike is long you might tire them out but after 20 minutes rest they will be fully re-energized! We tend to give them mug up of hot chocolate (hoping it acts as a sedative!!) then let them sit around the campfire for 20 minutes, then bathroom and bed. They delay and bathroom visit are critical or you'll have them getting up one after the other because they have to go!
5) Depends on the kids really but tends not to make a lot of difference. THe noisy ones will end up talking loudly in their tent and wake everyone else up or they get up and make noise and wake everyone else up! The noise you make trying to get them to be quiet will wake everyone else up!! You might get them to stay quiet with threats like whomever is up first has to do the breakfast dishes!

Be careful of telling them they can get up and play quietly. I know of a leader that once told the pack they could get up when it was light play quietly. He was awoken with the outside noises of children playing fairly quietly at 2:30 in the morning. He did not take into consideration the fact that it was a full moon and 2:30 in the morning it was surprisingly bright outside!

eskibrew
25-03-2014, 04:17 PM
If other kids bring up issues you need to get the two parties together right away and resolve.

But what do you do when one swears blind that smiffy did XYZ but smiffy swears blind he didn't? It got to the point where several boys had come to me at different times with gripes about smiffy so I was unsure whether they were ganging up on him or whether he really was being a nuisance to them.


The delay and bathroom visit are critical or you'll have them getting up one after the other because they have to go!

Noted, thank you.


You might get them to stay quiet with threats like whomever is up first has to do the breakfast dishes!

Fantastic idea :-)

roger-uk
25-03-2014, 05:16 PM
Errr My Cubs like doing the dishes - I make that a reward :(

Doug in Canada
25-03-2014, 06:02 PM
Errr My Cubs like doing the dishes - I make that a reward :(

In that case move on to something really nasty like cleaning the kybos!

eskibrew
25-03-2014, 08:59 PM
In that case move on to something really nasty like cleaning the kybos!

Heh heh - funny enough, that was my thought too...