I’m back from a lovely week and a half of guiding holidays: two nights with Brownies and Rainbows from near where I live, whom I didn’t know before (I’ll write about that in due course), then one night at home before going on camp with my own Guides.
Now that I’ve caught up on sleep and stopped hearing phantom Guide/leader voices and waking up in the middle of the night half-dreaming that I’m surrounded by Guides awaiting instructions (does anyone else experience this?), it’s time to write up what happened before I forget. In brief, of course, because time at camp is much fuller than it is anywhere else, and it would be impossible to write down everything that was done, seen, said and thought.
Before embarking on a blow-by-blow account, here’s the background detail.
My Guides camped, as usual, with the other unit in our District. We stayed at a Scout activity centre about 12 miles from home, so the girls’ parents provided their own transport. We were there for 5 nights, from Saturday to Thursday, and we were lucky, nay blessed, with the weather. It wasn’t particularly hot – though most people were down to t-shirts for at least a couple of hours most days – but it was almost entirely dry and not aggressively windy. We were only affected by rain in that we had to put waterproofs on for a couple of adventure activities, and we moved two meals inside to avoid a passing shower. Couldn’t really ask for more.
We took 8 adults: all the leaders of the two units, plus our District Commissioner. My Queen’s Guide Buddy was doing her licence (needed for her Queen’s Guide Award so that we can go on an expedition) and overseeing operations, then there were two first aiders (one of whom dropped in and out of camp as her work allowed), three caterers, and two activity people (one being me). We’ve been guiding together for years, some for decades, and it was a very good, comfortable team with no difficult characters. QGB commented that it only worked because everyone was pulling their weight and more all the time, and one more full-time adult would have been useful to relieve some pressure.
We took 25 girls, although we only ever had 24 at a time. There was a bit of coming and going, with a few arriving on day 2 having been on family holidays, and one leaving on day 2 for an appointment. QGB handled the coming and going well, and I didn’t notice it unsettling the other girls. We had a little Senior Section contingent: two 14-year-olds who are both Guides and Young Leaders at other units, one Ranger, and one ex-Guide who is coming back as our Young Leader in September. For the sake of being brief, I’m likely to call them all Guides in this and future posts.
We also had the two young sons of one leader, who were brilliant free entertainment. All the Guides became big sisters to them, and a few in particular did a lot of looking after/playing/helping/chasing around the campsite. Hats off to the leader, too, who somehow always manages to be fully functioning both as a Guider and a parent.
Our campsite was a lovely space enclosed by a hedge, some woods, and a building. Yes, we’d chosen the luxury of an indoor kitchen and a small hall which the QM team took over as a storage/preparation area. In our evaluation chat at the end, they all said that having a proper kitchen was something they’d do again next time. The building also had a veranda and a sunken patio area.
Tent-wise, the girls were in 5 Icelandic tents (green canvas, bedding rolls and gadgets), plus one storage tent for a group of 6 older Guides, so they could all sleep together without being crushed by bags. The leaders were in two modern tents, and we also had a modern tent with a pod for first aid and activity storage, two party tents (we brought our own, and the campsite staff pitched another on day 2 because it was needed for the next group who were camping), and a tipi (from a contact of one of the leaders, to fit with the theme). Really, we were spoilt for sheltered space, and it was lovely to be able to, say, leave craft materials out in one tent while we ate dinner in another.
The theme of the camp was the Wild West, inspired by the wooden veranda. It ran strongly through most of the week, as we managed to find activities, crafts, food, decorations, and even tents, to fit. Is that all you need to know for now? I think so. On with the camp!