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Thread: What makes a great Summer Camp? | Tips, tricks and ideas!

  1. #16
    Yes, I've got the T-shirt Sparkgap's Avatar
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    Our summer camp this year coincided with one of the few weeks of sunshine. Amongst such things as a visit to Brownsea, New Forest etc, the best bit was the final afternoon chilling out on the beach, the kids swimming in the sea or crabbing amongst the rocks, then finishing off with fish and chips on the quayside. I had several thank us for a great camp!
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    1. Keep them busy. Big gaps in the programme are a problem. There can be free choice times, but the choices should include both badgework AND fun stuff.
    2. Get the right mix of....
    - Scheduled Activities - climbing, shooting, all the expensive stuff
    - Wide games
    - Incident hikes
    - Sport
    - Team games
    - Messy stuff... waterfight, CTF with paint marking, mud slides
    - swimming pool/beach if available
    - Quiz/Social/Cocoa/Campfire
    - Learn by doing - navigation, pioneering, what have you
    - Campcraft
    - Project stuff - pioneering, survival, etc


    I usually find that if things are going wrong, it is one of....
    - gaps
    - not enough major activities... paid, or well thought out major games
    - unhappy with food
    - inclement weather no coped with well
    - inefficient cooking/other faults in regular routine


    To summarize ... it's always easy to criticize a bad camp. When you get a great camp, it's much harder to identify the special sauce!! It's about getting so many little things right.

    ------ Update --- The Following was Added within 30 Minutes of the above ---

    oh, about patrol cooking.... ALWAYS do it in Scouts!! But if it is taking too much time or resulting in low quality food, then assign a static leader to each patrol for food, and cook on (decent, powerful) gas instead of fires.

  3. #18
    Map Geek marcush's Avatar
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    Try and do what the YP want. get ideas for what they want to do and take it from there and see what you can do.

    Rule 66. A map and compass offers no protection against getting horribly lost.

  4. #19
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    Thanks for all your ideas! It's been a great help.

    I was just wondering, how many offsite activities (ie swimming, theme parks) would you have compared to time for traditional scouting activities, (ie incident hike, survival skills)?

  5. #20
    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    We don't do greenfield and what we do depends where we are and what is available. This year we went to Jersey and we were off site for 4 out of 6 days (Living Legend, Beach day, Durrell Conservation Centre, Elizabeth Castle) and the other days weren't exactly traditional activities.

    This was exceptional for us though. Normally our summer camp is at a Scout campsite in the UK, and we usually try to have one day of the week offsite. Last year we were at Cranham and went to Symonds Yat for the day. The rest of the time is a mix of scouting stuff, (hikes, trails, bivvy building, firelighting, more firelighting, cooking) and onsite activiites such as climbing, shooting and archery (not usually all of them though).
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.¯ Lao Tzu (600 BC - 531 BC)

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r.t.hollingwort View Post
    Thanks for all your ideas! It's been a great help.

    I was just wondering, how many offsite activities (ie swimming, theme parks) would you have compared to time for traditional scouting activities, (ie incident hike, survival skills)?
    We tend to do offsite activities most days but some of these will be things like hiking, orienteering, time at the beach etc, We always spend the first day travelling to and setting up camp, followed by finishing setting up for part of the next fay and we have a day in camp in the middle and the last day (or half day) is spent packing up. So out of a 9 day camp we would probably have 5 to 6 days with some form of activity out of camp whether that be 'hired in' activities such as cycling, climbing walls, swimming etc, or things like museum visits (if there is anything half decent in the area), safari park visits etc or free activities like hiking, beach.

    We also do plenty of in camp activities in the evenings of if we have only had half a day off site. Things like wide games, team games, camp olympics, camp golf, etc as well as cooking and washing up all meals in patrols on open fires. We tend not to do pioneering except at scout campites as taking the pioneering gear takes up too much space.

    The above is for greenfield camping if we are at a campsite which offers activities on site then we would not have to go off site as much.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Quote Originally Posted by r.t.hollingwort View Post
    Thanks for all your ideas! It's been a great help.

    I was just wondering, how many offsite activities (ie swimming, theme parks) would you have compared to time for traditional scouting activities, (ie incident hike, survival skills)?
    I had a green field Summer Camp with a programme of activities that were nearly all off site (9 days from 12). When evaluating the camp, the Scouts said it was "too much - can we just have some time on site, doing nothing?". Of course, doing 'nothing' isn't an option - but for subsequent camps, the programme was reduced to provide a ratio of about 40% off-site, and 60% on site.
    MatSav


    GSL 10th Feltham, Nights Away Adviser
    "Three Into One Will Go!"
    Thameside Grand Union District
    Scouting Throughout the London Borough of Hounslow
    in the Districts formerly known as Feltham, ABC, and H&I

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav View Post
    I had a green field Summer Camp with a programme of activities that were nearly all off site (9 days from 12). When evaluating the camp, the Scouts said it was "too much - can we just have some time on site, doing nothing?". Of course, doing 'nothing' isn't an option - but for subsequent camps, the programme was reduced to provide a ratio of about 40% off-site, and 60% on site.
    I couldn't agree more. I'm only 21 so remembering my days as a Scout on camp is farily easy, and it's fantastic just to have the time to do what you want (within reason) on camp, it really does add to the experience.

    Our last camp, we tried a few Scouting Skills such as knots, incident hikes, fires e.t.c but they just didn't seem to 'gell' with the idea. Any tips to make 'Scouting Skills' more popular, relevant and exciting?

  9. #24
    Senior Member Gooders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav View Post
    I had a green field Summer Camp with a programme of activities that were nearly all off site (9 days from 12). When evaluating the camp, the Scouts said it was "too much - can we just have some time on site, doing nothing?". Of course, doing 'nothing' isn't an option - but for subsequent camps, the programme was reduced to provide a ratio of about 40% off-site, and 60% on site.
    I'll disagree with you there Matt, we do have at least one period each day where nothing is programmed. It gives them time to unwind and socialise a bit. In practice, because we usually Patrol camp on wood fires, they use the time to collect wood, tidy the pile and other odd jobs.


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    Stephen Goodman

    All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my Group, District or any other organisation of which I am a member.

  10. #25
    nele
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    We programme in some downtime most days, and set a list of personal challenges which they are free to complete over the week of camp. They don't get promised a reward for those, but often we have a small prize (extra camp badge, or some sweets).

    They tend to be things like building a shelter, making a woggle, learning new knots, etc etc. They have been quite popular, and the scouts keep themselves busy Some days they are tired and just relax and chat, which is fine.
    What you don't want is them having nothing to do and getting bored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav
    "...doing 'nothing' isn't an option..."
    Quote Originally Posted by Gooders View Post
    I'll disagree with you there Matt, we do have at least one period each day where nothing is programmed. It gives them time to unwind and socialise a bit. In practice, because we usually Patrol camp on wood fires, they use the time to collect wood, tidy the pile and other odd jobs.
    So, they're not doing 'nothing' then, are they? :-)
    MatSav


    GSL 10th Feltham, Nights Away Adviser
    "Three Into One Will Go!"
    Thameside Grand Union District
    Scouting Throughout the London Borough of Hounslow
    in the Districts formerly known as Feltham, ABC, and H&I

  12. #27
    Senior Member roger-uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav View Post
    So, they're not doing 'nothing' then, are they? :-)
    Nobody ever does nothing - its an impossible concept.
    Roger Woods
    Assistant Group Scout Leader,
    1st Sawley (All Saints) , Long Eaton

    NSRA Air Rifle instructor
    GNAS Archery Instructor
    County Archery Assessor
    Radio Amateur (G8XAN)

  13. #28
    Senior Member Gooders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatSav View Post
    So, they're not doing 'nothing' then, are they? :-)
    No, but there is nothing formally programmed. We just label it 'free time'.
    Stephen Goodman

    All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my Group, District or any other organisation of which I am a member.

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    Summer Camps - definitely always Patrol cooking for us for about half the evening meals, they always seem to like the responsibility - even if the resulting meals are a bit "variable". Mix of on-site paid-for activities if available, leader led games, explorer/young leader led games if there's a few of them with us, and free-time before or just after evening meal when they are hopefully worn out. If the area lends itself, we always do an all day hike (7-8 miles ish) - where the scouts do it on their own in patrols; with a few leaders at strategic check points. They always love the freedom of those.

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    Summer Camps

    On our last summer camp we went to an OEC (outdoor educational centre) and had a ball of a time. There was activates every day and there was also other ones. We used to go looking for big open fields but they are not as good as an easy OEC. They cook your dinner and supply all the instructors and equipment. Hope this helps.

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