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Thread: The annual "How did summer camp go?" thread

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    The annual "How did summer camp go?" thread

    As previously mentioned, we had the following going to the Spanish National Jamboree on the Canary Islands:

    8 scouts
    3 scout leaders
    39 Explorers/Network (mostly Explorers that had signed up when 17, but were now 18)
    7 Explorer leaders

    Executive summary: The kids were awesome, patient, resilient. The leaders struggled at points. The organisation was chaotic at times.

    To be fair to the organisers, on the second day we were there, about 4-5 days in for them, they admitted they were 150 staff short. There were only 2500 on camp, so I'm not quite sure what 150 extras would have all done, but still, that's what we were told, so maybe unsurprising they struggled at times.

    It's the first time we've been on a jamboree type summer camp, in the UK or abroad, we've hosted a foreign group before, but this was very different. I guess the main difference between when you go to a UK jamboree and are a UK troop/unit, you are one or many, and the French group, or the Belgian group, are the interesting foreigners. The boot definitely on the other foot here, we were the only British group, and there were also groups from France, Mexico, Hungary, Peru, Argentina, and Georgia (the country) and probably a couple I've forgotten. The first morning (after getting to the campsite around 11 ish and they fed us dinner at close to midnight) we had a stupidly long wait for buses into town, and were talked to, requests for badge swaps, scarf swaps, Spanish wanting to practice their English, new games were learnt, it was fun for the first 1.5 hours. Then we just wanted a bus.

    It's interesting travelling with that many, fifty seven, of course, we divided and conquered, but still, we all were on the same plane, of course, the odd person gets the hump, as we're all dressed the same, forgetting the flight would be full either way. Soon as the seatbelt light is out they're all swapping seats and chatting in the aisles. Everything was our fault, but he got on angry, so we just let him chunter about "Boy Scouts", it's his problem, he was an air rage incident waiting to happen, hey ho.

    First afternoon we went to the final of the Spanish National Song Festival. It's for self penned tunes and songs about scouting and scout values. Each group or district in Spain has a competition and/or selects an entry, who then go to the "County" final, and the winners then represent their county at this National final. Each act seemed to consist of a skit or dance or display, sometimes to a popular tune to gee the crowd up, then they'd do their song. Lots of dancing, songs with actions, necker waving. It was kind of like when you go on holiday and you find yourself in a local cultural thing and have no idea what's going on but you're surrounded by people having a great time so you go with it. Great to be part of. Then they ran out of dinner, and we had to wait until the Beavers Cubs and Scouts had all been taken back to site before we got a bus. Another midnight dinner.

    Next morning there was an extremely feisty leaders meeting. I tell you what, needing a translator is a great way of meeting new people.
    Then in the afternoon we went to a beach in Las Palmas and let the Explorers wander around town. They found a McDonalds. Then off to a big square where there was a live cover singers but we had to leave early or really really late. We chose early.

    We then caught a really early ferry to Tenerife, where two Explorers got to climb right to the top of mount Teide to see the sunrise, and the rest of us had a day on a bus and day on a beach. One was the worst day, one was the best day. Accommodation was 300 to a sports hall and it couldn't help but look like a disaster relief effort. I volunteered to help clean the showers, and so the organiser turned to me and said "you're in charge, I show you the things", and so me and a spanish team of explorers cleaned the showers, it was fun! Next day two explorers and two leaders went to the Tenerife parliament, we were honored guests apparently. I guess they didn't get within sniffing range.

    Back on Gran Canaria and the Explorers went for a walk (no planned activities, again) while me and another leader (and other leaders) got dragged to the Gran Canaria parliament, had an entente cordiale with the Argentine leader, as she said, our two countries have some bad past, so we had pictures with her, I mentioned Malvinas once, but I think I got away with it. Did a bit of badge swapping between the French Georgian and Argentine leaders. T'other leader now the proud owner of the Argentine international necker, and very nice it is too.

    Got back to find one Explorer had sprained their ankle, but not too badly, and during the free time in the town three had got a 5 euro piercing in the tops of their ears. Never thought to add "no piercings!" to the pre-free time in town briefing!

    Afternoon was too darn hot so we just lolled about and siesta'd. Oh, and got a mountain of gifts from the (I think) head of Georgian Scouting, as they had spent a lot of time with us during the week as they spoke English but no Spanish. Smoked cheese that tasted like that weekend camp you stood by the fire all weekend, maps, recipe books, leaflets, some rare badges, flags, some nice chocolate that instantly melted so everyone got a finger dip rather than a lump, and a weird dried fruit/nut thing that looked like a poo wrapped in cling film that may have been the cause of my bag getting searched on the way back.

    Had invites to Andalucia, France, Madrid, Georgia and Hungary (CEJ2018).

    Good party on the last night, live bands, of course, two of mine were the only two the got on stage to do some dancing.

    Handy tip for you all, when most of your explorers try and pull an all nighter, and you have a 6am bus, just telling them twice they mustn't have liquids in their hand luggage is not enough. I think a direct instruction and to watch each one search their bag, and it still might not have been enough.

    Plane journey back was much quieter.

    At Heathrow baggage reclaim we met some Norwegian Scouts off to KIJ. They were nice. We warned them their neckers would be hot property.

    There's a few photos on that instagram @farnhamexplorerscouts.

    Would we do it again? Tricky. My explorers loved it mostly. At times, the leaders hated it. Meeting loads of really friendly people was awesome, the poor communication and organisation not so much. I'd rather we hadn't had to have made the best of it, but we did, and that was part of it.

    Final tips. If you do find yourselves as the only UK group at a foreign jamboree, budget for two neckers each, maybe three, and make your own badge and get plenty. We had 250 camp badges made, they were really nice, but they were also really hot property. UK badges would have also been popular, more so than district/county badges I think. Happened to sit opposite one scout whose birthday it was and when I gave him one of our camp badges, his little face lit up! Made his day! Bless.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2016 - May 2017
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    14 Scouts for 6 days at Downe. Went really well despite having rain at some point every day (still not our wettest camp though!).

    They did grass sledging, tunneling, aerial trek, crate stacking, a hike and a trip to Chislehurst caves. As well as making paracord bracelets and general games / mooching about. Caves were really good, although the guide may have overdone the ghost stories a bit (not helped by one of our leaders pretending to be a ghost at the back..) some of the boys looked a lot more scared than usual

    They were also given a budget of £35 for one meal (to feed ten including leaders), planned their menu, did their shopping at Tesco and then cooked and served their meals. Probably the best meals we had all camp - one patrol did veggy fajitas with homemade coleslaw and guacamole it Eton mess for desert. The others did beef and veggy kebabs served on a bed of spinach with cheesy mash and brocoli with fruit kebabs and melted chocolate dipping sauce for desert.

    All that coupled with no homesickness or tantrums, everyone got on with each other and seemed to be enjoying themselves

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    12 Cubs, 7 Leaders (of whom 4 were YLs and 3 were Adults) at Cranham in Glos for 4 nights.

    Weather wasn't great, but still managed to do all the activities we'd planned and more! A bit tiring (my AGSL who normally manages the catering on cub summer camp wasnt there, and we had lots of inexperienced cubs) but all went well in the end.

    The 4 YLs were amazing. All only 14, but exhibited an incredible amount of maturity, a great work ethic, a good sense of humour, and an uncommon amount of common sense! It was great to see them working together (normally 1 is at Beavers, 2 at Wednesday Cubs and 1 at Tuesday Cubs) as they were close friends all the way up through Cubs and Scouts, and were sixers, PLs and SPLs together over the years. Best bit was them talking about their plans to be adult leaders in the future! It was like having 4 extra adult leaders at camp. One of them actually led nearly 2 hours of games etc with the cubs pretty much single handed whilst the rest of the leader team and YLs packed up and loaded the van without any prior planning - something I think a lot of adult leaders would have struggled with.
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader 66th Bath
    Deputy District Commissioner (Programme) - City of Bath District
    Nights Away Adviser and member of District Executive Committee - City of Bath District
    Member of Avon County Appointments Advisory Committee
    Event organiser "Be Prepared" Resilience Events
    Formerly CSL, SL, ASL and Jamboree Communications Lead

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    Yes, I've got the T-shirt Sparkgap's Avatar
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    Got back yesterday from a week in South Wales. One word to describe the week: MOIST!
    The site was fairly squidgy and one patrol tent got somewhat splattered with mud. Fortunately we had the use of the scout hall on site and this took the place of the mess tent providing undercover cooking/eating/activity accommodation. Multiple trips offsite doing cycling on local cycle route, some hikes to waterfalls and trips out to Dan yr Ogof caves, Swansea & Mumbles. Weather mostly cleared up for trip into the Brecon Beacons and Saturday turned out sunny giving us a chance to get the tents down dry just before the thunderstorms came over with the kids sleeping in the hall for the final night!

    We had a major problem with a scout which necessitated calling an ambulance and which highlighted a couple of other issues: the first was getting the emergency services to our location. We were speaking to a control centre in north Wales who asked for our postcode. This is for a group of houses about 400 yds away and we explained we were at the scout hut up the hill from there. Presumably that message didn't get passed on as we heard the siren stop down the road by the houses and one of the leaders legged it down the road to direct them to the hut. In the end we had paramedic, ambulance AND police turn up! The next issue was when we phoned the parents and couldn't get hold of them. When we eventually did get hold of them (they'd gone away for the night and sounded like they were at a party) and told them their child was in hospital their reply was along the lines of 'okay, keep us informed'!! (the doctor at the hospital was not a happy bunny when he heard this!). It also turned out that this scout had had a similar episode before at school, but nothing was noted on their medical form for camp which would have helped a lot if we'd known.
    As it happened, things turned out okay and the scout's sister came up and collected them that night and we have some points to note for next time.

    Judging by the comments from parents on FB we came back with a load of happily knackered mud-coated kids who had a fantastic time. Just need another few days off to recuperate!

    PS: it's strange that Asda had no problems finding our site but the emergency services did!
    Last edited by Sparkgap; 07-08-2017 at 10:35 AM.
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    31 scouts, 17 explorers and 19 leaders of which 15 were there for most of the week



    We had a baby in March so this was a paired down simpler camp than normal. We went to Tolmers for their organised event. Some of our leaders have been agitating to go back for years. I have resisted because i believe that we can do better in green field but this let me go to work/ be a dad at home much for most of the week as all activities are set up already.

    We have a new team of people plus many older ones that mean that we can head to a green field in 2018 with everybody on the same page

    Come To Tolmers is good but there is alot of downtime for adults and the kids tend to feel they have tried everythign before the end of the week (they haven't but they reject things that sound boring where i know that they would love balloon modelling or journalism)

    the explorers catered for themselves on a rota and pulled off some amazing food, the scouts had a catering team of two who pulled out all the stops to deliver amazing meals.

    CTT let us have a bit of a rest and do it simply .... now? the explorer leader is looking for an explorer-only summer camp event although the option is always there to share summer camp with the scouts. I'd like to see the explorers split off and do something bigger and better next year... coasteering, zorbing, tubing, etc...

    for the scouts? back to a field, cooking on fires, lazy lazy days with trips to the beach and some activities thrown in to mix it up a bit (sailing, surfing, trip on a rib, etc)

    bit of a change from our summer camp in 2000 when we first went to tolmers:


    now we are 2 troops and an explorer unit

    oh and we hired a 7.5 tonne van for the week... we will never do it any other way! it's amazing.

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We got back yesterday from a great 8 nights, 9 day joint Scout & Explorer Summer Camp in the New Forest, with 9 Scouts and 8 Explorers. Some slight niggles in how we had to run the camp due to no fires being allowed on camp and a full on soaking on Wednesday which luckily we were able to spend at the national motor musuem at Beaulieu. A lot of driving for our drivers as well especially for our trip to Brownsea and of course the long journeys between Leeds and camp and the return.

    The usual stressful pack up of camp was not helped by one of the wheels of our 4 wheel kit trailer locking up and refusing to unlock. After packing more heavy kit into the transit 9 seater pulling the trailer and loading the rest of the kit in the trailer in such a way to leave that wheel as unloaded as possible of course it unstuck within 10 mins of us setting off

    But all in all it was a great camp and the kids had a good time.

    20170804_141028 by falkoner1933, on Flickr
    Last edited by shiftypete; 07-08-2017 at 11:57 AM.

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

    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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    A week with six Scouts at Butchers Coppice in Bournemouth.

    Activities:

    - hike to pick your own blueberries place
    - hike to Bournemouth beach via the Bourne Valley Greenway
    - day at Brownsea Island
    - Splashdown
    - cinema (as booked activities on site were cancelled due to high winds / heavy rain)
    - use of campsite's indoor games room as wet weather activity
    - stand up paddle boarding (we shouldn't have gone ahead with this - way too windy)
    - paint-a-pot at Poole Pottery
    - ten pin bowling
    - hike on the Isle of Purbeck from Corfe Castle to near Swanage, culminating in display by the Red Arrows

    Whole thing done with a hired van, with Scouts travelling by public transport throughout.

    Site was nice and I would use again. You park your vehicle(s) on your own pitch which is convenient but doesn't help to create a get-away-from-it all feeling. When does it stop being a campsite with a few parked cars and become a car park with a few tents?

    My first choices of site were Ferny Crofts or Buddens but we couldn't feasibly run a camp there by public transport. [Weekday train times at Beaulieu Road just didn't work for the trips we wanted to do etc]

    Butchers Coppice has good bus links to Bournemouth and Poole. Both local bus companies (Yellow Buses and More) offer good value 5-person group day tickets for £10.50 for any combination of adults and kids.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    The organisation was chaotic at times.
    I have to say when you first said you were going, I thought 'oh dear, that will be a shambles'. Having had some experience of hispanic Scouting events, the 'mañana' culture requires a lot of patience and a very laid-back approach!

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by London Scouter View Post
    A week with six Scouts at Butchers Coppice in Bournemouth.

    Activities:

    - hike to pick your own blueberries place
    - hike to Bournemouth beach via the Bourne Valley Greenway
    - day at Brownsea Island
    - Splashdown
    - cinema (as booked activities on site were cancelled due to high winds / heavy rain)
    - use of campsite's indoor games room as wet weather activity
    - stand up paddle boarding (we shouldn't have gone ahead with this - way too windy)
    - paint-a-pot at Poole Pottery
    - ten pin bowling
    - hike on the Isle of Purbeck from Corfe Castle to near Swanage, culminating in display by the Red Arrows

    Whole thing done with a hired van, with Scouts travelling by public transport throughout.

    Site was nice and I would use again. You park your vehicle(s) on your own pitch which is convenient but doesn't help to create a get-away-from-it all feeling. When does it stop being a campsite with a few parked cars and become a car park with a few tents?

    My first choices of site were Ferny Crofts or Buddens but we couldn't feasibly run a camp there by public transport. [Weekday train times at Beaulieu Road just didn't work for the trips we wanted to do etc]

    Butchers Coppice has good bus links to Bournemouth and Poole. Both local bus companies (Yellow Buses and More) offer good value 5-person group day tickets for £10.50 for any combination of adults and kids.

    - - - Updated - - -


    I have to say when you first said you were going, I thought 'oh dear, that will be a shambles'. Having had some experience of hispanic Scouting events, the 'mañana' culture requires a lot of patience and a very laid-back approach!
    Re Hispanics.

    My dad has lived in Latin America alot and loves the place. I asked him once how he coped. In this country he gets annoyed at the smallest inefficiencies so how does he survive in Latin America? He explained that you must approach everything with the expectation it won't work. That way you are just happy when it does, eventually. The post will come, eventually. The paperwork will be approved, eventually etc etc.



    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by London Scouter View Post

    Site was nice and I would use again. You park your vehicle(s) on your own pitch which is convenient but doesn't help to create a get-away-from-it all feeling. When does it stop being a campsite with a few parked cars and become a car park with a few tents?
    Conversely I see no issue with this - we tend to pick sites where we can drive to our pitch, or at least park close to it. And we avoid sites where we can't at least get close to our pitch to unload

    I guess if there are multiple groups camping close to each other it may resemble a car park, but a couple of minibuses, a trailer, and a van parked neatly in the corner of a pitch doesnt exactly make it look like a car park

    I remember as a Scout, on a greenfield site, being told we would get extra inspection points if our patrol site included a marked out parking space for the leaders to park in when they came out to do inspection... but then the patrols were spread over a 30 acre field

    This summer we're greenfield camping. We'll be using a landrover and trailer to drive to the farm for water, so i imagine the trailer at least will end up parked right next to the kitchen with the water carriers in it, and if we're feeling generous we'll deliver full water carriers to the patrol sites each day. We'll also take the trailer up to the woods to fill it with firewood every couple of days (the patrols can cope with walking up to get stuff to cook on - but its a bit far to be lugging logs for the campfire.

    If I go camping personally, I always look for campsites where you can park at your pitch.

    I guess, like with Generators, it depends what your style of camping is. On a shared site we would of course keep vehicle movements to a minimum to protect the grass and avoid disturbing others. On a sole-use site it would depend on the site rules. On a greenfield site it would depend on the weather - obviously not wanting to churn the farmers field up but if the ground is dry we use the 4x4s quite a lot. I can think of many who would say "that's not camping, you should do it all by hand".
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader 66th Bath
    Deputy District Commissioner (Programme) - City of Bath District
    Nights Away Adviser and member of District Executive Committee - City of Bath District
    Member of Avon County Appointments Advisory Committee
    Event organiser "Be Prepared" Resilience Events
    Formerly CSL, SL, ASL and Jamboree Communications Lead

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    Yes, I've got the T-shirt Sparkgap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    The usual stressful pack up of camp was not helped by one of the wheels of our 4 wheel kit trailer locking up and refusing to unlock. After packing more heavy kit into the transit 9 seater pulling the trailer and loading the rest of the kit in the trailer in such a way to leave that wheel as unloaded as possible of course it unstuck within 10 mins of us setting off
    I've had that a couple of times with our Ifor Williams trailers. Usually the cause is somebody leaving the handbrake on after the trailer has been put away 'wet'. Last time I managed to get the offending wheel turning in reverse but not forwards The solution is to load up the trailer with plenty of weight and move back and forth until the wheel frees itself.
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkgap View Post
    I've had that a couple of times with our Ifor Williams trailers. Usually the cause is somebody leaving the handbrake on after the trailer has been put away 'wet'. Last time I managed to get the offending wheel turning in reverse but not forwards The solution is to load up the trailer with plenty of weight and move back and forth until the wheel frees itself.
    Yep that was the exact cause, the handbrake had been left on all week and it had rained on the first day when we arrived. We did try moving the trailer back and forth up the track with the van and even took the second wheel off on the same side to make sure that wheel was bearing weight but we evidently did not have enough weight in the trailer to get it to budge at that point

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

    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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    We don't run a summer camp for Explorers because the weather tends to be rubbish during the 'summer' months - we go in October.

    We're going back to Nethy Bridge, but had to find alternative accommodation for the first two nights due to a double booking. We try to go places that are a wee bit off the wall. We stayed at Fort George a couple of years ago (HQ of the Royal Highland Regiment and the Black Watch among other things...)

    This year, I managed to get us booked into Gordonstoun School.

    Which is nice.

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    Not summer camp, but a great week.









    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    My lot are back from Canada where we spent a two weeks with our twin troop out there. A week of home hospitality (including a trip to Niagara Falls and baseball at the Toronto Bluejays) then a week on camp with them at Halliburton Scout Reserve, 5000 acres of Canadian wilderness.

    First of the massed photo upload now on line. Departure, Niagara and time with host families. Hundreds, possibly thousands, to make their way onto our website over the next couple of weeks!

    Kids loved it! Canadians were very complimentary of our scouts, describing them as "a machine" and some of the most close knit scouts they'd ever met. I was quite touched! There were a few culture clashes that we've learned from. Canadians don't cut their scouts quite as much freedom as we do. An example was when their leaders didn't understand why ours weren't nagging our scouts about long sleeves and trousers when the bugs were out. We work on the basis of they've been told once, they'll learn when it itches. Canadians don't do that as much. We've also come back with two new couples in the troop which is rather cute

    They're coming back to us in 2019. The planning has started already!

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    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    A week in the Lake District at one of our favourite Greenfield sites.

    Took part in the Coniston Country Fair, walked up The Old Man of Consiton, Bivvied in bad weather!!! cooked on open fires, all the traditional Greenfield stuff

    FB_IMG_1502442927417-2.jpg

    FB_IMG_1502442955278.jpg
    Last edited by Mallah; 11-08-2017 at 09:33 AM.

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