Wild West camp: day 2

Summer camp 2014 (20)

Sunday dawned bright and cold, and the girls had a prompt 7am wake-up call, as they had adventurous activities booked for 9:30am.  We had breakfast (the cooked element was porridge, yum!), made bedding rolls, packed daysacks, and the Guides were, impressively, ready to leave at 9:15am.

The Scout site were were staying at offers a lot of instructor-led activities.  Our budget allowed for each girl to have 3 sessions.  This morning , half did archery and the other half went on the 3G swing (two people are harnessed into a seat, the rest of the group pulls a rope to winch them up really high, and then…they swing).  They returned for the campsite for squash and cake, then my co-activity-leader introduced them to the camp challenge booklet she’d made (it’s wonderful – I have a feeling she’ll be asked to do all future ones), and the time before lunch was spent getting tents ready for inspection, having inspection, and starting the booklet.

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The plan was to put up the name of everyone who completed the challenges in the booklet up on the wall of fame (a groundsheet with “wall of fame” painted on it, first used at region camp last summer), but no one finished it in the end.  I saw some people working on it, but possibly the Guides didn’t have enough free time to do it justice.  Or maybe the wall of fame just wasn’t enough incentive!

Lunch was a tasty ploughman’s with…maybe jelly and ice cream?  We definitely had jelly at some point that day.  QGB’s assessor came for lunch, a leader from another District in our Division whom most of us know.  Apparently – and unsurprisingly – she was very impressed.

After lunch, the girls had a bit of time to mooch and roam to the shop, before another adventurous activity.  The groups swapped over for archery and the 3G swing.  I watched both for a bit – the swing looked terrifyingly fun, and although archery wasn’t new to most girls, I liked that everyone had plenty of turns to try to improve, rather than just two or three experimental goes as sometimes happens, and that the instructor upped the game halfway through by doubling the shooting distance.

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After another squash and cake break (with every Guide bringing a cake, we had to eat a daily quotient to get through them all), we started the Hobby Horse Challenge.

Co-activity-leader and I had decided early on that we should make hobby horses, and we’d also decided that, rather than just giving the components to the Guides, they should do a challenge to earn each piece, like a mini-wide game.  We had some ambitious challenges up, but in the end we abbreviated them, as there just wasn’t time for everything.  I was both disappointed and relieved not to attempt to lead the Guides in milking PVA glue out of rubber gloves (the cow theme, innit)!

To earn the broom handle for the horse, the Guides had to make a fire and make smoke signals: two puffs per person.  We took them to a campfire circle and each tent group built a fire.  When the fire was established, they put damp grass on the fire to make a lot of smoke, then used a square of damp thick fabric to cover the fire, remove, and cover again, creating a puff of smoke.  None of the leaders had tried this before, let alone the Guides, but fortunately it worked and the fabric didn’t put the fires out or anything.

Once everyone had puffed and put their fires out, we did the next bit of the challenge, which was water pistol target shooting.  We hung three balloons from a stick (with water in them so they hung down) and one at a time, each Guide had to hit all three with a water pistol.  Then they were given the materials for their horse’s head.

At this point, the challenge broke down a bit because putting the horses’ heads together took so long.  They were made from two large bits of foam underlay (Co-Activity Leader happened to have loads left over from decorating: win.  The fact that it was turquoise made the horses even better), stapled together around the edge and turned inside out, with two small foam ears poking through and stapled in place.

Some finished horses, chilling in the corral.

Some finished horses, chilling in the corral.

We started putting the heads together outside, then moved into the tipi as it was more contained and less windy.  While some Guides stapled, others made eyes out of paper, post-it notes and googly eyes.  Co-Activity Leader (the mastermind behind the horse heads) was here, there and everywhere answering cries of “what do I do next?”.  Meanwhile, I took a few Guides at a time outside to do a wool trail (winding up a long piece of wool that had been wrapped around trees) to find nosebags for their horses (=sandwich bags) containing strips of fabric for the reins.

The horses were still in progress at dinner time, so we pushed the heads to the side of the tipi, tidied up the craft things, and left them for another day: the beauty of having lots of group space.  All those horse heads, some with eyes, some without, did made it look like the site of some bizarre sacrifice…

Sunday dinner was memorable, as it was delicious roast pork/nut roast with veg, roast potatoes, apple sauce, gravy, the works.  QGB sent a photo to our Region and County Facebook pages, where there was much praise for our QMs.

After dinner, we played some games “in the dark” – it was a clear evening and took a while to actually get dark – including one that I improvised based on a game I used to play when I was a Brownie.  Each patrol had to take off their shoes, lie down and pretend to be sleep.  When the leaders shouted “the bandits are coming” and banged on a dustbin lid, the patrols had to wake up, put on their shoes, hold on to each other in a conga line, run around a big circle, and race to be the first patrol back to where they started.  It took a lot longer to explain than it should have done – the Guides had listened to a lot of instructions over the day and were losing capacity by that stage – but once they got it, it was very entertaining and we played twice.

When it was properly dark, we had a glowstick quiz.  We hung 20 jam jars in the trees with glowsticks inside, and a question stuck to them.  Each patrol was given a bundle of post-it notes (a different colour for each patrol) with the answers written on them, and they had to decide which answer went with each question, and put the answer in the jar.  Again, their attention spans were seriously flagging as I explained what to do, but once they understood, they got on with it and worked well in their groups.

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The questions were assorted facts about Native Americans.  I found it very educational putting the quiz together – it’s not a topic I know much about or studied at school.  Download the questions, answers, and extra facts.

As each patrol finished, we sent them back for hot chocolate, followed by an earlier night than the first one!  Co-Activity Leader and I collected the jars, and we counted up the correct answers and went through them with the Guides at breakfast the next day.

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